The View From My Window Pastor's Weekly Blog

August 24, 2014

Did you know we now have several stretches of highway in Pennsylvania that are posted with a 70 mph speed limit? While traveling home from Pittsburgh a few weeks ago I came upon one on the PA Turnpike. I told Barb, “Look at that! I’ve never seen a 70 mph speed limit sign in our state before!” A half mile later there were construction signs everywhere with a reduced speed of 55 mph. Isn’t that just like life?

You could really be making some time if it weren’t for this restriction or that delay. Our smooth sailing seems to be restricted to half-mile increments divided by ten-mile construction zones. Don’t despair, just ahead is an exit into a better land where the restrictions will be gone and we’ll be free forever. As the old hymn goes, “Just a few more weary days and then I’ll fly away!”

– Pastor Joel Everhart

August 17, 2014

What a great summer! Lower than normal temperatures, plenty of rain, everything is green and lush. I’d like to circulate a petition calling for this summer to be extended by an extra six months. That would put us somewhere in March to get started on next spring. I know March weather can be a little sketchy but, hey, after nine months of summer we’ll probably be ready for a little cool down. I know it might seem odd to have highs in the 70s for Christmas but I’m willing to give it a try.

You’re probably worried about all those people who make their money in the cold weather months like ski resorts and such. They could plant corn. Guys that plow snow could cut grass instead. The people that supply us with heating oil can go take a flying leap …err… I mean live off the profits from last winter and enjoy an extended vacation in the Sahara Desert.

The truth is … we’ll take whatever weather we get and be thankful that we live in a land where we can get cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. As much as I enjoy complaining (I’m pretty good at it, don’t you think?) I’ve got a lot more to be thankful for. How about you?

– Pastor Joel Everhart

August 3, 2014

Suddenly my Dad is old. He’s 85 now so you might think I’ve been warming up to the idea of his senior status but you’d be wrong. While vacationing recently I had the opportunity to spend a day at my folks’ house helping them with some things they can no longer do for themselves. I did some painting, cleaned out the gutters and changed a light bulb in their kitchen overhead light. It was on that last job that Dad’s failing physical abilities became most evident. I got the ladder in position and he decided he could do the job so he climbed the couple steps but found he couldn’t extend his arms enough to get the globe off the fixture.

Just a few years ago, he and I carried a couch up a flight of stairs and I was surprised by his abilities even as I questioned every step he took (he’s had two bypass surgeries). Now after “supervising” me for a day he spent the whole next day in his recliner. Even his voice is sounding weak. I want to go back to the days when I’d tell him he shouldn’t be doing something and him proving me wrong. I want to go back tot he days when he’d say, “Don’t tell your mother we did this.”

There’s something very sobering about watching your father age. There’s something very comforting about knowing that a day of renewal is coming for all who are in Jesus Christ.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

July 27, 2014

I’m not sure what happened but the other morning I woke up at my usual time but it was dark. For about a month the sun was already rising by 5 a.m. but no longer. It’s all downhill from here, you know: days shorter, leaves start to change, kids off to school, Thanksgiving, a few cute snowflakes fall and then … wham! The Polar Vortex comes howling out of Canada to latch onto us and chew away at our souls until our spleens have frostbite. Oh, how I try to hold onto these last few days of summer! Oh, how futile my attempts.

It’s like the book of Ecclesiastics telling us how swift life passes, how meaningless everything is, and that we ought to do something to memorialize each summer like go to the beach or the mountains or whatever because before you know it, you are old and then you are dead. I may have helped the text along a little there, but I’m sure I stayed within the spirit of the writer’s intent.

I read a pastor’s message the other day decrying church members who wander all over creation each summer leaving the church unmanned. I’d say get to church as often as you can, but if you get a chance for some adventure — take it! Live! Inspire the family with sights to be seen and places to be explored. Put as many footprints acrosst his great land as you can. After all, earth is spelled e-ART-h; it’s God’s greatest masterpiece and He loves when we admire His handiwork.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

July 20, 2014

It’s time to review the lessons I’ve learned from spending a week with a ten month old:

(1) What you think is childproof isn’t, just because you can’t get past a barrier doesn’t mean they can’t. (2) What is funny the first time they do something can become very frustrating the 101st time they do it. (3) Never place a plate of food in front of the child — feed one piece at a time otherwise plan on picking up scattered food morsels (this is the one place where dogs come in handy). (4) You have to choose between thirsty dogs and a wet toddler. (5) The child can nap as you take them for a walk but you can’t. (6) They are afraid of the wrong things. (7) The difference between picking them up when they want to be picked up and picking them up when they do not is a trip to the chiropractor.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

July 13, 2014

Over the past week it was our joy to host my son, his wife and their 10-month old son, Parker. If you’ve been following this column you also know that we got a new Yorkie puppy about a month ago. Parker is walking and running with ease and it was interesting to see the progression of Callie’s (the puppy) relationship with him evolve.

It started out as love at first sight. Callie could hardly believe they made people more her size; standing on her hind legs she licked the baby full in the face as Parker smiled and giggled. By the second day the puppy was completely terrorized by the boy: whenever the baby was around the dog found a creative place to hide. As time passed the pup learned the baby’s limitations as they developed a cautious friendship and even started playing with one another. This morning as I hoisted the baby into my lap to read him a book (he loves books) Callie jumped up to join us. With a baby on each knee I read “Summer,” a children’s book about the joys of this season of the year.

I’m not sure who enjoyed the session the most because a good time was had by all. By the time you read this article our company will be gone and, boy, will it seem quiet at our house. Quiet is good but I think children are better.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

July 6, 2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend! What a beautiful summer we have had so far: good rains minus damaging storms, a few real scorchers (they’ll help make the fall feel more welcoming even though we know what comes after that), and a few very pleasant days. I’ve already caught and released three lightning bugs, enjoyed a watermelon and several ears of corn on the cob.

Yet to do is have a grilled hot dog and make our favorite summertime dessert: pound cake cut into cubes with layers of strawberries, blueberries and bananas all swimming in whipped topping. You can design the top to look like a flag if you arrange the blueberries and strawberries right. We use nonfat whipped topping and, of course, everyone knows how healthy the berries are being full of antioxidants and stuff. My wife always tells me to get a low fat angel food cake instead of a pound cake but for some reason by the time I get to the grocery store, I forget to make that substitution. She pretends to be angry about my mistake but who can stay angry with a dessert that displays an American flag? It’s simply unpatriotic. If possible, let the dessert set in the fridge overnight so all the juices can intermingle and soak into the cake.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

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

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