Good morning everyone!
A little while ago, when Christian was leaving to live in Ann Arbor for the summer, Mitzi gave him a little present. It was a small pot of “Hens & Chicks”. You know, those fun little plants that have a main part (the hen) and small little plants (the chicks) that form on runners from the hen. These are so cool. Why such a gift for a young man who would have otherwise needed and asked for more of a monetary gift? So that as this little plant would grow, he would leave a little part of it where he had lived. Hopefully, he’ll then take it to Western Michigan when he returns to school this fall. And when he is finishing there, he’ll leave another little part there too, to leave his mark of love and beauty once again. Cool, huh?
Mother Theresa summed this up with this thought: “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” So when the next person after Christian will see those beautiful little plants, they will know that someone loved beauty and also loved the unknown person who would find them later, having left his mark on his little corner of the world.
The apostle Paul wrote about it this way: “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone.” — 2 Corinthians 3:2 The New Testament writers were doing this so that those who would come after them would see and understand that God’s love and presence is to be shared for the now and the yet-to-come. Without knowing who would witness their words, these writers were simply trusting that God most certainly had someone in mind who would need to hear these words – would need to find their beauty and testament of God’s love – just as that next person will find Christian’s little plant and know that it was left there just for them! Go ahead; leave your mark of God’s beauty and love on your corner of the world. Remember, we will always leave our mark. Is it going to be one of hate or negativity or selfishness, or is it going to be one of love?
God's peace and love and beauty to you all,
Good afternoon all!
Yesterday was a bit schizophrenic, wasn’t it? It was snowing in the morning, and later in the afternoon it was actually on the warm side! Spring in Michigan, eh? Can’t wait to dig into the dirt!
Please let me share one of my deepest concerns for you all, and in fact, for the whole Christian church: Bible illiteracy. The ability to be literate in Scripture is absolutely ESSENTIAL. If anyone tries to tell you that it’s not is LYING. It becomes a doubtful claim that a Christian can be one without opening the Bible. Scripture tells us that our faith shows itself by the fruit it bears. One of those fruits is the activities of Bible study and prayer. Think about this statement: “I’m a Christian but…” For this discussion I want you to insert the words “I don’t read the Bible”. Try “I don’t pray regularly.” It’s pretty impossible to be an “I’m a Christian, but…” Christian.
There’s to be no “but’s” in our claims to be followers of Christ. (For those of you who are married, how do you think it would have worked out if at your wedding vows, you said “In the name of God, I, (groom/bride's name), take you, (groom/bride's name), to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow, but…”) Bet that would make the other spouse-to-be feel pretty confident as to the sincerity and longevity of that new life “together.”
I know, the popular thought is that “all I need is a relationship with God.” Yup, that’s true. How’s those other relationships where there’s no or minimal communication? Are they healthy? Are they vibrant? Are they even relationships at that point?
The takeaway from all of this? The One who loves you the most in all of the world and beyond wants a real relationship with you! Yes, He will always hear you when you call out His Name, but He absolutely wants to hear from you. Too busy? Sounds like you may have to cut back on Candy Crush and all of those other more important things? Too tired? Sounds like there’s too many other way-more-important activities going on. I had a boss once who said “Run ‘em out of excuses” when my suppliers would not be meeting their deadlines. Part of my job is to “run you out of excuses.
To that end, I’ve attached a simple sheet of various Scripture passages that you can download and snip the verse for the week and place it in some conspicuous place. Commuting? Tape it to your dash. Already at work? Thumbtack it to your cubicle wall. Phone in your hand constantly? Cut and paste a verse and make it your lock screen.
If you don’t currently read much of the Bible regularly, please try this exercise. It’s going to cover the rest of April and also May & June. Please give it an honorable effort! Please let me know how it’s going. Please let me know if there’s anything new in your faith walk at the end of June.
Praying for you all,
Good afternoon my dear friends!
Being a history buff, I wanted to share with you a “Today in History” nugget. Today is known as “The Ides of March”. Bet you don’t know why! Well, in 44 AD, Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. The Ides of March was a period of time about thirty days prior (in what is our modern February) to today.
A soothsayer had previously told Caesar that the Ides of March were to be a dangerous time for him, possibly deadly. Caesar, being the dictator for life, wasn’t about to be told what was going to happen, as he saw himself as the Roman god. The story goes that as Caesar was on his way to the Roman Senate, he ran into the soothsayer and told him “The Ides of March have come!” (Meaning that this period of time had been completed.) The soothsayer replied to him “Yes, but they haven’t gone!”
The rest, they say, is history. Caesar was killed that day, and the Roman Empire would never be the same.
Do you ever wonder what you would do if someone could tell you the very day that you were going to die? Would you hire Van Halen and have Saint Clair’s biggest and craziest bash? Would you spend every last penny and travel around the world engaging wine, women (sorry ladies… men) and song? Would you spend that time before making things right with people that had been estranged to you? Would you spend more times with your loved ones, confirming your love for them? If you hadn’t had a real relationship with Jesus, would you make that a new priority?
The fact is, we of course don’t know when our lives will end. All we know is that they will, right? Jesus said that the days we’re living in are called “The End Times”. “The Last Days”. “The End of the Age”. He also said that no one knows when that last time will indeed happen, except the Father God.
So what are you going to make of your last days? Will you spend them like any other day? Will you procrastinate, deny it, or otherwise waste them? The truth is, we’re to spend each of our days here as gifts from God, loving Him and loving those around us. These are days of healing. Rejoicing. Renewing. Second Chances.
If I haven’t seen you in church lately, come back to Fishers and worship with us. Be renewed. Refreshed. The apostle Paul summed it all up this way: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Please plan your Good Friday and Easter worship. Good Friday worship will be on the 30th of March at 7:00 pm, and Easter Sunday, April 1st, at 10:00 am. If you have been or will attend at another church, that’s wonderful! Good Friday and Easter celebrations are another amazing way to bring back your enthusiasm and love of regular worship. Praise be to God for His unending love in Jesus our Lord and Savior!
Peace in Jesus our Lord and Savior,
Good afternoon Fisher friends!
I’m sitting in my new office watching the snow fall outside. Okay, it’s not really an office, it’s a desk in Cameron’s room which doesn’t see too much of Cameron since he now has taken over Christian’s room. Regardless, I love to work in front of the window looking outside. Even today it’s pretty cool to have a “window on the world”.
Here’s a reminder of things coming up in March:
1. Today – “Be Nasty Day”. Please don’t enjoy this too much.
2. Sunday March 11 – Daylight Savings Time ends! We’re going to talk about CPR. Good stuff!
3. – Earmuff Day. Put ‘em on or store ‘em for the season?
4. – National Goof Off Day. Once again, don’t enjoy this one too much. At least at work!
5.------------------------------------------- Okay, here’s the important things ----------------------------
6. Palm Sunday March 25 – We come together to celebrate the start of Jesus’ “final mission” to save us from our sins and guarantee our salvation. The crowds cheered His arrival in Jerusalem; they jeered Him and demanded His death just days later.
7. Good Friday March 30 – The day the earth quaked and fell dark as Jesus died on the Cross. Jesus came as a hero and died as a common criminal. For you.
8. Easter Sunday – The celebration of all celebrations! The tomb that Jesus was placed in couldn’t hold Him. The miracle of His resurrection guarantees our resurrection also, through faith in Him and this holy event.
May God continue to bless you with His precious gifts to you. My prayer right now (and continuously) is that any of you that haven’t been to church lately would do so this Sunday. Even if you go to a church other than Fishers, please attend!
May God bless you and keep you,
Good morning my brothers and sisters in Christ!
A thought came into my mind this morning and I absolutely can’t shake it. And it’s a good thing! “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I know that sometimes, even with the Word of God on our tongues, it’s easy to recite them, but not really give thought to them. So it was with the verse above. It’s a great statement of a daily worship we can have with Him.
As this was rolling around in my head, I thought to myself “If this is God’s day, and I’m supposed to rejoice in it, then how will I do that?” What will our day look like as we acknowledge that every minute of every hour of every day is God’s, and we are to treasure every moment?
Better stated, ask yourself: “If this is the day the Lord has made…”, then how are we going to finish that sentence:
“This is the day the Lord has made; so I will rejoice in it these ways”:
God’s peace and love upon you all as you rejoice and are glad in this is the day the Lord has made.
Yours in Christ,
Good evening loved ones!
I’m just chilling after a sweaty cutting of our lawn. I remember when I was a kid and my dad told me I had to cut the grass that day. No exceptions. Of course, I put it off; as it got darker, I realized my plan to wait till the next day had worked! Or did it. No, my dad made me cut the grass that night – with a flashlight!
What does that have to do with my message tonight? Pretty much nothing. I was just reminiscing about the joy of cutting grass. Come to think of it though, I thought of something as I was cutting this evening. Every other week I change the way the lawn is cut. One week it’s perpendicular to the street, the next it’s on a diagonal. (Yes, I know I’m a little uptight about my lawn.) As one makes the first diagonal cut, it’s extremely important to make sure it’s straight, because the subsequent swaths will be based on that first one. In the past, I’ve tried to make the cut by estimating I was going straight because… well, how hard could it be? As I’d turn the mower around to make the return cut, I’d see that that first cut was crazy not straight.
I’ve solved that problem, though. Before I start the cut, I’ll find an object at the end of the cut that I can focus on. No trusting my own instinct to make that first cut, no. And guess what? I’ve been cutting that diagonal so straight you could sight a gun barrel with it!
Here’s the takeaway from this story: When we try to rely solely on ourselves to get through life, it’s going to be as ugly as my first cutting attempts. We wander to the left and then the right and all the subsequent activities in our lives are aligned with that first “cut” and we wonder why the grass looks bad. Yet when we focus our eyes on the target of Jesus, the cuts will be straight! No, not perfectly straight, but right where they need to be. Please don’t try to do life with ourselves as the source of right and wrong, joy and anger, love and hate, light and dark. It gets unnecessarily messy and full of hardship. Not the “full life” that God promises us when we walk with Him: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Another verse comes to mind also: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
So the next time you see a lawn beautifully cut on that diagonal, you can remember to keep our eyes on Jesus for every area of our lives!
There's a new sermon series starting on Sunday: "Advertising Slogans that are Found in the Bible." Like this one on Sunday: "Coke (?) the Real Thing." Come on in and let the love of God and His people overwhelm you!
Here’s a Public Service Announcement from Mitzi and the Social Ministry: Fishers volunteers at the St. Mary’s Food Pantry every Tuesday and Thursday in October. We’ve had a few responses, and that’s awesome, but we still have a few left to fill. If you’re able to volunteer those late afternoons (4:00 – 6:00), let me or Mitzi know. Thank you for being the face and hands of Jesus to folks that need to see it!
Peace out, ya’ll,
Good morning! And a beautiful morning it is! These are the days that I stand in awe of how amazingly and powerfully God has created the world, and in particular our little corner here in the Saint Clair area. I was taking a long walk this morning along the boardwalk, and I noticed something shiny on the ground and reached down to pick it up. “Hey! I found a quarter! Cool!” (I still get excited about finding money on the ground, especially quarters.)
Has this ever happened to you? You bend down to pick it up, and what’s the very next thing you do? Of course! You look around to see if there are any more coins. Like someone is going to “breadcrumb” their way around by leaving a path of quarters to find their way back!
Of course, this got me thinking. It can be tough sometimes to talk with strangers and engage them in friendly conversation if we’ve never done it or if it’s seriously out of our comfort zones. But just like finding that first quarter, it gets a lot easier, and if you’re like me, you actually look for folks to strike up a conversation! This drives Mitzi and the boys crazy if we’re trying to keep a schedule.
I’m convinced that this is how our FCC church will grow, as well as the church in the world. So what if you don’t know them! There’s always something that you share in common with them. I stopped yesterday morning to pet two dogs whose owners were walking and then sitting on a bench. Guess what? I saw them in the very same spot this morning! They remembered me and we chatted and I got my “dog fix” for the day. How cool is that?
Let’s remember one thing here: It’s not our job as Christians to bring someone to faith. Let me repeat that: It’s not our job as Christians to bring someone to faith. Things of faith, like this especially, are too huge for us to even try to take responsibility for! That is the Holy Spirit’s job: to take that situation; that conversation with someone; that helping to carry something for them as they struggle with it; that simple befriending; and make His good and perfect will to be done in their lives as He holds out the truth of God’s love. When we look at it honestly, our “job” in all of this is pretty simple. The Spirit’s job is much much harder. That’s why God has given Him that role.
God’s blessings to you all this week and receive the peace of God that goes far beyond our thoughts or imaginations,
A blessed morning wish to you all!
Last evening, Cameron and I were shooting baskets in the driveway. He’s become a pretty good player! Anyway, he found his “spot” on the court that he was really able to drain it. Then he got so comfortable with his “spot” that he started to try shooting with his eyes closed. He didn’t do so well, obviously. And I said to him, “You just have to keep your eyes open to see the hoop!”
What an interesting thought for this Passion Week. Even though most of us have seen many, many Good Friday’s and Easters, each year is a brand new celebration to praise God for His unending love and grace for the world through His Son Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s easy to go through life and this week in particular with our eyes closed to it all. It’s not to say that we don’t acknowledge these days, but it can get rather rote and somewhat meaningless for us. The way to overcome this? Keep your eyes open! Keep them open to the power over sin that Good Friday brought – every one of our sins were forever taken away through His sacrifice in our places. Keep them open to the power over death that Easter brought – by faith in these most holy acts by God we have eternal life! How can we ever go through life with our eyes closed ever again?
The apostle Paul wrote this for us: "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." He's saying "God, even though I can't keep my eyes open to Your love, send Your Spirit to wash over me that I can continually know You better as I constantly try to wrap my brain and heart around all that You've done for me!"
So you can remember as you plan the rest of your week, Good Friday worship will be at 7:00 pm. Easter celebration is at 10:00 (normal worship time). It’s all going to be so cool!
We are still looking for volunteers to help with the Adopt-a-Highway eventthis Saturday at 8:00 am. With enough folks helping, we should wrap it up at noon and have some pizza. Come on out! It’s beautiful outside and it helps to improve our area, and people will continue to see Fishers as the church who is doing this work.
I’d like to also get together Saturday evening at 7:00 pm for a short Easter vigil. We’ll simply pray that our Easter worship will be blessed and that the seats would be fill with Spirit-driven folks who want and NEED to hear the Easter message of God’s incredible love for them. Powerful enough to give His only Son unto death, yet also powerful enough to raise Him from His death.
My Good Friday and Easter morning love to you all,
Good morning and happy Thursday!
About this time each year I get itchin’ to dig in the flowerbeds around our home. The coming Spring brings an anticipation of renewal and new life to our outdoor surroundings. If you need to find me on the weekends, I’m usually outside weeding and pruning and planting.
I receive seed and plant catalogs toward the end of winter to further the anticipation that all of this will bring. My favorite catalog is from a company called David Austin Roses. This gentleman and his family have spent their lifetimes developing English roses. Sometimes roses are chosen for their type of growth: a climber or a bush; scent: some stronger than others, and with different types; color of course: beautiful shades of pinks, yellows, reds; disease resistance: many times roses are susceptible to nasties like “blackspot,” which is a fungus that can eventually defoliate the entire rose plant if not corrected. Newer roses are bred specifically to be resistant to such diseases.
The rose grower will separately grow what is called “root stock” plants that have been developed to be especially hardy and strong. They will at the same time grow the desired rose as described above. At the right time, the root stock plant will be harvested so that only the roots and base of the plant are kept. The new rose plants will then be similarly harvested, only their branches are left. Then, they will graft the two plants together: The beauty and other unique qualities of each variety with the strength and vigor of the root stock. They come together to become breathtaking and hardy roses that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Here's how God puts it for us as we take this example from the garden into our personal spiritual lives:
“But some of these branches from Abraham's tree--some of the people of Israel--have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree.” Romans 11:17
God is telling us that we are now part of His chosen people, with His “ingrafting” of us, into the “whole plant” – the sturdy base (God’s original promise of love, faith and eternal life) along with the uniqueness of the rest of the plant. You see, with the foundation of everything that is God along with the differing colors, scents, growing types etc., we have become an amazing garden of faith along with all the rest of the plants that uniquely combine to form His church. Remember that the next time you drive by our house or if you simply take the time to enjoy the beauty of a rose!
Here’s a reminder for you all, that we are continuing our Genesis sermon series this Sunday as we will wrestle with the thoughts that we all have about hearing God’s voice. Does it still happen today? How can I hear Him? Why should I hear His voice? I believe that everyone will enjoy and benefit from this study of the Word of God. I hope and pray that I will see you on Sunday.
Peace in Jesus Christ,
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization