Grounded in heritage: Reaching out with the love of Jesus
Pastor Rosemary and Joe
Partners in Ministry
Celebrating All That God Does In Our Life
September 1st, 2018
Celebrating All That God Does In Our Life
Isaiah 40:28-31 and Philippians 4:4-9
Life is a journey of dancing with joy on mountain tops and dragging ourselves through the valleys of struggle, illness and grief. I believe that our submission to God’s will and our attitude of thankfulness when we are in our joy filled times and our struggles, has everything to do with how we survive our life journey.
In my 10 years here I have danced with Wesley United Methodist Church in the mountain top times and struggled through the valley times as well.
About a year ago, it was discovered that a support beam on the west side of the church had broken and pulled away from the wall, and we were told it was no longer safe to worship in this building. The First Presbyterian Church welcomed us into their building and we are very grateful for their hospitality. We held our Sunday services there, and funerals, Bible Studies, Christian Kids’ Club, Youth Group, Fall Festival and Salad Luncheon.
Financing the repair of our building was a problem. Where would we get the money, about $200,000, to do the repair? One Wednesday the chairman of the trustees, Ron Ahonen, and I were in the church office and we were pretty discouraged. We could not see how we were going to finance the repairs needed.
I live in Ontonagon, about 0 miles east of here. During the winter I come Wednesday morning, stay overnight and go home Thursday late afternoon. I stayed at Jeanne Bennett’s for many years until she fell and broke her shoulder. I had wonderful hospitality there. When Jeanne fell, Dori Schumacher invited me to stay at her bed and breakfast in Montreal and I welcomed her invitation. I also had wonderful hospitality there.
I went to Dori’s that Wednesday evening in a pretty discouraged state of mind. I did not sleep well that night and in the morning I knelt by my bed with tears running down my cheeks and prayed. I asked God to give me the compassionate words to help this congregation walk away from this church building. God said to me, “The money will be provided.”
Ron Ahonen and I were back in the office on Thursday and I shared with him what God had told me. After that I would open in prayer each Sunday saying, “God we know you will provide the money for the repair of Wesley’s building. Some of it will come from our pockets. Inspire us to give generously.”
That was already happening. Many people had already been giving generously and more began to give. We became the Mission of the Year for the Marquette District and other churches in the U P began to give as well. Dr. Chris Pogliano and his wife Candace stepped up to guarantee the loan from the Gogebic Range Bank. The repairs were completed and we are celebrating all that God does in our lives and the life of Wesley United Methodist Church! Praise be to God!
I’ll share one more story this morning. It’s a story of submitting to God’s will and trusting Him with a grateful attitude. July 23 Joe began feeling ill with a head ache. As the week went on he developed flu like symptoms. He was achy all over, running a temperature and feeling very weak. He called the clinic and said he wanted a blood test for Lyme’s disease and he went to the lab at the Ontonagon hospital for that.
By Sunday at 3 A.M. he couldn’t get out of bed and I took him to the emergency room at the Ontonagon Hospital. They were able to access his blood test and it was positive for Lyme’s. The put him on an antibiotic for Lyme’s and sent him home.
As the week went on he kept getting worse, so I took him to his VA doctor in Hancock. She sent him to the ER at the Portage Hospital because she felt there was more going on and she wanted more blood tests. The ER doctor realized how dehydrated he was and began IV fluids. This saved his kidneys.
They kept him there for two nights, but couldn’t figure out why his CK levels, those are the levels that tell doctors your muscles are breaking down, were continuing to rise. Normal CK level is 500. Joe’s were 16,000 when he left Portage for the hospital in Marquette.
He was in Marquette for days and his CK levels continued to rise. They rose to 29,000. Marquette wanted to send him to a hospital where they had more advanced testing. We prayed for God to send him to Mayo, but we also told God we trusted Him to send Joe to the hospital where he would be healed. God answered our prayer in a way we couldn’t have imagined. God sent him to the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis, where our son Jay and our two oldest grandchildren live. Our son Ryan and his wife Julie lives 3 hours north of there and they were all able to visit us when we were there.
The doctor came into Joe’s room in Marquette and said, “We are running out of places to send you. Every hospital we can think of is full.” Joe said, “What about the University of Minnesota?” He didn’t know they had a hospital! That was definitely God directed!
They transported him in a six hour ride in an ambulance and he was there for 14 days. He was so weak and filled with fluid that he couldn’t feed himself. I was feeding him in Marquette and our son Jay fed him in Minneapolis for the first day and a half until I arrived. While in the hospital in Minneapolis he tested positive for Babesiosis, another tick born disease and Epstein Barr Virus. The doctors think the combination of all that infection caused his immune system to go on overload and attack his muscles. We may find out more when we see them again on Saturday September 8. Joe will recover completely. There is no kidney damage and no permanent muscle damage, but it will be a long recovery time.
Every morning in my hotel, I would kneel down and surrender Joe to Jesus. I would see Jesus’ sandaled feet and the hem of his garment and I would envision lifting Joe to Jesus and Jesus reaching down and picking him up and holding Joe in his arms and healing him. Yet, I submitted Joe’s life and my life to God’s will. We knew whatever happened God was with us.
We witnessed to our trust and faith in God in all three hospitals and we treated the doctors, nurses, aids and the cleaning people with respect and thanked them for doing their jobs well. Many were surprised by our faith and our attitude. There are a lot of grumpy, demanding people in hospitals and we did our best to not be one of them.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace which surpassed all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Joe and I have found this to be true in our life. We thank God for the many blessings, and especially for the blessing of having Jesus walk with us in our valley times, and we live in the peace of Christ. I encourage you to offer your mountain top joys and your valley struggles to God, praising him for all your blessings and thanking Him for being with you in your struggles. We are not meant to live this life without God.
Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord, (who trust in the Lord, who become weak before Him, who rely on His strength instead of their own) the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings of eagles.”
If you want to have the peace of Jesus and you want to soar like eagles; celebrate all that God does in your life with thanksgiving and rely on His strength, not yours.
Pastor Rosemary DeHut September 2, 2018
September 1st, 2018
What God’s Love Can Do Through Us July 29
July 30th, 2018
What God’s Love Can Do Through Us
Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6:1-15
(Quoted scripture is New Revised Standard Version)
Once there was a boy who loved to look at the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and the clear blue sky. These delighted him and he spent the majority of his time outside wandering about the countryside. One day he saw a crowd of people gathered and as he drew closer he saw that they were listening to a man. He was not sure what it was, but there was something magnetic about this man that drew the boy closer. He sat down on the grass and listened to what the man said. Never in his life had he heard someone speak so clearly from the heart.
From that time forward the boy kept an eye out for the man. Whenever he was in the area he hurried to listen to him speak. Over time the boy grew to love the man more and more. He truly envied the man’s followers, his disciples. They traveled wherever he went. He could not wait to grow up so that he could follow the man as well. The boy received much from the man, especially the love and compassion present in his eyes and his heart-felt message, and he longed to be able to give the man something in return, but he had nothing to give.
One day the boy met the man’s mother. She had come to give her son a message. The boy followed the woman to her home and begged her to tell him more about her son. She told him that shortly after her son was born three astrologers from the East had visited and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. She also spoke of one who gave her son a lamb. The boy recalled that he had heard that a woman in a local village had poured sweet smelling perfume over the man’s feet and dried them with her hair. How he wished he had some great gift for the man.
Often the boy would go to the mother’s home. He felt at home there as she spoke about her son to him. One day as he left her house to see if the man was in the area, she gave him a few loaves of barley bread she had just taken out of the oven. She thought he would need them for his journey home. As he went in search for the man he stopped by the local lake and caught a couple of fish. He then continued on his way with the loaves and two fish he had caught. Finally, he caught sight of the people who were listening to the man.
The man had much to say that day and the people listened and were fascinated. As it grew late the boy sensed that the people listening were getting hungry. He was happy that he had his bread and fish. He wanted to share with an old man to his side and a woman who was carrying her baby. What about all the others, he thought? There were so many of them and surely they did not anticipate being in such a deserted place where there was no place to buy food. It was a long way to the closest village. The boy felt badly, but he was only a youth; what could he do?
Then one of the man’s disciples came to him saying that the man had asked for the boy’s bread and fish. He was glad to give them, but felt badly for the tired old man and the woman with her child. How he wished he had more to give. Then he saw the man take the loaves and fish. He blessed them and gave thanks and then started to distribute them to all listening to him. He went through the crowd giving everyone some bread and fish. He came to the tired old man and then to the woman carrying her baby; there was enough for them. Finally, he stopped in front of the boy and gave him some bread and fish. The boy’s heart stopped; never had he been so close to the man. He looked into the man’s eyes and then realized that he did not need to give a lot. It really was quite simple. All he had to do was give the little bit he had and the man would do the rest.*
“When he (Jesus) looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” – Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:5-6,8-10a,11)
The story about the little boy is a fable about the little boy in this story from the Gospel of John. Did it happen this way? Maybe. I’d like to think it happened just this way. That the little boy gave Jesus what little he had, and Jesus was able to multiply what the little boy had, to do a miracle, feed 5,000 plus people.
Some people have a lot to give; material things, time, money, great talents; but others, like this boy, have what seems to be little or nothing to give.
The boy learned, what we also must learn; no matter how much or how little we have, God’s love can do great things through us, if we give our all to him.
Remember the story of the prophet Isaiah as told in Isaiah chapter 6? When Isaiah beheld God’s glory in the temple, the Lord said to him, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, “Here am I; send me!” (verse 8) Isaiah gave what little he had to God and God was able to do great things through him. Isaiah is considered the greatest of the prophets in the Old Testament.
Father Jerry Fuller once told a story about a young couple in North Carolina who were set to open their own restaurant. All that was needed was the final health inspection and the issuing of their business permit. They were scheduled to receive the permit the next day. The couple named their little restaurant “Our Place.”
That morning the winds and rains of Hurricane Hugo hit the Atlantic coast. This ferocious storm made its way 200 miles inland to their small town. Trees were uprooted, power lines were down, homes and stores were destroyed. The young couple hurried to their restaurant to see if it had been affected. Fortunately, everything was okay.
A deputy sheriff pulled up to the couple’s restaurant and told them that their restaurant, the fire station next door and a service station down the road were the only ones that had electricity. The young couple called the health inspector and begged him to come immediately so they could open, but because of the power outage, the inspector couldn’t get into his office to issue the permit. No permit, no business opening. With the refrigerator stocked with 300 pounds of bacon and beef and bushels of tomatoes, lettuce and bread, there was only one thing to do. They decided to give the food away.
They told the deputy, “Tell your coworkers and other emergency people you see that we’ll have free BLTs and coffee for anybody who wants to drop by.” Soon firemen, policemen, linemen and other workers were filing into Our Place. When the couple heard that another restaurant, whose electricity had been restored, were scalping people by charging ten dollars for two eggs, toast and bacon, they put a sign in their window: “FREE BLTS—FREE COFFEE. Families, travelers and street people welcome.”
Then something quite amazing began to happen. People who happened by started cleaning counters and sweeping floors. Volunteers took over the dish washing. People from a neighboring town that had not been hit too badly by the storm heard what was happening and they brought food from their freezers. Nearby merchants also heard and they responded with foodstuffs of all kinds.
Somehow as the day went on, those first cups of coffee and BLTs stretched to 16,000 meals. The restaurant’s small stock of supplies actually increased by 500 loaves of bread, 350 pots of coffee and bushels of produce. A miracle happened in that small North Carolina town. A miracle of that young couple giving what little they had and God’s love doing great things through them. **
The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus that they also can do great things through God’s love. “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all, forever and ever. Amen” (vv. 20-21)
How do we mere humans come to a place where God’s love can do great things through us?
Paul writes, “I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (vv. 14-19)
This letter from Paul to the church tells us that when we give our heart and our life to Jesus, when we surrender all to Him, we will be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit. We will be willing to give what ever we have, whether much or little, that God’s love can do great things through us. We recognize the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ and we are willing to love God above all and to serve God and our neighbor in love.
What do you have to offer to God? What can God’s love do through you? You may think you have very little, yet as we heard in the little boy’s story and the couple from North Carolina story, whatever you have God can use.
The key is to recognize that whatever you are willing to give to God, God can use to do miracles.
Some of us have given little and some have given much to do the repair to Wesley’s building. God used whatever we gave to do a miracle! Our building has been repaired and we will celebrate God’s providing what we needed Sunday September 2.
Do you think you have much or little to give? Give whatever you have, and God’s love will do great things through you.
Pastor Rosemary DeHut July 29, 2018
References: * Paraphrased from “The Boy Who Had Nothing
to Give,” in Jude Fischer, ed. Be Always Little:
Christian Fables for Young and Old
(Combermere, Ontario, Canada: Madonna
House, 1996), pp. 91-93.
** “A grand opening,” Connections, 18th Sunday of the Year,
August 1, 1999. Cited at http://www.spirit‑net.ca/
July 30th, 2018
Balancing Act July 22, 2018
July 23rd, 2018
Psalm 46:1-11 and Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
(Quoted scripture is New Revised Standard Version)
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.”
“But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “that I was sharpening my axe when I sat down to rest.”
In my life, I have found that family and ministry and work and rest are a balancing act. If I am out of balance so is my family life and my ministry. We all need to find a balance of work and rest in our life. The winning woodsman said, “I was sharpening my axe when I sat down to rest.” We all need time to ‘sharpen our axe!
Jesus said to his apostles, in Mark 6:31, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”
Jesus has his reasons for inviting his disciples to rest. They have just returned from a mission where He had sent them out in teams of two, to see how the message He was teaching, was being received by the people, and to see what the disciples could do. Jesus told the twelve to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear their sandals, and just one tunic. Not to take anything extra with them. They were to simply trust local hospitality to meet their needs. They were to call people to repentance, cast out demons, anoint the sick. (Mark 6:6b-13) I think it was to prove to Jesus and to the disciples that they could do what Jesus was calling them to do. It was work they had never done before, and when they returned, they must have been exhausted.
Jesus listens to the disciples as they report on all they did and taught in the numerous places they visited. Jesus knows how they feel; elation at what they have accomplished, “They cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” (Mark 6:13) Jesus also knows they are exhausted, and He says to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest for a while.” (v. 31)
Many of us do important work and find ourselves exhausted. Yet we do not rest. We may even believe that we cannot or should not rest. We push ourselves in a way that we would never push others. Our life may be productive, we may check off everything from our daily “to do” list, but deep down we recognize something is wrong and we are exhausted.
The disciples have returned from their travels, but the pace has not slackened. Mark writes, “-For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (v. 3lb) I know what this is like. I arrived home Thursday to my home in Ontonagon, after being in Ironwood all day and my mother asked if I had eaten. I said, “Yes, I ate on my way home in my car.” I have perfected eating in my car. I have a kitchen towel I tuck in my seat belt to protect my clothes and I can eat a sandwich without skipping a beat!
To meet the demands of ministry and family I have to take time to come away for awhile and rest with Jesus. Joe and I took a couple of days away this past week. We took time to go camping and hiking in this beautiful place we call home, the Upper Peninsula. We went to Tahquamenon State Park and hiked along the Tahquamenon River four miles from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls. We ate hot dogs cooked over a camp fire and had s’mores. It was wonderful and helped to bring me back into balance.
To meet the demands on our life, we need some kind of retreat, a quiet time with Jesus. A retreat leader put it this way to a group of church leaders:
“We are here to retreat by being with God so that we can re-enter ministry of really being with God’s people.” Then he went on to do a spiritual exercise with the participants called, “domains, demands, and responses.” He had each person on retreat list at least three domains. He said, “A domain is any place or situation where you are expected to work or be responsible.” Then he went on to explain, “Leave plenty of room after each word you write because after you have written down the domains in which you are involved, I will ask you to write down the demands you experience in those domains. After that you will need to write down your responses to those demands.”
For domains, people wrote down: home, work, being a good spouse, parenting, personal finances, being a good neighbor, relating to relatives, taking care of elderly parents, and several other areas of responsibility. For demands they wrote down:
Do everything for all the children; fix everything that breaks; answer all questions; never fail to be alert and loving; never make a mistake when it comes to money;
always be kind, considerate, and compassionate; always be responsible, even when I am exhausted from overwork; and
always make the right decisions.
Then the retreat leader, said, “Now list how you responded to those expectations and demands that you or other people have placed on you.” After twenty minutes of writing, the retreat leader had some of the people share what they had written. The responses included:
“I’m exhausted because I never get done.”
“I feel guilty because I never get it perfect.”
“I don’t like myself because I always fall short.”
“I get angry too quickly because I’m frustrated.”
“I don’t like this exercise because it makes me feel like there is no way out.”
Then the retreat leader made a statement that really shook up the participants. “In most cases, you can’t do anything about the domains or demands of life. You can’t control what happens to you. The only thing you really have control over are your responses.” After a lot of hot discussion and argument, most of the people agreed that the real area they could change was the way they responded to what happened to them.
“You can’t control what happens to you; only how you respond to what happens to you,” the leader said. “And that response has a lot to do with the state of your mind and spirit.” The rest of the retreat was spent on Bible reading, prayer, and discussion of attitude and perspective in the light of what God revealed in his word. One woman, who had earlier identified a problem she had with criticizing others, came up with a formula that the group liked. “I think the best way to summarize what I need to work on in my life is ‘The attitude I need daily is gratitude.’ ”
“I’ve been blaming others for what goes wrong in my life,” a man who said he drank too much, chimed in. “I haven’t wanted to take responsibility for my own life. If the only thing I can change are my responses, that means I have to take responsibility for what happens. That isn’t easy, but with God’s help, I will try to change.”
A husband observed, “I guess you are all right about this business of having an attitude of gratitude, but I don’t think I can change the way I have been living for 44 years.” His prayer partner said, “I’ll pray for you, Harry. You pray for me too. I’m not sure I can change either, especially if I have to do it myself. But if we pray for one another, maybe God will get us over the hump.”
Getting away to spend time with Jesus and other Christians, many of the people on that retreat made the discovery that the illusions they had been living with had to do with trying to change other people instead of changing themselves with the help of God. Of course, not everyone got it. Joe Johnson said, “This is a waste of time. This retreat stuff is for the birds. I’m leaving.” And he did. It’s not clear at this time if Joe ever got it, but the point of that retreat with time away was to make a deposit in each participant’s account, a deposit that God could use to help people improve the rhythm of their lives, to help them with the balancing act of life.
In the closing devotions, the pastor, who was not the retreat leader, read Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” He also quoted Henri Nouwen, the Roman Catholic spiritual writer: “In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the result of our efforts.”*
After commenting briefly on these words, the pastor quoted Nouwen again: “In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.”* Then the pastor confessed, “This quote hits me right between my eyes: When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth.”*
“We have retreated,” said the retreat leader. “Now it’s time to re-enter.”
Joe Johnson, who had walked out of that retreat, later privately said to his pastor. “I shouldn’t have walked out, but that retreat leader was getting to me. As president of the congregation and running my own business, I guess the stress was just getting to me. We are also having some trouble with one of our daughters who is dating a young man we think is a bum. That retreat leader was getting ‘under my skin’ with all his talk about domains, demands, and responses. I usually can control the situations I’m in, but frankly pastor, I’m at overload.”
“I know,” Pastor Jones replied, “I’ve been praying for you every day since you left that retreat. I knew something was wrong.” The two men then knelt down and prayed together.
After the apostles had, ‘come away with Jesus to a deserted place and rested,’ Jesus and they were refueled to begin the ministry again.
Mark 6:53-56 tells us, “When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, (Jesus), and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went into villages or cities or farms they laid the sick in the market places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak: and all who touched it were healed.”
Jesus, being fully divine, yet fully human needed rest also. Luke writes in his Gospel, chapter 5:16, “But often he (Jesus) would withdraw to deserted places and pray.” If Jesus needed to retreat and rest to become balanced in his life and his ministry, how much more do we, as mere humans, need that same thing?
Summers are busy, with relatives, activities, demands on our time and our life. I encourage you to make sure you spend time retreating to a place by yourself to spend time in prayer with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be a camping trip, it can simply be a quiet time by yourself in your home, a walk in this beautiful place we live, or taking your lunch to a place you like to go. Or go for a drive and see all the beauty around us.
Life is a balancing act and in order to be in balance, a little time by our self with Jesus each day or a couple of days away is the best way to balance our life.
We sang, ‘Come Find a Quiet Center,’ Remember the words, “Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed: Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.” (FWS #2128)
Find that quiet center in your life, and see what really matters. Be at peace and simply be. Find that balance and be free!
Pastor Rosemary DeHut July 22, 2018
References: Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude (Notre Dame: Ave Marie Press, 1974), p. 22, p.18.
July 23rd, 2018
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Sunday Service 11:00 A.M. Central Time (nursery available)
Phone Number: 906-932-3900
Pastor: Rev. Rosemary DeHut
Pastor Rosemary is in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays
~~ For the renewal of the church Spirit of promise, Spirit of unity, We thank you that you are also a Spirit of renewal. Renew in the whole Church That passionate desire for the coming of your kingdom Which will unite all Christians in one mission to the world. May we all grow up together into him who is our head, The Savior of the world. Amen. ~~