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Note from Pastor

Like many of you, Carol and I have been working on “de-cluttering” our home. It seems that no matter how many garage sales or trash pick-ups – there is always more. As I was reflecting on this, I thought about our lives and how easy it is for them to become cluttered. Included in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discourages us from worrying. Despite Jesus’ words, we worry.
It is a normal thing for us to do. However, we have choices in how to deal with worries. After sharing all the things that I had to do and worrying about them, a good friend said to me, “Put out the hottest fires first.” I knew what she meant - that is, to prioritize what needed to be done. However, it is difficult to work on one thing knowing there is another just around the corner.
Part of the Sermon is in the text cited above. In Matthew 6: 25-34, Jesus talks about not worrying. I especially like “Today’s trouble is enough for today”. I have always been astounded by those who are “laid back” and seemingly nothing bothers him or her. I admittedly have wondered if they care about anything at all. Then I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that we all have a choice in how to handle situations. We can worry or we can prioritize. We can wring our hands or we can “let go”.
Letting go would mean that we relinquish whatever control we may think we have. More often than not, we delude ourselves into thinking we have control over a situation. Not to be redundant, but what we do have control of is how we react to those situations.
When I was younger I found a relaxation technique. I would start with my feet and relax all the muscles in my feet. Then I would do the same to my legs. By the time I got to my arms, I was very relaxed. I use this quite often. It is my way of “de-cluttering” and I use it to deal with worry. After having achieved relaxation, I am able to pray. They key to prayer is to be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10). One way to look at it is when you have company, there are preparations: vacuum the floor, straighten out the picture on the wall, fluff up the pillows on the couch, etc. Preparing to pray is much the same – de-cluttering mind and soul and in anticipation of God’s arrival.

I pray that you can find ways to “de-clutter” your life.

Pastor Jerry

Exhale - Youth News

When we are children, our loved ones read us fairy tales and superhero stories - tales of princes and princesses who fall in love and live happily ever after. At least for me, that is the only part I remember…the end where the superhero saves the day or the princess kisses her prince in her beautiful ballgown. However, as I have grown older, I realized those stories were not just happy endings to give us sweet dreams at night, but stories to show us how we can overcome obstacles, become better people, and find out who our real friends are. As I read the fairy tales now, I realize they are about the journey the characters experience - the people they meet, the obstacles they face, the things they learn about themselves. As we go through the time of year when people are graduating, I see students who are driven by the “want” of getting done with school. Seniors think about graduating and finishing so they can move on with their lives. However, life is not about the ending, whether it is a fairytale or not. It’s about the journey. Cliche I know. But how many of us adults can honestly say we would not want to go back to high school or college at least once to change something or experience something one more time, or see someone that we may not have seen in a long time? So, as our seniors leave high school and they embark on the next chapter of their lives, I encourage them to remember their journey. Cherish the memories and the people they met along the way, because life is about the journey that teaches us who we are, not just about the superhero saving the day or living happily ever after with Prince Charming.

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