Pastor Mindy Huffman's Memo

Wednesday, January 5

We are called to Shine His Light

Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

 

The heart of God, our heavenly Father, is to partner with us in seeing the light of his kingdom advance to every dark corner of the earth. Why he in his perfect wisdom has chosen to use us bewilders me. But his desire to co-labor with us is the truth of Scripture. God has called us to be the light shining into the darkness of others’ lives in love.

 

Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:14-16You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

 

In my late 20’s, I considered myself incapable of giving “light to all in the house.” I know my weaknesses all too well. I see the darkness in my life. How can I give light to anyone? You see, I thought the light I was supposed to give was the light of my own perfection. I thought I needed to get my life sorted out before I could ever minister to someone else. And out of that misconception I failed to experience the abundant life that comes from being used by God.

 

The truth of Scripture is that God is not calling us to minister out of our perfection. He isn’t calling us to figure everything out before we can be used. The most powerful declaration we can make to those in darkness is that we who are in desperate need have been met by a perfectly loving Savior. When all the world sees, is our facade of perfection, they know right away that they don’t belong in Christianity. But when we live with the courage to be truly vulnerable and honest, we open our lives for those in darkness to see the light of God within us—that he in his grace encounters, loves, and dwells with weak and desperate folks.

 

God is not calling us to share with the world our own perfection. He is calling us to simply be who we truly are, encounter his loving-kindness, and share with the world the grace-filled hope we have in Christ. Take time today to simply let God love you. Allow him to mold and shape you into a child who wholly experiences the love of the Father. And from that place of being loved as you are, open up your life and love others as you have been loved. Live today openly and honestly before God and man. Open up your life to those in darkness that they might see the light of God’s glorious grace. And live as the light of the world, illuminating the path to God’s heart for all those around you. May you experience the joy, passion, and purpose that comes from being used by God to advance his kingdom today.

Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, December 29

I read a poem the other day, by Ann Weems, entitled the Church Year.  As we close out 2021 and look to 2022, I want to share this poem with you, as a reminder that the Church is about more than Christmas and a Babe born in Bethlehem, for this is only the beginning.

The church is Advent. 

 The unwrapping of God’s greatest gift is near.

Advent – coming.

God will take away the tinsel and decorate our human hearts in hope so that Christians can sit laughing in the rain,   

 knowing that the Lord is going to shine in upon their being.

For no matter how long the darkness, God will send the Light.

In spite of curing and violence and the massacring of human dignity, we will dance in the streets of Bethlehem, for 

 He will be born!

 

The church is Epiphany.

We are the Magi, searching, resplendent in this world’s accouterments of knowledge and wealth and achievement.

But we search for something more.

And – of all unlikely places – in a stable the Deity appears.

The borning of our Lord bursts in upon our ordinary lives like fireworks in the snow.

Only God would send a little baby King, and we are on our knees, where we are within reach of our full personhood.

 

The church is Good Friday.

Darkness burnt into blackness, abysmal absence of anything good.

We acknowledge that death is real and we tremble for a world that would kill its God.

Our feet stand in quicksand; our voices echo sterile silence.

We huddle together to meet the dark and the death, forgetting what was taught us, forgetting that somewhere a seed is sprouting, somewhere a child is growing.

All we see is Christ crucified.

 

The church is Easter.

Out of earth: Life

Out of darkness: a lush green world flowers in the ice sunrays in the storm  mustard seeds galore.

Our souls enter a spiritual springtime, our bodies given over to leaping and dancing, our very beings saturated in hosannas.

Our shouting crashed in upon this world: the Lord lives! We live!

Resurrection resounds throughout our community.

 

The church is Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit is poured out upon us and sends us out together a flame with new life, inheritors of the wealth of God: life abundant.

We are liberated from the prisons of pettiness, jealousy, and greed, liberated to be the church.

 

We are freed to free others.

We are affirmed to affirm others.

We are loved to love others.

We are family; we are community.

We are the church triumphant – you, me, anyone who would come unto the Lord – renewed, redirected, empowered to change things and lives together in love and wholeness.

 

We are the Lord’s church, the church of justice and mercy, the people sent to open prisons, to heal the sick, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to reconcile, to be alleluias when there is no music.

The mantle is upon our shoulders.
Joy is apparent in our living.

We have been commissioned to be the church of Jesus Christ.

 

At midnight on December 31st as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022, let us celebrate our achievements and accomplishments.  We await the sprouting of seeds sown in past years and the opportunity to sow more.  As we follow the Christ Child from the manger at Bethlehem into his ministry and to the cross and beyond may we continue to reach out and up for Him.  May we allow the Holy Spirit to energize our ministries that we might reach new places and new people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.   Let us shine His light into the dark places of life, that the coming years may be more fruitful than the past ones.

 

THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I want to take this time as well to say thank you very much to all of you for your cards and gifts this Christmas season and your love and support all through the year it is most appreciated.

Thanks to all of you who make it so easy for me to be the Pastor at Calvary UMC.  

                                                

Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, December 22

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I want to share with you some wisdom I read this last week, Lessons from a Christmas Tree.  I found these to be very insightful and relate well to who and what we are to be as growing, maturing disciples of Jesus.  Hope you enjoy these and find them helpful as you gather with friends and family to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

 

                        Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, December 15

Who Should We Follow

1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

 

Did you ever play the game Follow the Leader as a kid?  That was a favorite game of my cousins and I when we were together. Someone would be the leader and everyone else had to mimic what the leaders did – and if you couldn’t then you were out.  And each turn lasted until only one follower was left and then they became the leader.  Sometimes it was easy to do what the leader was doing – other times it was hard, especially if it was a skill us younger cousins had not yet mastered.  But we were good sports and tried our best. And usually, the leader didn’t try to make you do anything foolish or dangerous.

 

Do you ever feel like in our world today we are being urged to join into a game of follow the leader? With all the political and social unrest in our country and throughout the world someone is always encouraging us to follow this leader or that leader – to take that celebrities advice or that politician’s advice, etc.  With all the voices clamoring for our attention  – it can be hard to know who to believe, who to listen to and who to follow.

  

The Apostle Paul had the same problem in his day, even among the new followers of Jesus. People were arguing about who was the better Christian to follow, as different groups were touting their own leaders or the person who had baptized them.  Paul encouraged believers to follow not him, but his example – because he followed the example of Christ.  Paul’s advice is just as relevant for us today as it was for the believers in his day.

 

Following and leading, after all, are what we disciples of Christ are called to do.  Paul sought to faithfully follow Jesu, and in this way served as an example for others to follow.  And Jesus calls each one of us to follow him as well. And our aim should be to not only follow faithfully but to lead others to follow Jesus also. 

 

In this busy time of the year let us Jesus’ disciples set the tone for those around us – let us model for those around us the same hope, peace, joy and love that Jesus modeled for us. By living lives that model the life of Jesus, we are pointing others to an abundant life – a life that has eternal meaning and purpose.  So don’t just follow anyone – spend time in the word – cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus – follow where he leads – and be the kind of example of Jesus’ life that points others to him.

 

Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, december 8

God’s Coming Love

Psalm 25:4 Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths.

 

Psalm 25:1-10 was part of my devotions on Monday.  At first reading I thought it was a strange choice for the season of Advent, but then I read it again and thought about it some more and discovered it really was a good fit for Advent, as it speaks to God’s love for his children.  

 

Verse 4 is the meat of the passage, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” In the Season of Advent we are on a path of preparation. It is our time to reflect on the meaning that Jesus’ birth has for our lives. 

 

As we prepare ourselves in Advent – we are preparing ourselves to know Jesus’ ways, to immerse ourselves in Jesus’ teachings.  We are preparing ourselves to walk a pathway of a life worthy of Jesus – a life permeated with his love.

 

Verse 10 says, “All the Lord’s paths are loving and faithful for those who keep his covenant and laws.” The Psalmist’s words here are a gracious promise that by keeping covenant with God, our pathway will be characterized by steadfast love and faithfulness.  This echoes what we know about Advent and Christmas – that God’s love came down at Christmas.  God’s promise of love calls for faithfulness on our part.

 

Love is coming in the birth of the One who will show us how to live life to its fullest. It is a life where love is central to our identity and our relationship not just with God but also with others. Love is coming, and Advent is our time to prepare for it, to live into it, and to make it our life force. 

 

As we continue our Advent journey let us ask our gracious and loving God to guide us in our pathway of preparation for the birth of Jesus into our lives all over again. And let us strive, even amid the busyness and chaos of the season to shine the light and share the love of Christ everywhere we go.

 

Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, December 1

Advent – A Time to Prepare

 

It’s hard to believe that December is already here.  Where has the year gone?  December can be such a crazy month for all of us.  There are cards to be sent, shopping to be done, decorations to be put up and the list goes on.  For those of us who are student’s final papers and final exams are upon us.  All the hustle and bustle, it’s no wonder so many people feel overwhelmed and even depressed at this time of year.  Sometimes we get so busy with the details of the season, we forget what the seasons of Advent (which began last Sunday) and Christmas are all about.  Many others, unfortunately, don’t even know what Advent is, let alone the reason for this season.

                       

The other night, I watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas, for the umpteenth time.  I love this cartoon.  It starts out with Charlie Brown lamenting the commercialization that seems to have overtaken Christmas.  Charlie Brown is in search of the true meaning of Christmas.  The final straw comes when Charlie Brown is sent to get a Christmas tree, and as we all know, he comes back with a pretty pathetic looking tree.  All the other kids laugh at, make fun of and walk out on Charlie Brown.  Except for Linus.  Linus once again, comes through for his pal and tells Charlie Brown what the true meaning of Christmas is.

 

            8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

                                    Luke 2:8-11

 

Advent is a time we prepare for that coming.  In church we light a candle in the Advent wreath each Sunday.  We light the candle of Hope to remind us of the promises made by all the prophets that God would raise up a Savior for his people.  Christ is our hope and our salvation.  He calls us to share our hope in him with each other. We light the peace candle to remind us that it is only with God and by following in his path that true peace can be found.  Christ brings the peace of God to us.  He calls us to share the peace he gives with each other.  We light the joy candle to remind us that God gives joy to every heart that abides in him.  As Mary rejoiced in the birth of Jesus, so his birth in us brings us joy.  God calls us to share the joy he gives with each other.  We light the love candle to remind us that Jesus is God’s gift of love to us, and that in him the light of love triumphs over darkness.  Love never fails, it transforms all those who give it and receive it.  God calls us to share his love with each other.  Finally we light the Christ candle on Christmas Eve to remind us that the light of the world was born this night.  

Let us take time this Advent season to prepare our hearts and our lives to receive the Christ Child.  Let us not become so caught up in the secular realm of Christmas, that we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

                        

As you go through this busy time of year, remember that hope, that peace, that joy and that love that Christ brings to each of us and give it to everyone you come into contact with.  Maybe, just maybe, through all of us, we can bring peace on earth and good will to all humankind.

                

Pastor Mindy

 



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Wednesday, November 24

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”           Matthew 6:33

Thanksgiving Day calls us to remember and give thanks. November calls us to remember all God has provided –in the form of people – leaders, teachers, mentors, heroes and heroines, family, friends – and needs – food, warmth, clothes – and the most important thing he provided Jesus Christ

Thanksgiving Day is a day for us to think about all we have to be grateful for - a time to count our blessings - and to remember all God has given us - all that God has promised.  Matthew 6:25-33 is a part of the Sermon on the Mount that emphasize leading a life that is focused on God, on seeking Godly approval instead of human approval, and seeking spiritual rewards instead of material rewards.   This passage goes beyond us, just saying, “thanks God, for all my stuff!”  These verses remind us that the basis for thanksgiving is that the God, who has demonstrated his generosity throughout all creation knows our needs and, if we will seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, “all these things will be given to you as well.” (v33)

Jesus tells us not to worry about this life and to seek first the kingdom of God.  He wants us to really hear the not worry part, so he says it twice.  First in verse 25 and again in verse 31.  People in Jesus’ day needed to hear this because they had the stress of daily living.  Much of their day was spent just providing food and clothing.  Then Jesus uses God’s creation as examples to put to rest the worry of God’s people. In verse 26 he tells how God takes care of the birds of the air.  Verses 28,29 describe the beauty of the flowers of the earth.  And in verse 30 Jesus tells how man is much more valuable to God than the birds and the flowers.  Then He tells us there is only one conclusion to be drawn, worry can’t add time to our life, (verse 27).  Verse 34 adds to that by telling us tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day is evil enough, so don’t add tomorrow’s problems, that aren’t even here yet on top of today’s.  Jesus wants his hearers to remember they are different.  They aren’t like the rest of the world, nor are we.  They and we should not act like the rest of the world.  Unbelievers pursue worldly things and then generally end up with those worldly things controlling them.  For us, who are believers, God knows our needs.  And if we turn over control of our life to God, instead of our things, God will provide for our needs.  Verse 25 reminds us that our lives are more important than worldly things.  Jesus says seek first the kingdom of God.  And that is our answer for thankful living.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  And these are God’s gracious gifts to us that this world can’t provide.

Thanksgiving is not just a day of feasting, football, family and Friday sales. For the believer thanksgiving is a way of life.  Once again, Jesus teaches us how to live thankfully every day of our Christian lives. This Thanksgiving be thankful for all God has blessed you with, have a gratitude attitude , seek first the kingdom of God – and live with a spirit of gratitude.  

                Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, November 17

Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

It is no secret that I love coffee. I love coffee in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. I love coffee when it’s hot or when it’s cold. I love it every day. As we come closer to the time of year when we are especially reminded to be thankful for all we have and to share generously with others, whether it be love and kindness or our treasurers, I was reminded of a story about how life is like a cup of coffee.

There was a group of alumni, highly established in their careers, and they had gotten together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

The type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live – but our relationship with Jesus sure can and does. Are you more worried about the wrapping’s society says you need to put on your life to be happy or are you more concerned about your relationship with Jesus?  If you want a stress free, joyous life follow Jesus – live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. God doesn’t care about our outward wrapping, but about what is in our hearts. Micah 6:8 gives us a perfect recipe for living a joyous life – “act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” When we do that we can’t help but exhibit the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – this is what will define us.

Pastor Mindy



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Wednesday, November 14

 A Picture of Peace

 

John 14:27-29

 

 

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

 

John 14:27-29 is one of my favorite scripture passages. I love this passage because it reminds me of the peace Jesus wants for all of us. Not just an absence of conflict or noise – but souls and hearts at peace because we have Jesus in our lives, and he has promised too always be with us.  We don’t have to fret about tomorrow – because we believe and because we believe we have all the promises of Jesus at our disposal. This reminds me of a story I read a while back:

 

An artist was commissioned by a wealthy man to paint something that would depict peace. After a great deal of thought, the artist painted a beautiful country scene. There were green fields with cows standing in them, birds were flying in the blue sky and a lovely little village lay in a distant valley. The artist gave the picture to the man, but there was a look of disappointment on his face. The man said to the artist, “This isn’t a picture of true peace. It isn’t right. Go back and try again.”

 

So, the artist went back to his studio, thought for several hours about peace, then went to his canvas and began to paint. When he was finished, there on the canvas was a beautiful picture of a mother, holding a sleeping baby in her arms, smiling lovingly at the child. The artist thought surely, this is true peace, and hurried to give the painting to the wealthy man. But again, the wealthy man refused the painting and asked the painter to try again.

 

The artist returned again to his studio. He was discouraged, tired, and disappointed. Anger swelled inside him he felt the rejection of this wealthy man. Again, he thought, he even prayed for inspiration to paint a picture of true peace. Then all of a sudden, an idea came, he rushed to the canvas and began to paint as he had never painted before. When he finished, he hurried to the wealthy man. He gave the painting to the man. He studied it carefully for what seemed like eternity. The artist held his breath. Then the wealthy man said, “Now this is a picture of true peace.” He accepted the painting, paid the artist and everyone was happy.

 

What was the picture of true peace? The picture showed a stormy sea pounding against a cliff. The artist had captured the fury of the wind as it whipped black rain clouds laced with lightning. Rain was pouring, the sea was roaring, the waves churning. So vivid was the storm you could hear the thunder crashing in your mind. You might be thinking – that doesn’t sound very peaceful. But, in the middle of the painting, under a cliff, the artist had painted a small bird, safe and dry in her nest snuggled safely in the rocks. The bird was at peace as the storm raged about her.

 

This painting shows one of the best definitions of peace. It is not just the absence of a storm. It is knowing that God is with us during the storm. This is the peace that Jesus came to bring us. Before Jesus left the earth he told the disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (Jon 14:27).

 

The world offers us a shifting peace. It exhibits a peace that is here when the sun is up but gone when the sun is down. In contrast Jesus gives us a peace that stays constantly. Do you remember a story in the Bible about a time the disciples were on a boat in the Sea of Galilee and a storm suddenly arose? The waves began to shake the boat, and the wind began to blow them away. Yet Jesus was in the boat completely asleep. Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen. They fished for a living – they had logged many hours on the water – and this storm frightened them. It scared them so much that they woke Jesus up and asked what was wrong with him – sleeping at a time like this – didn’t he care that they were going to drown? Jesus unhurriedly got up and very calmly spoke to the storm. He said, “Silence, be still” to the storm (Mark 4:35-40). As Jesus spoke those words, the storm stopped. This is what peace looks like. Jesus is at such rest that he can sleep during this colossal storm.

 

Many times, when we are going through a stressful time, we cannot sleep. We have no peace. It is time for all of God’s children to receive the peace that Jesus gives us. When you are feeling stressed or nervous or lonely or afraid, remind yourself that Jesus is your refuge. Be like the painting of the little bird in the painting, storms may be all around us – but we have a peace which, “Surpasses all understanding”. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

Pastor Mindy

 



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Wednesday, November 3

Buzzards – Bats – Bees

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.”               Hebrews 1:3a

 

Each Sunday morning I ask for Glory Sightings.  Glory sightings are when we get to glimpse a sliver of heaven and behold God’s awesomeness.  If we are constantly looking down – down at our phones – down at the news – down at other distractions, then we will most likely miss the Glory Sightings God has for us. But if we look up – up to the one who created everything – oh, what we might behold – glory indeed.  If we would just, as the Hymn Writer put it, if we would turn our yes upon Jesus and look full in his wonderful face, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.  As I was reflecting on glory sightings this morning I was reminded of a short devotion about Buzzards – Bats and Bees that I want to share with you.

 

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top. 

 

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash. 

 

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom it will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys 
itself. 

In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that if they look up, if they will turn their eyes upon Jesus, they'll find the answer, they will catch a glimpse of glory.  So look up – look to Jesus – and see the glory sightings God has for you.

Pastor Mindy



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