From The Pastor;

                 Before you read any further stop, pick up your Bible and read I Corinthians 13. Have you read it? It will provide background for what the rest of this page says

I am sure you have read this Scripture before now. You may have seen these words on a card or plaque. Often, you hear them read at a wedding ceremony.

Maybe during this month which has Valentine’s Day as one of its 28. The words of I Corinthians do offer great words of wisdom to married couples.

Even to members of a family. I too have included them in wedding ceremonies which I have officiated.

                 Although this Scripture is an excellent application to such relationships, the Apostle Paul penned them for a different group of readers. He wrote them to. The congregation at the church in Corinth. The love among the people of this congregation was lacking in particular areas. So Paul tells them what love is for Christians for each other.

                 Sad to say, such love is missing from churches in our day. And this lack of love is noticeable to people outside of the church.

They say to themselves, “That’s not the church for me.” On the other hand, where love is present and lived out by a congregation, the love is noticeable.

To people outside of the church. Such a church is one to which they may be drawn. Such love pours out beyond the walls and into the community.

 Let us work to keep love strong among us. Let us do so in each of our congregations. A love that flows beyond each congregation into our Charge bringing greater unity among all three churches. Even beyond our walls into the community.  Paul also told the Corinthians, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”   (I Cor. 12:27 NIV) These words apply to us. In each congregation and as a charge.

                Your Pastor,

Rev. John W. Hodge

 

From The Pastor;

A new year is coming. Once again we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new.

                So long to 2017 and hello to 2018. What will 2018 hold for us? What does it hold for our world, our nation our state and local community? What about our local Churches?

                 Recovery will continue for those Sothern states devastated by horrific storms in the new year. Even our own area which was hit by a tornado. We need to keep these people in our prayers. People who hope that such storms will not return in 2018 or any time in the future.

 

                We do not know what awaits us in 2018. Like every other year there will be valleys and mountaintops. Hopefully, the valleys will not be deep ones. We may face situations over which we have no control. And there will be situations in which we have a choice to make.

 

                In 2018 we must seek God’s guidance and strength when we have no control in the circumstances of life. And when we do have the power to make a choice; seek God’s wisdom in making our decision. But whatever 2018 holds for us, we do not have to face it alone. If Jesus dwells in our hearts, He will walk by our side in the new year.

  Happy New Year,

Rev. John W. Hodge

 

  Pastor John Hodge will begin a series titled,  Strength For Life the series will run for the next 3 weeks...

                    Sunday, May 21st.; Strength For Life; Found Only in Christ,                                         Philippians 4:10-13

                    Sunday, May 28th.; Strength For Life: Where To Turn When Tempted,                       I Cor. !0:13

                    Sunday, June 4th.; Strength For Life; When Life Seems to be Against                         You, II Cor. 12:7-10

Moving Forward

August 19, 2014
I read the following article from Focus On The Family by Brady Boyd.  It said:
"If you are going to be a pastor, you will face disappointments. Sorry for the buzz kill beginning, but that is the truth. The offerings will sometimes be less than your church expenses; the sermon you planned to preach was a lot better than the one you actually preached. People will leave your congregation for the silliest of reasons. Your kids and spouse will give you "the look" when you arrive home with an empty emotional cup. The list could go on and on, I promise.
    But the good news is that God is working at all times on our behalf in the invisible realms, and He is well aware that all of that invisibility will cause us distress from time to time. The job doesn't pan out. The house doesn't sell. The marriage doesn't last. The runaway doesn't return. The investment doesn't yield viable returns. Circumstances scatter our dreams and wreck our plans. Or so it seems, anyway. We simply cannot see what God sees. We cannot know what He alone knows.
    And so we wrestle. We admit disappointment. We engage in earnest dialogue with our God. But in the end, whether resolution is reached or not, we come around to the same vow: "I will not fall away. I trust you, Father. I really do. And while I don't understand what you're doing, I know you are guiding me along righteousness' path. I'm disappointed but not disheartened, Lord. You're still God, and You are good...."

The article reminded that there IS something more, something behind the scenes, something invisible, something supernatural, that is guiding us through this life.  But Why?  The "why" is that we have a creator who is continuing to mold us into HIS image of our creation.  Perhaps my unrest lies in the fact that I am constantly trying to work out my own destiny... you know, the "American Dream."  As time continues to click off another season (the kids started back to school yesterday) I realize more and more that whatever I try and fashion on earth won't last.  Most of what I "accomplish" will pass along with me someday.  Maybe my focus is wrong.  Maybe I should be focusing more on that which does not pass away, that which lasts forever. 
    This is what Scripture teaches.  Just like the flowers of the field, we too will fade and will return to the dust.  So why are we so concerned with what we possess, whether it be our bodies or other material goods.  Why don't we just spend more time on our relationship with the creator, Jesus, and with those He has surrounded us with?  Interesting question.  Until next time....
 

Happy Birthday to....

February 20, 2014
     I really enjoy this time of the year, not because of the blustery and very cold weather, but because of my immediate family's birthdays.  Daughter Sarah starts us off on December 28th.  My birthday follows a week later on January 3rd.  We then catch a breather until Lynne's birthday on February 20th (that's today... Happy Birthday Sweetie), and Joshua follows on February 25th.  What a time of celebration.
     This is also the time of year when I celebrate my "re-birthday" on January 24th...
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The Great Commission

January 21, 2014
Every day I am faced with many activities connected with guiding not one, but three churches.  What this means is that instead of one Church Council meeting a month... I have three.  Instead of one Trustees meeting a month... I have three.  Instead of one list of shut-ins... you get the point.  We have been blessed in our Pymatuning Charge to have numerous outreach activities... I try to attend as many as I can.
In the spirit of our Bishop's directive that I am appointed first to a community, ...
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A Comment from our Bishop...

July 18, 2013

White Privilege and the Trayvon Martin Case

During a golf outing a few days ago my playing partner hit a shot that unfortunately sliced out of bounds. After searching for a few minutes I located the ball in someone’s backyard. “There’s your ball,” I cried, “it’s in that person’s backyard.” “Just leave it,” he replied. “Let’s just go.”

When I inquired as to why he didn’t want to pick up his errant ball, my playing partn...


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What Do You See?

May 23, 2013

    What an array of marvelous colors can be seen all around us... all part of God's glorious creation.  We often have different perspectives on what we see, smell, taste, touch and hear.  When I first saw the picture of the raindrop on the petal of a flower in the picture above, I thought of a "snow globe."  Someone else might look at the same picture and see something else.  In a similar way, each of us sees a sunrise or sunset differently than anyone else, merely because of the ions in the...
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Is It SPRING Yet?

March 22, 2013

   You have to love Punxutawney Phil.  He is a rodent that could really care less about the weather... let alone any notariety he gets for predicting it, and yet he is pampered and treated like royalty.  Some would even say he only works for an hour once a year.  Even if he gets his predictions wrong, no one seems to mind too much.
   Spring is upon us now, even if we are still shoveling snow.  Passion week begins with Palm Sunday worship services, continues with Holy Thursday and Good Friday ...
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Morning by Morning

November 14, 2012

     Thanksgiving is fast approaching, Advent and Christmas are right around the corner.  I saw a couple of snow flakes yesterday... and NO, my holiday shopping is not complete.  As the world races ever faster into the 21st century I find there are new challenges to be met.  Combined with all the old challenges, sometimes it seems like an inundating task, trying to keep up.  My dear friend and colleague in ministry, Tommy Hays, recently wrote a devotional that is helping me to regain my focus...
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A New Season

September 27, 2012

     The leaves are changing color and I am back to wearing a jacket in the evenings, as the temperatures are cooler than just a couple of weeks ago.  I have already begun making preparations for whatever winter weather may be coming... hopefully a couple of months away.  It is obvious the seasons are changing.  I was speaking to a colleague not long ago who was frustrated with what seemed like a lack of respect for his position in the community and within his congregation.  Other friends, in...
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The "Truth Project"

June 22, 2012

   Keeping balance in today's church is not so different from when the Apostle Paul was in Corinth.  A bustling seaport town, the congregants of that church had diverse backgrounds.  I spent six years in the U.S. Navy, and know what seaport towns can be like... usually NOT the kind of place you would want to raise kids!  The people in Corinth were from all parts of the world, with different traditions, faiths (gods), languages, educations, and ideas.  Even after spending a few years with them...
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The Turnaround Prayer Movement

April 13, 2012

   I have been pondering, with much prayer, what our Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton shared with us during his visit to our district.  He asked us a series of five questions, intermixed with inspirational stories, to stimulate our thinking about making disciples.  He even asked us "What is a Disciple."  The general consensus among those of us gathered, was that it was certainly more than just someone who attends Sunday worship regularly.  Indeed, it is more than just participating in various churc...
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