The View From My Window Pastor's Weekly Blog

June 29, 2014

Our family now consists of a middle aged couple, a geriatric dog (98 in dog years), and a puppy. With that combination it’s a given that one of us is going to have to use the facilities in the middle of the night and it doesn’t matter which one starts the parade because once one arouses the others each has to take a turn. We also enjoy taking walks around the neighborhood together but we usually do that during the day. It’s nice to have activities where everyone can participate. Family dynamics change through the years and we have to adapt.

We mourn for what we’ve lost (kids move out, pets as well as loved ones die, friends move away…) but we adapt to our new circumstances and do our best to look forward to what comes next. Through all our transitions, we have found Jesus to be our one faithful constant. He was with us before “we” were “us” and He will continue with us even when it’s our turn to leave this world. It’s a good life with many unexpected turns; be sure to get a firm grip on the Rock of Ages, all other ground is shifting sand.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

June 22, 2014

I got to the office this morning with a dozen things on my mind not knowing which to tackle first and sort of trying to do them all at once which is, of course, impossible. I felt like the Lord told me to take a deep breath and unclench my brain. The puppy is here with me again and fortunately I found out she likes carrots too. A carrot will occupy her for quite a while which gives me time to check another duty off my list.

A clenched brain is very inefficient but by simply relaxing and trusting that God will help with whatever needs done, the day goes a lot smoother. I remember a song that was popular a few years ago: “I need to be still and let God love me; I need to be still and let God love me. When this old world starts to push and shove me I need to be still and let God love me.” Odd, isn’t it, that we produce better work whenever work isn’t the first thing on our mind?

– Pastor Joel Everhart

June 15, 2014

This morning I’m babysitting our new puppy at the office so my wife can try to catch up on some much needed rest after several rather hectic weeks. So far she’s chewed on everything on my desk (the puppy not my wife). If you get a letter or report from me this week and the corners are mangled you’ll know it was written on Monday. If I loan you a pencil and you find teeth marks in it, they’re not mine.

If she were at home she’d be napping at this time of the day but I happen to have a lot of things on my desk that apparently need to be tasted. Of course she’s not always chewing, sometimes she runs to the door so that I walk her down the steps, through the gym, then the lobby, over the porch until we reach the grass where she dances, jumps, chews on grass and rolls around.

Barb was looking for a therapy dog. I think I’m going to need some therapy by the time this one is trained. Thankfully God never gives up on us in our immaturity. He relentlessly disciplines, rewards, and teaches until we are of some use. The dog is eating again so I guess we’ll be taking another trip over the river and through the woods…

– Pastor Joel Everhart

June 8, 2014

My wife and I spent a good part of this past week visiting with family from the Pittsburgh area. There was a misunderstanding over — of all things — a toilet. It all developed very innocently but when divergent factors all came together it looked, to one family, to be a plot conspired upon by other members of the extended clan. It was a near disaster complete with women in tears and the cutting off of communication nearly complete. Fortunately, we arrived just in time to talk to each “side” and “have a good chuckle” over the whole misunderstanding. It was easy to see how each thought they knew what the other camp was thinking but both were wrong. It made for an interesting few days off. I wonder if the writers of the show Duck Dynasty would be interested in a script for one of their episodes.

Anyway, how unfortunate that so many of our families have been split by attitudes attained over misunderstandings. I think the best course of action for any of us is to keep on loving each other even if we think they’ve turned against us just on the chance that we could be wrong and contribute to the breaking up of a relationship that both we and they need to stay in tact. Let’s be like Jesus: keep on loving and never let go.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

June 1, 2014

My wife did a wonderful job of preparing for our 8 month old grandson’s visit. She purchased a number of age appropriate toys from a secondhand store in Hanover and returned the ones I bought. Parker’s parents were amazed at the variety and selection of items ready for their son to enjoy: it was like Christmas in May for the little guy.

So what were his favorite pastimes? Working his way through or around the barriers surrounding the TVs and slapping them on the screen, pushing the buttons on any electronic device (the real ones not the toy ones), exploring electrical outlets, pulling wires… I thought: how human.

God created so many wonderful things for people to enjoy, yet, from our first parents on we run after all the things that hurt us and destroy our culture. Regardless of how ridiculous the pursuit, if God said, “Thou shalt not…” that’s exactly what we want even if it kills us. Sadly, rather than living in a society that has learned from past mistakes we live in one that empowers people in their lusts for destructive lifestyles. The only law left on the books today is, “Thou shalt not call sin sinful!” Changing our laws does not change the consequences.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

May 18, 2014

My wife got a call last Sunday evening (Mother’s Day) from our son telling her he was bringing his family (including 8-month-old Parker!) for a visit and should arrive this Sunday (today). Well, of course, that was the best possible news she could have heard. But from then until now she has been hard at work converting our home from a senior citizen retreat into a daycare center.

She thinks about everything; her mind never stops. Safety latches on the cupboard doors below the sink, knick-knacks raised above three feet, more rugs to cover hard wood and tile floors lest the child should fall. She’s even rearranged the furniture so the boy will have something to hold onto as he motors around. We’ve bought toys, food, and accessories all in anticipation for the lad’s arrival.

And to think he’ll remember none of this. My wife, however, will never forget it.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day! Ladies, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that having children is a real life-changer. Living with kids adds a lot of activity to your life and takes away much of your personal time.

Most mothers would say that the rewards far outweigh the costs. I’d also venture to say that your children become all the more precious to you as the years pass. You hold that newborn thinking you could not possibly ever love anyone or anything more than you do at that moment. Yet you find out that your love for them grows; it grows ever more as
other children are added to your family.

If you’ve put on a few pounds since having babies, it’s only because your heart has doubled or tripled in size due to all the love that’s growing there. Thanks so much for all that you do!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

May 4, 2014

In this column last week I talked about being careful not to offend others and being quick to forgive any who offend us. We had some fun with Joey Church in the evening service because she took the message very personally hoping she hadn’t offended anyone and I joked with her that I would dedicate this week’s message to her. Of course, she begged me not to but it just feels like too good an opportunity to pass up.

Joey has been a delight to have as a member of New Life for more than twenty years. Her cheerful attitude, warm smile, willingness to serve, and sharp wit have made many feel welcomed and loved here. She and Kathy Altland were the Rainbows teachers when our daughter Kayla was in that class. Joey has helped in the kitchen, baked some great cakes for events, worked in Sunday School, Children’s Church, VBS, at ladies’ events, etc. She has been a true friend to many.

Diagnosed with MS several years ago (and losing her job and other things because of it) hasn’t dampened her faith, her enthusiasm, or her contribution to our fellowship. I can only hope that in my hours of testing I prove to have the quality of soul that our sister Joey has exhibited through the years. God bless you, Cheryl “Joey” Church!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

April 27, 2014

Leaders, followers, cooks, servers, singers, musicians, speakers, helpers, teachers, inviters, invitees, workers, counters, ushers, chaperones, fine arts participants, egg stuffers, egg spreaders, egg gatherers, egg makers, egg sellers … wow, what an Easter! And, wow, what great cooperation between so many people! Well done, church! Together we worshipped the Lord through everything we did. Doing it with a joyful spirit was the icing on the cake of our sacrifice.

If anyone ate the donut you had your eye on or sat in your usual seat or did not return your greeting or literally stepped on your toes during the “shake hands and be friendly” portion of the service, or disappointed or offended you in any other number of ways please be quick to forgive them (especially if it’s me!). We all offend others and get offended ourselves but God is pleased whenever we cover over one another’s misdeeds with love, grace, and forgiveness. It’s possible to walk away from a great week of ministry feeling tired, unappreciated, taken for granted, or even abused but God is glorified whenever we sign the back of the check for whatever thanks we’re owed and turn it back into praise for God alone. I hope we did this world some good over the past couple weeks and I hope you enjoyed your part in it.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter! What’s your fondest memory of Easters past? Likely it has something to do with your family or even a family tradition. Does it include a ham dinner? Was church a priority? I ask these questions because I think it’s important to build good traditions and memories for our kids

On the radio the other day I heard the story of a man diagnosed with brain cancer who (from the moment of his diagnosis until he was absolutely physically unable) spent his time playing and talking with his kids. He and his wife took the family to Disneyland, after that they went camping and fishing. His purpose was to create good memories of himself for his kids to carry with them. The lady telling the story was one of his daughters and she testified as to how much his efforts meant to her now that he’s gone.

Don’t just live, create memories that will continue to bless others long after the day is past. Don’t just go to church, eat, and take a nap … talk about what you do, why you do it, what matters to you and what you hope will matter to your children. Is there something you could do today to make a memory? Perhaps take a group picture or work on a project together? Without that effort, today will just pass away but with something to remember it by it will live on.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

April 13, 2014

I learned a lot about grandparenting this past trip to Utah. Previously we have only ever dealt with one grandchild at a time and they’ve been very young. On this trip we had a 2-yr-old as well as a new baby to look after. Newborns require a lot of specialized care where they need held while fed, squirm around while you’re trying to change them, etc. When I was caring for the grandkids by myself, the 2-yr-old knew by instinct when I was immobile due to handling the baby and he used that time to do things he otherwise would be prevented from doing (i.e. run to another room and squirt his applesauce all over the carpet or climb the shelves to secure valuables he’s not allowed to have).

I also learned not to allow the 2-yr-old to walk out of the house under his own power thinking he would head for the car for an outing. The first time I did this, I got hit with a snowball — the kid’s got an amazing arm! One sunny day, I took him to the park — he ran constantly for over an hour but when we got home, I was the one who took a nap. But then there was that golden moment in the evenings when he’d come by and choose to sit in my lap while I read him a story or he’d flash one of signature smiles …

May God bless and strengthen all of you full-time parents and grandparents! I may run four miles a day, but I’m no match for a 2-yr-old!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

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