The View From My Window Pastor's Weekly Blog

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

April 6, 2014

I always felt a little bad about the fact that we only had two children. The fact that they were the greatest kids ever has helped to temper that pain. However, as Barb and I were talking the other night, our family is now growing like crazy! Each of our kids married great partners which doubled the amount of kids we have right there. Our kids are so good at producing the most awesome grandkids ever that I can’t see them stopping anytime soon (don’t share this column with them).

This morning we are in Utah helping to care for our brand new grandson Hudson which is now our third grandchild (all boys!). We’re hoping for some little granddaughters, too, because they’re just so cute. I figure a few more grandsons is good before that happens (don’t share this column with my wife) because some couples stop after they get at least one of each. Wouldn’t that be funny if they each had a bunch then they all moved close to home at the same time? How does that old Chinese proverb go… “Be careful what you pray for you just might get it.”

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 30, 2014

This morning we’re trying a little experiment: the Children’s Church Kids are spending the morning with us in the sanctuary. If everything goes well we’ll be doing it on every fifth Sunday of the month (four times a year). Our purpose is to expose the kids to the adult worship service so that when they “graduate” from Children’s Church it is a smooth transition for them to join us on a permanent basis. Also, we think it is very valuable for a kid to be able to experience worshiping along with their family every so often. So, we’ll be paying special attention to our children this morning because we want to make them feel very welcome.

Can you even imagine how important a child’s first “big church” experience is in their development as a follow of Jesus? Do what you can to make them feel welcome and if there’s a little extra noise, feel good about attending a church that has so many kids!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 23, 2014

Spring has sprung, the grass as riz, I wonder where the birdies is!

During this mother of all winters, I’ve marveled at how warm 20-couple degrees can be after wind chills in the single digits or below zero. I’ve also marveled at how cold the 40s can feel when I’m expecting it to be warm. Expectations are fascinating: they can set you up for pleasant surprises or bitter disappointments. Personally, I always try to aim my expectations a little low and hope for better. There are those times, however, when the Lord just drops something in my heart that is bigger than I could ever expect on my own. That’s when faith takes over.

Faith is the assurance that we will get what we hope for because it’s not based on our ability to produce it. It’s based on our confidence that God has spoken it into our lives and nothing is impossible with God. Don’t be misled into thinking you can produce whatever your heart desires but neither should you doubt that God will do what He has promised. Open up your heart to God today — He’s always looking for someone to bless.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 16, 2014

Pastor LeRoy and I went in to see Ron Strine the day after his knee replacement at the Wellspan Rehab Hospital in York. When we got there he’d just come back from therapy where they surprised him with the amount of pain they were able to inflict on him (while smiling and telling him he was doing great). He said they didn’t mind it at all when he screamed. The nurse came in with an ice pack and explained that they were waiting for his pain meds to arrive. The ice didn’t help. Finally she returned with a pill and a needle; five minutes later we saw Ron relax and smile. Isn’t it amazing what such a little pill or small amount of liquid can do? Sometimes the greatest gifts do come in the smallest packages: life changing gifts.

You never know what small act of kindness or simple word of encouragement will cause another person to think twice about the Lord. Be sure to “season your conversation with salt” and that as the farmer in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower scattered seed he tossed it onto good and rocky soil alike. That little comment you make, as small as a seed, just might take root and change someone’s life. That simple act of kindness can be the very thing that convinces another that God really does live in you. Each of us is just as capable to sow weeds of discouragement or thorns of pain. What’s in your seed bag?

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 9, 2014

This past Monday was such a frustrating day for my wife and me. Barb had a nerve conduction test in Gettysburg at 9 a.m. and a doctor appointment in York at 2 p.m. At 11:30 a.m. we had to meet a guy about a thing and were to meet with an attorney by 5 p.m. — both concerning a neighbor’s property and well-being (she has moved into an assisted living home and we’re assisting with her move). Both doctors, the one scheduled for 9 a.m. and the one at 2 p.m., were running over an hour and a half late. As painful as the nerve conduction tests were they didn’t show anything that would be helpful in treating Barb’s pain. The roads were snow and ice covered and filled with some drivers that were driving too slow and others that were going too fast. Add to all that a below zero wind chill, running late to every appointment only to have to wait, yet at the end of the day being no further ahead than when you started.

I laid my head on the pillow intending to pour out my complaints to God but thought it would be the “Christian” thing to do to begin with praise then transition into grumbling. But once I started thanking God for all He had done in the day, the list just kept growing: we were kept safe on the icy roads, we made it everywhere we needed to be with time to spare, everything we planned to accomplish got done and more, Barb and I had a sweet time of connecting in a very strange way while getting frustrated together over the whole mess, somehow we managed to fit in two very delicious meals (one along the way and the other in the comfort of our own home), we found the guy with the thing and the attorney very helpful, a neighbor opened up the part of my driveway the plow had shut after I’d shoveled …. Suddenly I realized that the only bad thing about the day was my attitude.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 2, 2014

It’s March 2nd and I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be done with January and February in all my life! Even though we’re still staring down the barrel of some lows in the teens at least we’ve survived two thirds of one of the coldest winters in recorded history. Someone told me the other day that, worldwide, this has been the forth coldest winter on record. I know what you’re thinking: “There’s still time to break the record!”

The other day I saw a really fat robin; I’m thinking he was wearing long johns under his feathers. Sam told me Donna saw a blue bird; I told him it was a cardinal with frostbite. You know where I’m going with this … this winter is for the birds!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

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