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Life in Greencastle - A New Thing

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"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 
... Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
      now it springs forth, do you not
             perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
      and rivers in the desert." - The 43rd Chapter of the Vision of Isaiah

Usually once a week, Norma DeLabar stops by the church to tend to the plants in the narthex of our church and to attend to the children of our daycare by reading a story to them.  She brought some help this week.  Jim, her husband, was with her getting some minor tips on horticulture from Norma when I stepped out of the office to visit with them for a moment.  I asked Jim how he had been, and he immediately began talking about the lawns he had been mowing this past week.

Those of you who know Jim know that he spends a lot of time on a mower - tending not only to his yard up on Heritage Lake but also the lawns of several neighbors.  That fact was nothing new.  What was surprising is that - here in this deeper portion of summer - the lawns Jim is mowing are now ankle-deep with thick grass in some places.  I'm sure you've noticed it as well (especially if you have to spend much time on the mower).  The lawns have revived.  Not all of them to be sure, and not without significant costs.  The drought of this summer has wrought its damage:  exhaustion and depletion in the land and in our own hearts.  It has wearied us.  But, at almost the precise moment when any hope of seeing life in our lawns or in the countryside was gone, new life has emerged.  Why even the very grounds of our church, which were only recently a dusty field, have gone green again.

We need to see newness in our life, something that is sprouting forth in a fresh way, in a refreshing way.  Without it, we tire.  As the psalmist says, our very souls pant for such refreshment even when we are not aware of this thirst (Ps. 42).  And by God's good mercy, usually at just the right time, God brings a new shower to water not just creation but our parched lives.

Do you perceive something new in your life?  Is God bringing forth a new bud of life out of a dry ground?

There is new life here.  A new and promising day is beginning to appear, and let me share just a few signs with you:
-Our new season of Sunday School kicks off this Sunday - including a whole new opportunity for our children and youth to experience God's Word and what it means to follow Jesus.  To kick things off, we are gathering this Sunday at 9:15 am in the church fellowship hall.  Even better news, breakfast will be provided.  We will also mark the start of this new year by offering this year to God through prayer (about 9:40 am), and by gifting our 3rd grade children with their own Bibles in worship.
-It is a new and refreshing day in our daycare ministry.  God has been at work through many of you, including Valerie Martin, Marilyn Lawrence, and Sue Resner to help bring fresh coats of paint to our rooms, new staff into the daycare team, and new families to serve and love.  And, as Valerie shared, there are also new opportunities for you to serve, and I hope a few of you have volunteered to help out in the kitchen.
-Our choir returns this Sunday to aid us in our worship.  They will practice tonight, and if you'd like to join them, please feel free to do so.  Practice begins at 7 pm here at the church.
-DePauw is beginning school again, and Carolyn Thomas, Barbara Bates, and I met a few of the new freshman who are on campus.  Hopefully, a few of them will join us for worship this Sunday.
-I am excited to announce that a new adult Bible study will begin on Wednesday, September 5th at 6:30 pm here in the church sanctuary.  This new class on Isaiah will be for those interested in going deeper and for gaining a deeper appreciation of a book of the Bible that inspired the earliest Christians and also became the basis for Handel's Messiah.  Look for more information about this Bible study in the coming church newsletter.  And, for those of you who enjoy The Word Before Worship, don't worry.  We'll get back to our usual lively conversations this week as we begin exploring the prophets this Sunday.

I hope you are well, and may God continue to prove that He is working in new and refreshing ways in your life.  And, of course, I hope to see you Sunday.

in Christ,

Wes

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