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Pastor's Message

April 2019

posted Apr 1, 2019, 9:27 AM by Christine Rice

Dear Friends in Christ,

            It’s probably a good thing Easter is later in April this year, since winter held on so long.  I don’t know if there will be any daffodils or tulips by April 21st.  Flowers are certainly beautiful and signal spring time, but the resurrection of our Lord Jesus is in no way dependent upon flowers blooming.

            During the first weeks of April we are still on our Lenten journey.  During Lent we continue to struggle against everything that leads us away from the love of God and the love of neighbor.  Prayer, fasting, giving alms, repentance, worship, Bible study and works of love all help us to do this. 

            On Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14th this year, we begin holy week together.  We are nearing the end of our Lenten pilgrimage and are coming to the main things of our Christian faith: the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  On Palm/Passion Sunday we remember that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble beast of burden and people spread branches and cloaks on the road to welcome him as king.  We exclaim with the disciples and the crowd, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!” Luke 19:38.  And we hear the Passion of our Lord, the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus, according to Luke’s Gospel.

            On Maundy Thursday, April 18th this year, we remember that Jesus gave his followers a new command, a new mandate (hence—“Maundy”): “Love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34.  Then Jesus humbly washed his disciples’ feet and bids all his followers to humbly serve one another in love. As Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples, he was celebrating the Jewish Passover Seder meal of liberation and freedom with his friends.  But Jesus gave it new meaning when he took the bread and said, “Take and eat, this is my body.” And then he took the cup of wine and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

            On Good Friday, April 19th this year, we remember with sorrow and gratitude that Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins and the sins of the whole world.  Good Friday is often called the Great Day of Atonement:  at-one-ment.  We were all out of tune with God our Maker, but Jesus, God’s own Son, has made us one again with God through the sacrifice of himself on the cross.  Thanks be to God!

            Having journeyed with Jesus through his suffering and death, we are then ready to fully celebrate the day that changed the whole world forever:  the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This year, resurrection day, falls on Sunday April 21st.  We rejoice with the women at the empty tomb as the angels tell them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”  Luke 24:5-7.

            On Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we exclaim with all the faithful of every land and time, “Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!”  We pull out all the stops and celebrate with great music and banners and flowers and the Word and the Lord’s Supper and even breakfast.  And then we keep on celebrating the greatest news ever for a full 7 weeks of Eastertide and with a “little Easter” on every Sunday.


Christ has died!   Christ is risen!  Christ will come again!                 

Pastor Dennis


March 2019

posted Feb 26, 2019, 10:17 AM by Christine Rice

Dear Friends in Christ,


             During the month of March we are in the season of Lent in the church year.  The word “Lent” comes from an old English word meaning “to lengthen”, because the daylight hours are lengthening.  So Lent basically means “Spring”.  After all the cold and snow of this last February, we are all ready for some springtime.

                The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, this year on March 6th, and concludes on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.  The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus falls this year on April 21st. The 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, which are always “little Easters.”  Scripture tells us, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.” Luke 4:1-2.

                During Lent, as Christians we walk with our Savior Jesus in the wilderness and to his cross, his grave and finally, his glorious resurrection.  Lent is a wilderness time and a soul-searching time. During Lent we are called to struggle against everything that leads us away from love of God and neighbor. The disciplines of Lent-- repentance, fasting, prayer, and works of love—help us to wage our spiritual warfare.

                On Ash Wednesday we receive a cross of ashes on our foreheads.  It is a reminder of our own mortality and a reminder that we are baptized into the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus died and did not stay dead.  I remember kissing my dear Dad’s forehead just before his body bag was zipped up and wheeled away.  Dad had died at Guardian Angel Care Center in Richland after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.  Jesus died and did not stay dead.  Therefore Jerry Hickman and every other believer who died also did not stay dead.

                For three Sundays in February, our second readings were from 1 Corinthians 15, which is often called the resurrection chapter.  The early Christians in Corinth were having trouble grasping the resurrection of the body and the resurrection of the dead.  Some even thought their Christian friends who had died before Christ returned in glory had simply missed the boat and were gone forever. The Apostle Paul writes to reassure them that, because Christ has been raised, all the dead in Christ will also  be raised.  “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those who have died in Christ have perished….But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” 1 Cor 15:16-20.

                Lent fully acknowledges the reality and loss of death and the reality of resurrection life in and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As ELCA Bishop Guy Erwin in California says, “Our faith is death-defying: it takes death seriously and faces it unflinchingly.”


Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.   Pastor Dennis


February 2019

posted Jan 29, 2019, 11:23 AM by Christine Rice   [ updated Jan 30, 2019, 8:49 AM ]

God’s beloved people,

            We have more Sundays in the season of Epiphany this year, since Lent and Easter are later than usual.  Here’s a little preview of the Gospel lessons for the month of February.

            On February 3rd, the Gospel reading is Luke 4:21-30.  Jesus is in his hometown of Nazareth.  In the immediately preceding verses, Jesus has read from Isaiah in the synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  And then Jesus said, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  At first everyone speaks well of him.  But when Jesus says that God’s grace is for all people, including foreigners, his hometown folks try (unsuccessfully) to hurl him off a cliff!  Jesus reminds us that God’s love and mercy are for ALL people, even folks we think of as our enemies.

            On February 10th, the Gospel reading is Luke 5:1-11.  Jesus teaches the crowd from Simon Peter’s boat and then tells Simon to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  Simon is reluctant, since they worked all night and caught nothing.  But he obeys Jesus and soon the nets are bursting and the boats are almost sinking with the miraculous catch of fish. Simon says, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”  Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”  Then the disciples leave everything and follow him.  What might we be given when we obey Jesus?  What might we be asked to leave behind in order to follow him?

            On February 17th, the Gospel reading is Luke 6:17-26. In Luke, this begins Jesus Sermon on the Plane.  Jesus’ popularity, at least among the poor and needy, is approaching rock-star status.  He says to a great crowd.  “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”  To all who are in difficult circumstances and might feel they are somehow being punished by God, Jesus says you are actually first in the kingdom of God and God cares for you very much.  Jesus is voicing what some have called, “God’s preferential option for the poor.”  Jesus is beginning to form a community that is very different from the “haves and the have-nots.”  Jesus voices God’s vision of a community where everyone has plenty, because people share.

            On February 24, the Gospel reading is Luke 6:27-38.  Jesus continues his Sermon on the Plain.  These are perhaps some of Jesus’ most challenging words ever.  “Love your enemies, do good to those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also…Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful…give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”   Jesus invites us to live the generous life.  He also pushes us beyond our comfort zones to be merciful to all people.

            Epiphany is the season of light in the church year.  By February, the days are getting a little longer and we see more daylight.  Lord help us to be little epiphanies of your love and mercy, by following the teachings of our Savior Jesus.   


Peace in Christ, Pastor Dennis


January 2019

posted Jan 2, 2019, 10:52 AM by Christine Rice

             Happy New Year!  May God bless you in 2019 and may you be a blessing to others.  Through January 5th the church is still celebrating the feast of Christmas.  For the shopping malls it all ended on December 24th, except for the returns.  But for Christians, we think the birthday of our Savior Jesus is worth celebrating for a full 12 days.  On Sunday, January 6th we begin the season of Epiphany.  Epiphany is the season of light.  In the midst of a cold, dark January we look to the light of Jesus Christ.  Epiphany means a revelation, a manifestation, something is brought to light and clearly understood.

            The January church calendar starts out with 3 epiphany events which spell out the good news that Jesus is Lord and Savior.  First off, the naming of Jesus on January 1st spells out that Jesus is the Savior.  What’s in a name?  Jesus or Joshua/Yeshua in Hebrew literally means “He saves” or “God saves”.  As the angel told Mary “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will him Jesus.”  Luke 1:31  Like all Jewish babies, Jesus was named on the 8th day of life.  In our modern calendars, this is also New Year’s Day.  How appropriate to start off a new year in the name of Jesus, the one who saves.

            Next, we have the Visitation of the Wisemen on January 6th.  The magi from the East followed the star and traveled long and far to see the child who was born king of the Jews.  When they finally found the humble child with his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him.  The magi brought him gold, frankincense and myrrh: gifts fit for a king.  The visit of the magi is an epiphany and reveals that Jesus truly is our good and gracious heavenly king.  The wisemen were not Jewish.  They were from the East, probably Persia.  This shows that Jesus is the savior for all peoples and all nations.  The wisemen help reveal the truth about Jesus.

            Then on January 13th we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. Jesus is baptized by John in the River Jordan.  Through sinless, Jesus is baptized in solidarity with us and with all people.  As Jesus is baptized, the heavens are opened, the Spirit of God descends on him like a dove and God’s voice from heaven says, “You are my Son, the beloved: with you I am well pleased.”  Luke 3:22.  Jesus baptism is his commissioning for service.  After he is baptized Jesus starts teaching, healing, eating with people and feeding them and journeying toward the cross, the grave and the resurrection.

            In out own baptisms, God claims us as his daughters and sons and commissions us for service in the name of our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. And trusting in Jesus the Savior of the world, we seek to  share the light and love of Jesus with other people.


May your Epiphany season be full of the light of Jesus,

  Pastor Dennis


December 2018

posted Nov 28, 2018, 11:57 AM by Christine Rice

The second verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” says:

                O come, O Wisdom from on high, embracing all things

                Far and nigh: in strength and beauty come and stay;

                Teach us your will and guide our way.  Rejoice! Rejoice!

                Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

Yes, Emmanuel (which means “God with us”), come among us this season and teach us your will and guide our way.  Starting on Sunday, December 2nd, we are into the season of Advent, which merges into Christmas.  Advent means “the coming” or “the arrival”.  We are, of course, preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior.  During Advent and Christmas we can actually talk about and celebrate three comings, three arrivals of Jesus Christ.

                We prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming among as a child.  This is Jesus’ soft and sweet coming as a human baby.  This coming already happened more than 2000 years ago, so we are actually celebrating Jesus’ birthday, rather than his birth.  Nevertheless, Christmas is the miracle of God in the tender flesh of a newborn: the incarnation of the Son of God for us.  During the four weeks of Advent we prepare our hearts and minds to receive again this miracle of God’s love and grace for us.

                The Sunday Bible readings in Advent actually concentrate more on Christ’s second coming: his return as Savior and judge of all humanity at the end of time.  We read some apocalyptic (end time) verses urging us to watch, prepare, and be alert at all times (Luke 21).  We hear the voice of John the Baptist calling us to repentance and crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Luke 3:4. 

                During Advent and Christmas we also celebrate Christ’s “third coming”.  This is Jesus’ constant presence with us in the here and now: in worship, in bread and wine, in Christian community and in our hungry and needy neighbors, whom we reach out to in love and caring.  Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20.  Jesus also says, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40.

                On Sunday December 2nd, we begin a new church year: the year of Luke’s Gospel.  Last year our Sunday gospel readings were mostly Mark.  This year is largely Luke, rounded out with some readings from John.  It’s a three year lectionary cycle.  The idea being that we hear most of all 4 gospels over the course of 3 years.  Luke is often referred to as “Good news to the poor” and the “Gospel to the Gentiles”.  (If you are not Jewish, you’re a Gentile).

          Some major themes to watch for as we read through Luke this year are the  journey, salvation, the Holy Spirit, hospitality and food, women, the socially marginalized and the here and now.  In Luke, Jesus does major teaching on his journey to Jerusalem and he is nearly always “on the road”.  In Luke, salvation is more than forgiveness of sins: it is liberation from oppression, the reversal of status and full restoration of life.  Jesus is always eating with people in Luke and relationships take shape as hospitality is extended.  In Luke, “disciples” is a big group and includes women.  Elizabeth, Martha, Mary and others are women of great faith.  In Luke, Jesus reaches out to and saves widows, Gentiles, tax collectors, poor people and the physically challenged.  In Luke, salvation does not happen just sometime in the future, but takes place “today” and discipleship is a daily reality.

                And of course Luke gives us the beloved Christmas Gospel.  “And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7

                “O Lord, how shall I meet you, how welcome you a-right?  Your people long to greet you, my hope, my heart’s delight!  Oh, kindle Lord most holy, your lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please you best.”  ELW 241


O come, o come Emmanuel,   Pastor Dennis


November 2018

posted Nov 1, 2018, 11:33 AM by Christine Rice

            For those of us in Northern climates, the month of November means the dying of the landscape. It’s colder, darker and the leaves and flowers are gone.

            Beginning with All Saints Day on Nov 1st, the scripture readings for November remind us of our mortality and predict war, disaster and end times.  It’s enough to make us yearn for a savior or a king—and we get both as the time after Pentecost draws to a close on Christ the King Sunday (Nov 25).

            On the surface, there is not much good cheer in the Sunday gospel readings.  But buried beneath the darkness and death of November is the promise of resurrected life; an end to sadness and tears; the opportunity to give thanks for, share, and partake of the rich harvest of the earth; and a chance to renew our unwavering, confident trust in God.

            All Saint’s Sunday (Nov 4) and November in general are ideal times to acknowledge that although death is a part of life, death does not have the final word.  In a society that keeps people alive at all costs, sanitizes death, and even demands that the grieving “move on,” this is our time to collectively pause, grieve, and remember.  Our national Day of Thanksgiving comes later in the month, but we might consider All Saint’s Sunday a “little Thanksgiving” for those who have gone on before us and for those on whose faith shoulders we stand.

            On All Saint’s Sunday I will read the names of First Lutheran Church members who have died within the last year or so:  Adeline Swan, Alan Keith, Cheryl Barnhart, Sylvia Nelson, Harry Kukes, Louise Danton Fennerty and Don Ringe.  During the prayers that Sunday, there will be time for you to name aloud your loved ones who have died in the faith recently.  

            We hear “saints” and we naturally think of famous saints like Peter, Paul, Francis, or Mother Theresa.  But as the reformer Martin Luther would remind us, we are all at the same time saints and sinners.  We are all sinners for sure, but at the same time saints, because of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

            Christ the King Sunday wraps up the church year on Nov 25.  On the final Sunday of the church year, we celebrate Jesus Christ as the goal and redemption of humanity and all creation.  And as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, we thank and praise God for daily bread and for forgiveness, life, and salvation.


Serving God and Neighbor with you,  Pastor Dennis


October 2018

posted Sep 24, 2018, 12:00 PM by Christine Rice

Dear People of God,


              October is always a beautiful month in the Kittitas Valley.  The days are usually sunny, the nights are cool and good for sleeping and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of gold, orange and red.  Ministries at First Lutheran are in full color as well: preschool, Sunday School, quilters, choir, adult Bible studies and Sunday class, confirmation classes and youth events.  Sacks of nutritious, easy to fix meals are packed up on Thursdays, delivered to Lincoln Elementary and sent home on Fridays with hungry school children.  And don’t forget the big rummage sale on October 5th and 6th!  All the proceeds go to worthy charities.  And thanks to everyone for keeping the soup shelf at our FISH food bank well stocked.

        CWU students have arrived in droves.  Our town of Ellensburg always becomes more active and busy once fall classes start up at CWU.  The reformer Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing.” 

            On the last Sunday of the month, October 28th, we celebrate Reformation Sunday.  We give thanks for the faithful witness of Martin Luther and other reformers of the church.  Luther rediscovered the Bible truth that our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, which we receive through faith.  Luther emphasized the Bible truth that we do not somehow earn the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.   Rather, these are freely given to us through the precious blood of Jesus, who died on the cross and rose again to save us.  Our lives are a “thank you!” to God as we share the love and good news of Jesus with other people.  We work not to be saved.  We work because we are saved through Jesus.  So our faith is not an idle thing.  Faith is a matter of the head (intellectual belief), but also of the heart and the hands.  As Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing.”

            Luther and other reformers of the church also emphasized, “The church reformed and always reforming.”  We are not stuck in the 16th century.  The church always needs to be open to the new ways that the Holy Spirit is calling us to love God and love and serve our neighbors in need.

            Here at First Lutheran, October 28th will also be Confirmation Sunday.  This year there are 4 young people who are ready to be confirmed in the Christian faith.  Hannah Campbell, Kathryn Merten, Lydia Blaisdell and Kassidy Winter are ready to affirm their baptisms.  They are ready to say “Yes” to the promises God first made to them in Holy Baptism.  So, come celebrate with these wonderful young people and hear their faith statements and have a piece of cake with them after worship.  This prayer will be said for Kassidy, Lydia, Kathryn and Hannah  as they affirm their baptisms.

            “Father in heaven, for Jesus’ sake, stir up in your people the gift of your Holy Spirit; confirm their faith, guide their lives, empower them in their serving, give them patience in suffering, and bring them to everlasting life.”  Amen.


Faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, 


Pastor Dennis


September 2018

posted Aug 28, 2018, 8:47 AM by Christine Rice

Dear People of God,


             Hot and hazy!  That was the weather pattern in August.  We continue to pray for firefighters, all who have been devastated by fire and those who are still in the path of fire.  Despite the heat and smoke, I enjoyed some good vacation time with my family and visited relatives.  I also enjoyed some overnight backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail and some great day hikes in our nearby Cascade Mountains.  I had some good kayaking days with my brother, Brian and son, Kyle.  I also got my bicycle repaired and enjoyed some rides along the Yakima River part of the Iron Horse Trail.  I hope you all had some time for R & R and visiting with family as well.

            The month of September always brings cooler temperatures and big changes to the rhythms of life.  For students, teachers and staff it is, of course, back to school time.  But first comes the fabulous Ellensburg fair and rodeo!  At First Lutheran Church we move from the quiet relaxed pace of summer to more opportunities for learning and service.  The quilters have been going strong all summer.  But Sunday School (Middle & High School) and Adult Education begin meeting September 16th from 8:45-9:45am.  Elementary age Sunday School happens during the worship service as usual.  The Thursday morning prayer and Bible study group meets again starting September 6th at 9am after a 3 week break.  Both the Sunday and Thursday groups are, of course, open to anyone.  Confirmation classes resume with a plethora of pizza on Wednesday, September 12th at 6:30pm.

            This year we will also have a potluck lunch on “Rally Sunday”  September 16th.  Please, bring some food to share after worship.  A fun and silly idea I have, which council approved, is to have a zucchini dish contest.  I think council members have offered to taste and judge.  Perhaps there will be 2 categories: Desserts/bread and everything else?

            One worship change which I personally am excited about is to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.  The council approved this.  Most ELCA congregations do this.  And every “Lord’s Day” (Sunday) holy communion was definitely the worship practice of early Christians.  We have been almost there for a while and I’m glad that we are taking the next step to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.  We all need regular feedings of God’s forgiveness, life and salvation for us offered through the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.


Peace in Christ,   Pastor Dennis                                            


July~August 2018

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:23 AM by Christine Rice

Dear People of God,

            “Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.  Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  I know we don’t have a lot of jasmine around here, but the old Seals and Croft song has been running through my head ever since the weather warmed up.  I recorded it onto cassette tape from my seminary roommate’s album my first year at Luther seminary.  Mark had quite a music collection and I had none.

            After my first year of seminary in St. Paul, I looked forward to driving home to Kent, WA.  I had just bought an older pick-up truck with a canopy on the back.  My folks sent me a little money to help pay for it and at the age of 23 this was the first vehicle I ever owned.  It was a fun solo adventure.  Even with all my worldly possessions, (books and clothes), there was still plenty of room to roll out a pad and sleeping bag in the back at night.  I had a little backpacking stove and cook kit.

            I camped out in the Bad Lands and saw Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills.  The truck overheated going over a 10,000 foot pass in Wyoming.  I sat and let it cool off for a while, then made it over the top and coasted down the other side into Ten Sleep, Wyoming for minor repairs.  I picked up a hitchhiker. Not really a good idea, kids.  He was an old guy headed to eastern Washington to pick fruit.  He claimed to be the prophet Elijah!

            I tried to go through Yellowstone, but snow, yes snow at the end of May forced me to take a different route.  So I stopped in at my grandma & grandpa’s house in Twin Falls, Idaho for a visit.  I let the hitchhiker off before I got to grandma’s house.  The next day I made it home to my parents’ house in Kent, Washington.  The old pick-up truck worked great for hauling ladders and paint for my little house painting business that summer.

            Adventure:  especially when you are young, life is an adventure. Most of us need a little adventure in life from time to time.  I’m reading “Paul” by scholar N.T Wright.  Thanks to Art Neslund for loaning me the book.  The Apostle Paul: now there is a guy who traveled much and led an adventurous, often dangerous life.  My solo trip from St. Paul to Kent was just a fun sight-seeing adventure, whereas Paul was led by the Spirit and suffered much as he shared the good news of Jesus Christ.  Reading can be a great little adventure in your mind.

            I think most people need a little adventure in life: a change of scenery: a chance to travel somewhere new or different.  Summer is a great time for that.  I guess that’s why I enjoy hiking in the mountains so much.  It’s a little adventure and you don’t have to drive very far from Ellensburg to have a great adventure around here.

            Whether you travel somewhere this summer or enjoy the beauty of the season right here in Kittitas County, know that Christ is with you.  The Spirit of the living God is with you.  “Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom.  July is dressed up and playing her tune.  Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

            May the Holy Spirit be blowing through your mind this summer and refresh you.


Peace in Christ,  Pastor Dennis


p.s. Big thanks to Ethan Bergman, Michael Goerger and Joe Johnson for preaching this summer on Sundays when I’m away on vacation!


June 2018

posted May 31, 2018, 8:55 AM by Christine Rice

Dear People of God,


             Renewal: Life is about constant renewal.  We have been in our little house on Cora Street for 15 years this summer.  As all home owners do, we have had to gradually replace things over the years to renew the house: things like the refrigerator and the stove.  Last year it was the hot water heater.  This year we needed to replace the gas furnace which was 28 years old, and was making more and more noise.  We upgraded from an 80% efficiency to a 95% efficiency and added air conditioning while we were at it.  The AC will definitely be refreshing and renewing this summer!  By the time you read this, hopefully the patio slider door will be fixed.  The rollers need replacing, (we are waiting for parts) and it’s a major effort to get it open.  I’m surprised the original dishwasher is still working. The wooden deck out back is rotting and definitely needs replacing.  I’m still dragging sprinkler hose around.  Maybe next year we will invest in a sprinkler system or repair the crumbling driveway. Everything in or on a house eventually needs renewing.

            Throughout the month of June we are in the “Sundays after Pentecost” in the church year.  This is the long, green growing season of renewal, which lasts clear up until Advent.  The lawns and gardens, fields and orchards are green and growing with the warmth of summer.  As Christians, we are also growing, renewing, yet still green, in our spiritual lives.  What keeps you growing in the Spirit?  What gives you spiritual refreshment, renewal and growth?

            I will be at Pacific Lutheran University June 11-13 for three days of continuing education.  PLU always puts on some good continuing education classes for pastors.  This refreshes me spiritually. Our son Kyle will be home for the summer from college and we always enjoy spending time together: walking the dog together and talking about life.

            In the summer I enjoy puttering in the garden and yard.  There is something about getting my hands in the dirt and working with God’s marvelous creation which is life-giving and spiritually refreshing and renewing to me.

            And of course I enjoy hiking.  You knew I was going to say that.  One of my favorite things in the summer time is going hiking in our nearby beautiful mountains.  As the snow melts off, I look forward to getting into the high country.  It lifts my soul to hike familiar trails, explore new ones and see God’s beautiful forests, peaks and mountain lakes.  I am renewed and refreshed by spending time in God’s creation.

            I also like to sit in the shade and read a good book in the summer.  And I enjoy eating breakfast outside on the deck with my devotion books and Bible.  The quiet prayer time is refreshing and renewing to me. 

            What keeps you growing in the Spirit?  What gives you spiritual refreshment and renewal in the summer time?                      


Peace in Christ,  

 Pastor Dennis                                            


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