In A Nutshell | November 12, 2021

How Making and Mixing Candy Can Bring Us Together

If you have not yet had an opportunity to participate in one of our Glass Candy making sessions — or even if you have — please consider joining us on Monday evening for what might be our final gathering this year. 

Our expert “Brewmeister,” Elizabeth Feldman, has been busy all fall, cooking up such delicious flavors as Sassafras, Spearmint, Peppermint, Lemon, Orange, Anise, and everyone’s favorite, Cinnamon, along with a variety of other options, each with its own distinct flavor, fragrance, and color. 

It’s a true group effort as we all come together to cook, cut, cool, and bag the delicious flavors. What I really like is when the various colors are gathered together on a table in Fellowship Hall and then mixed together in a bag. To me, it is so symbolic of how we can all come together — from various racial and ethnic backgrounds with varying religious and political views — and form one united group. 

Scripture provides plenty of guidance when it comes to unity. Perhaps the most notable passage comes from I Corinthians 1:10, in which Paul states, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

We are so much stronger when we work together. It doesn’t mean that we have to agree on everything, but it is important that we find common ground, and we can do that through our faith.

Of course, that can take some work, as we learn from II Corinthians 13:11, which advises us to work on our faith by striving “for full restoration, encouraging one another, be of one mind, live in peace.” When we do so, “the God of love and peace will be with [us].”

Further encouragement comes to us from Ephesians 4:12-13, which tells us that we need not come together on our own, but rather through Christ, who has equipped “his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Working with Christ, in Christ, and through Christ, makes a movement toward unity much more attainable. In fact, without Christ, unity is virtually impossible because the failings of the flesh often rise up and interfere, but as we know from Philippians 4:13, “we can do all [things] through him who gives [us] strength.” And, finally, in Philippians 2:2, we are encouraged to make his “joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Glass-candy making is a wonderful tradition at Oak Chapel, but perhaps the best thing about it is that it brings us together and binds us together, working side-by-side for a common purpose.

Join us on Monday evening for one more night of fun and frivolity, as we make glass candy for the many noble causes supported by our United Methodist Women.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | November 5, 2021

Help Us Help Others Come in from the Cold

I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t like weather extremes. Some prefer warm summer evenings; others enjoy crisp fall mornings; but most of us would choose 72 degrees and bright blue skies over anything else.

Unfortunately, the weather in Ohio does not always cooperate. We climbed into the 90s several times this past summer, causing us to sweat profusely, and we will likely dip below 20 degrees on more than one occasion this winter, leading us to shiver incessantly.

One thing we do know is that frigid temperatures can be dangerous to one’s health. As a result, Oak Chapel is looking to partner with the local volunteers to provide safe shelter in the Salvation Army’s Warming Center this winter. 

When the temperature falls to 20 degrees (or when the wind causes it to feel that cold), the warming center will be open for those who are homeless or are transitioning during the winter months.

Here’s how it works: the shelter will be open on those frigid nights so that anyone without a warm place to stay can find safe and warm accommodations, where they will have access to a hearty meal, a warm shower, and a comfortable cot on which to sleep.

If you would like to assist in this endeavor, the shelter is looking for people to volunteer from 6-10 p.m. on evenings when you are available. You might help with the check-in process, the serving of meals, or simply engage in casual conversation. Who knows, you may lift the spirit of another and even make a new friend in the process. Hired independent contractors will take over to supervise the overnight hours (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.).

If this sounds interesting to you, let Pastor John know, and he will put you in touch with those who are organizing this effort. There will be a training session as well as a background check for all volunteers.

This opportunity ties in nicely with the foundation of our faith. Jesus was very clear about his desire for his disciples (past, present, and future) to look out for those in need. Although he doesn’t mention severe weather in the Gospel of Matthew, he does talk about feeding those who hunger, giving water for those who thirst, offering clothing for those without sufficient protection from the elements, and providing shelter for those in need because when we do this for one of the least his brethren, we do it for Him. What a wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord by serving others!

All-Saints Recognition

Just a quick reminder that we will celebrate All-Saints Day this Sunday. If someone you know has entered into eternal rest during the past 12-18 months, we would be happy to honor them during our worship service. 

Many have already responded, but if you have not, please send the person’s name along with date of birth, date of passing, and one sentence about them (e.g. “Tom was a lifelong disciple who served the Lord by serving others through volunteer efforts”) to Pastor John by Saturday at noon. You can send the information via text (330-988-2577) or e-mail (

Fall Back, Sleep In

One more quick reminder! We return to standard time on Sunday, so remember to turn your clocks back one hour.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | October 29, 2021

Lifting the Burden of Sin and Living a Christ-Like Life

Some years ago, when I was working part-time in radio, I struggled with many of the technical aspects of the job, such as how to patch into the network news feed at the top of the hour or how program the automation to keep the station on the air overnight.

I could tell that the program director was becoming frustrated with my failings, but he remained patient and supportive. Finally, after another series of mistakes, I went to him and said that I would understand if he felt it was time to terminate me. He paused for a moment, and said, “No, I can still use you.”

I was both humbled and gratified by his show of support. It strengthened my resolve to reapply myself and do my job better. Eventually, things worked out, and although there would still be some missteps along the way, I gradually became a more competent and capable programmer.

Our faith journey is similar in many respects. We strive to be obedient to God’s Word and to serve him with good intentions, but because of our humanness, we continue to slip up, stumble, and even fall.

Despite our best efforts, we often become discouraged, downtrodden, and eventually defeated. We come before God, as Moses in the desert, to confess our failures, and wonder openly if He would be better off without us.

But God has a much wider vision and a much greater plan for those who wish to serve Him. Sure, we are all flawed in our current state, but He didn’t send His Son to die in vain. He did so, not only to absolve our sins, but also to cleanse and purify us so that we would be prepared for the greater glory He has planned for us.

In the meantime, our enemy is constantly conniving, not only in an effort to lead us into temptation, but also to affirm any thoughts we may have about being beyond redemption. Scripture makes it clear, that Jesus died for ALL people. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready or willing to accept His gift of salvation.

The bottom line is that while we must acknowledge and confess our transgressions, we are not to be weighed down, much less defeated, by them. The process of remorse, repentance, reconciliation, and redemption releases us from the burden of sin. It allows us to move forward and celebrate our life in Christ.

While it is true that temptation and evil lurk around every corner, and that even the most faithful and devout among us fall victim on occasion, we know that Jesus is always with us to give us an out — an escape route — and the encouragement to “sin no more” or at least to ensure that “sin does not reign within us.”

Living a holy and obedient life begins by living in His Word, following His commandments, engaging in worship, and serving others — all of which can be achieved through active involvement in the church.

Even those of us blessed with good physical health occasionally get sick. Likewise, in our spiritual lives, there are moments of “illness” rooted in ill-advised behavior, but we can live healthy spiritual lives by exercising our faith and seeking a remedy when we stumble through the grace and mercy of our great and powerful healer — our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Remember, God still wants to use us to advance His Kingdom here on earth, so always keep these encouraging words from II Timothy 4 in mind, “fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | October 25, 2021

Let Us Break Bread Together on Sunday

Having a meal with a friend or colleague can be an enjoyable, uplifting, heartwarming, and even spiritual experience. With that in mind, Oak Chapel will resume its longstanding tradition of monthly Fellowship Dinners this Sunday (Oct. 24), ending an 18-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus.

Why is it important for us to break bread together? Scripture addresses this question in a number of passages, including Acts 2:42-47, which states, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

There’s just something about a hearty meal that reduces stress and produces an atmosphere of goodwill. Such a setting gives us an opportunity to relax, open up, and share our joys and concerns with one another. This creates a bond that strengthens our fellowship with one another and our covenant with the Lord. It engenders empathy and drives our desire to reach out, lift up, and serve others, especially those in need.

Oak Chapel is greatly blessed to have such a kind, caring, and compassionate congregation. It is such an honor and a blessing to serve with fellow disciples who are so sincere and genuine. But, let’s face it, we’ve been out of touch for a while. This Sunday will give us an opportunity to regather and reacquaint ourselves with one another.

If you are unfamiliar with Fellowship Dinners, here’s how they work. Just bring your favorite dish to share (casserole, salad, pasta, dessert, etc.) on Sunday. You can bring it to Fellowship Hall before the service and keep it warm by plugging in your crockpot or placing it in the oven, or keep it cool by placing it in our refrigerator. After the worship service, we will all gather, ask God’s blessing on the food, and partake of a delicious variety of mouth-watering options (United Methodists are such great cooks)! Please bring your own tableware. Beverages will be provided.

Sit wherever you like and with whomever you wish, but please be on the lookout for others who may not have someone to sit with and invite them to your table. This is an all-inclusive, all-welcoming event, and who knows, you just might get to know someone you didn’t know well beforehand.

The Bible reminds us of the importance of physical and spiritual nourishment. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 addresses our physical sustenance with this passage: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil — this is the gift of God.” John 6:51 talks about our spiritual needs with this passage: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

May we all break bread (and a number of other tantalizing dishes) together as we gather for our Fellowship Dinner on Sunday. Please join us!

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | October 15, 2021

Bazaar, Glass Candy, Fellowship Dinners, and More

Some things never get old and never go out of style. Case in point: three long-standing traditions here at Oak Chapel — the Fall Bazaar, Glass Candy-Making, and monthly Fellowship Dinners.

These three staples of our church life were a big deal when my family and I attended here some 25 years ago, but they go back much further in our history, and they remain equally relevant and important today.

Why! Well, to begin with, they are unique to the identity of our church; secondly, they bring people into our church; and thirdly, they promote fun and fellowship among members, friends, and guests.

With all of the focus on innovation and change in our world today, isn’t it nice to step back into a simpler, quieter time when life didn’t seem to be quite as fast-paced — a time when we could sit down over a meal with our friends, neighbors, and fellow church members and carry on an engaging conversation in which all parties genuinely listened to and respected one another. Those were the days, my friend.

And those days will continue here at Oak Chapel this coming week as we invite all of you to take a nostalgic stroll down Memory Lane with our Fall Bazaar tomorrow, our third session of Glass Candy-Making on Monday evening, and the first Fellowship Dinner in more than 18 months next Sunday.

The Bazaar, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., provides an opportunity to check out many wonderful crafts and grab some lunch with an old friend, or a new acquaintance to talk about the “good old days” or glance into the future and consider the ways in which we can become a growing and vibrant church once again. Candy-Making continues on Monday night from about 6:30-8:30 (or as long as you are able to stay for an evening of fun and frivolity) when the beauty of the rainbow comes together in a delicious array of Glass Candy. You’ll detect the fragrance of the delicious flavors the moment you enter the church. The Fellowship Dinner will take place on Sunday, Oct. 24. Bring your favorite dish to share and join us as we gather for a hearty meal just after the worship service.

In addition to these three storied traditions, our Sunday School classes are ramping up as well. Our two adult classes have merged and are just getting underway, but you are welcome to join the group any time you are able to make it. We are still working to get a young adult class started. The group, which has no age parameters, will begin after the worship service at about 11:30 and continue until about 12:15. We are also hoping to start classes for children and youth, and we are even kicking around the idea of mini-sessions that would run from 10:00-10:25 for children and young families who operate on a tighter schedule

Oak Chapel has a longstanding reputation for active mission, fellowship, education, and worship, and we welcome you to join us as we return to the days of old. Bring your family and bring your friends as we breathe new life into our church this fall and welcome the beginning of an exciting new phase in our history — one that we can all enjoy and cherish as we make new memories for many years to come.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | October 8, 2021

Spiritual Sustenance: A Great Way to Start Your Day!

Nutritionists recommend that we break our nightly fast with a healthy and hearty breakfast. I’ve never been a big breakfast person because if I eat too much, I often feel
bloated for the rest of the day, so I usually start each morning rather light with some fruit
and/or cereal.

Equally important is how we start our day and our week spiritually. For many of you, worship is an essential part of your Sunday morning routine, and has been for as long as you can remember. Sure, you may occasionally take a Sunday off or find yourself traveling on the Sabbath, but for the most part the Sanctuary is your destination of choice on the first day of the week.

Over the years, some of us have fallen out of that routine, and, of course, the pandemic forced all of us out of the church for an extended period of time. Now, we are hoping to move back in a more positive direction, even though the Delta Variant continues to hover among us.

As we make our way through the fall and toward our traditional Thanksgiving and
Christmas celebrations, I would like to offer a warm and welcoming invitation to everyone to start their week with a visit to church, not only for our worship service, but
also for Sunday School, which begins at 9:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. for young adults).

Christian Education is a vital component of our faith journey. I often hear people say that they really don’t know much about Scripture. Well, Sunday School provides an excellent opportunity for all of us to learn more about the Word of God and the opportunities it provides for guidance during each day. Regardless of your age, it’s never too late (or too early) to experience the wisdom of the Bible. Please consider joining us, and don’t forget to bring the kids (and their friends). We will have classes for children, teens, and young adults, too.

Starting your week off on the right foot spiritually strengthens our foundation and gives us perspective with the knowledge that God is always with us. But what about the six days that follow Sunday? Well, we can always begin every day by spending a few moments in devotion and prayer. Reminding ourselves who we are and whom we serve
as Disciples of Christ keeps us grounded and helps us to avoid temptation and many of
the other pitfalls of this world.

Psalm 95:6-7 sums it up rather nicely with these words: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Whenever and however we encounter the Lord, it can be both humbling and uplifting. Let us enhance our spiritual life through prayer, study, and worship. Not only will such practices fortify our faith, but they will also equip us to encourage and mentor others who are searching and ultimately seeking a relationship with Him.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | October 1, 2021

Let Everyone Know that Oak Chapel Has a Place for Them

The vacations we took as a family when I was growing up were modest at best — usually a destination within four hours of our home in suburban Pittsburgh. My parents were kind, loving, and generous people, but they were also very frugal and sometimes spontaneous.

I remember going to Seven Springs in Pennsylvania and Niagara Falls on the domestic side in New York, along with various other locations. What I don’t remember is that much advanced planning went into the process. My mother and father would consult briefly, and before I knew it we were on our way — no lodging reservations that I recall. We would drive the backroads of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, and not really look for a place to stay until evening.

Along the way, we would scout out inexpensive motels and pull over for the night, provided that the sign out front didn’t say, “No Vacancy.” Often, we would pass motels with outdoor pools, air conditioning, and color television in the room — all luxuries to us — but those places would always fill up first, so we would move on to the next option some 10, 20, or even 30 miles down the road. Eventually, we would find a place with a “Vacancy” sign, and heave a collective sigh of relief.

I often wonder if we should put such a sign in front of our church. After all, we have plenty of vacancies in the form of open pews and opportunities for service. And now, we can boast that we have air conditioning and color television, although an outdoor pool is not part of our long-range planning, at least not right now.

So, what do we do with our vacancies? How do we get people to pull over and stop in? We could advertise more in both traditional and social media, but that may not be enough to fill our sanctuary. What might we do to encourage people to join us?

Actually, I think the best way to get people to consider coming to Oak Chapel is to simply invite them. Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest forms of persuasion, and also one of the most effective. If you are willing to share your positive experiences here at the church with others, chances are they might be moved to join us.

Imagine what it would be like with a bustling Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. Consider the possibilities of multiple Sunday School classes, including those devoted to children, youth, and young adults.

Sure we could print flyers and post messages on Facebook — and there is something to be said for those efforts — but a good old-fashioned endorsement, like the ones we share when we’ve eaten at a great restaurant or seen a great movie, are the most compelling. People listen to what others say, especially when those others are respected family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

It’s easy to be discouraged by a Sanctuary that is less than half full, but instead of lamenting the situation, we can do something about it with a simple but enthusiastic invitation, something like this from Psalm 66:5 – “Come and see what God has done; He is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.”

Indeed, it is quite likely that the reason people don’t come to commune with God is that they don’t know Him. Let us be the ones to open the door, welcome them in, and introduce them to the Lord.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | September 24, 2021

Time to ‘Seal the Deal’

There are many reasons why I failed in my first job out of college as a consumer products sales representative. To begin with, it was not what I went to school for, so I was less than committed to what the position required. Secondly, I was lacking in the most essential aspect of successful sales — the ability to “seal the deal.” I could develop colorful visual materials and make effective presentations, but I just couldn’t bring myself to close the sale or “make the ask.” I would often find myself saying, “It’s okay, whatever you want to do,” instead of “this is a great product, and you really need to order 200 cases.”

It took me six years to “escape” that profession, and be blessed by a position in sports information at The College of Wooster that I truly loved. I would eventually transition into public information and spend a total of 32 years at the College, but there was always something gnawing at me, pushing me in a different direction — a position of service to the Lord our God.

My prayers were answered with my appointment as a pastor, first at East Greenville UMC in 2018, and one year later back home at Oak Chapel. I am truly blessed — far more than I deserve or could have imagined — but there is work to be done. We are fortunate to have a very hearty group of dedicated disciples in our congregation, but I think we would all agree that there is room to grow, especially when it comes to reaching out to young people and their families.

With that in mind, I would encourage you to continue to invite others to join us for worship and other activities at the church. You don’t necessarily have to “seal the deal,” just “make the ask” through an invitation, and let the Lord take over from there.

One area in particular that needs attention is our Christian Education program. Last week, we celebrated a wonderful outdoor service, courtesy of Rick and Julie Grossniklaus, as we focused on getting “Back-to-Church” — back into a routine of regular worship and service to the Lord through our service to others. We hope to see increasing numbers in our sanctuary throughout the fall and into the coming year.

Now, we want to focus on restarting Sunday School classes, beginning next week (Oct. 3) on World Communion Sunday. We hope to have at least one adult class, and we are looking to start classes for children and youth as well. The Sunday School hour (actually 45 minutes) begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes between 10:15-10:20 a.m. The adult class will have a series of rotating teachers and will begin with Philip Yancey’s fascinating study on “Vanishing Grace” — a very appropriate topic for the times in which we are now living.

Please consider joining us and encouraging your children, grandchildren, and others to become part of the process. You don’t have to make a weekly commitment – just come when you are able — and be blessed by the extraordinary and sacred Word of God.

We also have a need for active and enthusiastic servants in the church. Now that autumn is upon us, it’s time to “turn over a new leaf” and consider becoming involved in one (or more) of our church’s vast opportunities for service. It doesn’t have to be a major commitment on your part, just a little bit of participation. If you have a yearning to serve, or if the Spirit is moving you in that direction, please contact me, and I will help you “seal the deal!”

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | September 17, 2021

Join Us as We Celebrate ‘Back-to-Church Sunday’

This Sunday we will celebrate “Back-to-Church Sunday” — an effort to rekindle our enthusiasm for regular attendance at worship services after the pandemic and other distractions derailed our routine for the better part of a year and squeezed us out our Sunday morning regimen. Equally important is our effort to reach out to others and invite them to worship with us.

Now in its 12th year, National Back-to-Church Sunday has never been more critical. People have been distracted, dismissive, detached, and ultimately disconnected from their houses of worship. Even as our world grows more divided and dangerous, we seem to have a hard time getting back to making our faith a top priority.

Ironically, we will celebrate the occasion, not in church, but in nature. We will gather at the Grossniklaus Pavilion, located at 185 Cherry Lane (about a mile from the church, just off of Warner Hill). The service will be followed by a picnic lunch, courtesy once again of our men’s group. We also ask you to help us make the meal complete by bringing a covered dish or dessert. In addition, we invite you to bring a lawn chair so that you can enjoy the service in a casual and comfortable way.

So, why bother getting back to church? Well there are a host of reasons, including a variety of Scripture passages, beginning with I Chronicles 16:29, which states, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” God wants us to be in fellowship with Him and with other believers, and He will bless us when we are obedient to His call.

The Gospel of John offers further incentive with this passage from Chapter 4, Verses 23-24: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”.  God does, indeed seek us, and we find Him when we worship.

The Book of Romans (12:1) suggests an even deeper commitment by urging us to “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God [because] this is [our] true and proper worship.” Giving of ourselves totally and completely to God is what asks and expects of us.

Hebrews 12:28 offers more encouragement with this passage: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” 

And finally, from the Gospel of Luke (4:8), Jesus himself says, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’

So, as we can see, there is great value in getting “Back to Church,” to a place of safety, comfort, tranquility, assurance, and fellowship to love and worship God.

Please join us this Sunday (and many Sundays that follow) as we prepare for what we firmly believe will be a fruitful and prosperous year of service to the Lord and fellowship with one another.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

In A Nutshell | September 10, 2021

God Promises to Get Us Through the Tough Times

I would imagine that each of us knows where we were and what we were doing when we first heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, What followed would shake all of us to the core and cause us to wonder if life would ever be the same.

Over time, we managed to get back to a fairly regular routine, and today it’s seems almost impossible to believe that we are marking the 20th anniversary of that fateful day.

There have been far too many tragedies since 9/11 — too many to count — and it is unwise to spend too much time reflecting on them, lest we fall into a state of hopeless depression. At the same time, it would be foolish for us to ignore these calamities and overlook the lessons that can be learned from them.

So what can we do when tragedy strikes? How can we respond when our lives are turned upside down? Well, there are plenty of encouraging passages from Scripture, including many from the Old Testament. For example, Psalm 27:1 reminds us that “The Lord is [our] light and [our] salvation— whom shall [we] fear? The Lord is the stronghold of [our] life — of whom shall [we] be afraid?” Indeed, we can take consolation in the fact that whatever we face in life, the Lord will always be with us to lift us up and guide us.

A passage from Isaiah affirms Psalm 27:1 and takes it one step further with this stirring image: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” We may not feel Him reaching for our right hand, but we know that he is there to rescue us from the evil that surrounds us.

In the New Testament Book of James (1:2-4), we get a deeper glimpse into why it is we suffer and what the outcome can be with this passage: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This passage can be troubling and very difficult to accept, but because it is the Divine Word of God, it is worth probing. We know that everyone faces trials and tribulations, right? Some face more than others, but none of us is free from suffering. So what do we do with that? Well, the passage from James suggests that we essentially “roll with it.” In other words, stay strong, work through it, and see what happens on the other side where we become “more complete, not lacking anything.” This is another way of saying that building strength through one trial better equips us for the next trial.

Finally, it’s that familiar passage from Proverbs 3:5-6 that encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not on [our] own understanding; in all [our] ways submit to him, and he will make [our] paths straight.

Stay strong, persevere, and God will deliver us. That’s a guarantee that we can count on because we know that God always keeps His promises.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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