Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

October 2017, Newsletter Article

Fall is in the air and October is quickly coming upon us! Honestly, Fall is one of my favorite seasons (second only to Spring) but of course, the problem with Fall is that we know it's a very brief season, and all too soon we'll find ourselves in the grips of another Midwestern Winter.  Hopefully, it will be a mild winter this year and we'll all get through with flying colors.

These last couple weeks have been very sad for all of us here at Woodlawn with the passing of our very dear and beloved friend Lou Green.  Lou has been such a long-term fixture here at Woodlawn that she'll be forever missed.  If you haven't reached out to her family with words of support, please do so.  God's love and strength to all of Lou's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

This past Sunday was, however, a great day for us all here at Woodlawn, as we saw the Kuhlers family come forward to ask to become members here at Woodlawn.  We welcome Jared, Laura, Stephanie, Will, and Lucas to our little family.  I will be putting together a baptism class for them and if there is anyone else that is interested in getting baptized, please let me know.  Right now I'm thinking we'll schedule the ceremony for Easter 2018, which happens to fall on April 1st.  Please make sure and introduce yourselves to the Kuhlers and welcome them to Woodlawn.

Our concert “Son Celebration” on the 16th was a bit disappointing due to the rainy weather.  But undaunted, we moved the concert into Fellowship Hall and everyone that turned out really enjoyed the show.  I do thank our performers for the evening, “Peregrine” along with “Will & Jane”, both groups were fantastic!  “Will & Jane” performed for us last year as well, though last year they performed under the name of “Orphan's Cry”.

On the 21st, the 'Women of Woodlawn' had a dinner and meeting to celebrate a new name for the Women's Group.  It was a great night and even though I was unable to attend, everything I'm hearing about it is very positive and exciting.  Thank you to all those who worked to make this program happen, and thank you to Kim Anderson especially, for all her hard work on planning and preparation.

On the 9th, we had a wedding here at Woodlawn, Jordan and Kelsey Beidler were married and we all wish them all the very best.  Jordan and Kelsey have started attending the 'Sunday Night Group' since their work schedules clash with being able to attend our normal Sunday Morning Worship. We're very glad that they've started attending and we welcome them here to Woodlawn.

The big news to remember is that starting October 1st, we have moved our normal Sunday Morning Worship from a start time of 10:30 AM to a starting time of 10:00 AM. Please, make sure to note the change or else you'll find yourself coming into worship when we're about halfway through. If by chance you discover you're running late, PLEASE do go ahead and come to worship... none of us is going to mind you walking in at the mid-way mark of the service.

The 'Catch' training program is going along very well, and we have just two more sessions left to complete. The next sessions will be October 10th and 24th.  Even if you've missed the previous sessions, please feel free to join us on either or both of these nights.  In the spirit of 'Catch', I would like to invite everyone to invite someone to Church in October (and November and December and...).  We're called to be 'Fishers of People' and it's tough to catch fish if you don't cast a line every now and again. Please, invite a friend or relative to join you at worship or at a Church Event.

Other things to note in October are; Contemporary Worship Committee Meeting on the 1st after Sunday Worship, Christian Council Meeting on the 3rd at 6:30 PM, Elder's Meeting on the 8th after Worship, Church Council Meeting on the 11th at 6:30 PM, Men's Meeting (at Sweet Things) on the 14th at 7:00 AM, and the 'Baked Steak Dinner' on the 19th from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.

As you may have noticed, the Men's Meeting in October will be down at Sweet Things.  We've decided to try this for a few months to see how it goes over, it relieves us of having to plan for how many may or may not show up, and it also gets us out and visible in the community.  Please plan to gather with all the men on the 14th at 7:00 AM.

It's also time to start thinking about the “God's Portion Sale” in November.  If you'd like to be on the committee for the sale there is still time to add your name, the committee is currently made up of Clyde Westcott, Jesse Gorden, Bill Hungate, Leon Hendricks, and myself. We could certainly use a lady or two on the committee, if you're interested please give me or one of the other members a call.

Well, I've probably used up my allotted space in the newsletter already so I better wrap it up... “BE A BLESSING TO SOMEONE TODAY”!

In His Grace & Care,
Pastor Roy

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Unfair Wages - sermon given on Sept 24th, 2017

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Newton, IA
In my "Children's Conversation" Sunday, I presented the scenario of hiring two of the children to do work for me.  One I wanted to hire to fold a single towel, and the other I wanted to mow the Church grounds (a total of a block and a half of ground).  When I told them that I want to pay the same amount for both jobs I was emphatically told, "That's crazy"!  And yes, that is CRAZY, but, that's just the kind of crazy that God is to us his children.

The parable of the "Workers in the Vineyard" is perhaps the second most important parable in understanding the nature of God that there is in the Bible. (First and foremost in my humble opinion would be the parable of 'The Prodigal Son') This isn't a story about justice, though some might confuse it as such, rather this is a story of grace.  The type and degree of grace that God extends to us does, in fact, seem 'crazy' in our human experience.

Ultimately, God's grace, God's capacity to forgive, God's desire for reconciliation, makes us exclaim "That's Crazy", but that's the radical nature of our all loving and all forgiving God.  The hour is not important to our God, what is important is that we arrive, that we accept the invitation to join the workers in the vineyard.  Praise be to God!

Please remember today and every day to...

Be a blessing to someone today!

In My Father's Grace,
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Newton, IA
Matthew 20:1-16  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Laborers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,[a] he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.[b] 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.[c] 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?[d] 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’[e] 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”[f]

a) Matthew 20:2 Gk a denarius
b) Matthew 20:9 Gk a denarius
c) Matthew 20:10 Gk a denarius
d) Matthew 20:13 Gk a denarius
e) Matthew 20:15 Gk is your eye evil because I am good?
f) Matthew 20:16 Other ancient authorities add for many are called but few are chosen

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Newton, IA

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Romans 14:1-23 "We All Judge"

This past Sunday, September 17th, the sermon was over the verses found in Romans 14:1-23.  The emphasis of the sermon was over 'judging'.  The sad reality is that we all judge, even Paul in the verses that we read today 'judged'. Here Paul calls those with whom he disagrees 'weak'.  Many, if not most of those who Paul is opposing here are the same people he's opposing in the letter we call Galatians. Here, Paul is using somewhat kinder words, but none-the-less he is all too busy judging them.

The sermon isn't long and though I'm as always biased, I do feel it's worth listening to.

I'll let the sermon do my talking this time, please do take a listen.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Romans 14New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Do Not Judge Another
14 Welcome those who are weak in faith,[a] but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord[b] is able to make them stand.

5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister?[c] Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?[d] For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.[e] 11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

    and every tongue shall give praise to[f] God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.[g]

Do Not Make Another Stumble

13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.[h] 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 If your brother or sister[i] is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. 19 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; 21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister[j] stumble.[k] 22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. 23 But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith;[l] for whatever does not proceed from faith[m] is sin.[n]


a) Romans 14:1 Or conviction
b) Romans 14:4 Other ancient authorities read for God
c) Romans 14:10 Gk brother
d) Romans 14:10 Gk brother
e) Romans 14:10 Other ancient authorities read of Christ
f) Romans 14:11 Or confess
g) Romans 14:12 Other ancient authorities lack to God
h) Romans 14:13 Gk of a brother
i) Romans 14:15 Gk brother
j) Romans 14:21 Gk brother
k) Romans 14:21 Other ancient authorities add or be upset or be weakened
l) Romans 14:23 Or conviction
m) Romans 14:23 Or conviction
n) Romans 14:23 Other authorities, some ancient, add here 16.25–27

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Funeral Service for "Lou" Lula Belle Green, September 18, 2017

Woodlawn Christian Church
Lake City, Iowa
Yesterday, September 18, 2017, I had the sad honor of presiding over the funeral for our dear friend Lou Green. Lou had been a devoted member of Woodlawn since 1955, she was a fixture of the Church community and also a dearly sweet and unbelievably kind individual.

All of us here at Woodlawn will miss her and honestly, the shock that she's passed will take time to register for many of us. God's comfort and blessing to the family, please know that your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, was one of God's finest and today she is most assuredly strolling the streets of Heaven arm in arm with her husband Bob.  Praise be to God!

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Glory & Grace,

Link to Lou's obituary - Lampe Funeral Home, Lake City, IA

Woodlawn Christian Church, Lake City, Iowa
Order of Service Funeral for Lou Green:


All please rise.

Call to Worship:
Heavenly Father, You have assured us that through Your Son all shall have eternal life. Trusting in Your faithfulness and mercy, we await that glory filled day when You raise us all to life in triumph and we shall stand before Your throne. Standing there with all Your creation made new in Christ Jesus, basking in the glory of Your Heavenly Kingdom. 

Please be seated.

We have come together within the strengthening fellowship of friends and family:
to praise God for the life of Lou Green;
to share our grief with God and with one another;
to reaffirm our faith in God's unfailing goodness;
to hear again God's promise of resurrection;
and to commend Lou to God's everlasting care.

Music: I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me 

Opening Prayer:
Father of all mercies and God of all consolation, you pursue us with untiring love and dispel the shadow of death with the bright dawn of life. Give courage to this family in their loss and sorrow. Be their refuge and strength, O Lord, reassure them of your continuing love and lift them from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence. Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by dying has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life. Your Holy Spirit, our comforter, speaks for us in groans too deep for words. Come alongside your people, remind them of your eternal presence and give them your comfort and strength. Amen

Hymn:   How Great Thou Art   No. 33

A Reading from the Old Testament:
Psalm 23  King James Version (KJV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

A Reading from the New Testament:
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 

Hymn:       Amazing Grace        No. 546

Message:  Pastor Roy Karlen – Woodlawn Christian Church 
On the afternoon of September 14th, 2017, Lula Belle Green, best known simply as Lou was born into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Lou was born into this world at home in Sac City, Iowa on August 6, 1932, to Lincoln and Agatha Walker.  She was one of 13 children seven boys and six girls.  

Lou graduated from High School in Somers, Iowa in 1950 and was joined in marriage to Robert Green on March 23, 1951.  Bob and Lou had met at the roller skating rink in Gowrie, IA and the rest, as they say, is history.  Their wedding was a small affair, as there was a snowstorm and most of the guests were unable to attend, in fact, the Minister almost didn't make it to the church. Praise God that the Minister was able to brave the storm, and so Bob and Lou's life together as one began.  

On March 27, 1955, Lou was baptized into membership here at Woodlawn Christian Church by the Reverend Howard Prather, and so began her long devotion and dedication to this most fortunate Church here in Lake City.

Last night I was able to see photos of Lou and Bob, there is a photo of their wedding and in it, Lou is such a petite and pretty “smiling” young bride, how fortunate was Bob and how proud he must have been to have won her hand.

Lou and Bob's great desire for children was met in their adoption of their two children, their daughter Diane and their son Dennis.  Lou is survived by both of her children, by her daughter-in-law Becky, her three grandchildren, Shelli, Brian, and Kristi along with Kristi's husband Pat, by two great-grandchildren Leighton and Hudson, and by three sisters Wilma, Jeanie, and Jo Ann.  Ironically, Lou's sister Arlene passed just two days prior to Lou, though Lou sadly was unaware that her sister preceded her in death.  I'm sure though that as Lou stepped from this world into the next, that Arlene was there to greet her.  Can you just imagine the welcoming party that was waiting for Lou at Heaven's gates?  Nine sisters and brothers, her husband Bob, her parents, grandparents, so many friends and relatives, so very many souls from right here at Woodlawn that loved her during her many years of membership and service.  All of these folks and so many more, there waiting for Lou's special smile to brighten the realm of Heaven. 

As I mentioned Lou was one of thirteen children, in order of birth she was the fourth youngest of her siblings.  Lou's father was a hard-worker but the family always struggled financially, but with thirteen children that shouldn't be a surprise. The family said they were dirt-poor.  In spite of their meager means, Lou's father was a generous man always willing to help.  The family was as I said of very modest means, but I am told that they were always happy, last night at the visitation I noticed a photo of the family... so many children and such great smiles on all their faces.

Lou's husband Bob served in the Army during the Korean Conflict and for a while, he was stationed in Oregon, while stationed there he and Lou drove back and forth several times to visit family in Iowa and Lake City.  When she and Bob were first married Lou worked as a waitress and later when back home in Lake City she worked at a variety of locations.  Lou worked at one time or another at the Kid's Spot, Harris Drug, Sweet Things, the Snack Bar at the Hospital, she volunteered at Shady Oaks, and she also volunteered at a Hospital in Arizona.  Lou enjoyed working at places where she could interact with and work with people.  She liked to keep busy, she never cared to sit still.  When her husband Bob's health took a turn with heart issues, she became his caregiver.

Bob started farming in 1956 here in the Lake City area and started selling Winnebago's in 1967.  He was very successful at selling Winnebago's, so much so that he stopped farming in 1970 and rented out his land.  By 1976, Lou and Bob owned the number two Winnebago dealership in the US and Canada.  The family remembers them winning trips overseas and to Hawaii.

Bob was also a pilot owning Beechcraft and Cessna airplanes.  The family told how Bob kept a map with all the airports that he'd flown into and how he would place pins on the map to mark those airports, and then attach a string between these pins and a pin in the Sac City airport which is where he kept his planes.

 Lou and Bob would vacation for many years down in the Mesa, AZ area along with other couples from the Lake City area.  Bob and Lou both enjoyed golf and continued to play golf for as long as their individual health conditions allowed.  The family told how Lou once made a hole-in-one, and that Bob was always a bit jealous of this feat and would tease Lou about having cheated.  Dennis commented like anyone could imagine his mother cheating at anything.

The family mentioned camping trips to Swan Lake and around the local area and also trips to the Black Hills.  The family discussed memories of several trips to Florida to visit Bob's parents.  Please talk to the family to learn more about all of these memories and so many more stories.

One of the stories that the family told me that truly amazed me was that Lou used to ride a motorcycle.  I really wish they had a photo of Lou riding a cycle, it's just something I find so hard to imagine her doing.  And Lou didn't just ride a motorcycle, she rode one to Sturgis! But after all, Lou was a farm wife, she helped slaughter chickens and milk cows, there is a photo of Lou riding a horse, so why not a motorcycle... still I'd love to see a photo of Lou riding a cycle.

When I asked the family for words to describe Lou, they mentioned giving, sweet, kind, and that she loved her family, and how much she loved her church.  I would have to say that having had the great pleasure of getting to know Lou in the two and a half years I've been here in Lake City and also having had the great pleasure of being Lou's Pastor, that all of these words do well, to sum up just who and what Lou was.  The only word I could add to the list would be joy-filled, Lou always seemed so joyful.  Anytime I met Lou I was always greeted with a happy and joyful smile.

What I know of Lou was that she was always here pitching in at Woodlawn.  She loved to help out with whatever the current project was that the Woman's group was working with.  Honestly, it wasn't that long ago that she was here helping the woman working on crocheting mats for the homeless down in Des Moines.  You could always count on Lou to pitch in and lend a hand and to always be there with a smile.

I have a story about Lou, that was just relayed to me this morning by Kim Anderson.  A few years ago during the winter months, the ladies were here working in the Church building and a woman that none of them knew, a stranger to them all, came into the Church. The woman didn't own a coat and it was freezing outside.  Lou gave the woman her own coat, a brand new coat that she had just purchased. What a wonderful story, and a story that so perfectly describes Lou.

Lou was certainly one of the sweetest, kindest, and most gentle souls that I've ever had the privilege to meet.  She was a constant fixture here at Woodlawn and I know that all of us here will miss her being here with us. But perhaps as long as there are some of us left that remember her, well maybe then she like so many others will never have ever really left.  Her impact... their impact, and devotion to this Church shall and will yet remain.

As I have mentioned several times already, Lou always seemed to be smiling, and she had such a great smile.  I can see in my mind's eye Lou walking into Church on a Sunday morning, with a good morning greeting and that little smile... and of course that small laugh that we all know and love about her. I believe it's that wonderful little smile that she always wore that most of us will remember about Lou and cherish forever in our hearts.  A sweet, beautifully genuine smile that was never forced nor false.  Even when we all knew that Lou was suffering, that she didn't feel well, when we knew she was in actual pain... she still had a smile and of course a little laugh.  In the end that smile, that ability to be joy-filled in spite of the circumstances, that's what really defined Lou.  That wonderful and amazing ability to persevere, to maintain a sense of humor, to remain joyful, cheerful, and filled with grace even in the midst of illness, injury, heartbreak, and failing health.  In no small part, I believe Lou's ability to maintain her spirits in spite of her situation had to do with her unwavering faith in God.  As I said, she was baptized here at Woodlawn in 1955 and she remained an active member from that day until the end of her life.

Psalm 92:1-5  New Century Version (NCV)
1 It is good to praise you, Lord,
    to sing praises to God Most High.
2 It is good to tell of your love in the morning
    and of your loyalty at night.
3 It is good to praise you with the ten-stringed lyre
    and with the soft-sounding harp.
4 Lord, you have made me happy by what you have done;
    I will sing for joy about what your hands have done.
5 Lord, you have done such great things!
    How deep are your thoughts!

Lou's life was a ministry of love, joy, grace, and faith.  Hers was such a gentle ministry, not flashy, not boastful, just kind and genuine.  Each of us would do well to seek the inspiration of Lou's life to motivate us to not only be better Christians but better human beings.  Human beings who love each other and who most of all love our Lord.  It is often said that we should live our lives with the understanding that our lives may be the only Bible that someone will ever read.  I think this applies very well to Lou's life, a life of gentle witness;

Hebrews 12:1-3  New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Let us like Lou, never lose heart, to always remember to smile and gently laugh, even while the world throws its worst upon us... for we know that beyond all that we see and endure here, that our Lord and our Savior loves us.

Habakkuk 3:17-18  New Century Version (NCV)
17 Fig trees may not grow figs,
    and there may be no grapes on the vines.
There may be no olives growing
    and no food growing in the fields.
There may be no sheep in the pens
    and no cattle in the barns.
18 But I will still be glad in the Lord;
    I will rejoice in God my Savior.

On September 14th our friend and loved one Lula Belle Green was born into the Kingdom of Heaven and looked not only into the faces of all of her loved ones that have gone on before her but into the very face of God the Father.  Praise be to God... thank you, dear Lord, for giving us Lou to know and to love on this earthly journey. Though we shall always miss her, we know that gentle smile... that we've talked so much about... today lights the very streets of Heaven, and its memory shall long be lit in our own hearts.  Praise God.  

Closing Prayer:
Following the interment at Lake City Cemetery, the family wishes for you all to join them in further celebration of Lou's life and a time of shared remembrances and closure, by gathering with them for lunch in the Church's fellowship hall. For those who do not wish to attend the graveside service, please feel free to remain behind and wait here in our Fellowship Hall.

Let us please pray:
O God, our Strength and our Redeemer, Giver of life, and Conqueror of death, we open our hearts to you just as we are.  We celebrate your gift of life freely given but are grieved by a sense of loss in the face of death.  The love which binds us to one another leaves us aching as ties are broken.  Accept our tears as emblems of devotion, and transform them into waters of life to nourish us in the days ahead.
We trust you.  We love you.  We know in Christ that your love is everlasting.  Nothing can separate any of us from your abiding care.  With you is eternal life.
With confidence, we now entrust Lou to your unfailing love and overflowing goodness.  Through the power that raised Christ from the dead to live eternally with you, lift up this, your servant, to life fulfilled beyond our imagining.  We give you but your own, enfold her in your everlasting arms, hold her for she is your child.
Now strengthen us, through the gift of your Spirit, to face into the future with confidence that you stand with us.  Grant that the changes of life may leave us stronger as we journey through life.
Reassured of your abiding presence, help us to knit more firmly the ties that bind us one to another.  Renewed by your love, help us to love in ever larger circles so as to embrace your people everywhere till at last we are all united eternally through Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.



Woodlawn Christian Church, Lake City, Iowa
Committal Service
Selfishly, we as mortals wish to hold on to Lou. It brings great pain to let her go. Living in the resurrection hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the trust of a loving God and in the promise of eternal life, we now commit her body to its place of rest. We will continue to mourn Lou, but now her smile and laughter will warm the kingdom of God. We will continue to love Lou, but God will now take care of her. We will continue to carry Lou in our thoughts, but she will be kept safe in God's hands. Receive her in the arms of your mercy, O God, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of all your saints.

A reading from the 3rd Chapter of Ecclesiastes:
For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Believing in the Resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we now entrust Lou to the care of Almighty God and we ask Our Father to open the doors to his mansion and lead Lou to the room made ready just for her. As we now commit her body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we commend her spirit to its new home. Rest eternal grant her, and let light perpetual shine upon her.

God has blessed and enriched our lives in giving us Lou to know and love here on this earth. Though our time together was not nearly enough, in committing her body to the earth, we give over to God the care of her spirit, and we acknowledge that we will one day reunite with her in God's Kingdom. The Lord bless her and keep her; the Lord make his face shine upon her and be gracious to her; the Lord look upon her with favor and give her peace.

Let us now pray together the prayer that our Lord and Savior taught us to pray.... (Lord's Prayer)

This concludes our graveside service.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His strong arms encircle you and uphold you in your hour of grief.  God's peace and strength to you all.

Woodlawn Christian Church, Lake City, Iowa

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wedding of Jordan and Kelsey Beidler - September 9, 2017

This past Saturday we had a wedding here at Woodlawn.  Jordan Beidler and Kelsey Thompson began their lives together as one at 3:00 pm September 9th.  The service went very well and I thought it was a very good service (of course I'm somewhat biased).  The manuscript of the service is below.  The outline is in bold, the responses are in brown and instructions for movement are bracketed and in red.

Anyone who wishes may feel free to utilize the service either in part or in whole.

I pray that Jordan and Kelsey will enjoy a very long and happy marriage.  And to them, as a couple please know that if I can assist you toward that end, all you need to do is ask.

May God bless you both!

In Christ,

Wedding of Jordan & Kelsey Beidler:



When two hearts are bound together in the bonds of Christian matrimony, it is a blessed and sacred moment. We recognize that marriage is an important part of God’s plan for mankind. The beautiful love Kelsey and Jordan share with each other is described in 1st Corinthians chapter13. There the Bible says, “Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them, and always stand your ground in defending them. All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but loves goes on forever. Someday prophecy, and speaking unknown languages, and special knowledge – these gifts will disappear.  There are three things that remain – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest is love”.

Giving Away of the Bride
May the Lord bless you both... as from this day forward you seek to carry out these scriptural ideals of your marriage.

In light of the serious approach that the Scriptures take toward marriage, it should be entered into with sobriety and reverence.  If any one gathered can show just cause why this couple should not be joined together, let them speak now or else, hereafter and forevermore, hold their peace.

Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

Bride's Parents all rise and respond: We all do...

Jordan and Kelsey you have come to me signifying your desire to be joined together in holy matrimony. Being reassured that no grounds exist to hinder this union, may we now join together in prayer as we ask God’s blessing upon this sacred ceremony.

Our Heavenly Father, we come, our hearts filled with thanksgiving, for the divine provision that You have made for us in Your original insights and pronouncement that it is not good for man to be alone. Rather, You have made us to find our highest fulfillment together in You. We thank You for the heritage represented here as Jordan Beidler and Kelsey Thompson stand together in this hour. We thank You for every act of care, nurture, sacrifice, provision, and love that has been shown to them by those who have loved them and nurtured them even to this hour. But now we recognize, Father, that something new is about to happen. As You have instructed, it is time for them to leave their first loyalty to other families... and cleave to each other so that from this day forward... it will be one for the other, sealed by thy blessings, spirit, and love that will be the manifest reality of their life together. 

We pray that these vows being exchanged, these tokens of love that are given one to the other, might ever remain sacred and may we be reminded that beyond these visible witnesses, these words spoken are witnessed by heaven itself... and sealed by the presence of thy Holy Spirit. 

Dear Father, we pray for your blessing upon this young couple and the union that is created here today.  We ask for your blessing in the name of Jesus who is the Christ. May this new union serve to meet your divine purpose through the lives of Kelsey and Jordan. Amen. 


Exchange of Vows 
You have come, this day, to exchange your vows, one to the other. I ask you now to please join hands.

And I will ask you Jordan to repeat after me these vows as you pledge your promise to Kelsey. 

I, Jordan, take you, Kelsey 
to be my lawful and wedded wife, 
to have and to hold 
from this day forward forever, 
in sickness as well as health, 
in poverty as well as in wealth, 
in the good that lights our days 
or the bad that darkens our ways, 
and to be true to you alone 
until death alone parts us. 
I do so promise. 

And now, Kelsey, taking the man who holds you by the hand to be your lawful and wedded husband, I ask you to repeat these vows after me.

I Kelsey, take you, Jordan,
to be my lawful and wedded husband. 
From this day forward and forever, 
in sickness as well as in health, 
in poverty as well as in wealth, 
in the good that lights our days 
or the bad that darkens our ways, 
and to be true to you alone 
until death only shall part us. 
I do so promise. 

The two of you have now devoted and pledged yourselves one to the other by the exchange of these marital vows in the sight of these witnesses and more importantly in the presence our most Holy God. 

Exchange of Rings
May I now have the rings.
(Best Man hands rings to Minister)

May the Lord's blessing be upon these emblems of your faith and love for one another.

Jordan and Kelsey, the two of you now wish to indicate the lifelong nature of this union, its purity and its fidelity by the exchange of these wedding rings. 

From the earliest recorded history of mankind, the ring has held a special significance. From time immemorial it was used to seal prestigious documents and the pledge of important and lasting relationships.  It was used to guarantee the integrity of documents, and when it came to the wedding altar it reached its pinnacle of significance.  For from here it is the circular form of the ring... never ending... which indicates the quality of your commitment and love to each other, and the purity of its metal indicates the purity and fidelity of your love one for the other. 

(Hand ring to Jordan)

Jordan, will you give this ring to Kelsey as a token and an emblem of her love for you as well as your love for her?

Groom: I will

Kelsey, will you take this ring and wear it as a token and emblem of  Jordan's love for you as well as your love for him?

Bride: I will

(Groom places ring upon the hand of the Bride.)

(Hand ring to Kelsey)

Taking this ring Kelsey, will you give it to Jordan as a token of his love for you as well as a token of your love for him?

Bride: I will

Jordan, in taking this ring that Kelsey gives to you, will you take it and wear it both an as emblem of your love for her as well as her love for you?

Groom: I will

(Bride places ring upon the hand of the Groom.)

Now, by the exchange of these visible tokens, these most sacred wedding bands, you do make manifest the vows that you have spoken from this day forward and forevermore.

Pouring of the Unity Sand & Signing of the Marriage License
(The couple along with the Minister, Bridesmaid, and Best Man proceed to the table nearby.  Bride and Groom pour their individual containers of sand into one larger container, and then all five parties sign the Marriage Certificate.  The parties then return to their original positions.)

And now, having asked God’s blessings on these vows and promises thus spoken, and having heard your recital of these promises one to the other, and witnessed the exchange of these tokens of your love, under the laws of the State of Iowa, but much more importantly than that, under the higher sanction of the Kingdom of God - I now pronounce you to be husband and wife. 

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.  

Jordan you may now kiss your Bride.


Benediction and Blessing
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may His face shine down upon you and grant you all His peace.  May the Lord's love and blessing be with you both from this day and forevermore.  Amen.

Introduction of the Couple
Ladies and Gentlemen... may I be the first to present to you...

Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Beidler.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Colossians 3:1-17 Sermon given September 10, 2017

This last Sunday, September 10th, the sermon covered the scripture found at Colossians 3:1-17.  This was a sermon of conviction; not every sermon can be (or should be) all nice and sweet... this week was a reminder that we all fall short of the glory of God.

It's not a long sermon at under 14 and a half minutes, and most of it was (out of fashion for me) from a manuscript.  I did this because I knew I had to keep the sermon reasonably short due to other events outside of worship.  I've included the manuscript which is only minus the introduction and some history about the letter to the Colossians.  Please take a moment and watch the video or read through the manuscript.

Thank you all for stopping by and please remember to...

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His grace, glory, and love,

Colossians 3:1-17New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The New Life in Christ
3 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.[b] 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.[c] 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive[d] language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal[e] there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[f] has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ[g] dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.[h] 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


a) Colossians 3:4 Other authorities read our
b) Colossians 3:6 Other ancient authorities lack on those who are disobedient (Gk the children of disobedience)
c) Colossians 3:7 Or living among such people
d) Colossians 3:8 Or filthy
e) Colossians 3:11 Gk its creator, 11 where
f) Colossians 3:13 Other ancient authorities read just as Christ
g) Colossians 3:16 Other ancient authorities read of God, or of the Lord
h) Colossians 3:16 Other ancient authorities read to the Lord

Partial Manuscript of the Sermon given on Sept. 10, 2017

Colossians 3:1-21  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

3 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

If you've been raised with Christ has your life changed?  Are you focused on earthly things or focused on Christ who has risen and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  How many here have been baptized, especially those who've been baptized in a believers baptism or in other words dunked? All of you and myself as well have symbolically died to our old way of being and been raised again in and with Christ.  It is Christ who has hidden your old way of being.
I've said it many times, your life may be the only Bible that someone will ever read. Is your life revealing Christ to those around you?  That's a question we should each ask ourselves every morning and every evening of our lives.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 

Turn your backs on your old ways of being.  Here the author makes us a bit uncomfortable in his verbiage...

Fornication is defined as sexual intercourse outside the confines of the marital bed. Though it's not politically correct nor considered polite in today's world to point these things out, it's quite plain that whomever wrote Colossians is warning us that we who have been risen again with Christ... are called to live up to a certain standard of behavior.  Put to death, fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, I believe all of these are addressed towards sexual sins and all of these are difficult to preach to and even harder to live up to. But, we've been called again to a higher standard. Let us each examine our own lives and reflect upon ourselves.

I've told a few of you the story about how before I came here to Lake City, that during an interview with another church, actually a Baptist Church, that one of the ladies on their search committee asked me a very pointed question.  She asked if I would ever conduct a wedding for a couple that had been living together.  I could see in her eyes the answer that she wanted, of course she wanted me to say that 'NO' I would not... but rather I said “yes”, that I would and I went on to say “you see they unlike most of us... are doing something about their sin.” You could also see in her eyes that she didn't care for my answer, you see she wanted to focus on another's sin not be reminded of her own.

Greed, this one isn't sexual in nature, rather it's a caution about placing things on a higher scale than you place God.  The writer clarifies his commentary and reminds us that greed is idolatry... do not let anything come before God in your lives.

7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

In this new way of being, it doesn't matter who or what you are.  What matters is how you... we... treat one another. By now, you have all more than likely heard me say my own quote “If when reading scripture you never feel convicted, if you never see the hairy hand of God pointing a fat finger right back at you... well then you're not paying close enough attention”.  

If you didn't get a peek of a fat pointing finger at fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, then I'm willing to bet you spied one... or more... at anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive language, or telling an untruth.  Don't worry about the fingers pointing at the person beside you either... you and I have more than enough to be concerned about with the fingers aimed in our own direction.

These words are of course very similar to what we read in the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:25-32
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[b] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. 

We are to have clothed ourselves with a new self, the act of submersion in that baptistery is not only a symbolic death but a symbolic re-clothing.  We are to put on the robes of Christ. And as the author of Colossians says here there is no longer Greek, Jew, circumcised or those under the law, uncircumcised or those born as a gentile, no longer slave nor free, for all are one in Christ.  This closely follows the language found in the book of Galatians, a letter that is indisputably written by the Apostle Paul.

Galatians 3:28 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Of course, it is important to note that in Paul's own words he includes that there is no distinction between male or female.  When our God looks at us He does not see a white man or an African-American female, He doesn't see a sex nor an ethnicity at all... what He sees is one of His children.  A child that He loves, and a child that He wants to have a relationship with for all eternity.

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 

Again we are reminded of the words found in Ephesians that we just read a moment ago: 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Forgiveness of others is serious and vital business, in fact as it says... just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

In the Gospel of Mark we read an even more startling statement:

Mark 11:26  New King James Version (NKJV)
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

And the Gospel of Matthew repeats this message:

Matthew 6:15New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

It appears that God really means it... we are to forgive those who trespass, sin, or are indebted to us. The extension of grace is not just important... it's imperative. 

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, be in a constant state of gratitude to God for all the blessings and the grace that He extends to us, and be always in a state of praise and worship to Him and live your lives in the name of your Lord... Jesus.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Romans 12:9-21, A Sermon on Love

Romans 12:9-21  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Perhaps the major focus of the sermon was on the element of sacrifice in our love for one another.  If we love our fellow man we will sacrifice in some form for those around us.  Far too often we profess love for someone or something, but we are reluctant or unwilling to perform the sacrifice necessary to cultivate that loving relationship.

I don't have much time this week and I need to rush off and do a hospital visitation so I will just leave you all with that thought.

If we truly love our Lord, if we truly love our Lord's creation, if we truly love our Lord's people... have we shown it through sacrifice of time, money, talent or some other fashion...

If not, perhaps today is the day to begin... you can do so very easily by this simple act...

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Love,