Dear Church Family,

I am writing this the first week back from our family vacation. To say that our vacation did not go as anticipated is an understatement. While we tried to make the best of it, some days were just plain frustrating. Honestly, it was very good and a big relief to come home! We love our family, we truly do, but things got a little overwhelming and sometimes their idea of “help” was not quite as helpful as we might have wished. So yes, it was good to be home in St. Paul. But at the same time, we are ever-so-glad we went.

As I look back on our vacation, I see some similarities between that trip and the typical week as a church member. Some “family” members you can’t wait to see. Some, you don’t mind spending a little time with but not too much time, please! Others, well, they could just stay home and it wouldn’t bother you in the least.

In Hebrews 10:24-25 the author writes, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” [ESV] This is a great verse and one all of us would agree with in theory but in practice….wow, is it hard!

This summer, would you accept a challenge of trying to be an encouraging person to everyone at church, even those you really don’t want to talk to? You could ask how you could pray for them that week. You could sit with someone new at a potluck or during service. You could send a random text saying you’re thinking about them. Whatever this looks like for you, would you be willing to be an encouragement in our dysfunctional, but fun-loving, family? Like us on our vacation, you may have some frustrating experiences, but I also know you will be very glad you did it.

Love you all!

Pastor Daniel

 

Well, summer has officially arrived. We have had a few short heat waves run through already and I am sure there are more to come. I mean, it wouldn’t be Nebraska if there weren’t at least a few days over 100 degrees, would it? After the dry winter we had, I think we all have enjoyed the rains that have come through this spring, though many of us could have done without the storms that ran through in June. There have been lots of people hit already with damage from tornadoes, winds, hail and downed trees. The week we sent our high school campers to Homeward Trail Bible Camp, they experienced some of God’s power expressed through nature with broken windows, flash flooding and other damage and debris scattered around. There were no injuries, just some damage to the property. I want to thank the small group of people who headed out the Saturday after the storm to help them clean up the camp and get things ready for the new campers that were coming the next week. Cole assured me that insurance was taking care of the majority of the damage, which they are so thankful for that provision, but if anyone feels led to contribute to the repairs and ongoing ministry of Homeward Trail, I know they would appreciate it.

As for our youth, we will be taking a group of them tanking down the Loup River July 6. The youth will be doing a community service project that morning:  a free will donation car wash before the trip from 8:30 -10:30 am here at Grace Church. Please plan to bring your car for a good scrub down by some energetic youth that morning…maybe preparing it for the GCA car show that weekend??? If you would like to help, or provide some of the materials needed for the car wash, please come talk with me. We will need a couple hoses, spray nozzles, soap, sponges, chamois, buckets, a wheel brush, glass cleaner, and plenty of fun attitudes and smiles.

Also for our youth and parents of youth:  the next event will be August 6. We are planning a game and craft time at Matelyn Retirement Home followed by a lake day outing at Sherman Reservoir. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss it. There will be boating, kayaking, swimming and just lots of fun and food around a campfire (water level permitting). If you have any questions, please see me.

Our regular weekly youth group will begin again August 31 with a welcome back party. Looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Pastor Eric