Post date: Sep 20, 2011 4:4:47 PM

I pray you have had time this summer for some recreation and relaxation. The Hickman’s were able to visit with family and had 5 beautiful days of camping at the Oregon Coast.

I’m fond of telling people that Christian faith and a sense of humor are great “survival tools” for this life. I am reminded of the time I had arthroscopic knee surgery. I needed to have a little cartilage repair work done on my right knee after a fall on the ice while out running one December day in Baker City, Oregon. It was a day surgery and a fairly simple operation, so I was in and out of the hospital in a couple of hours. For a small town, Baker City actually has a first rate surgeon whose specialty is hips and knees. So I was not overly apprehensive about the surgery.

But the nurse who was prepping me for surgery must have thought I needed to relax more. She said she needed to shave my knee before surgery. Pretty soon I felt the razor, but it seemed to be more down around shin level. I was about to ask if she really needed to shave that low for knee surgery. Then I looked down at my leg and saw that she was shaving a smiley face into my hairy shin. We both had a good laugh!

Finally, it was time for the actual surgery and before they put me to sleep the doctor stopped in to ask if he could have a prayer with me before surgery. Now, I know that doctors have to be careful about praying with their patients. But he asked permission and I said, “By all means.” He prayed that the surgery would go well and that God would guide his hands. The surgery did go well. I was back to running within a month and I’ve enjoyed years of relatively pain free running and walking since then.

I often remark to couples preparing for marriage that faith and a sense of humor are two of their best survival tools. Whether married or single, I think that rings true for a lot of people. Obviously, faith in Jesus Christ is a tremendous strength in a person’s life or in a couple’s marriage. The Apostle Paul didn’t list “humor” as one of the fruits of the Spirit, but perhaps he should have. The ability to laugh at oneself and approach life with a playful attitude is healthy. So, keep the faith and keep your sense of humor.

The pace of life always picks up in September. The Ellensburg Fair and Rodeo kick off the month with a great time for all and the school year starts right after. There may be increased anxiety for some about a new school year. But again I encourage you to keep the faith and your sense of humor. In addition to our regular 10 AM Sunday Service and Thursday morning Bible Study, several other opportunities for keeping and building our Christian faith start up again in September. Sunday School and Adult Education begin again at 8:45 on Sunday September 18th. High School youth nights begin on Wed. September 21st and regular Confirmation classes start on Sept. 28th. (The pizza feed for confirmation students and families is Wed. 9/14). The women’s Bible study also continues on Wed. nights. I will be offering new members/inquirers classes on Sundays after worship October 30th through November 20th. These classes are for those who are interested in joining First Lutheran Church or have questions or just want a little refresher on the basics of our Christian faith.

I also want to thank you for your faithful financial giving over the summer months. Summer offerings can be rather thin and we are a little bit behind budget as we head into September. But we are doing better financially this summer than we have done in many summers past. So, “Thank You” and keep up the good financial giving. Above all, keep your Christian faith and sense of humor about you.

Serving Christ and neighbor with all of you,

Dennis Hickman, pastor