church building



September/October 2017

Focus on first

On Monday, did you take some time to view the eclipse? Did you take the time to witness one of the marvels of our world? This summer I invested in a couple of pairs of the viewing glasses while we were on vacation. The clouds cleared just in time and so I stood outside watching the sun covered by the moon. I know that in the areas of our nation that “totality” was reached it got very dark for about 2 minutes. But here, just to the north we only experienced 93% coverage. Big deal I thought, 93% is almost totality. I don’t know about you, but what amazed me most as I watched the moon glide slowly across the sun was how light it still was outside. I guess I had imagined it would be darker. Certainly, you still can’t stare at the sun but I thought it would be a lot darker outside. Even with 93% of the sun covered, it was never darker than early dusk and it struck me – even at 93% covered the amount of light that still reached us was staggering. 93% and you could still see plain as day, the sun was still almost covered and yet, what a difference that 7% makes. It’s the difference between light and darkness. The difference between being able to stare at the sky and needing special lenses. 7% isn’t much is it? It isn’t a huge number yet what a difference it makes.
This leads me to ponder two things. The first is the power of the sun, it is not by accident that scripture refers to Jesus as the Sun of Righteousness. Jesus the Son of God is also the Sun; “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not put it out.” There may be dark times, throughout our history we know that the church has been threatened, has experienced despair, has been in decline and still the Son shines, still the promise of salvation, of God’s Kingdom remains undimmed. Truly the light that shines from our Lord and Savior cannot be dimmed and we have a phenomenal example of the power of light in the 93% coverage of the sun that barely dimmed our earth.
But during the eclipse I was also reminded of another story, the one about the yeast that is worked into the dough that I preached on not too long ago. I thought about our faith journeys and the life of the congregation. 7% isn’t much is it? When we think in terms of numbers in our lives we don’t think that is much at all but I wonder what would happen if we were each of us 7% more involved, more faithful, more committed, more connected to the life that God gives. I wonder what difference it would make in our world? What if the congregation reached out 7% more of the time, spoke out for God’s justice, spoke up for those who are the margin 7% more. What if we prayed 7% more than we do now? Spent 7% more of our time pursuing the call of God in our lives.
We often get down on ourselves because we just don’t have enough time in our day, we are too scattered, too involved, too tired to do anything else but what if we didn’t need to add one more major activity to our lives to be faithful. What if it is true that just like that sliver of light that remained uncovered by the moon – we also had the power to do far more than we can imagine with the little we have. What if we were willing to offer just a little bit more – what a difference that would make in the world. What if we let our lights shine a little bit brighter, a little stronger – what difference would, say 7% make in our lost and broken world. When you think about the hatred, anger and breakdowns in our world today, what would happen if 7% more people spoke in love? What if just a handful of people were willing to act in faith? What an enormous difference we can make in this world when we let our lights shine for Jesus. Would you spend some time wondering, what is your 7% - what would you offer, share, say, do, pray with just a little more love and devotion towards God.  


--Pastor Edie


      5    - Jeffery Whitmore
7    - Devin Kuehl
8    - Heather Dykstra
9    - Steve Gowan
10  - Ken Vanderploeg
12  - Rod Whitmore
13  - Brody Mason
- Nicole Frett
15 - Philip Bielema
- Jerry Bush
- Aaron Huizenga
16 - Candie Schipper
- Irma Bland
- Morgan Snyder
17 - Brock Mason
19 - Mary Ann Gossard
21  - Stan Venhuizen
23 - Maxine Whistler
24 - Thelma Dykstra
24  - Dave Sheckler
25 - Raymond Bielema
28  - Edna Mae Tegeler
30   - Brent Dykstra




    3      - Bryan & Anna Wiersema
– 1st Anniversary
4      - Garry & Brenda Medema
– 53rd Anniversary
8      - Larry & Florence Shipma
- 50th Anniversary
11     - Dean & Marcia Brackemyer
– 47th Anniversary
15     - Mark & Chris Krum
- 16th Anniversary
23     - Bruce & Diane Christensen
- 40th Anniversary
24     - Phil & Allyson Hahn
– 1st Anniversary

26        - Arnie & Marilyn Huizenga
- 59th Anniversary
- Allen & Nancy Dykstra
– 42nd Anniversary


      1    - Elizabeth Dornbush
3    - Jerry Lewis
4    - Reese Dykstra
7      - Jane Lewis
10     - Maurice VanderVinne
18     - Karen VanderVinne
20     - Allen Dykstra
- Betty Boelkens
21     - Nathan VanderVinne
22     - Tina Dykstra
30     - Lawrence Tegeler


  4        - Dick & Ruth Buikema
– 62nd Anniversary 
5        - Bud & Elsie Foster
– 55th  Anniversary
10       - Eric & Carol Janvrin
– 31st Anniversary
17        - Jim & Kathy Van Zuiden
- 48th Anniversary
25        - Ray & Thelma Dykstra
- 68th Anniversary


Narthex                       Chapel
Sept. 3             Jim Van Zuiden           Nancy Dykstra
Sept. 10           Allen Dykstra                        Candie Schipper
Sept. 17           Val Bush                      Chris Krum
Sept. 24           Larry Shipma               Dave Sheckler
Oct. 1              Bruce Christensen               Candie Schipper
Oct. 8              Garry Medema                       Paul VanderVinne
Oct. 15             Nancy Dykstra             Bob Kuehl
Oct. 22             Ron Pessman               Rick Mason
Oct. 29             Mark Krum                  Charlie Carter

                        Ramp Door
Sept. 3             Ron Pessman
Sept. 10           Larry Shipma
Sept. 17           Allen Dykstra
Sept. 24           Ken Vanderploeg
Oct. 1              Ron Pessman
Oct. 8              Larry Shipma
Oct. 15            Allen Dykstra
Oct. 22            Ken Vanderploeg
Oct. 29             Ron Pessman

Sept. 3             Arnie Huizenga
Sept. 10           Paul VanderVinne
Sept. 17           Charlie Carter
Sept. 24           Arnie Huizenga
Oct. 1              Paul VanderVinne
Oct. 8              Charlie Carter
Oct. 15            Arnie Huizenga
Oct. 22            Charlie Carter
Oct. 29            Paul VanderVinne

Scripture Readers
Sept. 3             Brenda Sheckler
Sept. 10           Nancy Dykstra
Sept. 17           Ron Pessman
Sept. 24           Carol Janvrin
Oct. 1              Larry Senior
Oct. 8              Rick Mason
Oct. 15            Brenda Sheckler
Oct. 22            Carol Janvrin
Oct. 29            Nancy Dykstra


Children’s Sermon
Sept. 3             Pastor Edie
Sept. 10           Larry Senior
Sept. 17           Nancy Dykstra
Sept. 24           Janvrin’s
Oct. 1              Michelle Snyder
Oct. 8              Pastor Edie
Oct. 15            Larry Senior
Oct. 22            Nancy Dykstra
Oct. 29            Janvrin’s

Sept. 3             Renee & Brody Mason
Sept. 10           Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Sept. 17           Lori Neighbour & Maxine Whistler
Sept. 24           Renee & Brody Mason
Oct. 1              Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Oct. 8              Lori Neighbour & Maxine Whistler
Oct. 15            Renee & Brody Mason
Oct. 22            Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Oct. 29            Lori Neighbour & Maxine Whistler

Welcoming Committee
Sept. 3             Paul & Pam VanderVinne
Sept. 10           Bruce & Diane Christensen
Sept. 17           Paul & Pam VanderVinne
Sept. 24           Allen & Nancy Dykstra
Oct. 1              Allen & Nancy Dykstra
Oct. 8              Bruce & Diane Christensen
Oct. 15            Paul & Pam VanderVinne
Oct. 22            Bruce & Diane Christensen
Oct. 29            Allen & Nancy Dykstra

Sound System
Sept. 3             Brian Lenz
Sept. 10           Dave Sheckler
Sept. 17           Brian Bush
Sept. 24           Brian Lenz
Oct. 1              Dave Sheckler
Oct. 8              Brian Lenz
Oct. 15            Ken Vanderploeg
Oct. 22            Dave Sheckler
Oct. 29            Art Kilburg

Sept. 3             Candie Schipper
Sept. 10           Brian Bush
Sept. 17           Rick Mason
Sept. 24           Jerry Bush
Oct. 1              Brian Bush
Oct. 8              Val Bush
Oct. 15            Candie Schipper
Oct. 22            Brian Bush
Oct. 29            Rick Mason

Fire Department On-Call Schedule
Aug. 27-Sept. 2 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Sept. 3-9 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Sept. 10-16 – Kathy Barsema
Sept. 17-23 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Sept. 24-30 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Oct. 1-7 – Brian & Karin Bush
Oct. 8-14 – Kathy Barsema
Oct. 15-21 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Oct. 22-28 – Brian & Karin Bush
Oct. 29-Nov. 4 – Larry & Sandy Senior


What’s your calling?
When you have a sense of calling — whether it’s to be a musician, soloist, artist, in one of the technical fields or a plumber — there is something deep and enriching when you realize it isn’t just a casual choice; it’s a divine calling. That’s not limited to vocational Christian service, by any means.
—Charles R. Swindoll

God’s left hand
A 6-year-old and his grandma went for a walk one autumn day. “Look at the gorgeous leaves!” Grandma exclaimed. “Just think, God painted each one of them just for us!”
“Yep,” said her grandson, “and he did it left-handed.”
Perplexed, Grandma asked, “Why do you think God used his left hand to create all this beauty?”
“Because,” said the boy matter-of-factly, “we learned in Sunday school that Jesus sits on God’s right one.”


Slow but steady
There is progress in a Christian’s life when he may not seem to be going ahead — like a canal boat in a lock, when it stands still but is rising all the time.
—D.L. Moody


Submitted by Judy Vanderploeg

June 28, 2017 - Since Easter, the majority of our “Crew” days had been rainy, and this was no exception. I think the old saying of “Rain on Easter Sunday—rain for seven SUNDAYS’’ had gone a bit off course. Well, heavy precip didn’t hold the gang back, and we had to giggle when a rain-spattered Mary blew in and then halted in the doorway to warble, “It’s raining, it’s pouring”. Coincidentally—my sister texted me a bit later-beginning with the very same song.

Well, 11 defied the weather to come, but something different was on the docket for this day. Word of the Plarn Project had been leaked to The Fulton Journal, and we’d been given a “heads up” that a reporter wanted to come and interview us. It was with some trepidation that we considered that, as such things usually involve photographs, and we’d all prefer to stay out of that kind of limelight! Her request was granted, though, and the young reporter arrived at 9:00 on the nose. Right off the bat, she asked for permission to record our conversation for factual correctness, which made us a little bug-eyed, and even more reticent to speak up. But, we did, and she learned how Mary Medenblik first brought this Plarn Project to our attention, and how making the plastic mats has not only involved us, but also other members of the congregation and even many thoughtful neighbors who collect grocery bags for us. Without such help, the mat designers would have been out of business in no time; and because of that assistance, Harold & Ramona Renkes alone had already marked, cut, tied together and rolled 1-inch strips from over 8,200 grocery bags in balls of “plarn.” Besides those, some of the gals who knit or crochet the mats had also cut up many bags to suit their specific color needs. THAT’S a lot of bags-not only kept out of the landfill, but now lovingly transformed and giving comfort instead! Carol Onken’s crocheted mat and Pastor Edie’s knitted one were on display for her perusal. Also, on the BIG table were our varied items that had been displayed for the congregation on the previous Sunday. Our reporter was unaware of the scope of our endeavors, and seemed bowled over by all that the Creative Crew creates—through God’s gracious gifts and all of the fabrics, yarn, thread, sewing machines, monetary gifts, blue jeans and so much else others have given us!

Okay. We were sailing along pretty well in answering all of this reporter’s “Who, What, When, Where?” questions-until she came to “Why?” “Why do you do this?” At that there was a collective, silent, “Um...” Now, this query was more personal, and maybe no one wanted to answer for everyone else. Maybe we had been at this so long that we no longer stopped to think about why, or maybe we just needed a few moments to form it into succinct wording. I don’t know, but we did fumble the ball a bit in giving her quick, concise answer, and that bothered me for some time." When we later posed this question to some who weren’t at the interview, they had an immediate response. We asked, “Where were YOU when we needed you?” Ha! I suppose we could have answered her with our parents’ retort when, as kids, we’d annoyingly ask, “W-h-y?” “Be-cause!” (A pronouncement as final as that of a court judge). Ha!”
Well, a couple nights after trying to write this up, I passed through the family room just as Ken was watching a TV segment about antique tractors and their owners. One man who has a vintage John Deere related that he had once driven that tractor down through the heart of Chicago--at 12 M.P.H.—in the midst of speeding traffic and harried drivers. Surprisingly, people seemed pleased at such a sight, and also surprisingly, no rude gestures were lobbed his way because of his snail’s pace! Then (like the Crew) the reporter asked him why he did that. Now, had I known I’d use his reply in this report; I would have paid better attention, but he answered with something like, “Because I could!” After the ensuing laughter and some intervening moments, he then stated, “Well, upon reflection... I guess it was done as a test of my faith.” He felt that, if he did this (trusting God was beside him all the way), then he was assured that his faith was real. Well! That scenario made me feel much better about not having a snap answer to OUR reporter right off the bat either. He, too, needed a bit of reflection time to give his true, more articulate answer. For us, I think our collective answers would boil down to this: We are trying to follow Jesus’ loving example of helping people who may be in distress or need, and hopefully, make someone’s life a little brighter. We pray that the recipients of our efforts feel assurance that someone loves them and cares about them.

Speaking of “fumbling the ball”--as our Happy (offering) Can was making the rounds that morning, one member “lateralled” the can over to Donna, but the pass went quite awry. Said Donna, “Well, you sure won’t make it in the NFL.” Ha!

A couple of Sundays later, we connected with Clink Kettler’s daughter, who owns a large quilting operation that also does much Charity work in Washington State. We really enjoyed studying some of Nancy’s fabulous quilts, althoughwe(whose quilts are pretty “plain Jane in comparison) now felt that we might as well throw in the towel! Afterward, we gave her a tour of our quarters, and also pointed out the two plarn mats. Nancy was quite taken with that idea. She reported that, because of temperate winters in her area, they have many homeless people. She also related something quite disconcerting-if quilts are made and given to them, when the quilts become dirty or soggy from rain, they are often just thrown into the garbage. NOW! Having these plarn mats to protect their bedding would deter much of that travesty from occurring.

July 12th - O.K. Remember my earlier diatribe about rainy Wednesdays? Yep. This was another one. By the following morning, we had another 8/10ths of an inch in the rain gauge, plus local wind damage and flatter-than-a-pancake sweet corn—again. We’d been blissfully mosquito-free so far this year, but these heavy rains would likely bring them out yet. Yep it did. Nine of us attended, and at least five friends dropped in for fellowship with us too, which we so enjoy. More than one commented on the laughter heard emanating from the room, and one humorously wondered what was so funny. Were we telling dirty stories? US?! N-oooo! We have plenty of good clean fun without any of that. Tee-hee!

Together, we discussed helping out on the next Wednesday, when kids partaking in the Feed the Children program would be led in a sewing activity by members of the Presbyterian Church. We also discussed sewing new curtains for the Blue Room--to replace those that were now water-stained and a bit of an eyesore right at the church’s entrance.

Now, here is an instance where we couldn’t miss God’s hand at work once again: Flo had been scouring her house for good items to donate for First’s upcoming Rummage/Bake Sale. In doing so, she came upon some sturdy fabric that Donna had given her long ago for making a purse or nice bag. Well sometimes inspiration just doesn’t stride, and no bag ever came to fruition. But now, Flo realized that the fabric would be perfect for designing the walker bags that have been such a hit. So, when we met, Flo reminded Donna of that long-ago gift, and of the lovely time they’d shared around her kitchen table back on that day. Donna loved hearing of this long-forgotten vignette, and was so pleased by the return gift of her fabric. And then--it dawned on us—if God had not inspired her to gift that fabric to Flo in the first place, it would surely have been incinerated in their devastating house fire later on. After Flo’s safekeeping, it could now serve the purpose that God had intended all along—for Donna’s walker bags that have brought much joy and help to many of our friends. How astounding!! Donna & Elwyn’s large ceramic manger scene was also spared incineration because they had loaned it to Trinity for the Christmas season, and afterward, it got stored there too. That spared it from the fire. HOW God directs even itty-bitty, seemingly unimportant things that ALL fit together in His grand plan! Amazing, isn’t it?!.

With the falling rain that day, there’d be no afternoon gardening, so Ken and I loaded up two big bags with 16 newly-made little pillows, and brought them to the Dialysis Center at Mercy South. I feared that the unit might already be mobbed by little pillows, but the gal who accepted them was most grateful, because they’d been “all out.” That was impetus to get on the stick and make more! To create the pillows, we save any of our snippets, and Harold Renkes also cuts up old clothing or fabric that is clean but past its prime to make the pillow innards (plus fluffy cutaways from their port pad ministry), and then he stuffs the little pillow forms. Now, “Speed” has lots of those ready to go! I’M the one who has to get on the stick and make more pillow forms & “burrito" cases. (

July 26th - It was Wednesday again. So, did we have rain? Well, thankfully, not for our Crew hours, but the day was hot and sultry, and we knew it was leading up to something. Sure enough, shortly after the supper hour, a big ol’ storm rolled in, bringing around 1 ½ inches of rain we didn’t need AND flash flood warnings again too. This, on top of the 5” deluge, flash floods, and EF1 tornado that had raged through north Fulton and beyond on the previous Friday night, felling a myriad of trees, creating damage, and leaving so many without power-in hot weather-for nearly 24 hours. The buzz from chain saws was still ripping through the air on this morning, and trucks were seen bearing the remains of trees that had been billowing in the breeze just the week before. How life and landscape can change in a matter of seconds! So... are WE ready for judgment if we, too, would suddenly be felled like those trees? Will the Lord God say, “Welcome, good and faithful servant”? Or, will we hear, “I never knew you," and be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented for eternity? The time to make the decision to give your life over to Jesus is NOW. Otherwise, like the thriving trees in the path of that tornado-in a matter of seconds, it will be too late. You only need to ask Him. God’s promise is: EVERYONE who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Well, our first arrival pre-announced herself by way of squeaky shoes. I humorously commented that those shoes “must not have been paid for.” Some had never heard that old saying, but Irma reported that her dad would also say that about squeaky shoes. We sure wondered how that saying came about.

After a bit, a tall floppy stack of plarn mats borne by 2 legs came wandering in the door. Huh? Not until the mats plopped down on the table did we discover that the legs belonged to Mary, who had now completed another three mats! After crocheting these mats at full tilt for some time, she declared she would be taking a break-after the latest one was finished. We surely understood that! B-u-t, hardly 10 minutes had gone by before Mary was heard planning out the colors of her next mat. Ha! We quitters, too, often imagine our next quilt even as we work on the current one. These projects just get in your blood. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. If we have been elected by God for service, the Holy Spirit seems to lead and inspire us to keep giving our all.

Brenda was crocheting another mat too, but was now at a stalemate as the thing was growing wider. This size variance seems a common mat malady, but no one can seem to figure out why. Using a very simple stitch throughout, it should be a “slam dunk" compared to many difficult afghan patterns, but several have had the same problem. Sometimes, it seems that, no matter how hard we try, we still fail. Ramona reminded us to look on the bright side, though. If the project was going off kilter, then it was way better to be too large than too small. How true! Like young Joseph and his proclivity for being thrown into pits, things might be going off the rails, but, if you trust God to bring you through, you will find that all is not lost. As to that mat-Brenda collaborated with sister, Mary, on getting this renegade reined back in. First, nearly a whole row of crochet was “un­stitched”-- a wrenching sight that barely fazed amiable Brenda one bit! Then Mary prescribed a “hit or miss” method of combining two stitches every so often to reduce the width. Although a disconcerting method to a precision-minded person, it seemed to work. Soon, Brenda was on the right track and off to the races again-and perfect or not, there was no need to throw in the towel!

So, what were others working at that day? Well, Flo was diligently cutting up jeans squares; Diane H. was prepping greeting cards for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children; Sue was working at enlarging a donated “deer” panel into a cool quilt; Irma was laying out more cuddly fleece baby blankets; and Ramona strung many ditty bags and then cased up 10 more of Harold’s pillows-into pillowcases that I’d actually gotten sewn-believe it or not!

August 9th - Finally! No rain to slog through when lugging in our sewing stuff! Surprises awaited us inside, though. We were astounded to find our BIG table laden with sewing goodies and donations-from our dear Millie Heun. We are surely thankful for such generosity that will continue to help the Crew in our efforts. Several items were just what we needed right then—like walker bag fabrics and replacement needles. Millie has been very generous to us since our arrival here, and we are so thankful for her assistance.

Also awaiting us was a manila envelope addressed to “The Plarn Committee” at First Reformed. What REALLY got our curiosity up was that it was from an address in Florida, but had no name of sender. We impatiently waited for one of our plarn gals to get there so we could see what was inside! Finally! Mary arrived, and we shoved the envelope into her hands-commanding her to open it up. “What's inside?” And the answer was: Two smaller envelopes. Sigh! “What’s in them?” More waiting. The discovery was this: A whole mob of little flat squares of folded 1 ½" plarn strips—that cost $3.37 in postage to mail! We were a bit dumbfounded, and now had more questions. “WHO in Florida knows about our plarn project, and HOW do they know about it? Varied theories were bounced off the wall, but it may remain-an unsolved mystery.

I didn’t realize this whole day’s notes would be about our benefactors, but they are. Several weeks before, a huge box that spanned the length of our storeroom desk had also been received by the Crew. It contained a large, beautiful expanding quilt-rack from Kathelyn VanderVinne & Family. Now-we previously had a wall quilt-rack from Trinity, but it was nabbed to hang quilts in the Fellowship Hall. So, for over three years, we have been staring at a big, blank wall in the Creative Crew room, and we kept saying, “We need a quilt rack for that wall.” “Yep,” we’d say, and that was all the farther it got. Well, it seems that often our intended plans don’t come about because God has different plans in store. This was a case in point. We’d drug our feet until God’s appointed time when someone would be inspired to bless us. This time, it was with a much dressier quilt-rack than on which we likely would’ve pinched our pennies. Anyhow... this wonderful gift may have landed in our laps, but that did not mean it was immediately ensconced on the wall. NOW, we had to find someone with ability, time, AND drill bits powerful enough to penetrate concrete walls. So, we waited some more. When Ken Vanderploeg (known owner of such bits) unwittingly dropped in at one meeting, we pointedly hinted at what we’d like done, and even plastered the included paper template on the wall to point out where we’d like the rack to reside. Finally, Ken must have had a rainy day with nothing else he’d RATHER be doing, and he mounted the gorgeous rack on the wall. That was the third generous surprise greeting us that day. From it, we immediately draped our “heart” quilt made by Lauretta Wiebenga. Perfect! Thank you, Kathelyn, AND Ken!

Most left that meeting early to start organizing the Fellowship Hall--full of donations for the church rummage sale. It looked like an overwhelming task!! There were even many donations from people not from our church—like newly-made crafts from a lady who creates beautiful wreaths, etc., and then donates them to church bazaars/sales. How wonderful and how generous!

Well, believe it or not, this is our 50th Creative Crew News article. 50! Now, in the beginning (Feb. 2008), we had absolutely NO clue where this Mid-winter Mini Retreat idea at Trinity would lead us. So, some of the very first articles were titled, “What's All That Giggling in the Church Basement” (um, some things haven’t changed), “What a Stitch", andCatching Up With the Clever Creators." Now, after our first few meetings, we'd been forced into quickly adopting a name for our group in order to have a moniker besides “Crafters” when posting meeting dates in the bulletin. We felt that “Crafters” made us sound sorta “fuddy-duddy,” so we settled on Clever Creators. Then someone not yet in our group felt that sounded a bit high and mighty. So, by the fourth newsletter, we had redubbed ourselves more appropriately as “The Creative Crew." We always met from 9:00 - 2:00, and started with around nine members; but, as word got out, more joined us along the way. Sadly, over the years we’ve also lost some members for various reasons. Death took our beloved Theresa Merema and Mary K. Bonneur from us, and just recently, our dear associate, Lorraine Huggins. We rejoice, though, to know that all three now await us in Heaven! We also lost gifted members, Terry Merchant and Ruth Balk, through relocation, and some others for health reasons. Then, in the merger with First Reformed, some felt led elsewhere too. The loss of each special person has left a hole that cannot be filled. Still, we feel a connection with them, and some still find ways to help us. Just recently, Marlene and (Vietnam Veteran) Everett Stone (now of Community Reformed) assisted us greatly by trucking our latest lap robes out to the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City-delivering them to the Chaplain. When we needed help, they answered the call, and we were surely grateful!

Like the Children of Israel-rambling in the desert, the Creative Crew could have aimlessly wandered about too, were it not for our God to guide us and so many generous supporters! When our path has not quite gone the way we expected and outlets for our skills have dried up, God has continued to lead us on this winding road to even more exciting blessings!

None of us are getting any younger or speedier, but God has called us ALL to life-long service. Even in our dying days, when we feel there is nothing left to give, we can still give God the glory! So keep on (or start) doing what God has called you to do. He has the ultimate prize awaiting us in Glory—IF we have confessed that we are sinful, and then asked Him to take charge of our life. Have you taken that step?


by Brenda Medema

We have several new additions to our DVD library that we hope you will check out and enjoy. The first 3 DVDs are Easter memorial gifts from James Johnson and Carole Isenhart in memory of Allen and Marie Dornbush.


From the creators of “The Ultimate Gift” and “The Ultimate Life” comes the third story:  “THE ULTIMATE LEGACY”.  This DVD “shines in its ability to remind the viewer about the important things in life, including forgiveness, hard work, and kindness to others.”  It runs 99 minutes and includes bonus features. 


“DIFFERENT DRUMMERS” is based on an inspiring true story of the unlikely friendship of two boys growing up in Washington in the 1960’s.  It is a reminder of what’s beautiful, good and true in this often too-harsh world.  This film runs 107 minutes, is rated PG, and includes bonus features.


We now have “THE SHACK”, a movie based on the novel by William P. Young.  The story takes the viewer on a father’s transformative and spiritual journey that will show him the ultimate truth about love, loss, and forgiveness.  It is rated PG-13, runs 132 minutes, and has several special features.  We appreciate these memorial gifts from James and Carole.


We have a new triple feature DVD which has 3 family movies.  The first is an uplifting drama, “DECISION”, the story of a family in despair who rediscovers its faith.  Country music star Billy Dean and vocalist Natalie Grant star.  This movie runs 90 minutes and is not rated.  The second film is “GOD’S COUNTRY”, in which a hot shot investment banker will do anything to further her career.  She finds herself in new territory when she must spend six days with a financially troubled minister and his family.  This movie runs 91 minutes and is not rated.  The third movie is “LUKEWARM”.  Luke started out on the right path, but lately he has lost his way.  Growing up without a dad was hard, and now Luke must decide if he can forgive his father and get his life back on track.  John Schneider stars in this movie, which runs 97 minutes and is not rated.


“CATCHING FAITH” is the inspiring story of a family whose son Beau is the high school football star and whose daughter Ravyn is a straight-A student. John & Alexa Taylor appear to have the perfect life--they’re the envy of all the parents in town.  But when Beau is caught drinking alcohol, his place on the team and his bright future are on the line.  With the football season at stake and the judgmental community turning their backs on them, every member of the Taylor family is at a crossroads.  Now, they must find the strength from one another, and the spiritual courage from within, to prove that faith and family is the only score that really matters.  This movie runs 88 minutes and is not rated.  It includes a special feature: “Making of Catching Faith”.

Names that bear witness
Nigerian couple Sam and Mary Ayeni gave their three girls names that reflect God’s wondrous ways. The firstborn is named Marvelous to declare that God blessed the couple with a daughter as well as a much-needed job.
Next to arrive were conjoined twins Miracle and Testimony. “When I first saw them the way they were, I said it is a miracle that they are alive,” recounts their mother. “When God did that miracle, I would surely give testimony.” Indeed, God continued to work wonders.
The family was flown to Tennessee, where the twins were successfully separated just shy of their first birthday. Local groups, churches and countless individuals have supported the family with material goods, living space, groceries, friendship and prayer. As of this writing, the girls are making strong progress. One is nearly walking, and the other talks nonstop. Her favorite words, learned from big sister Marvelous, are “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!”

A taste of heaven
When an admirer asked renowned pianist Vladmir Horowitz how he could play so beautifully, he’s said to have replied that anyone could play the notes, but the true music lay in the pauses between them. The same can be said of life.
Rabbi Evan Moffic (Shalom for the Heart) writes, “It is in the pauses — the rests, the spaces in between — that meaning is made and that holiness is felt.” Nowadays we keep so busy there’s hardly a pause or space in our day.
“But that’s not the way God created us [or] the world,” Moffic continues. “God worked, then rested. God created, then paused. … Thus, our Sabbath is the day when we can marvel at the beauty of the world God created. It is the day we enjoy what the ancient sages called ‘a taste of heaven.’ It is a day when we stop thinking about the what of life and remind ourselves of the why of life.”

Why God watches
An English bishop recalled a childhood visit to an elderly woman, who showed him a framed text that read “Thou God seest me.”
The woman told him, “When you’re older, people will tell you that God is always watching you to see when you do wrong, in order to punish you. I don’t want you to think of it that way. Instead, take the text home and remember all your life that God loves you so much he can’t take his eyes off you.”


Bible Quiz
In memorable language in Revelation, God tells the church in Laodicea, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth,” because it is metaphorically ______ (fill in the blank).
A. too hot
B. too cold
C. tasteless
D. lukewarm

Answer: See Revelation 3:16


How many times does Jesus say we should forgive others?
A. 7
B. 70
C. 77
D. 70 x 7
E. C or D, depending on the translation
Answer: See Matthew 18:22

Be yourself for God
Rabbi Joseph Liebermann describes a dream where he dies and goes to stand before God’s judgment seat. As he waits, the rabbi fears that the Lord will ask him, “Why weren’t you a Moses … or a David ... or a Solomon?” Instead, God surprises him by simply asking, “Why weren’t you Rabbi Liebermann?”
When our lives are over, God won’t ask us why we weren’t a Mother Teresa or another saintly soul. He simply wants us to be who he created us to be.
“We are his workmanship,” St. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10. In Greek, workmanship means “a piece of art.” You are God’s masterpiece. Life isn’t a game of comparison. It’s a journey of discovery of how God has uniquely created you to perform specific tasks in this life.
Your life is God’s canvas. Don’t hinder the painting process!
—Mike Paulison


King of kings, Word of words
When Jesus Christ utters a word, he opens his mouth so wide that it embraces all heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper. The word of the emperor is powerful, but that of Jesus Christ governs the whole universe.
—Martin Luther, Table Talk


Christian Symbol
The deer symbolizes safety in God's care, as seen in David’s praise of God for delivery from enemies: “[The Lord] makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights” (2 Samuel 22:34; Psalm 18:33). The deer also represents faithfulness and eager devotion: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1).


A cornerstone harkens back to God’s pronouncement in Isaiah 28:16 that he “has laid as a foundation in Zion … a precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20 declares that Jesus is the cornerstone of the household of God. The letters IHC and XP are abbreviations for “Jesus” and “Christ” in ancient Greek.

Reformation Milestone: celebration and repentance
October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” on a church door in Germany. This wasn’t an unusual act at the time; Luther was simply welcoming scholarly debate. But his ideas opposing certain teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church led to a monumental shift in Christianity.
Along with other reformers, Luther taught that Scripture is the supreme authority for the believer; that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone; and that baptism gives all full access to God in Christ (“the priesthood of all believers”), so there’s no need for an intermediary such as a pope, priest or saint.
Initially, the reformers intended not to leave the Catholic Church but to reform it. But those who protested church practices became known as Protestants, and eventually, multiple denominations arose — Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Anglicanism and others — and did, in fact, separate from the Roman tradition.
Sadly, woven amid the good intentions to rightly teach and live the faith were sins on all sides: Luther hurled insults “with the best of them”; the pope excommunicated him and had other reformers executed; the beliefs and faith of theological opponents were regularly disparaged. As Heinz Josef Algermissen, a present-day Roman Catholic bishop in Germany, states: “In commemorating the Reformation, we cannot just see it as a jubilee, but should also admit our guilt for past errors and repent on both sides for the past 500 years.”


Advice from a pumpkin
Be well-rounded.
Get plenty of sunshine.
Give thanks for life’s bounty.
Have a thick skin.
Keep growing.
Be outstanding in your field.
Think big!
—Ilan Shamir

A prayer for neighborliness
O God, we pray for a broader vision of the needs of humanity, and a deeper compassion to fill those needs; for a planting of the seeds of concern for all humanity in our hearts; for a tapping of the wells of generosity. May we live together as people who have been forgiven a great debt. May we be gentle, walking softly with one another. May we be understanding, lest we shall add to the world’s sorrow or cause to flow needless tears. May we be as anxious for the rights of others as we are for our own. May we be as eager to forgive as we are to seek forgiveness. May we know no barriers of creed or race or sex, that our love may be like Yours — a love that sees all people as Your children and our kin. May we be ministers of humanity.
—Peter Marshall

Women of the Reformation
Although the names most often associated with the Reformation are male, women also played key roles in maintaining the integrity of the church. “Most were wives and mothers,” professor Justin Holcomb writes. “Some were also authors, apologists, ex-nuns and queens. All were faithful servants of Jesus.”
Women who made notable contributions include:
• Katherine von Bora, the former nun who married former-priest Martin Luther
• Argula von Grumbach, a Bavarian noblewoman who published letters and debated with university faculty
• Olympia Fulvia Morata, an Italian scholar who lectured on the teachings of Luther and Calvin — and was persecuted and imprisoned
• Jeanne d’Albret, queen of Navarre and a leader in France’s Huguenot movement, who tried to peacefully resolve tensions between Catholics and Protestants
• Marie Dentière, an aristocrat who left an Augustinian monastery to speak in public — even on street corners! — about church reform