Revelation 22:1-2, 5 (CEB) Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations…Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always.
(Proverbs 16-24) Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy to the body.
I remember after my father's death a friend sent me a note that meant the world to me. It picked me up when I needed it most. Then a few business hurdles presented themselves and tough decisions had to be made. Again, I received a note from an unlikely person reminding me of me. These moments have happened many times in my life. In fact one was from Bob after a tough week I came into the office to find this note, "just a note of thanks. You are amazing, kind, and 'real'. I am honored to know you."
As I look back at these moments I see God's love through these people shining on me. These little notes remind me daily the power of our words in this life.. They have immense value, yet they cost nothing to give away. They can build people up, they can encourage, and they can provide hope. Kind words can create actual change in the hearts and lives of the people around us. Our family and friends need hope, joy, and love right now. How are you using your words to spread hope?
Heavenly Father, You have built a community here at EOCC. You know we all need Your inspired words of encouragement and hope, and we need words of encouragement and hope from each other. Father, Bless our hearts and tongues with words that bless those around us. Bless our hearts so that when others say kind words about us, we absorb that kindness and allow it to build us up. May I pass this power on to others. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.
For those who have traveled with Paul we know suffering became a regular part of Paul life as an Apostle. Thinking about Paul and his life I am not sure how he did not become bitter, defeated or hopeless. In the reading above it tells us why. The apostle understood that “the essential quality of hope is that it is oriented to something in the future that one expects but does not yet possess (Rom 8:24–25).”* He knew real hope grew, not from human resolve or strength, but from the sustaining presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
This hope Paul speaks of is available to each of us today. It is not a wish or a thing, the hope Paul speaks of comes in the form of a person, Jesus Christ. We have been blessed with the means to better know God through Jesus. To know this hope through the study of scripture and each other. Jesus himself said He would never leave us orphaned and gave us the Holy Spirit, the mighty Counselor, to remind us of this hope, peace, joy and love that came through His life to us. Grab your Bible and read. There are so many beautiful lessons that will help in your relationship with God. Amen...
Almighty God, my Lord Jesus, I don’t like this pandemic time. I don’t like it when I or someone I love is sick, or unemployed, or sad and disappointed.Yet, I’m truly thankful that even in these times, especially in these times, you are with me every moment. Lord, may good come from this time of uncertainty. May it draw us closer to You and to each other. Lord, bless this nation, bless the church I serve and each soul. May unity in this time become our strength and help us get through this crisis. Father, forgive me of my sins as I look to forgive people in my life. I pray this in Your Son's name. Amen
Matthew 8:23-34 23 When Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A huge storm arose on the lake so that waves were sloshing over the boat. But Jesus was asleep. 25 They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, rescue us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you people of weak faith?” Then he got up and gave orders to the winds and the lake, and there was a great calm.
27 The people were amazed and said, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the lake obey him!”
28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed came from among the tombs to meet him. They were so violent that nobody could travel on that road. 29 They cried out, “What are you going to do with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time of judgment?” 30 Far off in the distance a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons pleaded with him, “If you throw us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 Then he said to the demons, “Go away,” and they came out and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. 33 Those who tended the pigs ran into the city and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
DEVOTION: In the Book of Jeremiah 5 God reminds the Hebrew people that He made the sea, the waves and the boundaries. These disciples, fishermen, would know that storms could rise in a moments notice on this inland lake and in their belief they believed only God could restrain stormy seas. In a storm, Jesus slept in the boat. Awakened, he amazed the disciples by calming the storm. Landing, they met two terribly strong, unstable men. (Note: Mark and Luke only wrote about one man in this story.) Jesus reordered their disordered lives by calming their inner storms, just as he had the sea.
Sometimes we forget God has the power to calm the storms inward as well as outward. As you face this stormy life season, have you had any sense Jesus is “in the boat” with you? Scott Krippayne sang, “Sometimes He calms the storm, And other times He calms His child.”* In which of those ways has Jesus most been with you in this storm?
Talking to many of you and listening to your stories these questions came ot my mind in this time of uncertainty, storm of life. However much longer this goes on, how can you trust God to bring new order out of the disorder of this difficult time? Has the outer crisis created any inner storms for you, perhaps giving you insight into feelings and attitudes for which you’d value healing and hope? Do you believe Jesus' power is available for you, directly or through human instruments, as it was for the men in today’s story? Are there any ways God is calling you to become a channel of hope to others facing life’s storms?
Think about this passage, the questions it may bring to mind in your life. See you at 10, pastor Carl
Lord God, I am grateful for the ways you have loved me through my mother and those who have filled the role of mothers in my life. I thank you for the ways I have seen you in them. I pray for all the mothers around me; help me to show them my love and appreciation so that they may also see you in me. I pray for those mothers who have lost children or those who long to be mothers, and I pray for those who are experiencing Mother’s Day without their mothers – give them the peace that only you can provide.
Help me. Lord, to remember how you love me in a motherly way so I might love others the same. Lord Jesus, sometimes my emotions feel like one of the snowstorms that blow through our area. Thank you for always offering me peace, and help and healing if the storm threatens to last. Father I lift this and all things up to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
DEVOTION Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10
How are you doing? For the most part the people I have spoken to seem to be doing well They have all said that they miss the church family and getting together but overall they are well. Praise our Lord.
I have also noticed that many people I have talked with have s a wonderful spiritual outlook.We all know that in uncertain times anxiety and stress can raise. It often times leaves us with questions and even doubts. The Bible tells us it is in these times that we need to look to the one we can trust, someone who will speak truth. We look for someone who will tell us how to go forward. These are the times to refocus on God. To let the Holy Spirit remind us of God's love for us through Jesus Christ. He is our security. He is our source of wisdom. He asks you and me to commit ourselves and our future into His hands. God, does not fail the one who looks to Him. We need to trust Him to lead us forward? During these times of separation reconnect with the One who has blessed us in the past and will continue forever more.
EOCC, my family, please continue to reach out to each other and help those who need help, pray for those who ask, pray for this pastor, our leadership teams and this great State and nation. We all can be doing something in these crazy times. A big thank you to those who have been able to give so generously in this time of uncertainty.
Almighty God, I know you will see us through this time of fear, frustration and opportunity. Lord I pray for those who are having financial difficulty. May you Father, touch the hearts of those who may be able ot help. Lord, I pray for those who have lost loved ones recently, those who have lost jobs and especially those who have lost hope. Lord Jesus, led them our way so we can show them your love through our families gifts. Lead them our way for prayer or a meal. Whatever it is Lord, I believe we stand ready to help. I thank you God for the love the church I serve has shown in these difficult times. From feeding the hungry to offering a hot shower. Lord, forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who have cause me harm. Lord, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Good Sunday morning. What a beautiful day to celebrate life with the Risen Christ. I would like to remind you that on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm we gather on Facebook live for a Vespers service. Also this morning at 10 am on our web site. EOCCME.COM
Please keep in prayer the Pooler family as Jim Pooler passed earlier this week. A service will be planned for when we can gather again. In the meantime Ruth Mary could use our love and prayers. Their address is in our on line directory.
Please let us know if you have any needs and we will do our best to help out. We are still here!!!
Lamentations 3:18-26 18 I thought: My future is gone, as well as my hope from the LORD.
19 The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. 20 I can’t help but remember and am depressed. 21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait. 22 Certainly the faithful love of the LORD hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! 23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness. 24 I think: The LORD is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him. 25 The LORD is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him. 26 It’s good to wait in silence for the LORD’s deliverance.
The writer of this passage was there when Babylon completely destroyed Jerusalem. Amid the rubble, the deaths and total destruction he wrote this passage. A tragedy of such magnitude that it would last with him forever. For us today it is like the Vietnam War, 9-11 and now the virus.
What I love about this passage is the writer wrote about his pain, his misery in life. He did not hide from it or try and deny his own experience of agony. Yet, in this he projected to us and himself a undying trust in God. " I have hope. Great is your faithfulness. It is good to wait in silence for the Lord's deliverance. What power these writing have for those who are mourning at this time. Those who are scared or even simply frustrated.
As I have said before, I believe God's love and compassion are renewed every morning. The sun will come up and we will make a choice to walk with the Lord or not. It is a choice to take one day at a time, to learn while our mind is grieving. A difficult task yes, but one that I have seen many achieve with Christ. In times of tragedy and grief it is easy to doubt if things will get better, but this is never a reason to abandon hope. I believe this is exactly why Christ chose to die for us, so we might have eternal hope in Him.
I pray you will join us at 10 on our web site eoccme.com . You all are deeply missed.
Almighty God, I know and have experienced Your renewing power in my life. This morning God I ask that this power be given to all whose hearts are open to receive this love and hope. Father, I give you thanks for the grace that is being seen in the world around me today. Thank you for being with us and lifting many up in Your arms. Father, I ask you to forgive me in my sinfulness. I ask you to renew my soul and heal my body. Lord Jesus, come. Father, I pray this and all things in Your Son's Holy name. Amen
I put all my hope in the Lord. He leaned down to me; he listened to my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the pit of death, out of the mud and filth, and set my feet on solid rock.
He steadied my legs.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise for our God.
Psalm 40:1-3a (CEB)
My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.” The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness-- Lamentations 3:17-23 (NSRV)
Our cat (now deceased) loved to lay in the sunlight, in the warmth of God's gift. On days that the sun did not come out it seemed as if she would almost mope around a bit, grudgingly finding a lap to jump on. Even when the sun was out she learned that through out the day she would have to search to where the light was and move back into the light..She knew If she stayed in one place, she would have lost the sunshine, the warmth for the rest of that day. It seemed if the morning started with light even if grayness came her hope carried her through the day that the warmth and light would return. Her mood was totally different if her day sated with light, hope.
Sometimes hope is easy to find – our finances are good, our jobs are going well, and we are in good health, so it’s easy for us to be hopeful. At other times, we experience setbacks and have to work really hard to find hop Over the past month many have had problems finding the light in their day. Between gray days, being seperated from others, the depressing statistics, the constant name calling are a few reasons i have heard that the hope or warmth is hard to find.
Even in the moments when the sun or hope isn’t shining on us, it can still be found. We can find it by meditating on Scripture, reading a positive uplifting book, reaching out to a friend for a chat, or lacing up our shoes and going for a walk. Hope is always nearby because Christ is always with us.
If you find yourself feeling hopeless, do not ignore those feelings. Pick up a phone and call another member, your pastor or a neighbor. If needed make an appointment with a therapist. Sometimes, like my cat we have to get up and look for the warmth we desire and need. Remember: there is always hope, your are never alone with the Son.
Almighty God, my Lord and my God Jesus, I am so grateful for the love you give, the warmth and hope that comes from our relationship. Thank you for being with me when the sun is shinning and in the dark moments of life, often seen as night. I am blessed to know you in my life. I am grateful in knowledge that your promise to never leave me or forsake me is trustworthy and true. Lord help me plant my roots deeper in the knowledge of your never failing love. Father forgive me of my sins as I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
I feel like it is ground hog's day. "The Movie" THe events page will come back,but in the mean time are you using this time to learn new things? Reading the Word? For now let us all make our own calendar of events. Share with others what you are doing. for example: Trease Hodge made wonderful sugar cookie easter pops and gave them to people. Share you story.
Back to the beauty of the garden but his time near where Jesus rose from the dead! Shall we recall the wonder of the empty tomb, where the women were told of Jesus that "He is not here, for he is risen"? At first the disciples in Luke 24 answered, "No!" They considered the women's report to be "an idle tale and they did not believe them." (verse 11) But later that night they saw Jesus fro themselves and accepted the fact that something wonderful had happened.
How can we make the story came real for ourselves today? Especially in the midst of chaos and fear. Even without the events unfolding today many of us subscribe to the advice that, " If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't." How do we get out of our skepticism? Can we truly believe that Jesus lives among us?
The Apostle Paul dealt with this question. ( I could paraphrase but I won't, read 1 Corinthians 15) The truth that I know is Christ is in our worship time, Bible studies and most especially Communion.Whether gathered here at EOCC or through modern technology. He also come to us in personal prayer, our daily tasks, at the office or even quarantined at home. Jesus lives in the garden of our lives, enabling us to experience beauty and to bear fruit in creative living. Happy Easter and I hope you can join us with Facebook live at 5:45 ish in the morning and then again at 9 am on our web site eoccme.com. Both services will be left up for a period of time afterwards.
Almighty and Holy God, Bless this day as I seek to live Easter in my life daily. Lord thank you fro sending Your Son. Thank you for the people you have brought into my life as we journey together. Lord forgive my sins, give me what I need today. I ask you to bless my colleague and friend Pastor Wilbins Maginet. i ask you to bless the NACCC as they have decided to cancel this years annual meeting in Portland, Maine. Be with those who have worked so hard putting things in place only to see them vanish with a vote. Lord, bless this church family, the community and the world around us. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
We should never lose sight of the amazing love God has displayed toward us.
As we are in the middle of Holy Week I think the phrase above has an even greater meaning than normal. Many of you know that I am married to a most amazing person. I can honestly say that I love her with all my being. Yet I know my love is limited. No matter how deeply or sincerely I love ,I am constrained by my own failings so that I cannot perfectly love another. Only God has this perfect love to offer I believe.
An example of this love is most clearly seen in His offer of salvation. It is not because we are good or lovable that He loves us, but because of His gracious love. The late Dr. John Rice, author and evangelist said, “Nobody ever deserves salvation, and no one ever will. I deserved Hell before I was saved, and I deserve Hell now. But bless God, through His infinite mercy I am saved and on my way to Heaven. Salvation is wholly by God's rich grace. Jesus died for sinners.”
Today we face a darkness, there is a lot of fear, misstatements, foolishness as well as kindness and goodness. No matter what is going on let us not lose sight of the amazing love God has for us. Let us live in it, share it and give thanks for it knowing that our God is an awesome God and our. God is good.... stay safe and stay connected. Pastor Carl
On Palm Sunday we find ourselves not in a garden but on a dusty road heading into town. Because of the scriptures we do know Palm trees were plentiful as it tells us they cut Palms and laid them in the road as Jesus entered before them.The streets were lined with people shouting Hosanna, Blessed is the King who comes int he name of the Lord. Can you feel the hope, joy, even a sense of victory that most likely filled the hearts of the many who hailed him.
Then, in a blink of eye we stand in the Garden of the High Priest, to whom Jesus was taken after His arrest by the Roman soldiers. It is in this area where Peter denies knowing Him and left weeping bitterly. It was here all had abandon the Messiah. They had come from a road of triumph and delight to despair.
If we think about it, life brings us many different garden experiences. Though we come to the garden with Jesus there is no guarantee it will be easy. Life is like that rose garden; beautiful at times but there is always thorn present. However, it makes a different knowing the Jesus walks with us, that God is near. Somehow this always bring hope into the moment. The very one who walked this lonesome valley makes us less lonesome.
In this time of darkness, uncertainty, may we never forget the Psalm where we are reminded God walks with us through the valley of shadow of death, not "in" the valley.God's rod and staff they comfort us.
For me, especially this year's journey of Lent, I am reminded to live life fully, to enjoy the wonder of things; the simple and complex; to trust and not despair when things get tough. For our God is trustworthy and True. He is our constant companion and nothing can ever separate us from His love. I hope in some way our Lenten journey together has brought you closer to God and to who He is.
Almighty and Holy God, may all honor and glory be Yours. Father as I enter Holy week with Your Son I thank you fro Your great love. I thank You fro giving us a hope of everlasting life and salvation through Your cross and resurrection. I kneel before You asking You to forgive me of my sinfulness. I thank you for my family who teaches me daily and all those who walk with me.Lord, I need You. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Luke 17:1-37 1 Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin. 3 Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them. 4 Even if someone sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I am changing my ways,’ you must forgive that person.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner’? 8 Wouldn’t you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink’? 9 You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? 10 In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.’”
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
20 Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom was coming. He replied, “God’s kingdom isn’t coming with signs that are easily noticed. 21 Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already among you.”
Jesus told his disciples they should forgive “even if someone sins against you seven times in one day.” (Luke 17:4. Matthew 18:21-22 said either “seventy seven times” or “seventy times seven.”) In any form, that’s more forgiving than we do naturally! “Increase our faith!” the disciples said. Jesus told them even a little faith is powerful. He healed ten lepers who showed just a little faith. Asked when (in the future) to expect God’s Kingdom, Jesus instead spoke of the need to trust God today to be ready for any trial that might come.
Today, in these times of being shut in may each of us hear these words of Christ and bring them to life. Who do we need to reconnect with? Are you questioning your faith with God? Especially in these times of trouble. If so remember, it is God who tells you that His healing powers are upon you with the smallest amount of faith. For me that's reassuring. And finally, today is the day you have. Do not worry about tomorrow, do not waste your time with when God will return.It will happen in his time. Instead take this time of isolation to talk with God, listen to His whispers, and know He is with us.
Gracious God, too often we fail to see the moment we are in because we are so concerned about tomorrow or things that are not in our control. Lord, help me to focus on the now, to make connection today, to give generously knowing you will provide what I need. Lord, thank you for those who are still able and willing ot the work. Thank you for those who are listening to the experts and staying home and spreading this terrible virus further. Lord, may the experiences we are now experiencing lead us to a deeper love for you and each other. May good come from this. Lord, I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006