The View From My Window Pastor's Weekly Blog

August 9, 2015


pastor praying

I’m a pastor &, to me, pastoring is being with people in their times of greatest need.

Recently, I received a call from a hospice chaplain that a woman in a nursing home was in her last days. It weighed on my heart to get her husband in to see her one last time. He doesn’t have a car & the nursing home is in Shippensburg. I called his house early on Monday morning to see if he wanted to go see his wife & I learned that she had passed away at about 3 a.m. that very day. It kind of sickened me that I hadn’t acted sooner, but the weekend had been so full. As it turned out he had other offers of transportation but he simply wasn’t able to cope with it at that time. Now he accepted the ride in order to say goodbye to her remains.

We arrived to the nursing home shortly before the cremation society was due to pick up his wife’s body. As I stood beside him while he said “goodbye” I realized that this would be his final opportunity to see her. As the finality of it all settled in I reached out to steady his quivering frame fearing he was about to collapse. As we prayed there in that little room, the presence of the Lord became very real.

It is such an immense privilege to represent the Lord in moments like these. It also creates a bond between myself & the person to whom I’m ministering. Although I may have been friends with the folks before I walk with them through a time of loss or great struggle, I come out the other side as part of their family. Often people think they’re “bothering” a pastor so they don’t call for a word of prayer or to ask him to visit — I want you to know that nothing could be further from the truth.

Pastor Joel Everhart

August 2, 2015


Joel Everhart - Preacher

I’m a preacher. There are two elements to preaching well (or at least feeling as though I’ve preached well): preparation & desperation. On the preparation side, the first step is to hear from God. As often as I’ve experienced this phenomenon (35 years in the ministry often preaching three times a week) it is still very much a mystery to me. Inspiration for a new sermon or series can come at the oddest of times: in a dream, while walking the dog, driving along in the car, hearing or reading something that really grabs me, working through a problem … And inspiration can come in different forms: anger, joy, excitement, encouragement, etc. Once I have my inspired thought (the seed) & the text it’s time to study.

Working in the Word develops, changes, & grows the seed. It’s here where old truths take on new meaning & fresh application for my own soul. As I watch the message blossom, often taking unexpected turns, it excites me. Words, phrases, & illustrations come to my mind as though I’m being fed these thoughts. When I’m really “in the zone” of study, hours can pass like minutes. Sermon writing is one of the true joys of my life. There are times I feel like I’ve been on holy ground.

As the moment to preach approaches, desperation begins to settle into my soul. One of two fears often appear: 1) What so inspired me in study has turned to dribble suggesting that I hadn’t heard from the Lord at all, or 2) The words on the page seem so holy that I’m not able to deliver them in a worthy manner. Either way the fears cause me to cry out to the Lord in desperation asking for His divine intervention. As He answers those prayers, preaching goes from being a terrifying experience to another of the great joys of my life. I’ve prepared & I have copious notes but when I’m really “in the zone” of preaching, I can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say next because I’m clueless as to what that might be.

You would think that the preparation would alleviate the desperation or that the desperation would make the preparation unnecessary. But I have found that there are two elements to preaching well: preparation and desperation.

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 19, 2015


Mountain Jumper

For we know that if the earthly tent (body) we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Ever have one of those mornings where you glance over at the clock to see that you have two hours before you need to get up but you’re feeling pretty awake? You lay there for a long time but when you look at the clock again only ten minutes has passed! You are tempted to get up but know you are going to need a little more rest in order to do well later in the day. Finally, you nod off and the next time you peek at the clock you’ve overslept and your body is whining that it wants to go back to sleep!

It’s hard enough when a close friend lets you down but why in the world does your own body pull stunts like that? What do you do? You can’t punish your body without making it harder on yourself. You can’t go to work and leave your body at home. The only thing you can do is pick it up and push it along hoping it feels better as the day goes by.

Some poor souls literally have to carry their body to the bathroom, force it to get dressed, talk it into eating enough to survive – every step is a battle of the will. If your body doesn’t hurt today you really need to be thankful. If your joints aren’t twisted with arthritis, you didn’t have to give yourself a shot this morning, or you aren’t fighting a migraine it’s a very good day. If you are battling fatigue or pain this morning, remember that the day is coming when you will leave this old, broken, fallible tent behind & go to live in a glorified body that will never groan or tire or ache or breakdown. Soon and very soon we are going to see the King!

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 12, 2015

Let me tell you about one of our long time faithful members — our sister Joey Church. Joey started attending back when we were meeting on Locust Street where the library is now. Over the years she has faithfully supported our services with her attendance & offerings. I’ll probably miss several of her contributions but I remember her best as a Rainbow teacher with Kathy Altland back when my daughter Kayla & a dozen other preschoolers attended that class. Joey was a children’s church worker for years & also got involved with our Bible Quiz team. She was a regular helper in the kitchen during all of our get-togethers. Famous for telling it like it is, she has her own unique brand of humor that has always added flavor to our fellowship.

Over the past few years she has been battling multiple sclerosis. The disease has robbed her of a lot of physical abilities, but not her strong spirit or faith. She serves as an example of perseverance in the face of a trial. But this article isn’t about Joey. Without fanfare, without recognition, a number of women (& at least a couple of guys) from our congregation have been helping make up for much of what the illness has taken away. In no particular order: Deb Mummert, Deb Flickinger, Donna Marquet, Judy McKain, have been very helpful with Carolyn Brown and Ron Shupe adding their names to the list of those willing to help get her to appointments & such. Tim Ruth has done a number of home improvement projects for her as well. The youth group shows up every fall to rake leaves in her yard.

None of these people wants me to recognize their good deeds. None of these people have mentioned what they’re doing for our sister Joey. They have just quietly, with loving motives, done what we’re all called to do: serve. I just thought you’d like to know what kind of a church you’re attending.

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 5, 2015

candlelight cropped

I’d like to pay tribute to the nine church members in South Carolina who recently lost their lives while attending church on a Wednesday night: Clementa Pinckney (41) the senior pastor at the church, Sharonda Coleman Singleton (45) an assistant pastor, DePayne Middleton Doctor (49), Cynthia Hurd (54), Susie Jackson (87), Ethel Lance (70), Tywanza Sanders (26), Daniel Simmons Sr. (74), & Myra Thompson (59)

Our loss is great. Nine saints gathered to worship the Lord are gone and one evil, hate-filled killer remains with us.

First of all, let me note that we have many more like them, like us, that buck the trends of our society and make the worship of our Lord a priority. I can’t imagine what an intelligent, well educated, hard working pastor Clementa C. Pinckney was that he could lead a congregation and serve as a state senator. How sad that a fool could take him from us.

Next, I marvel at the peaceful, loving response of the community and relatives of these good people. Listening to the words of their children & grandchildren as they speak at their funerals tells us their faith was real & it has left an impression on everyone that knew them. The killer could take their lives but not their testimonies nor their influence. There is a profound difference between the response to the deaths of these innocent people than there has been to the passing of others that were killed while committing violent or illegal acts! No riots; prayer services and communities coming together. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if after having experienced their welcoming smiles the evening before his heinous act if that boy doesn’t confess, repent of his hatred & run to the cross feeling the full horror of the sin that clings to his soul. That would indeed be a jewel in the crowns of those martyrs.

But more, let the actions of prejudice shock us all. Let it serve as a cleansing bleach removing the stains of hatred that linger in our own souls. Take down the confederate flags in our own hearts. Refuse to use race as a reason to judge another; remove from our vocabulary derogatory words and wash from our conversation anything that smacks of racism. This is how we ought to honor these dead brothers and sisters: by walking away from their funerals with cleaner hearts. Then they will not have died in vain.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 28, 2015

time clock

Time, time, time, time, time: I’d like to address the topic of time. What is time? How can I account for it? Why can I get so much done during some of it & so little done during other periods of it? How is it that I can leave earlier than usual &, yet, arrive later than normal? Why does an hour often feel like forever while the years fly by? I was strolling my grandson along the other day as he pointed out wildlife: squirrel, rabbit, bug, bird … Suddenly my mind flashed back to having his dad on the back of my bicycle thirty years earlier hearing the same sounds. Where did all that time go?

The book of Ecclesiastes talks quite a bit about time and has this to say at the end: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion to the matter: Fear God & keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Whatever time is, it counts most when we use it serving the Lord. Time works best whenever we dedicate whatever we are doing to His honor.

I’m so glad I took my son to church & taught him the ways of God. It would have been so easy to get caught up in other things as the time slipped by. So many meaningless things we did together don’t even come to mind but the things of God last forever. Now there’s a neat word: forever.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 21, 2015


bathroom sign

Last week, I talked about our need for regulations of many different kinds lest we take advantage of one another, ruin the planet, & justify our avoidance of any responsibility that might cost us something. I also stated that the Bible is the best place to find a solid foundation upon which to build said regulations. But what do we do when regulating agencies begin to mandate ridiculous or harmful rules? OSHA, in my opinion, has done just that by issuing a mandatory policy that allows any employee to use whatever restroom they choose without any interference lest they become offended at another person’s response to their choice of gender identity.

It states in part, “Restricting employees to using only restrooms that are not consistent with their gender identity, or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety.” In other words a man can walk into a ladies restroom & the fear is that he will be offended if anyone tells him he doesn’t belong there. The uneasiness of the ladies using that facility when the man walks in is viewed by that governmental agency as prejudice! Their feelings or at least any expression of those feelings is illegal. Offending the average female is not a concern of this government but offending a man visiting a ladies restroom is seen as egregious.

Which do you feel would cause a person’s gender identity crisis to stand out more: that person using a gender neutral restroom or a man walking into a ladies room? Why is the government getting so messed up? They took the Bible out of the equation. All other ground is sinking sand.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 14, 2015


scripture god breathed

I’m a “no regulations” kind of a guy. I tend to think of organizations like the EPA, DER, OSHA, etc. as uninvited governmental intrusions on the lives of hard-working people. However, the other day I started to think about the many underhanded things people have done that has affected myself or others I know: contractors that cut corners but charged full price, companies that leveraged away benefits from their workers, workers that have cheated their employers, people willing to sell dubious or even harmful products just to make a buck … I’d hate to find out that my house is built on top of an old toxic waste dump.

The truth is that laws, regulations, enforcement, & penalties are necessary because of the wickedness of the human heart. Someone had to start a campaign before most people stopped throwing their trash out their car window. Someone had to get the government to look at how filthy our air & water was becoming because polluters were not going to make changes for the good of the environment on their own. Large industrialists were not concerned about the safety of their workers until they were held accountable. Now I’m not suggesting we need more regulations or even that the ones we have are balanced, logical, or fair. What I’m driving at today is that we tend to think of ourselves as good, honest folks who usually (if not always) choose to do the right thing. History proves that theory wrong. History proves the need for armies, police, courts, jails, fines … We are sick, we are wicked, we need forgiveness, we need instruction, guidance, & counsel.

Our nation needs a good, solid, firm foundation on which to build safeguards for everyone. Here’s one: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, & training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17. All other ground is sinking sand.

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 31, 2015


Tulips |

I was out trimming my hedges the other day & mused over the fact that it didn’t seem very long ago that I was shoveling snow off those same bushes. For weeks now we’ve been mowing our lawns. They didn’t need mowed for five months but suddenly they demand our attention. We were busy enough before they woke up yet somehow we have found the time to do the landscaping.

My wife and I live in a 55+ neighborhood where the houses are meant to be low maintenance. I’ve noticed that most, if not all, of the residents have put in elaborate gardens. It’s not unusual to see a senior citizen outside trimming, weeding, planting, pulling, watering, etc. I’ve said to more than one as I’ve strolled past, “Isn’t it fascinating how we all buy low maintenance homes so we don’t have to do so much work on them, then we go outside & plant gardens we have to spend all summer tending?” Invariably they stop and think about what I’ve said for a moment then laugh & say something like, “Yeah, we’re a funny lot; aren’t we?”

Most of these people have retired because they were tired of working only to discover that what they like most to do for leisure is to work. So whether its shoveling snow, trimming hedges, mowing the lawn, driving a truck, pouring cement or filing a brief, maybe we should just be thankful for the strength to do whatever it is that needs done at the moment.

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 17, 2015

I’m fresh back from vacation & trying to get my brain to function like it did before I gave it a week off. Of course, the time flew by, yet, it’s funny how unfamiliar my routine has become to me after so short a respite. Little things like sleeping in & staying up later than usual, eating every hour on the hour, having a diet that consisted mostly of pastries, doing only what I felt like doing … Oh how my flesh grew in just a few days!

Suddenly it’s time to get up, shave, eat bran-heavy cereal, & go to work. You’ll be happy to know I was able to find my office okay. After my computer updated itself I was thankful to discover I can still type. Later I may even try my hand at writing something useful but I’m sure you’ll understand that I don’t want to overdo it my first day back.

I made a quick trip through Wal-Mart this morning on my way in — they have a display of Hawaiian shirts for just nine dollars a piece! Why are men my age so drawn to such displays? I would have bought one but vacation is over, after all. So, if a year after I retire you happen to see a very large bald guy with a long beard wearing a loud tropical shirt — that will probably be me.

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 26, 2015


spray bottle

Last Sunday I visited the Children’s Church with a squirt bottle in my hand & a towel over my shoulder. Their theme for the day was Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. I asked them to imagine what else Jesus could have done with the basin full of water … He could have pretended to be washing someone’s feet then just dumped the whole bowlful on them! Imagine what a laugh He & the other disciples would have had while the one sat there dripping wet. But Jesus didn’t come to entertain Himself or to take advantage of others; He came to serve. You can take the lesson from there.

I washed a few of their shoes with the water & wiped them with the towel but, soon, everyone wanted squirted & I had a good time obliging them. The next morning I was out on my run when what had been a drizzle turned into a rain. At one point a goliath raindrop landed square on the top of my head. Immediately I thought about squirting the kids the day before & this verse came to mind: Give & it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, & running over … Luke 6:38. So if you have a kid in Children’s Church last week, tell them that God got me back good the day after I squirted them!

Pastor Joel Everhart

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