Dear Congregational Family,
1. Sabbatical: Thank you again so much for the opportunity to take these sabbatical weeks! This week I am trying to wrap things up and transition to the sabbatical. Even that is a challenge for me. Thank you for your prayers regarding this! One of the things I am also looking forward to on Sundays is going to church together as a family and sitting together. I have many clergy friends in Pittsburgh, and we are going to visit a number of churches and worship with them and learn from other congregations as well during this time. Although you will see less of us, please know that you are in our hearts and prayers. Our kids will continue to be involved here at Ruthfred every week with youth group, worship team, knitting, etc.
Pastor McMinn has been doing an excellent job in putting together a visitation team as well as other volunteers. He has many good ideas for this! Please continue to support and encourage him along the way. As I reflect on how the Lord has brought all of this together, I am totally confident that God will provide for and sustain our congregation throughout this time and even use this time to help prepare us all for future ministry growth.
I really see God’s hand in all of this, which gives me a confident peacefulness that God is at work in our midst!
2. Church Anniversary Sunday: Last Sunday was “church anniversary” Sunday for us at Ruthfred. As we briefly recounted the history of our church, I was thinking about all the people who have been brought to the Lord and who faithfully worshipped the Lord through the decades at Ruthfred. I also could not help but notice the vast majority of members whom the Lord has brought since the dedication of the sanctuary. Over the years there have been many changes demographically as well as with the building, but what has REMAINED the same is the solid preaching and teaching of the Word of God and its power in changing lives! I also recognized that in two years we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary as a congregation! Perhaps we should start thinking ahead on how best to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness to our church!
3. Power of Prayer: On this day, April 26, in 1877, the Governor of Minnesota, John Pillsbury, declared a “statewide day of prayer” for God’s deliverance of the state from the plague of grasshoppers. The plague had been going on for four years, and hundreds of thousands of people were on the verge of starvation as the grasshoppers had eaten all the crops. Each year of the plague, the grasshopper eggs would hatch and the young would devour every green leaf within hours. In 1876 alone, over 500,000 acres were consumed. Farmers had even burned their fields in an attempt to get rid of the grasshoppers, but that effort failed. Finally, under pressure from citizens, Governor Pillsbury issued the call to prayer. But the next two days the temperatures soared and the eggs hatched and the young began to crawl out of the ground. The religious scoffers laughed at the foolishness of prayer. Suddenly, on the fourth day, the temperature unexpectedly plunged and a deep freeze descended and froze the grasshoppers. It would be another ten years before Minnesota was plagued again.
Today, there are many “grasshoppers” which try to plague us and consume us. Call out to God in prayer. He still answers! I love the word of God in Joel 2:25,26 when God promises that when we come to Him in repentance and prayer, “Then I will make up to you the years that the swarming locusts (grasshoppers) have eaten … you will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the Name of the Lord your God.”
4. Two on Tuesday: Some of you have asked, will there still be a “Two on Tuesday?” Yes, there will be! I already have a few future ones planned, and Tom Glasser, our Herald editor, will be writing many of them as well. I still remember writing the first one on Nov. 10, 2015, which arose out of a certain need at the time. I did not imagine that roughly 425 weeks later, it would still be a weekly item. They have been a beneficial means of communication for our congregation.
5. Sunday Sermon: Title: “I’m Going Fishing!”
Text: John 21:1-14
Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,
Dear Congregational Family,