The View From My Window Pastor's Weekly Blog

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

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

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