Favorite Verses

1. John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2. John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

3. Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...

4. 2nd Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnes...

5. Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."






From the Pastor's Desk:

“Everything New”
-Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
-Revelation 21:5 (NIV)
Some days it’s really hard to get out of bed. In the winter, we can be especially reluctant to leave behind the soft warmth of pillows and comforters and rest in order to put our feet on the cold floor and get going.
Now, you have probably had a day or two when you wake up like a child on Christmas morning. But those other days? You wake up and are met by a weight of stress or fear or regret. You have to face the grind again. You have responsibilities and people who are depending on you. Or perhaps you don’t, and you struggle to find a reason to get out of bed at all.
Have you ever fantasized about waking up as a brand new person, with a brand new life? Have you ever fantasized about being able to leave behind the baggage that is at the foot of the bed as soon as that morn-ing alarm goes off?
Well, that is actually what Jesus wants for you, too. I know it’s hard for us to wrap our poor broken minds around this fact, but Jesus is utterly in love with us, and wants to free us from that baggage and make us new. That’s what the cross is all about. At the cross, Jesus invited all of our sin to be unloaded on Him, so that He could do away with it and give us a new start.
In Christ, we are completely forgiven, and the process of sanctification begins. Though our debt has been cancelled by Christ, we don’t miraculously change overnight and wake up without the scars and the habits and the mess. Sanctification (being made new) is a process, and it requires some faith on our part.
So, when we get up in the morning, and it’s really hard to get out of bed, where does our mind go? All too often, I start thinking about myself - my shortcomings - the things I have to do. It’s all Matthew. It’s surviv-al. I am my own boss, and my boss is terrible.
But right at hand is the Shepherd, and His words are life and peace and helpful. The Shepherd is not like me - not an anxious little manager, but an incredibly loving visionary who will accomplish his goal of making all things new - of making things the way they were always meant to be. And all too often I ignore Him, and let the boss dominate the conversation.
Hush! Listen! Jesus says “I am making all things new.” Jesus is not going to demolish the building, He’s going to restore it to its original luster and design. That’s you. You’re the One God wants to make new. He’s not going to turn you into someone else, He’s not going to remove you from this world altogether (at least, not yet). That’s what He wants to do, at least, if you’re willing to trust Him to do it.
So - will we give Jesus the first Word in the morning, and the last Word at night, and hear Him throughout the day? His voice is much more pleasant, healing, and helpful than the static I usually listen to. And, no matter what I may feel like, I can trust that God is at work behind the scenes keeping His promises - and renovating us.



From the Pastor's Desk:

December 2016
She is pregnant, unwed, and very uncomfortable. He is anxious, clinging desperately to his faith in God in the midst of a nightmare situation. The road before the young couple is terrible. There will be no inn availa-ble to them; no relatives willing to surrender a bed to these black sheep of the family. There is no light but a distant star; no hospital, only a feeding trough in a cave. In the midst of the judgment, the uncertainty, the pain, the fear, and the loneliness, Christ is born to Mary and Joseph, and the world's long wait for the Messi-ah is over.
This is certain: Jesus didn't come in the midst of an ideal situation. God didn't wait for the world to be a won-derful place before he entrusted us with His Son. Into the mess, into the fray, into the filth came the baby Savior. God's love... it's reckless, isn't it? Good thing He's God! Otherwise this plan never would have worked!
We look around today, more than two thousand years later, and things are still messy. As always, we face an uncertain future, and the world is still plagued by conflict and war. Then, we look within, and find conflict and war within us. We are not who we want to be. We get frustrated with our failings and with the failings of others.
Yet all of this didn't stop Christ from arriving in Bethlehem those years ago, and it does not prevent His work-ing in our lives today.
Advent is a time of preparation. We’ll probably do a little decorating and do a little cleaning in anticipation of guests and visitors. But our homes will never be spotless; our spirits will not be perfect by Christmas. Soon-er or later we will realize that we cannot earn Christ's blessing; we simply invite Him to come. Not later. Not “tomorrow.” Now.
God's not afraid of the dirt and the doubt and the darkness. He never was, He isn't now, and He won't be tomorrow. What are we waiting for? Pray to Him now. Worship Him now. Receive Him now. There is no place He can't brighten. He is all a burning love and a joy. What do you need more than Him?
Come in, Jesus, into the mess and the nightmare. Please, come once again into the lives of broken and fearful people. Please, enter into our darkness and despair, and be born in us.
Thank You, God, for showing us how far You will travel, and how much You will give.
Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear friends.
In His grip,





From the Pastor's Desk:

“The Gospel According to a Chicago Cubs Fan”
by Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

Toby dared me to do it. Then he threatened me if I didn’t do it. So I guess I’ll do it. I’m writing this October newsletter article, and it’s going to be about Jesus AND the Chicago Cubs (Hey - Wrigley Field was built on the grounds of an old seminary - there’s a religious connection, right?).
That groan you’re hearing is from the Cardinals fans and from the non-baseball fans. You can tune out now if you want. Next month, I’ll write something more inclusive, I promise. But this month, it’s the gospel according to a Chicago Cubs fan.
Fans of the Cubs are a sort of family (Who said “pathetic”? Shame on you!) There are stories and rituals that families tell; they are passed down as part of your heritage. As Jews tell and re-tell the story of Moses delivering his people from Egypt through the crossing of the Red Sea, so Cubs fans remember how our team, long ago, won the World Series. There are no eye-witnesses left, we have to believe in things we haven’t seen ourselves. And we have faith that miracles can happen again, just as they did long ago. The Spirit is alive.
We are also well aware of the hard times - the desert wandering. For 108 years, Cubs fans have been waiting to enter the promised land - to get that championship again, but somehow the strangest things keep us from getting there (a goat? a black cat? a fan who reached out for a foul ball at the wrong time?). We’ve been close, yet somehow things fall apart at the last moment. Yet though we grumble, hope springs eternal. There’s always next year. We are learning patience while we wait for the second coming.
Now, there are very encouraging signs. We have talented players and a fun, wise coach. They’re taking things a game at a time, and recognize that it is a team effort. No one player considers their own glory more important than the goal. Teammates are humble and work together. They honor old retiring backup catcher “Grandpa Rossy” as much as they honor stars like Rizzo and Bryant. Players are versatile and can play a variety of roles as needed. The starters are willing to rest and trust others to step up. Everyone is having fun and not taking losses too seriously. That’s when amazing things happen (Did someone say “100+ wins?” Did someone say “NL Central Division Winners?”).
Doesn’t that also sound like how the church should operate? Doesn’t that sound like a good model for how the people of God can get along? Hey, we’re all on the same team. And our goal is to honor Jesus over self.
As I’m writing this, the Cubs have secured their place in the post-season, and have earned home field advantage through the National League Championship Series. But we still have no idea who’s going to be in the World Series. It’s quite possible that by the time you get around to reading this article, the World Series is already over and... gasp!... the Chicago Cubs didn’t win. Heck, as I write this, the Saint Louis Cardinals still have a chance of making the post-season via the wild card race. So who knows... maybe the Cardinals have won the World Series by now. And if that’s the case, you know what Toby and I and the rest of the Cubs-loving minority of this congregation are doing. We’re grieving and nursing our wounded egos.
But as long as one generation of Cubs fans passes on their faith to the next generation, that fighting spirit will survive. Hope springs eternal.
As it is for Cubs fans, may it be for Jesus’ team, too. Pass on your faith. Share your joy for the Lord. We Christians hope for something far more valuable, far more important, far more eternal than a shiny trophy. And in the parade that we Christians anticipate, there is room for everyone, regard-less of geography or differences, to celebrate.
“Go, Cubs, Go!” But better still, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Fill us with Your team Spirit.



From the Pastor's Desk:

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?” -Isaiah 66:1 (NIV)
This verse from Isaiah makes me think of some of the beautiful skies I’ve seen in my lifetime. Visions of sunrises, sun-sets, and bright blue skies dotted with large white clouds come to mind. So do those wondrous tapestries that God paints for us at night.
One night, some years ago, stands out in my memory. I was in Nebraska, attending a “Pastor’s School” as part of my continuing education. A small group of us clergy headed out for an elective field trip around 9:00 PM to an observatory in the country, two miles or so from the Hastings College campus.
The sky was clear, and the weather was perfect. On the roof of the obser-vatory where the telescopes for star-gazing were set up, we had a heart-stopping view of the heavens, speckled with stars and planets and the millions (billions?) of galaxies that form this incredible universe we inhabit. It was an act of worship simply looking up into that vast canvas of unspeakable wonder.
“Heaven is my throne,” says God, “and the earth is my footstool.”
Compared to such a throne, how could we ever offer God a temple or a church worthy of Him? Can any human architect design a building that competes with the wildness and wonder of space, or design a footstool as exquisite as this precious planet we call home? There are some amazing cathedrals in this world, but none have a roof so high as the one God created, or have such elaborate furnishings as what this earth provides.
That said, there IS a temple that God would choose to dwell in - and one we can provide for God.
Our souls. Our hearts. Our minds. Consider the astonishing news that God longs to dwell within US; that of all the places available to God, WE are the sanctuary God desires to renovate and live within.
So - will we offer the temple of our bodies completely to God, or are we still holding onto the keys and asking that God schedule a visit when it’s convenient?
Trust me - the temple is lonely without the company of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The heart is lonely without the fellowship of Christ’s church. It’s time to open all the doors, and say “Holy Spirit, please come and make Your home in me. Let me be Your resting place, as You are mine.”
In His grip,

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