Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in having made it through the first week of Lent, and let us be glad that we have 30 more days to lean into our chosen discipline(s) for the season!  The good news is that you don’t have to have finished firming up your relationship with the Divine by now, there’s time to keep making progress towards a deeper connection with the Triune God!

We sincerely hope that you’re taking advantage of the 40 days of Lent (not counting Sundays) to re-center yourselves around your faith life; it’s a rare thing in the 21st Century to have the gift of time, without distractions, to ponder important things.  And few things are more important than faith in these trying times.  The war between Ukraine and Russia appears to be intensifying, energy prices are spiraling ever-upward, as is the cost of just about everything we buy on a regular basis, and the political squabbling at every level of the government shows no sign of relenting.  Yet, we who believe know full well that these things are temporary disruptions, for we know the great and eternal truth is that we are loved by Almighty God, and that he wants only good things for us; and that at the end of the day, all will be well. It may not be what we would have chosen were we in charge, but we know with unshakable certainty that it will be good!

By the way, don’t forget to “Spring Forward” on Saturday night – you wouldn’t want to be an hour late for worship!!


With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7 

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-Set your clocks forward on Saturday night!

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that today is Ash Wednesday, a very special day in our journey towards the cross, and let us be glad that we are able to gather in worship to observe the beginning of a Holy Lent for all.

This evening, we will gather both at Grand Lake Community Chapel and Westminster Presbyterian Church for simple, but very meaningful services, during which we will impose ashes on the foreheads (or back of hands) of those who choose to participate in this ancient act of penitence and remembrance that begins the Lenten Season.  The 40 days that follow, not including Sundays, are intended to give us time and space to make ourselves spiritually ready for Easter; how you choose to observe this season is entirely up to you.  You can add things to your daily routine that will help sharpen your focus on the Divine, or you can remove things from your daily routine that distract you from focusing on the Divine; regardless, we urge you to focus on the Divine in a more intentional way during these 40 days.

If you are able to join us in worship this Ash Wednesday, we invite you to think of the ashes that are surrounding our Ukrainian brothers and sisters this day, as their nation is being laid waste by missiles and bombs for absolutely no reason.  As Ukrainian cities burn to ashes, let us be filled with the flames of the Holy Spirit urging us to lend assistance to the Ukrainian people in whatever way we can – including our fervent prayers for peace.

With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Seagull Point Park , Michigan , United States

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that the storm has finally abated, and let us be glad for those hard-working men and women who are out and about clearing away the snow and trying to address the icy roads and utility lines.  Please offer up prayers of thanksgiving for these hardy souls, and prayers for their safety as they work on our behalf.  Last week, we celebrated a respite from frigid temperatures; today, not so much…

This is our last weekly update for the month of February and our last one in the Season of Epiphany.  This coming Sunday we will celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord, that day when Jesus was joined on the mountaintop by Moses and Elijah, offering a glimpse of the glories of Heaven to come.  It’s kinda’ interesting to think that as the Lord is transfigured, so our worship will be transfigured; our focus will be more contemplative as we approach Easter.  While Sundays during the Season of Lent aren’t technically days of the season, being labeled Sundays “in” Lent instead of Sundays “of” Lent; the Scriptures lead inexorably the cross, as should our personal preparations for the most important day in our Christian tradition.  Lent is a marvelous gift, a time to do our best to set aside distractions and stumbling blocks, and work towards a right relationship with God.  All of us have things in our lives that get in the way of living out our faith, and Lent gives us the opportunity to put them away for a time. Who knows, maybe by the end of the Lenten season, you’ll forget what those things were, and have no need to bring them back into your life!  We urge you to embrace the 40 days of Lent, and to set aside time each day to be still and listen for the still, small voice of God inviting you into a new and richer relationship with him.  He loves you, you know; and so do we.

With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

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Pastors Message

Reaching Out from 

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 

Greetings in Christ! 

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in a respite from the  bitter cold of winter and be glad for a day of warmth to clear away some of the snow and ice that is  stubbornly adhered to our sidewalks and driveways! Of course, in the give-and-take of midwinter weather,  the forecasted rain most likely won’t be helpful if temperatures drop overnight. Gotta’ love winter  in Northern Michigan! 

So much is happening in the world today that we’d like to cry out “stop!” We’d like to get off the merry-go-round of the news cycle, laden as it is with conflicting accounts of just about everything, and just be still for a  while to collect our thoughts. We seek respite, but aren’t entirely sure where to find it, and some of us may  well feel more than a twinge of guilt for wanting to step away from the noise. Yet Jesus Christ took time away  from the crowds to rest and pray; God commanded us to observe a day of rest for our own good. It’s OK to  step away, it’s healthy and restorative to stop; it’s empowering to pray and uplifting to listen for God’s  response. This may not be the ideal day to take a walk or take a drive into the countryside to find a peaceful  place, but it’s possible to find that peaceful place in our own homes; and once we find that peaceful place, it’s  more than OK to be still and know that God is present. Just a few minutes is all it takes to reset our lives, just  a simple prayer is all it takes to reconnect with the Divine. You’ll almost certainly find that your stress level  drops, your breathing eases, and solutions to those things that are weighing heavily on your heart will be  much easier to see. Give it a try! What have you got to lose? And just how much will you gain? 

With our love in Christ, 

Karen and Greg 

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;  he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Wishing you joy and peace in your day! Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in moderate temperatures and clearer roads, and let us be glad that the forecast doesn’t call for anything particularly scary for the next few days!  That said, let’s not kid ourselves, shall we?  It’s Northern Michigan, it’s February, and there’s no way that we’re anywhere near done with winter!  So why not embrace the season, and enjoy the warmth of our homes, a mug of hot chocolate, and a good book or movie!

And as we embrace the season, let’s also embrace love; Monday is Valentine’s Day, originally a feast day for a martyr of the early church by the name of Valentine, which has now become an almost entirely commercial holiday best known for candy hearts, Hallmark cards, and romantic gifts.  But at its core, St. Valentine’s Day is all about love; as is our faith tradition.  It is often said that God is love, at Christmas we talk about love coming down from Heaven in the form of a baby boy, and in many of our liturgies and prayers we speak of love.  While it is great fun to exchange Valentine’s cards with your honey-bunny, and most folks are happy to dig into a heart-shaped box of chocolates with reckless abandon; underlying these acts is love.  If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember a song by Burt Bacharach titled “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” that opened with “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of,” and went on to state that love is not just for some, but for everyone.  Isn’t that the message of the Gospels?  Isn’t that what we teach and preach and live every day?  If that’s so, why is there so much conflict and strife in the world today?  We suggest that it’s because we aren’t lavishly generous with sharing the love of Christ with all people; we tend to be a bit selective with whom we are loving and kind and gentle, and that’s not what we’re called to do.  Maybe this coming St. Valentine’s Day can nudge us towards being the loving, love-sharing people that God calls us to be, and that Jesus Christ modeled for us.  Then maybe, just maybe, come next St. Valentine’s Day, the world will be a happier place.

With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
John 15:9

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      From the Desk of

TOBY THE CHURCH DOG
      February 2022

Hello, my dear friends!

Did you know that I consider myself a watchman?  I watch for birdies, for bunnies, and for people to step on my sidewalk or into my yard.  When out for a ride with my Daddy, I watch for potential traffic issues, fellow doggies out for a walk, and especially for BIG trucks. I LOVE big trucks! When I go to the office, I am on the lookout for my friends; and I remain on alert to protect my friends too. 

You may have noticed that I sometimes stretch out with my eyes closed.  At times there may even be some deep breathing that is heard, but do not be fooled into thinking that I’m sleeping. OH NO; for I remain alert even without the benefit of my sight! I am watchful at all times– with my nose, with my ears, AND with my intuition! 

 You, my friends, are in my care; and I do not ever want to let you down!  If I sense danger, I will sound my alert.  If I see harm coming your way, I will push you out of its path. A watchman is no good if he is silent.  A watchman is no help if he is sleeping. Why watch if there is no intention to make a difference for others? And when I know you are safe, I will remind you that you are loved by kissing your nose or by simply resting by your side.

In Ezekiel 33 one reads of the expectations of a watchman.  His first duty is to be on the lookout and to sound the alarm when danger is present.  Sometimes people may not be paying attention to this warning, but the watchman must still sound the alert where peril is perceived. Secondly, the watchman must bear the burden of his lack of engagement if he is negligent and fails to warn others of the dangers he finds. He must not fail the humans who are depending on him.  If others do not listen to his warnings, then it is their own fault; but the watchman is called to share his alert. Some who read this passage in Ezekiel believe that the watchman is our Savior who always loves and cares for us.  Others believe that these words point out the duty of God’s Children to protect others from situations that will bring with them distancing from our Lord and the path upon which we are called to travel. I want to be of help to you, my friends, and so I watch… 

With love from your Church Dog,

TOBY

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel;
so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  Ezekiel 33:7

Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Devotional – Fight With Joy (Day 5)

Scriptures – John 15:5-8. Ephesians 6:11-17

At first glance these two scriptures seem miles apart but if you hang with me I would like to share with you how they are connected and what on earth they have to do with being grateful and thankful for all that God has done for us. 

This passage in John teaches us the importance of remaining connected to the vine (that is Jesus), so that we bear fruit. When you think about it, none of us have apples growing out of our armpits, so clearly Jesus is talking about some other kind of fruit here. It would be some time before we would get the understanding that the fruit Jesus is referring to is actually the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). 

The passage in Ephesians tells us that we are in a spiritual war and the way we fight is by having spiritual armor. Have you ever realized the weapons we wield to fight in this war are the fruits we bear by remaining in the vine? It is like a full circle; to fight looks like remaining in Jesus and by remaining in Jesus we bear fruit and that fruit becomes the weapons we use in the fight which keeps us remaining in Jesus. 

The fruit of ‘joy’ is just one of the weapons we can cultivate if we’re going to fight in this spiritual war. In this time and space of big feelings, valid feelings, wacky feelings, lack of feelings – I believe the weapon of joy has the power to transform selfishness into thankfulness, apathy into gratitude, idolatry into recognising the goodness of God. Because joy is not a feeling, rather, joy is the ability to believe that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do, despite what the reality of life looks like around us. 

Throughout this week, find some space to connect with God. I encourage you to put yourself in an environment and/or do whatever activity that helps you connect with Him. Then when you’re in that place I want you to remind yourself about the nature and character of God.

Ask yourself these questions: 
1. What are the promises He’s given us in the Bible that you can make your foundation to stand upon?  

2. What has He already done in your life that you can rejoice in?  

3. When and how have you experienced the goodness of God?

We can cultivate the fruit of joy by reminding ourselves of what we believe, by standing upon what we believe, by reading and memorizing scripture that backs up our beliefs, by claiming those beliefs so that we can rejoice in the goodness of God and not the goodness of our circumstances. And with this weapon, we can stand firm in this war. Glory!

Pray with me:

God I thank you for Your Word, I thank You for Your goodness towards me. Holy Spirit would You open my eyes, my heart, my mind and my understanding to recognise when You have been good to me. God I know that apart from You I will just wither away so I surrender again today and make the choice to be connected to You, to remain in You, to follow You. I love You Lord. Would You use me, fill me and lead me into all that You have for me today. Amen.

Written by Lisa Hoffmann, Location Pastor, Citipointe Church Ipswich

https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/26133-faith-love-hope-a-reason-to-celebrate

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors will be back next week. I hope you have enjoyed and been renewed by selections from “Faith Love Hope.” If you are interested in joining our Study Group, we use the Bible App – You Version which may be downloaded onto the device of your choice. Please see the Women’s Ministry page for more information.

Pastors Message

As Pastors are vacationing for the next two weeks, with their permission, I decided to share selections from a devotional my friend Vickie and I did together. This devotion is from a seven day study titled “Faith, Love, Hope: A Reason to Celebrate” by various location pastors of Citipointe Church in Australia, the USA, New Zealand, and Europe. Be grateful, thankful, and full of pure joy every day in every way!


Devotional – Sustainable Gratitude (Day 4)

Scripture – Psalm 51:10

Is it possible to be grateful all the time, even through trials? Yes it is!

Have you ever met a person who seems to always be positive and have an attitude of gratitude towards life? Maybe you’ve thought they’re weird, or somehow they missed the daily trials the rest of us have had to be constantly and consistently upbeat, right?

I, too, thought like this once, but to be honest I actually wished I knew how to be grateful through trials and in my everyday life. I thought it was due to some external factor that I was missing that would somehow ‘make’ me grateful. The truth is, it’s not whether my circumstances are perfect, or whether all my ducks are in a row that determines my gratitude levels – God says it’s my heart posture.  

In the Bible, David cried out to God “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10).  He didn’t say help me behave better or be more resilient.  David prayed for the condition of his heart to be right. He recognised that all gratitude starts in the HEART, not in the circumstances.

The heart through scripture is the ‘inner man’ and in both the Hebrew and Greek it’s described as the ‘seat of our emotions, passions, joy, gladness, thoughts’.  Luke 6:45 adds that “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” – so, really the heart is that central place, or inner man, inside us which dictates our words, attitudes and emotions. Wow! No wonder David desperately wanted God to create a clean heart inside him!

In the Bible we see how Israel strayed away from God and made their own idols. They would often be reminded of the Lord, their God, who delivered them from Egypt. They were reminded of the Lord who did great things for their nation. God was their rescuer and deliverer.   

Even today we can be the same. So often we can stray from God, be distracted, idolize or dwell on wrong things. We need God to do what He did for Israel and give us a revelation in our hearts of how amazing He is – because when that fills our hearts, thankfulness, joy and gratitude overflows. Gratitude flows from the inside out.

And this is the key to being thankful in all seasons – no matter the circumstances or the trials we face. Pastor Mike Mulheran preached a message awhile back and he said the statement “Thanksgiving flows from right remembering”.  Whether you feel you are in the desert right now and life feels tough or whether life is great and everything is smooth sailing – having a  revelation of God – what He has saved you from, His immeasurable love for you, His unending grace toward you, His majesty and mighty deeds, His abundant creation all around, your future with God – is what creates a thankful heart, overflowing with gratitude.  There is a new horizon of joy for you when your heart is fixed on the right things.  Determine today that this will be part of your life – and you will be known as the person who has joy through all seasons of life.

What do I do from here? Let’s search for more than knowledge – but a revelation. Ask God to create a new heart inside us, founded on this revelation of who God is. 

Pray With Me:

God, You are steadfast and good, no matter the season I find myself in. Today I believe that who You are in my life isn’t dictated by my emotions or experience and that my joy is in knowing You are the same every day. You are always for me, not against me. You love me unconditionally and Your grace is sufficient for me everyday. God, create in me a clean heart that my emotions, thoughts, and confession will flow from;  that Your joy will be my strength and I will speak of your goodness and faithfulness all my days – Amen!

Written by Graeme Politanski, Location Pastor, Citipointe Church Brisbane North

https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/26133-faith-love-hope-a-reason-to-celebrate

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Why Living In Michigan In The Winter Is The Absolute Best

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that the snowplows are out clearing our roads, and let us be glad that there are skilled men and women willing to do such work!  Part and parcel of living Up North is that we get snow, which makes for beautiful vistas, but which also makes getting around a little bit challenging at times; so let’s be thankful for those who go out and clear away the snow, whether they be city workers, county workers, private contractors, or members of our own households (and maybe ourselves!).

And while we’re being thankful, let’s not forget those in the medical field, who have done so much for us in the last couple of years as we’ve dealt with the pandemic; so many have done so much to alleviate pain and suffering, all the while exposing themselves to the virus and often contracting it themselves.  These folks are angels on earth, and are deserving of our thanks and praise, and our ongoing prayers.  Also, let’s not forget the first responders, those who drive ambulances and fire trucks and police cars through the snowy roads, and save lives.  Think about the firefighters who respond to the alarm at all hours of the day and night, and work tirelessly to save homes and businesses from fire, even when the temperatures are below freezing and their equipment ices up.  Consider those in law enforcement, who fight their way over icy roads to respond to emergencies, never knowing for sure what they’ll encounter when they arrive at the scene.  While we regularly include these fine people in our prayers during worship, they are in need of our prayers every day; and they are deserving of our deepest gratitude every day as well.  Oh, and don’t forget to express your deepest gratitude to the One who made all things…

With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken,
let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way
that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. Hebrews 12:28

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Winter Scripture Images Quotes. QuotesGram

Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in the (relatively) warm temperatures, and let us be glad that the (relative) warmth is helping to clear the roads of residual snow and ice, ensuring safer travel for all!  We’re now three weeks into winter, measured from the winter solstice on December 21st, and it looks like we just might enjoy a good old-fashioned Michigan winter this year, with plenty of snow and cold air.  It’s remarkable to watch how our world changes with the seasons; from the glorious colors of autumn to the bright white fields and snow-tipped trees of winter, to be followed in a few months by buds on those same trees, God’s Creation is a never-ended panorama of beauty and delight.  We highly recommend bundling up and getting out into the clean, crisp air of Northern Michigan to see what God is up to!

And while you’re out-and-about in the winter wonderland we call home, consider pausing for a few minutes to reflect on all that God has done for you; not only the wonders of Creation, but the wonders in your life.  From warm clothing and warm homes, to good food to eat, to family and friends, and myriad other things that we often take for granted, God’s presence in our lives is undeniable; we all know that, but we don’t always acknowledge it.  Our lives are packed with activities and events, there’s always something more to do, we’re constantly on the run so we don’t think we have time to stop and consider where everything comes from – or more precisely, from whom all things come.  As we enjoy a bit of a break between the Baptism of the Lord and Lent, try to carve out some time to appreciate the gifts that you have received, and continue to receive, from the source of all that is good and right and perfect.


God bless you!

Karen and Greg

This is what God the Lord says – the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5 

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the last day of the Christmas season that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that, on this twelfth day of Christmas, our celebration of the birth of our Savior continues; and let us be glad that we were blessed with a wondrous Advent and Christmas, filled with love and joy.  Hopefully, there aren’t twelve drummers drumming away outside your homes today; most likely they stayed in their own homes to avoid traveling in the snowstorm!

In a way, it’s sad that the Christmas season has come to an end; we’ve all been in need of a season full of hope, and Christmas is certainly all about the hope of a brighter future.  At the same time, it’s good that one season has come to an end and that a new season, Epiphany, has arrived.  Epiphany, which occurs on January 6th, is the day when tradition informs us that the Magi arrived in Bethlehem to pay homage to the newborn King.  For the next several weeks we will be in the season of Epiphany, a time when we, too, are invited to pay homage to the Prince of Peace with our words and actions.  Let us pledge to continue to be kind, compassionate, generous, gentle, and loving; let us live as our Savior taught us, not only during the season of Epiphany, but throughout the year.  One last time in this particular Christmas season – Merry Christmas!  And Happy New Year!  May 2022 be a year of good health, good fellowship, expanding faith, and limitless joy!


Blessings,

Karen and Greg

Behold, I make all things new.  Revelation 21:5

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.