March/April 2018
Matthew 5:3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  
In this season of Lent – I have been spending time reflecting on these words of Jesus. What is striking for me is how different Jesus’ words are from the ways of our world. Our world tells us that might makes right, that in order to be peacemakers we need the ability to keep the peace. Our world tells us that mourning a while is fine but eventually we need to just move on. Our world tells us that it is the meek who are treated poorly and the merciful, while held up as examples for us, are also often laughed at for their weakness. We long to be safe and comfortable. We long for the respect of others yet Jesus seems to be saying that none of this matters as much as we think it does. Jesus is pointing us to a different life.
Jesus calls us to an active living out of our faith. We are not just to be peaceful or kind we are to assist in making peace and acting in mercy. We are not to just hope for righteousness but to hunger and thirst for it; to go after it, long for it, seek it. Blessed are the pure in heart – how in this deeply broken world can we become pure in heart if we do not actively seek God? Jesus calls us (and me) to not just ponder and reflect on his words, but to put them into action.
I wonder then about how I live my life each day; I wonder about the ways I can be mindful of Jesus’ call, aware of his presence and seeking to actively follow him. I wonder about being a peacemaker – choosing kindness over impatience and acts of love even in the face of hate. I wonder about acting in mercy, seeking ways to serve even those I would rather ignore. I wonder what would happen if we all worried less about what the world might say about us or about our faith and just started actively living it. I wonder if we stopped worrying about what others might say and just took a risk; prayed with someone, reached out to a neighbor, cared for a stranger. What would happen if we all found one person we know could use a friend, or a hand and did something? I wonder what would happen if we all lived this season of Lent a bit more generously, openly, and faithfully?
For my part, I am still pondering the beatitudes of Jesus, what do they teach me about how I should live my life? For all our struggles to live faithfully; Jesus’ words sound so simple, so obvious – why then do they seem so hard? Make peace, be merciful, sit with those who mourn, hunger and thirst for righteousness, consider meekness and purity, and don’t worry about what others might say of your faith – focus instead on living the life God asks you to live. Don’t worry so much about what others might say or do – you live your faith. In this season of Lent, will you take on one of these pieces of the beatitudes? Will you seek to be more faithful in one of these areas? I suspect that Jesus is inviting us all to go deeper, be bolder, and to get into action. In this lost and broken world what I am coming to believe more and more is that what is need is not more people who say that they believe but more people who live what they believe. I am more and more convinced that we will only make more disciples by being disciples. How will you live your faith in this season?
--Pastor Edie


  2 -    Mark VanderVinne
  4 -    Leon Ottens
  8 -    Vivian Vogel
  9 -    Robert Zuidema
11 -     Brent Boelkens

- Jerry Van Zuiden

13 -     Helen Temple
14  -    Donna Dykstra
16 -     Ryan Dykstra
17 -     Ruth Balk
-    Ken Ottens
21  -    Jeff Brondyke
22 -    Justin Walston
Betty Engelkens
26 -    Karen Dykstra        
LeAnn Smith
28 -    Ike Temple
30 -    Frances Houzenga
31 -     Rick Mason


25 -  Alfred & Donna Dykstra
52nd Anniversary


 1   -    Dean Brackemyer
Ashley Durward
3  -    Sandy Engelkens
Arnie Vogel
15  -    Diane Housenga
-    Lavece Temple
-    Gordon Sissing
17  -    Earl Engelkens
18  -    Marianna Smith
21 -     Vince Hoogheem
23 -    Helen Sikkema
25 -    Charlie Carter
-    Cora Plumley
26 -    Paul Norman
29 -    Bernice Workman
Taylor Van Zuiden
30 -    Brandy Boelkens


14 -  Randy & Karen Dykstra
45th Anniversary
20 - Bernard & Frances Houzenga
62nd Anniversary
21 - Nic & Amanda May
11th Anniversary
23 -  Paul & Pam VanderVinne
35th Anniversary


Narthex                       Chapel
Mar. 4             Paul VanderVinne       Randy Dykstra
Mar. 11           Allen Dykstra               Bruce Christensen
Mar. 18           Chris Krum                  Garry Medema
Mar. 25           Bob Kuehl                    Rick Mason
Apr. 1              Ron Pessman               Val Bush
Apr. 8              Ken Vanderploeg        Arnie Vogel
Apr. 15            Randy Dykstra             Paul VanderVinne
Apr. 22            Bruce Christensen       Mark Krum
Apr. 29            Garry Medema           Charlie Carter

                        Ramp Door
Mar. 4             Ken Vanderploeg
Mar. 11           Dave Sheckler
Mar. 18           Allen Dykstra
Mar. 25           Ken Vanderploeg
Apr. 1              Larry Shipma
Apr. 8              Ron Pessman
Apr. 15            Dave Sheckler
Apr. 22            Allen Dykstra
Apr. 29            Larry Shipma

Mar. 4             Charlie Carter
Mar. 11           Arnie Huizenga
Mar. 18           Paul VanderVinne
Mar. 25           Charlie Carter
Apr. 1              Arnie Huizenga
Apr. 8              Paul VanderVinne
Apr. 15            Charlie Carter
Apr. 22            Arnie Huizenga
Apr. 29            Paul VanderVinne

Scripture Readers
Mar. 4             Nancy Dykstra
Mar. 11           Ron Pessman
Mar. 18           Larry Senior
Mar. 25           Carol Janvrin
Apr. 1              Rick Mason
Apr. 8              Brenda Sheckler
Apr. 15            Ron Pessman
Apr. 22            Nancy Dykstra
Apr. 29            Carol Janvrin


Children’s Sermon
Mar. 4             Pastor Edie
Mar. 11           Nancy Dykstra
Mar. 18           Janvrin’s
Mar. 25           Michelle Snyder
Apr. 1              Larry Senior
Apr. 8              Pastor Edie
Apr. 15            Nancy Dykstra
Apr. 22            Janvrin’s
Apr. 29            Michelle Snyder

Mar. 4             Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Mar. 11           Maxine Whistler & Lori Neighbour
Mar. 18           Matt & Sarah Plumley
Mar. 25           Renee & Brody Mason
Apr. 1              Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Apr. 8              Maxine Whistler & Lori Neighbour
Apr. 15            Matt & Sarah Plumley
Apr. 22            Renee & Brody Mason
Apr. 29            Chris Krum & Mary Gowan

Sound System
Mar. 4             Dave Sheckler
Mar. 11           Ken Vanderploeg
Mar. 18           Brian Lenz
Mar. 25           Brian Bush
Apr. 1              Ken Vanderploeg
Apr. 8              Dave Sheckler
Apr. 15            Brian Lenz
Apr. 22            Brian Bush
Apr. 29            Art Kilburg

Mar. 4             Brian Bush
Mar. 11           Val Bush
Mar. 18           Rick Mason
Mar. 25           Karin Bush
Apr. 1              Karin Bush
Apr. 8              Brian Bush
Apr. 15            Candie Schipper
Apr. 22            Karin Bush
Apr. 29            Jerry Bush

Fire Department On-Call Schedule
Feb. 25-Mar. 3 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Mar. 4-10 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Mar. 11-17 – Kathy Barsema
Mar. 18-24 – Brian & Karin Bush
Mar. 25-31 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Apr. 1-7 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Apr. 8-14 – Kathy Barsema
Apr. 15-21 – Brian & Karin Bush
Apr. 22-28 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Apr. 29-May 5 – Brian & Karin Bush

Food Pantry
Toilet Paper
Helper: Karen Dykstra
Oatmeal or Corn Flakes
Helper: Irma Bland


Day by Day
Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close. Then let every one of these short lives leave its sure record of some kindly thing done for others, some goodly strength or knowledge gained for yourself.
—John Ruskin


“Wind of God”
Tiny breeze or mighty wind,
swirling round as God commands.
Hats go flying. Branches bend.
Little seeds spread through the lands.
God Almighty makes the wind;
great big gusts can shape the sands.
Awesome is the power of God,
when even wind obeys his plans.
—MaryAnn Sundby

After Jen Hatmaker’s dog shredded an heirloom baby blanket, she piled up the dirty yarn and asked her mother-in-law to somehow reassemble the original. In Of Mess and Moxie (Nelson Books), Hatmaker explains how this is a picture of God’s sovereign work.
When our lives are tattered by sin and suffering, God doesn’t start from scratch or create a replica. Instead, he uses the original threads to reweave a stronger version and to restore beauty. (Interestingly, when Joseph tells his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,” the word meant is Hebrew for wove.)
“Nothing bears a better witness than watching God resurrect someone’s life,” writes Hatmaker. “That is a God who folks want to know, a God worth his glory.”

On a cold snowy day in February 2008, several ladies from Trinity Reformed Church decided to get together for fellowship and to work on their handiwork projects at the same time.  Gradually the group grew into a ministry of making things for the comfort of others and began meeting twice a month to work together and have lunch. A steering committee was formed, as well as by-laws and a mission statement, which is: “Creative Crew is a mission outreach of the church and is open to all members of the congregation and community.  It is a time of fellowship, a time to use our talents and gifts for others as the Lord leads us.”

When Trinity and First Reformed joined in 2014, the Creative Crew packed their supplies, sewing machines, cutting table, and coffee pots and relocated to a large room at First Reformed.  A separate room stores their fabric and supplies. New members from First and other churches joined the group.  Now, 10 years later, Creative Crew has made and donated hundreds of items to benefit the Pregnancy Center, hospitals, area nursing homes, the Victory Center, the veterans’ hospital in Iowa City, homeless shelters, and local shut-ins.  Quilts, lap robes, clothing protectors, walker bags, ditty bags, baby hats, blankets and burp cloths, cancer caps, homeless sleeping mats, prayer shawls, dialysis pillows, port pads, and children’s sweaters are all made and given as a ministry to others.  The total number of items made during the past ten years is approximately 5440!

Members of Creative Crew do quilting, knitting, crocheting, tatting, paper embroidery, and sewing.  Many of the materials, such as fabric and yarn, are donated to the group.  Some work on projects at home as well.  During a meeting, the Happy Can is passed around for those who wish to share a happy experience and give a donation.  Many times, the happy experience is just being together and working on projects to benefit others.  Anyone is welcome to join the Crew, share your skills or learn a new one, and be part of this ministry.  They meet the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. here at church.

The group celebrated their 10th anniversary with a soup and salad luncheon for past and present members on Wednesday, February 28 here at church. 

Submitted by Judy Vanderploeg

December 13, 2017 - Well, only two members were missing that day, and with less chaos afoot than last time, we could do more sharing. Flo had recently delivered the final 24 clothing protectors and a few walker bags to Harbor Crest, and doing so instigated quite the pow-wow of staff members who surrounded her. They reiterated the real need for those protectors, and assured her that the walker bags were ideal for residents’ needs too.

We were impressed by much progression in our Yarn Department since last meeting, but a couple of the gals were peering with some askance at their growing projects. Hmm...Now that a prayer shawl had attained about two feet in length, it was apparent that a larger crochet hook should have been used, as its texture was too tight, and too much yarn was consumed. Sigh. So, the maker decided she must bite the bullet and “reverse-crochet" (pull out!) the entire works. In empathy, another member offered to take that on so that act wouldn’t “hurt quite so much.” Surprisingly, the maker seemed unfazed by that action, but it about “killed” the rest of us to see hours of labor just evaporate into thin air in the mere “shaking of a lamb’s tail.”

Another gal had nearly finished what was intended to be a winter scarf, using a new type of thick yarn we received. Without usual directions for hook size and yarn weight, this was begun with a by-guess-and-by-golly method. At the start, it appeared to be the perfect “scarf width, but—this chenille yarn was very stretchy, and it just kept on a-growin’! We thought the cozy scarf was really hankering to be a prayer shawl. Tee hee! In response to such projects not going according to Hoyle, Ramona’s consolation was, “They say we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.” Ken’s later response to that bit of profundity was, “Then, I should be close to a genius by now.” Ha! If only, huh?

Well, I captured little to write about this day, but that affords an opportunity to insert this following bit that happened to me some time ago, but had lacked space to write about then:

So--who expects that they will be blessed when trudging off to the doctor’s office, o-r- that WE might bless someone?? Well, while biding my time in a waiting room last spring, I was seated next to a senior lady and her driver-friend, and couldn’t avoid overhearing some conversations about church activities—including an Easter egg hunt in the church. They did wonder how that would go, but the kids would likely have a ball. After a while, a young mother and her 3 little girls left the waiting area, and we commented on how cute and well-mannered they were—which snowballed into thankfulness that WE no longer have responsibility for raising little children and that God gives us children while young and more energetic! Thru that, we discovered that this upbeat, 91-year-old widow beside me previously volunteered at the Pregnancy Center, AND she is a good friend of Ken’s cousin, Geneva DeWitt. Small world! That lady no longer volunteers there as she is now legally blind, but—she now spends much time in prayer for others, and many call upon her to pray for them too. Instead of moaning about her circumstances, she was this bright, joyful beacon of light, speaking of the Lord in the easiest way, and making us laugh much of the time besides. She wasn’t trying to be a witness, she just was. She certainly could have been impatient, as she had already been waiting when we arrived, and was still waiting when we left! But, she only lifted us all up. Being more homebound now, she was thankful for her telephone, but—that often entails dealing with phone solicitors too. She related that she’d recently received such a call from a foreign young man. He wished to speak to her husband, Joseph, whom most addressed by a nickname when he was alive. When she just responded that he was not there, the persistent solicitor asked just how he could reach Joseph. Instead of a terse reply, she suggested that he could dial 1-800-HEAVEN. “So, what was his response to that?” we asked. “Dead silence,” she answered. Ha! Now, at 91 and vision impaired, she could assert that she is too old to do anything for the Lord, but, no-she is still witnessing, still praying, and still blessing all over the place! In her simple, easy way, WHAT an impact she had on us in that waiting room. I was impressed, blessed, lifted up and laughing the rest of the day—and then some. That whole scenario then reminded me that, last year, my Missouri cousin related that she had been stuck on the phone with a young man on the other side of the world as she tried to straighten out some delivery snafu. While they waited and waited for his computer to spit out needed info, she chatted with him, and learned that he had no belief in God whatsoever. In asking him questions and then sharing her strong belief, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she actually brought him to the Lord and saving grace in those few minutes! They even conversed several times afterward, in order to answer his questions and get him started on this new path. Wow!! Well, the gifts given by the Spirit have been poured out on all of us who believe. We just never know how or where God may use us! In 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 it says, “It is He (God) who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, my dear brothers & sisters, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection!”

January 10, 2018 - Well, this is not Crew news either, but it did have something to do with needlework, and more importantly, about how God works! A couple nights prior to this meeting, I was adding the binding to a patriotic quilt in hopes that, after way too many months, it would finally be done for this meeting. As I sewed, a phone text arrived from Deer Creek daughter, Traci. She moaned that, oh, she WAS my daughter all right, because she had previously re-organized her craft room, and now could not locate her crochet hooks-except for ol’ trusty #10. Sigh. I knew it was imperative that she find them, because her co-worker’s mother had just been diagnosed with abdominal cancers, and Trace was on a mission to create a prayer shawl for her. (MUCH unlike her mother, she gets things done in short order). I texted back that I would pray for the hooks to be found, but she replied that I shouldn’t bother God about lost crochet hooks! Her day had been bad right off the bat (flat tire on car, and truck’s dead battery), and the work day was even worse, so she thought God had been bothered enough on her behalf for one day. Ha! Well, I texted that God says to pray about everything, and I had already prayed. She thanked me, but did fear God might already be tired of her that week-and it was only Monday. Tee hee! I replied that it all serves to remind us that we DO need to rely on Him for everything, and then I prayed more specifically that God would lead her directly to those hooks. That was 8:06 pm., (and, hey!-my snack time). I slathered a piece of celery with almond butter, and plunked down to munch on it. 8:10 pm: Bzzz! In came a text from Trace: “Thanks Mom, and thank you, God!! FOUND them. Lol” My reply—“Well, I had just prayed that God would lead you straight to them.” Trace replied, “That’s hilarious, cuz that’s what happened!” They were hiding in a drawer that she had searched twice before. Boy, were we smiling over that the rest of the night, and we gave God the glory! Many other things were working together here too. Some time ago, I had purchased a Prayer Shawl instruction book for her as a future gift, but it got buried in my infamous sewing room while awaiting that occasion. Then it came to light again in early December (hmm!), and I stowed it in her Christmas bag. Our family Christmas was delayed until January 6, so she finally received it--just as she was learning of the above cancer diagnosis. “Perfect timing, Mom,” she said. Yeah, wasn’t it though? And so, while getting her flat tire repaired in Bloomington the next day, she was crocheting that prayer shawl like mad. She was the only female waiting in the shop, but several guys took quite an interest in what she was doing, and again-who would expect this could be an opportunity to share the love of Christ? Well, the shawl was finished quickly enough for it and accompanying prayers to be delivered to her co-worker yet that day for her mom, Gayle. Gayle was dumbfounded and could not believe that someone she didn’t know would do this for her.

Well, the above reminds us that even a very simple act of kindness can have a great effect and be uplifting—maybe on a day when someone REALLY needs such a lift. Trace had misgivings that she’s not progressed beyond double crochet skills yet, but-Brenda Medema asserted that one can create much lovely work just with that stitch. Maybe you feel your gifts are pretty simple too. Like we Creative Crew members or any of you who create in other mediums-despite our best efforts and much cogitation over articles we make, we certainly don’t entertain thoughts that the end product will land in the Louvre! (A few husbands did think we were aiming for D.C.'s National Art Gallery when designing those plarn mats, though. Ha!) But—you never know HOW even a simple gift, a cheery card, or phone call might uplift someone and bring unexpected joy.

NOW to Creative Crew day: After a long “deep freeze,” the snow had disappeared, and this day was foggy and drizzly instead-allowing most all to attend! We may have set a record in completed projects brought in that day--10 blankets or quilts, three prayer shawls, three dialysis pillows, two winter scarves and one hat! We hardly had space to display them all, but we surely were blessed by all created from much we’ve been given. We thank and give credit to our many supporters!

Well, Irma called a pow-wow of her own that morning. She is very adept in creating wonderful fleece blankets for the Pregnancy Center, and was responsible for 8 of the above blankets. Now, she was combining a gorgeous, cuddly fleece-like fabric with a pink fleece as backing. Fleece is a bit like felt—it can be cut, and the edges will not fray or ravel—meaning little sewing is needed on such blankets. Strips are cut all along the edges of both layers, and then tied together to hold the front and back together. So-after layering them together, Irma started cutting into the two layers to make the tie strips, but—in short order, she realized that the cuddly fabric was simply fraying away. Dark fuzz was flying everywhere and sticking to anything within range, like a cat unleashing its winter coat come spring. THIS was not going to work! Operation halted. Now what to do? That's when the pow-wow was convened, and the old, “Two heads are better than one" adage was put to the test. The heads considered the problem, and agreed with Irma that we didn’t want to chuck such a wonderful fabric, but there was no way this could be given to a baby. After more cogitation, the consensus was that it could be salvaged if those fraying edges were enclosed INSIDE the blanket—entrapping any flyaway fibers. So, the side with the already-cut ties was trimmed down—producing? Yeah, even MORE fuzz. Ha! After re-cutting it, that fabric still wouldn’t play nice. Irma would pat it into smooth submission, but the renegade would soon be all humpity-bumpity again. Sigh. By this time, Irma was covered head-to-toe in fuzz, so we had to give her and the whole blankie “the brush off with a lint-remover. Later in the morning, someone moaned about not getting nearly as much done as we’d like. The above scenario may just illustrate why!

January 24, 2018 - Temperatures were warmer and the snow had vamoosed, so no worries over getting to church. Instead, we had rampaging flu bugs, which kept some away for safety’s sake. Those who could attend enjoyed a great time. After Flo and I set up for the day, we trudged up and back from the narthex numerous times to retrieve all 29 items displayed for the congregation, AND we carted Mr. Floppy-legged Card Table and the two awkward quilt racks back down the stairs too. There! We got that done for the day. (Uh-huh. Just wait).

Well, Irma was STILL working to coerce that problem baby blanket together! Since last meeting, she had carefully laid the gorgeous-but-most-rambunctious fabric out against the fleece, and sewn them together-only to discover that it was sewn inside out! Aargh!! Now, reverse sewing is no picnic in the first place, but searching out those stitches within a forest of dark, feathery fabric would be nearly impossible. Had she given up, we’d have understood, but we Dutch are a determined lot (some even might say stubborn. Ha!) So, again she was laying this thing out-just like at last meeting. We feared that if this problem blankie didn’t knuckle under in short order, it might be destined for the heap after all. So-some other hands pitched in to help rein it in. We hoped there’d be NO “rest of the story” to this maddening project.

Diane Housenga has taken on the prepping of greeting cards to be donated to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, and she had plenty to do that day. In the process, she came across a card that played a musical tune when opened. She listened and enjoyed the song, and, upon request, aimed it our way so we, too, could hear and enjoy “You Are My Sunshine” a few times. Cute! Then, as it kept on piping away, she cut the card in half, and set the musical bit aside. Setting it down, however, did not affect that high-pitched melody-the card kept right on a-playin’, and after a while, it started to get a wee bit annoying. Since closing that type of card halts the sound, Diane deftly laid another card atop of it to put an end to the music. “You are my sunshine...” tweedled on the card. “What?)” “Um, you better set something heavier on it,” we advised. Advise taken, and a weightier stack was plunked firmly atop this determined card. There! THAT should take care of it. “You make me hap-p-e-e...” squeaked out the stifled card. As the incessant tune played on, desperate times were calling for desperate measures! “You gotta pull the wire,” said Donna. “Pull the wire?” questioned Diane. PLEASE don't take my sunshine a-w—a—y, ” pleaded the choked-up card. Pleading ignored. As the indefatigable card played on and on, Diane grabbed ahold of it, searched out its wiring, and snapped that wire in two--right in mid-tweedle. “You are my...eerk!” And THAT took care of THAT! I guess we'd shown IT who was boss. We did feel a bit like a murderous mob, though. Ha! Well, for some reason, that whole bit drummed up the phrase, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” into my head. Looking that up, I discovered that fiddles hadn’t even been invented yet. Then when Nero himself was accused of that arson in order to erect a huge palace on others' ruins, HE blamed Christians for that act! Who knew?

Well, Crew members had been mucho busy since last meeting, and created so much, we decided we’d better display it for Sunday. SOO— guess what? ALL of those quilt racks, wily card table, stacks of newly-completed items, etc., had to be hauled up the stairs in several trips and set up again! THEN-on Sunday, we found out the narthex was to be painted the next day; SO—the whole caboodle had to be drug back downstairs again. Boy, our 10,000-Steps-A-Day goals should’ve had substantial dents after that. Ha!


Okay. Near meeting’s end, I told the gals I had little to write up. Did anyone have anything humorous that we could relate? The group cogitated, and a sort of sheepish expression came over Sue’s face. “Wel-I, there is my cat.” That alone got us laughing, because we’d been privy to this ongoing saga before, and Sue had brought the house down awhile back with tales of life with this cat. First some background: Last fall, in order to remove some trees in her yard, Sue’s fence was first taken down for its safety. Soon after, she noticed this old-acting cat curled up in her yard, and sleeping away. Now, those of you who have any inclination at all for cats know that just having one hang around in your yard means big trouble when it comes to the cat deciding to adopt YOU. Sue & Delb had always been “dog people,” though, and even though she worried over this homeless cat, there was NO way she intended to take it in. We cat people, however, knew that, if Sue had any tenderness at all, the cat had already caught her—hook, line and sinker. Well, Sue surely hoped this cat would leave, and it would disappear at night, but, come morning, it was ba-ack! Sigh. Well, of course Sue is tender-hearted, and she feared it was starving, and what do you do then? You feed it! Yeah, it's your cat for SURE now. Well, the cat either couldn’t or would not chow down dry cat food, so she suspected that was really old and had no teeth. So... of course, she then invested in some soft food to nourish this poor cat that was so weak it could hardly climb steps. That revived kitty, but weather was getting cold and rainy, and so-o, despite misgivings, shelter in the garage was offered. As fall progressed into winter, though, it became frigid in there, and so (quite begrudgingly) Cat was moved into Sue’s house. Sigh! Well, shortened story here—this cat was not at all old or feeble, had all of his teeth, and could roar up and down the stairs in one fell swoop! Thankfully, Cat knew all about litter boxes, and, though shy at first, it soon followed Sue all around the house and would curl up nearby. So anyway...one day, Sue had come in from outside, closing the storm door in the process, and then sorta closed the inside door, but, it didn’t close all the way. “Hmm, what’s up with that?” So, she leaned into it for all she was worth-shoving it shut with both palms. There! Then she went about her usual business. Wel-I, it wasn’t long before an emphatic “MER-OW!” pierced the quiet. What on earth?! Oh, boy. Where is that cat? Um, maybe better check the door. The door was re-opened, and OUT flew the much-pancaked cat! Sil-ly cat! Well, THEN-on another night, Sue was pulling some food out of the fridge for supper-leaving the door open while setting stuff on the counter, and closing the door when finished. After that, she took some items out of a lazy-susan corner cupboard, and reclosed that. While prepping her meal, she began to hear a weird thumping noise coming from somewhere. What was that!? Golly! Cat didn’t get closed in the refrigerator now, did he? Door re-opened. Nope, no cats. Whew! Um, thumping still heard. It can’t be coming from the lazy susan, can it? The door was gingerly opened. ANOTHER flying cat? No-o. Oh, Cat was in there all right, but this time he came sauntering out of the confines as if snooping around in there was a normal everyday activity. Ha! Well, Cat is certainly making life interesting, but is a-usin’ lots of his 9 lives in the process! I surely wish you could have heard Sue tell this. She just “busted us up. ”


New to the Church Library


“Beneath Copper Falls” by Colleen Coble
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful. But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.


“Disillusioned” by Christy Barritt
Nikki Wright is desperate to help her brother, Bobby, who hasn’t been the same since escaping from a detainment camp run by terrorists in Colombia. Rumor has it that he betrayed his navy brothers and conspired with those who held him hostage, and both the press and the military are hounding him for answers. All Nikki wants is to shield her brother so he has time to recover and heal. But soon they realize the paparazzi are the least of their worries. When a group of men try to abduct Nikki and her brother, Bobby insists that Kade Wheaton, another former SEAL, can keep them out of harm’s way. But can Nikki trust Kade? After all, the man who broke her heart eight years ago is anything but safe. Hiding out in a farmhouse on the Chesapeake Bay, Nikki finds her loyalties—and the remnants of her long-held faith—tested as she and Kade put aside their differences to keep Bobby’s increasingly erratic behavior under wraps. But when Bobby disappears, Nikki will have to trust Kade completely if she wants to uncover the truth about a rumored conspiracy. Nikki’s life—and the fate of the nation—depends on it.


“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Christa Allen
One moment, Olivia Kavanaugh is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next, she learns that her fiancé, Wyatt Hammond, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat. Her faith shaken, Olivia pores over the clues left behind, desperate to know where Wyatt was going that day and why. As she begins uncovering secrets, she also navigates a tense relationship with her judgmental mother and tries to ignore the attentions of a former boyfriend who’s moved back home. But when she starts receiving letters written by Wyatt before his death, she must confront a disturbing question: Can we ever know anyone fully, even someone we love? When an unexpected path forward offers the promise of a new beginning, will she be strong enough to let go of the past and move toward it?


“Vanished” by Irene Hannon (Private Justice Series, Book #1)
Reporter Moira Harrison is lost. In the dark. In a thunderstorm. When a confusing detour places her on a rural, wooded road, she's startled by the sudden appearance of a lone figure caught in the beam of her headlights. Though Moira jams on her brakes, the car careens across the wet pavement--and the solid thump against the side of the vehicle tells her she hit the person before she crashes into a tree on the far side of the road. A man opens her door, tells her he saw everything, and promises to call 911. Then the world fades to black. When she comes to, she is alone. No man. No 911. No injured person. But she can’t forget the look of terror she saw on that face in the instant before her headlights swung away. And she can’t get anyone to believe her story—except maybe a handsome ex-homicide detective turned private eye, who reluctantly agrees to take on the case. As clues begin to surface, it becomes obvious that someone doesn’t want this mystery solved—and will stop at nothing to protect a shocking secret.


“Trapped” by Irene Hannon (Private Justice Series, Book #2)
When librarian Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned PI James "Dev" Devlin to help. But the deeper he digs, the more he begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the clearer it becomes that the situation isn't just dangerous-it's deadly.


“Deceived” by Irene Hannon (Private Justice Series, Book #3)
For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.


by Brenda Medema

There are several new additions to our DVD library to start off the new year.  Several are Christmas 2017 memorial gifts for which we are very grateful.  They are a wonderful addition to our library. 


First we have a new title in the “THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW” series by Ray VanderLaan. Are you going through a difficult period of life?  The loss of a loved one?  Unemployment?  A crisis of faith?  During these desert times, it’s easy to think God has disappeared.  Instead, discover that it’s only when we are totally dependent on him that we find him closer than ever and can experience God’s amazing grace and provision. “WALKING WITH GOD IN THE DESERT” is a series of 7 short (approximately 30-minute) episodes in which teacher and historian Ray VanderLaan guides you through the land of the Bible.  In each lesson, he illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the Scriptures.  Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, this series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.  A study guide book is also available with this DVD.

The following 3 DVDs are Christmas 2017 memorial gifts from Ray & Thelma Dykstra in memory of the their loved ones. 


“THE TOWN CHRISTMAS FORGOT” is a Hallmark Christmas movie everyone will enjoy.  “Chris and Annie Benson and their detached family are on the way to a resort for the Christmas holiday when their car breaks down.  Stranded in a remote, impoverished lumber town two days before Christmas, they find themselves trying to encourage the locals to carry on the tradition of the town’s homegrown Christmas pageant.  The Bensons soon discover that by helping to solve the town’s problems, they learn to connect with each other again just in time for the holidays.”  This DVD is unrated and runs about 85 minutes.


Another new movie with a very similar theme is “WELCOME TO INSPIRATION”, a movie that offers hope and the possibility of true inward transformation.  “When a big city couple finds themselves stranded in a small town, their lives are changed forever.  A chance encounter with a mysterious street sweeper awakens them to seven inspirational life lessons that come alive by meeting its citizens:  a widow coping with the death of her soldier daughter, a small business owner rescuing a young runaway, a mechanic finding faith and a young musician bravely pursuing his dream to perform.  This family-friendly film features acting and musical performances from Grammy Winners Jason Crabb and Larry Gatlin, Christy Sutherland, and Regina McCrary and is based on the book “The Street Sweeper” by Tim Enochs.  Supported by a large ensemble cast of colorful characters, the journey to inspiration is paved with providence and humor.”  The DVD includes many special features and runs 102 minutes.


From Faith and Family Films we have “EXPECTING A MIRACLE”.   “Jason Priestley and Teri Polo star in this touching story about a troubled couple on a quest to rebuild their marriage.  Hoping to rekindle a fading flame, Pete (Priestley) and Donna (Polo) set off on a romantic beachfront getaway.  But when car trouble strands them in a small, dusty town, their weekend vacation becomes the journey of a lifetime.  They find themselves swept up in preparations for an annual festival and profoundly touched by the faith of Father Arturo (Cheech Marin) and one little boy.  They help the couple discover that strength and hope can be found in each other.  Expecting a Miracleis a heartwarming tale about love and discovery.”  The DVD is not rated and runs 89 minutes.


Bible Quiz
According to Matthew’s account, what was torn when Jesus died?
A. Mary’s headdress — she tore it as a traditional Jewish sign of grief
B. A Roman guard’s sash — Peter grabbed and ripped it in anger
C. Jesus’ robe — the soldiers divided it among themselves
D. The temple curtain — torn in two from top to bottom
Answer: See Matthew 27:51

In John 10, what metaphor does Jesus use to describe himself?
A. “I am the gate …”
B. “I am the good shepherd …”
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B


Answer: See John 10:9, 11


Christian Symbol


The torch primarily represents the Passion of Christ, perhaps because he was arrested and tried during the night, when the Temple guard would have used torches for light. The torch also can symbolize spiritual enlightenment, or martyrdom for the sake of the gospel.


According to ancient legend, the phoenix lived for 500 to 1,400 years (depending on the version of the myth), at which time it would set its nest ablaze and be consumed in the flames. After three days the bird would be reborn and was said to repeat this cycle, “rising from the ashes” again and again. Early Christians saw in the phoenix a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection and of eternal life.

Easter is Eternal
If Easter means anything to modern man, it means that eternal truth is eternal. You may nail it to the tree, wrap it up in grave clothes and seal it in a tomb. But truth crushed to earth shall rise again.
Truth does not perish. It cannot be destroyed. It may be distorted. It has been silenced temporarily. It has been compelled to carry its cross to Calvary’s brow … but with an inevitable certainty, after every Black Friday dawns truth’s Easter morn.
—Donald H. Tippet


Raise your voice!
With happy voices ringing,
thy children, Lord, appear,
their joyous praises bringing
in anthems sweet and clear.
For skies of golden splendor,
for azure rolling sea,
for blossoms sweet and tender,
O Lord, we worship thee.
—William Tarrant

Change agents
A cartoon depicts a man at a podium firing up a crowd. “Who wants change?” he shouts. You can almost hear the excitement and urgency. “We do!” the listeners cry, all raising their hands.
But the next frame features a follow-up question: “Who wants to change?” The audience is silent and somber, with their hands down.
The gospel Jesus announced and lived out promises monumental change: life instead of death, healing from sickness, hope to replace despair, peace and justice instead of war and oppression. Although God could wave his hand and make the world perfect, he chooses to work through humans. That means we must be willing to change too.
Change can be scary, but God’s newness will so transform the world — and us — that we’ll never miss our old, broken reality.
—Heidi Mann

Of pizza and sin
Whenever I’m in Chicago, I feel driven, as if by unseen forces, into a deep-dish-pizza restaurant. My recent visit was no exception. As soon as I stepped off the plane, the cravings began. Soon I was in a pizzeria, awaiting a handmade pie with giddy anticipation. It was a sad scene. I was dining alone, so there was no pretext of community; I was just there to gorge myself.
And that’s precisely what I did. After a few slices, I hit a wall but consumed one more. One too many, it turned out. While maneuvering away from the table, I realized: Deep-dish is a lot like sin. Both start with bliss but end in misery. Both take you further than you wanted to go, faster than you wanted to get there. And both require confession. So that’s what I’m doing here. I hope you’ll absolve me. Next time, I’ll try to eat less.
—Drew Dyck, Church Humor Newsletter (October 10, 2017), CTPastors.com.
Used with permission.