Dear Friends,

Do you remember your childhood “chore?”

I remember around the age of 5 that my chore was to go into the chicken coop and collect the eggs. Now this isn’t some great Hollywood moment of singing to the feathery ladies while throwing seed on the ground. To me, this was a moment of real terror. Imagine, a building large enough in which to park cars reconfigured to house 50-100 egg-laying chickens. The “chore” started like this: you courageously turned on the light to wake up the chickens. You would hear the scurrying of the mice who loved the feed on the floor. Then you would go into each nest and take the eggs from large chickens, who would rather you leave their hard work right where they left it. Once you had your containers full you would carry these huge buckets back to the house to wash the eggs so my mother could take the eggs to the buyer in the morning.

The allowance or “pay-off” that I got for this chore that had been handed down from sibling after sibling was a quarter a week, big money in those youthful days!. What? Not fair. My friends made cash from feeding their dog in the warm kitchen or bringing in the dirty clothes from their room to the laundry room.

Ah, time for a life lesson with my father. He explained to me that, being asked to take on a chore, meant that I was part of the family, our little community. I was offered to do a chore that fit my age and abilities. I got an allowance because we had agreed that I would collect eggs and my father would give me a quarter each week. He told me, as I sat red in the face complaining, it wasn’t his job to decide chores and allowances for the other children. In that moment, it was just little Katie Lowe that mattered. I’m not sure I realized the lesson I was being taught to its fullness.

What seems unfair to you right now? Maybe you are a health care worker and in the middle of pandemic you have been asked to take a pay cut to help the hospitals financially survive. Maybe you are a parent trying to make the best decision you can on whether or not your children go to school on-site or virtually at home. Maybe you are the employer and you have to decide whether or not to let an employee go because of lack of sales. Maybe your home was damaged in the derecho and the neighbor seems to be doing just fine while you struggle with insurance policies. Or maybe your unfair is the way you are treated because of your gender, race, personal identification, economic or educational background, citizenship, political party, or wearing or not wearing a mask for COVID.

What is unfair?

Our Lord and Savior has conquered the consequence of a forever separation with God by taking on our “unfair,” the “ugly” of our lives by the way we treat one another or demand fairness on our terms alone. Check out the story from Matthew 20:1-16 and you will connect the dots on how Jesus turns the fairness of this world upside down with the fairness that God provides for each of us.

In a world that is deeply hurting from unfair, it is Good News that the peace from our Lord and Savior is exactly the only thing we need.

Worship with us this weekend with a willingness to ponder God’s Good News for you and me each day. You may check us out online on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. on the lawn, in parked cars, or listen online with Facebook. The pre-recorded service will continue to be available on our website.

See you this weekend! Peace,

Pastor Katie

While giving thanks with farmers for the especially wet week behind us, I am looking forward to the opportunity to gather outdoors for worship this Sunday. The weather report is looking conducive at this point; we’re hoping that, by remaining in vehicles this week, the COVID numbers might allow us to gather safely. We’re going to be starting a new series entitled “Upside Down,” which explores some of the challenging and transformational values apparent when we embrace God’s authority and vision for life together rather than our own. We hope that you can join us for a fresh perspective on the practice of forgiveness in Matthew 18.

It was encouraging to be among the two dozen faces present on “Zoom” Wednesday night for the launch of our Confirmation year. While the challenges to learning this year are significant, we have a great cadre of youth; their enthusiasm for the possibilities and patience with the process were both a blessing to experience. Don’t forget that High School youth and younger children have ministries beginning this month. Watch the calendar!

Recent reports of the pandemic upon the mental health of both youth and adults are really alarming. The stigma attached to the topic isn’t helping to grow our awareness. I’d like to highlight a Holy Trinity event just over a week ahead! The Mental Health Advocacy Team invites you to a presentation on suicide awareness Sunday, 9-20 at 10:15 a.m. Join us as we welcome the “Alive and Running: Suicide Awareness and Prevention” founders, Ryan Nesbit and Troy Belmer, who will talk about the loss of their friend. Likewise Gail and Dan Husmann will share their experience with losing a grandson. This session is intended to increase awareness about prevention, identify available resources, and offer a message of hope. It’s intended for adults and students of middle-school age or older. We hope this will take place on the west lawn, accessible either under canopies or via FM radio in your vehicle. We truly hope that you can be present for these powerful testimonies. Check the website or the church voicemail for updates as the date grows nearer.

Let’s open our ears, eyes, and imaginations to what Christ might reveal to us this week. We need each other’s love and perspective more than ever!

Pastor Tim

Dear Friends,

In the past few weeks, I have found myself making a list. You know…every time something goes wrong, I respond with, “put it on the list.” The car broke down, “put it on the list.” The dog ran away, “put it on the list.” Seems Iowans can’t wear masks, “put it on the list.” The electricity went out (again), “put it on the list.” And so on, and so on.  Honestly, I’m also getting pretty snippy when someone responds to my litany of all the things that are going wrong with even the slightest hint of "but Katie, you should look on the bright side." You know, surviving a derecho, aka hurricane in the middle of Iowa, can make you smirk just a bit and find more comfort in the re-reading of your list.

I had a conversation this week with someone who really “got me.” This person didn’t respond to my list by diminishing my list; instead, that person put themselves in my shoes and walked alongside of me. To me, “put it on the list” was a way to deflect that we had to cut down 30+ severely damaged trees and put into a pile, I was grieving the loyalty to the stewardship of creation, my own memories, relationships, my father, a childhood home, the home where I raised my children, and most importantly, the life of trees that were 50-150-year-old that had witnessed life. I hurt and that alone was the list.

I wonder what’s on your “put it on the list?”

In Psalm 119:33-40, the writer’s key points are;

  • God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.

  • Give me insight

  • Guide me

  • Turn me away from my own selfishness

  • Affirm your promise to me

Fast forward to the writings of Matthew in chapter 18 and its as if Peter is asking Jesus the same type of question, “Master – teach me how many times to forgive.” Peter may actually be asking, "Jesus ,teach me how to forgive, give me insight, guide me, and affirm your promise to me."

In the past few hours my thoughts have been about my “list.” Crazy as it seems, I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive the #1 item on the entire list – well, it’s 2020. As if, a year in my life, in our lives, has a sinister plot against me or against you.

Instead, what I hear is this teachable lesson by Jesus,  "Katie, sit your list down and spend time with me. I am your forgiving God and I want you to hear my message of hope, that I am indeed merciful, I hurt with you, I love you…stay the course for I promise a forever life with me."

What’s on your list? Worry, fear, anger, loneliness, exhaustion, or ________. Put it on the list. Then, spend time with God and simply…well, spend time with God. You don’t have to throw the list away; but by the grace of God through Jesus Christ alone, your list of teachable moments will reveal how to love and forgive and how to be loved and forgiven. 2020 is not going down as the worst year. It’s going down as challenging, but it will not defeat you or me, for, by God’s gift of grace through Jesus Christ , you and I have been saved. Put that on our list.

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Katie


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North Liberty, IA