From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach the month of November I come into it with great excitement. Not only am I excited
about the food (of course!) but I am even more excited about our Thanksgiving worship on
Wednesday night before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, November 21 at 7pm in Peshtigo UMC).
In this letter I am about to give a bold move that could totally backfire on me and knowing that I
still take the risk. I am about to give you my “cliff notes” of my sermon. Even if you read this outline
please come to our worship service for the “full sermon”. My scripture of focus is Psalm 126. It is the
Psalm of “Harvest of Joy”. The Psalmist offers such words of hope and blessing. I really appreciate the
hope of knowing, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was
said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.”

When was the last time your mouth was filled with laughter or your tongue with shouts of joy? Do
not focus on times of sorrow or shouts of anger! God wants us to celebrate a year of blessings and gifts of
abundance, not curses and scarcity. Joy in our lives are those moments when happiness is so large in our
hearts and souls that it bubbles over into gratitude and victory. This is a time for us to remember the joy
God has offered to us this year and all the years of our lives. Indeed God has done great things for us as a
people. God has blessed our country (even in the midst of great division), God has blessed our world
(even in the midst of great turmoil and disasters), and God has blessed us as individuals (even if we might
not always recognize God’s presence in our lives).

The Psalmist ends with a reminder but it is more than that—it is a promise given by God. “Those
who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”
There’s that word of joy again. It is a promise. Joy comes to us in the morning. Joy comes to us after
struggle. Joy comes to us out of the darkness. Joy is always present and we do not always recognize this
promise of God.

What has the LORD done for you this year? Some faith questions I encourage you to spend some
time on in reflection are the following:

How is your life in God?
How is your life with God?
How is it with your soul?

Where have you seen God at work in your life over the past week? The past year?
Too often we take for granted what God has done for us in our lives and in our world. Too often
we focus on all the negativity of what we do not have instead of the positivity of what we do have in
life. Let us see our abundance and not our scarcity. Bishop Jung would be proud of this language
(especially since they are his words he often uses around the Conference).
Be filled with laughter! Offer shouts of joy! Today is the day the Lord has made and so let us be
glad and rejoice in it always.

Thanksgiving Blessings,
Pastor Kevin
P.S—If you are able, have at least two pieces of pie this month and give God thanks!