postcards from sabbatical – week 5

postcards from sabbatical – week 5

Dear Faith Friends, The hiking has turned hot and dusty, testing our will and tenacity, and our sunscreen. We left Crete, for four smaller islands.  Santorini was chilly enough at night that we had to go back for more clothes.  But, Serifos – which we just left – and Sifnos, where we are headed to, are blistering.  Even the locals say it is too hot.  Paths are devoid of shade and everything is uphill or down. We keep walking, step by step, to appreciate all there is to see – a plant I everyone has seen but has no name for, an old man riding his donkey home laden with goods, stone walls built hundred of years ago, red lava cliffs and black sand.  The chilly waters of the Aegean Sea, down below, go a long way to restoring our good humor. This isn’t a hardship, of course, but a gift.  Yet, it is a training of sorts for taking what is and living into it with delight and curiosity, because it is what God has set before you. Paul loved the congregation in Philippi, in the north of Greece (where it may have been cooler), encouraging them to keep moving forward in faith, no matter the circumstance, rejoicing in the presence of a living God.  I tramp on with his hymn singing in my heart, for this time and for you. Blessings on the journey, Charlotte Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say: rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near…The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds...
June 25 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

June 25 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

What makes the Foolish Wise? 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 I don’t know about you, but over the spring I became somewhat fascinated with all that is going on in Washington D.C.  We seem to be a new era of both public political portrayal and news coverage.  As I watched different news anchors pry information out of our politicians, I became aware of an interesting change in the way that they respond to each other.  It goes something like this:  News anchor A asks politician B a question.  Then politician B reframes the questions and answer a question that was not asked.  That particular technique in debate is called of course “REFRAMING” like reframing a picture by placing the piece of art in a completely different frame so that it appears different than it did before and it falls into the category of Logical fallacies. I sit there as I watch these debates shouting at my television as if it could hear me saying, “Just answer the question”.  Then they go on to miraculously find a way to mention all of the pertinent legislature that they have written, passed or voted on.  Then I end up thinking “OK you are smart, you got elected, you know how to run a campaign, but if you can’t answer the question you look rather foolish.  And the last thing that we want are foolish leaders.  But is it really?  Or do we need to stretch our definition and understanding of those two words, to find that in the world of Faith and of Paul, they may have completely different definitions. Sometimes the wisest among...
postcards from sabbatical – week #4

postcards from sabbatical – week #4

Dear Faith Friends, The hospitality we have received on Crete has been overwhelming and touching. Cretans are a fiercely independent people, with an astonishingly ancient history.  Three continents have tried to dominate the island.  There are ruins of multiple cultures all around and built upon. It is the faith of Jesus Christ that has eternally captured and molded the souls of the people.  The Apostle Paul established churches here and could be confident that the gospel would prosper here. The people of Crete turned to a living God who gave life and purpose, courage and kindness.  I am grateful to have traveled through their landscape.  I like to think that the hospitality of Jesus has fostered their spirit of openness and kindness. Blessings for the journey, Charlotte For the people of these regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.  – 1 Thessalonians...
postcards from sabbatical – week #3

postcards from sabbatical – week #3

Dear Faith Friends, We have been on the Island of Crete for almost a week, already.  The ruggedness of the landscape has been a surprise to me.  We feel like we are in the Rocky Mountains, but with a lot more oxygen.  The mountains are high and craggy and cascade down to the most beautiful clear water – the Sea of Crete on one side, the Sea of Libya on the other. The waters are placid now, but they say the winds and waves are terrible in winter.  That’s when the Apostle Paul advised remaining here because the seas would be rough.  The crew went anyway, taking Paul with them and all were almost lost.  Paul had confidence that God had a plan for him and for all onboard. This time of rough and hard walking in the wild beauty is good for my faith.  I am reminded that God is in control of the universe – harsh and beautiful as it is.  I have my part. And so do you.  It will be exactly as God intends when we live in faith. Blessing for the journey, Charlotte …[T]here stood by me an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, “Do not be afraid, Paul, you must stand before the emporaror..So keep up your courage…for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” – Acts...
Being Thankful by John Paulson

Being Thankful by John Paulson

I know it is not anywhere near Thanksgiving, yet the subject of giving thanks is on my mind. Actually I began to think about it when we had Father’s Day at my daughter’s house last week.  Our granddaughter graduated from Noblesville High School earlier this month, and received many presents.  As a good granddaughter should do, she prepared thank you cards for the gifts she received.  We had given her two photo books that I made on SHUTTERFLY; one was a picture book of each year until she was sixteen; the second was a picture book made up of pictures of her 2017 prom.  We also hinted that there was another present to come. After Father’s day dinner while we were all sitting around the table on the deck, it was time for Father’s Day gifts.  Several cards and packages came my way, and I opened them and found a Starbucks Card and a polo shirt from Taylor University (where she will be starting in the fall) and hand-made cards from the three grandchildren.  There also was one small envelope that I opened.  The front of the printed card said “THANKS”.  I opened it, and in her handwriting read aloud: Grandma and Grandpa, Thank you for the books and She immediately said:  “Grandpa, you weren’t supposed to get that yet!” We all laughed, and she took the note back, and it wasn’t mentioned again. Only later did I start thinking about that card and giving thanks, and I thought that she knew that Grandpa and Grandma were going to come through with another gift as promised.  She had confidence...