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The View From My Window

July 30, 2017

My brother’s first job out of college was in research & development at PPG Industries. They developed a new resin that was very durable & could be used to make sinks, tubs, etc. These sinks were a beautiful blend of colors that would have dressed up our bathroom but they had one little flaw: not enough resin had been poured into the mold in order to complete the channel from the overflow hole to the drain. The sink itself looked great but any water that was splashed into the overflow would have ended up in the bottom of the vanity rather than running into the sewer line. They looked great, they could even be used but eventually their defect would have caused major problems.

Many churches have a debilitating defect: they have the Bible, they have people of faith but they do not welcome the ministry of the Holy Spirit into their fellowship. In fact, some churches actually bar Him from being active. Sooner or later that flaw is going to cost them. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in this place.

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 23, 2017

I’m out on my morning run & I pass through the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot. There stands an EMT next to his ambulance with a donut in one hand & a cigarette in the other. His hair & mustache are pure white so I know he’s no spring chicken. Here’s a man that sees the ill effects of bad habits every day. In his medical training he’s learned about the bad results of smoking & eating donuts. I wave at him as I pass but he doesn’t respond.

Once again I’m reminded of the truth that education is not enough to change behavior. Knowing something to be true does not necessarily equate to living as though it is true. Listen to this morning’s message, judge for yourself if it is true, then take it before the Lord in prayer & ask God if you should be experiencing more of His power & presence in your life than you are right now.

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 16, 2017

Tom Cotter said, “When I was 16 years old, the morning of my birthday, my parents tried to surprise me with a car, but they missed.”

It helps to know what to expect; it makes it easier to be prepared. What can you expect from God? How should knowing the Lord change your life? Does He do all the work or does He expect something from you? Hopefully this morning’s message will wet your appetite for more than you’ve yet experienced. Don’t settle for less than what God has for you!

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 9, 2017

run

I’m running in my first race ever this next Saturday. The East Berlin Area Community Center sponsors a 5k every summer & this year I decided to run. I’ve been running for 30 years & have logged over 30,000 miles but none of them in a race. My intelligent side keeps telling me, Just run your normal pace & finish: to finish is a victory in and of itself. My insane side says, You don’t want to look like a total loser. There are people older than you running in this thing & some of them are real runners. You need to train & you need to dig or die trying.

Do you have an insane side? Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit that helps us get life sorted out! He comes along to help us put things into eternal perspective. No one but me really cares how fast I run this Saturday. Regardless of the outcome, life will go on just fine.

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 2, 2017

Piles. I pile stuff up — I’m a piler. More accurately, I’m a burier: I bury stuff. Once I clear my desk I can keep it clean for a while. I sort all my mail & place it in an appropriate place or act on it or throw it away as soon as it comes into my office. Then it happens: I get something I want to address but can’t do it right away & the 1st pile starts. I’d like to read that article, I tell myself … or, That’s a worthy cause & I should give it some more consideration before I say ‘no.’ Piles become mounds as my desk gets ugly. I’m embarrassed by my clutter & promise myself I’ll take care of it soon.

Finally the day comes when I’m out of excuses & must face the piles that have become mounds that have become a mountain. I dig, I pitch, I file, I read, I find offers that have expired, dates & deadlines that have passed. In that moment I realize that I’ve not only buried things, I’ve killed them: I’m a killer.

With a clean desk before me I swear to myself that I’ll never become a piler again! Is there a group for people like me? Hi, my name is Joel & I’m a piler.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 25, 2017

waitress

Barb & I went out to eat the other night & found our hostess to be a bit rattled. Inquiring about her wellbeing we learned that a customer had gone postal on her for a very minor infraction that was easily fixed. Almost all of us have had jobs at one time or another or been members of an organization that served the public. What is there about putting on a uniform or name tag that causes others to forget that we are still human beings underneath our cloak of responsibility?

Sometimes I am working for you & at other times you are working for me. But let us remember that first & foremost we are all working for the Lord. How would He react to a visitor among us, a regular attender or even a member of the staff?

Even if you have an issue with someone else, always remember to lead with love. Troubles come & troubles go but people are meant to be treated with respect & kindness even if they are not acting that way themselves.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 18, 2017

kids on dad

You’re young, free, strong, fast … then you have kids. Kids slow you down, weigh you down & restrict your activities. Everything you do is a little (or a lot) harder because you have to deal with the children first. Will they be cared for? Will they have a good time? Will they embarrass you by the way they behave?

But then there is that other side of parenting where you never felt more loved, needed or engaged in the simple things of life. Watching your child grow is priceless: first words, first steps, first day of school, first basket, first hit, first dance… So yes, maybe you slowed down a little but now you’ve become “us” & two or three or however many is always better than one. Happy Father’s Day!

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 11, 2017

trees

One Sunday evening after church I was watching the show “Little Big Shots” which highlights the talents & accomplishments of children. They brought a little boy looking to be no older than 5 on the show for having cried at the thought of people cutting down trees. He was a very cute little boy & I think it was nice that he was concerned about the environment.

However, & maybe it’s just me, I saw some overzealous tree huggers behind it all. I thought it might have been nice for someone to explain to him that trees are a renewable resource. When properly managed a forest can provide lumber for building many helpful things, fuel to keep people warm, and remain a vital wooded area.

Not to mention that a few well harvested trees can prevent fires from getting out of control thus saving many trees & possibly human lives. How we lead our children is very important. Are you following Jesus so that those following you will learn to do so also?

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 4, 2017

veggies

For my midlife crisis I’ve chosen to go lean & strong. I’m back on my program, meaning: no desserts, no munchies while watching TV, no getting something to eat every time I pass through the kitchen … and yes, no means no. I’m a sweet-aholic & a snack-aholic. My history has proven that allowing myself just one bite of the good stuff sends me off on a binge that I cannot stop on my own. One pretzel leads to a bowl full, leads to a bag full. Please pray for me because usually I stay on my program for 6-8 months but then I fall. I want this one to last for the next 10 years.

I hear you chuckling. I’m asking you to pray for me & you’re laughing at me! “I’m not laughing at you pastor, I’m laughing with you because I know firsthand how hard it is to stay committed to healthy eating habits for very long.” Okay, I’ll accept that. Since you feel my pain you understand the necessity of prayer in this venture. Just getting back on my program took a divine intervention & to continue will take more celestial help.

Of course, don’t just pray for my health. Pray that all of us may become more & more spiritually minded in order to accomplish all that God has purposed for us to do here at New Life Assembly & beyond. Lean & strong, lean & strong, lean & strong…

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 28, 2017

My brother once told me a story about his coworker who attended a seminar in Mexico: he ate something that really disagreed with his system & got a case of the Tijuana trots. He was so sick, but still determined to catch his flight back to the States. Thinking he’d already passed everything & couldn’t possibly have anything left in his system, he crawled out of the cab to await his flight.

It wasn’t a commercial jet; it was a little two-prop plane that held about 12 very tightly compacted passengers. As he waddled across the tarmac, his stomach lurched & he let go of what he hoped was only a gas bubble, thankful to still be out in the open. I’ll let you take the story from there… Suffice it to say, you don’t want to be that guy!

Yet, a similar thing happens in church on a fairly regular basis. We get offended by one thing or another. We don’t mean to hurt others; actually, we often think we’re helping. But when what we think ought to happen doesn’t (or vice versa), our otherwise loving, affable, gentle personality is ready to go nuclear on a brother or sister. I would venture to say that such explosions are the leading cause of pastors leaving the ministry & people leaving churches. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to be the guy or gal responsible for that!

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 21, 2017

My Dad is one of seven kids. When I was little, their family used to hold family reunions on or around their mother’s birthday each August. It was one of the highlights of the year for us kids, right up there with Christmas! Each of my Dad’s siblings took a turn at hosting the event. My favorite spot to celebrate the occasion was on my Uncle Luke & Aunt Ann’s farm. There were horse rides, whiffle ball games, a tub full of ice & pop & food, glorious food.

Eventually the number of sons & daughters willing to act as hosts dwindled. A few kept the tradition alive until the burden seemed to fall almost completely on Luke & Ann. They were the “glue” that kept our family together for a long time. I hope you have some “tacky” people in your family that help you stay connected. Someone willing to go the extra mile, do the grunt work, put up with disappointments, shell out more than their fair share in order to get the family together every so often.

As Christians we are called to that level of hospitality & concern for others. It’s easy to get disgusted with other people, it’s easy to reason our way out of getting involved. But what we’re called to do is to care, to work & to give so that others will be encouraged. Are you as “sticky” as ever or have you lost some of your adhesiveness? Let’s be Gorilla Glue for Jesus!

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 14, 2017

recipe

 
Ingredients make such a huge difference in the taste of life, just as in the taste of food. About a year ago I switched from light mayo to the full fat version in my chicken & broccoli salads. The difference was astounding! Not only was the food delicious I put on an extra 10 pounds.

So, a couple of months ago, with God’s help, I started cutting back on my food intake again. I bought a package of lean turkey kielbasa to cut up for lunch when I’m at the office. The stuff tastes terrible, nothing like kielbasa but contains less than half the calories of the good unhealthy version. The bonus there is that you really don’t feel like eating a lot of it.

Fortunately the ingredients for a great life aren’t like that at all. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, faith & self-control are all delicious, & make for a wonderful life. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Although you may have introduced us to cooking with real butter, taught us to sprinkle our muffins with coarse sugar before we bake them… You also modeled the fruit of the Spirit & taught us how to love. How sweet is that!

Pastor Joel Everhart
 
 

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at New Life!

May 7, 2017

on hold
Recently I spent half my morning trying to adjust an order I’d made online. I used the site’s online chat option. On my 1st attempt I was customer #1 in the quiche. Tia told me I needed to call an 877 number to get an account number that I could use on live chat. That phone number put me through to a representative in India. She told me to go to the company website & walked me through applying for the number I was seeking. Securing that number I went back to live chat; this time I was customer #4 in the queue. Trevor put me on hold while he researched my case. Finally he told me I would either have to cancel my order & place a new one or call my local store directly. I was kicked off live chat before I could ask which store he was referring to: the one in Hanover or the one in York. Going back on live chat I was customer #8…

Why is it that it’s easier to do something for someone than to wait for someone? When you submit your life to Christ for service in His Kingdom you will often find yourself being inconvenienced. Those inconveniences provide you with a wonderful opportunity to build patience, endurance & maturity. Don’t think God doesn’t know how to run His Kingdom just because you have to spend some time on hold! It’s ALL part of the plan.

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 30, 2017

tv

My wife & I are paying more than ever before for our cable & Internet even though we have downgraded our services several times: no home phone service comes with this bundle & we have the most anemic list of stations since we used an antenna on the roof.

Seriously, I no longer have any sports channels — no ESPN, Fox Sports Pittsburgh (Penguin & Pirate games) … nothing. Worse, our “guide” still displays what is being shown on all the channels we are no longer getting. As if to say, “Ha-Ha, you could be watching the Pens/Caps game or your favorite movie of all time if you weren’t so cheap!”

When we first moved to Hanover 31 years ago our cable bill was $7.40/month. Now it’s over $130! At this rate, if I live another 31 years I’ll be paying $2,340/month for their services & have only two channels: the home shopping network & the infomercial network pushing products 24 hours a day.

Too many have downgraded their services with God. They no longer have salvation, just a place in their life where Jesus used to reign. Our mission is to find them & restore the power of a repentant, dedicated life.

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 23, 2017

If you have cable you know the drill: every couple of months the price goes up & every couple of months you call to complain. Personally, we have had their “triple play” where Internet, TV, & phone are all “bundled” together for one price three different times.

Interspersed between those intervals we have had only cable & Internet. Every time we go back to a triple play we get a new landline number. Every time we get a new phone number we get calls from collectors looking for “Lucy” or “Dick” or whoever for about a year. About the time the collectors stop calling the plan changes, we lose home phone service.

Never before have we paid so much for so little in return for so much continual hassle. Thankfully the Lord offers to bundle several blessings together without raising the cost every couple of months. The Lord is interested in both your physical health & your emotional wellbeing. Why not tell the Lord you’d like the bundle He’s offering this morning?

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 16, 2017

vw

Back in the day we had a little yellow VW bug. My brother & his friend Keith installed the latest & greatest stereo system of the day: an 8 track player. John had a stash of Jackson Five, the Beatles, Andre Crouch, the Imperials & other cassettes. That’s back when the goodies weren’t oldies yet.

Did you know there are still some people whose player of choice is an 8 track? It can’t be because of the quality. It can’t be because of the accessibility of the music. It must be because they are more enamored by their past than the present or future. Clinging to a lost cause is, well, a lost cause.

In today’s message we find some people who looked like they were holding on to a dead hero. Thankfully they didn’t let go. Because they held on while others fled they saw a miracle … & the world was forever changed.

Pastor Joel Everhart

Happy Easter from all of us at New Life!

April 9, 2017

What a winter! On Thursday we’d all be running around in shorts, the trees were budding, geese were flying north … By the next Tuesday we were shoveling snow off our driveways, bracing ourselves against the arctic blast & wondering if we had bought enough milk & bread. I wonder if the geese impeached their leader & elected another?

It seems to me that it’s harder than ever to calculate the season based on the thermostat. I have friends that went to Florida for a week to escape the winter blues only to find out it was sunny & in the high 60’s here while they were gone. I think all this is just one more way the Lord is shaking things up to try & get our attention. Jesus is coming back very soon! More important than knowing what to wear to school or work; more important than making vacation plans; more important than figuring out when to take the cover off the grill & the pool is to discern the time of the Lord’s coming. He’s coming soon; don’t miss it!

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 2, 2017

A month ago I preached on James’ admonition to stop bragging & to stop thinking we are something special or that we have done anything by our own strength. Every good thing we have is a gift from God, even the ability to get out of bed in the morning & walk across the floor.

It was one of those sermons that stepped on our toes, pulled us up short, called for a change of heart, attitude, & actions. What impressed me was the number of people who went out of their way to express their gratitude for the message. I’ve found that the people of God love the discipline of God. We appreciate the help of the Word to trim our flesh & feed our spirit. That’s a sure sign of maturity: when we see correction as one of the richest blessings of all.

In today’s message ICE (In Case of Emergency) we look at a few of the benefits of realizing that God, not us, is responsible for causing everything to work together for good. He is our ICE contact, our ever present help in the time of trouble.

Pastor Joel Everhart

March 26, 2017

motorcycle_crash

Mark Lowery was in a motorcycle accident. Paramedics quickly came to his aid. As he lay there on the street they cut his pants off in order to tend to his wounds. He looked down as they worked & his 1st thought was, “Momma was right! Always make sure you wear clean underwear in case you are ever in an accident.”

In today’s text James tells us what he feels is the most important thing for us to keep in mind “or you will be condemned”! That sounds like valuable information. There is a principle involved that each of us needs to adapt to our particular calling in life. No more going along with the industry standard of telling a customer what you want them to know; tell them what you would want to know if you were that customer. Police officers, pharmacists, real estate agents, factory workers & any other thing we do to make a living must come under the higher standards of God.

Pastor Joel Everhart

March 19, 2017

My 3-year-old grandson was riding along with me to MeMaw’s house. He wasn’t in a very agreeable mood. To cheer him up I told him we were having pot roast for dinner (that’s one of his favorites). He said he didn’t want pot roast he wanted chicken, rice & corn. I asked him if he would rather I pull the car over & ask the people in the next house if they were having chicken for dinner. He could eat with those people rather than MeMaw & me. He said, “Yes.” When I passed the house he told me to turn around.

Plan B: I said he could eat with MeMaw’s friend Shirley that lived across the street from us. He also liked that idea & kept asking if we were at Shirley’s house yet. When we finally got home Shirley was sitting out on her porch but he didn’t want to eat with her after all.

I think that 3-year-old was calling my bluff. What I’m I going to do when he’s 5? In today’s text James warns us against grumbling. God doesn’t bluff He disciplines.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 12, 2017

coins1

My dad likes to collect change in various containers. My mom enjoys giving it away, container & all. Piggy banks, old milk jugs, fancy tins, I’ve seen them all come & go. Dad would like to have a little money stashed away for a rainy day. Mom is always looking for someone that can use a little more money today.

I wonder which one will get credit for all that generosity: the one that saved it or the one that gave it away? It could never have been given if it hadn’t been collected. What if every time you touched money it hurt? James says that for some people their gold will cling to them & burn their flesh! Don’t be that guy. Follow the Scripture’s advice on how to handle your money & avoid getting burned with your finances.

Pastor Joel Everhart

March 4, 2017

Remember the Super Bowl? The Falcons were building a sizeable lead. One of their players intercepted a pass, ran it back to the 10 yard line then took his good old time waltzing into the end zone, celebrating each step. Have you ever heard the saying, “He who laughs last laughs best?”

The commentators said that a 25-point lead like the Falcons held had never been overcome in a Super Bowl. That is no longer true. The Patriots sit on top of the football world because of their meticulous planning. They spend very little time boasting, in fact, it’s against their team policy! Their coach is famous for how little he says to the media. They don’t brag, they work.

In today’s sermon James warns us to live, not boast. Count your days, submit them to God, then do your best.

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 26, 2017

challenge-workplace-gossip

I overheard a conversation in a place of business one morning. The people talking were in the back room & didn’t know I or anyone else was out front. Surely if they had realized how far their voices carried they wouldn’t have been talking so freely — at least, I hope not.

One employee was going on about her bitterness toward another employee. She can’t even stand to look at this person let alone be in the same room with her for any period of time. Her reason: “Anytime she talks to me her attitude & words are full of disgust for me.” At least the feelings are mutual.

I just couldn’t help but wonder how this person thought her words weren’t creating a worse work environment for all concerned. The chances of her attitude not being communicated by one of her fellow workers to the jerk in question are zero. That will obviously throw fuel on the fire … Oh that our words would bring reconciliation & healing rather than division & bitterness!

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 19, 2017

marriage

Isaiah Inman writes, “At dinner my 6-year-old niece turned to her dad & said, ‘Dad, when I grow up, I’m going to marry you.’ I laughed until her mom said to her, “Don’t make the same mistake I did.”

It’s all fun & games until someone gets married. They date, they go nice places, eat good food, enjoy wonderful conversation, can’t think of anyone else they’d rather spend their time with than their beloved. Sometimes, after they’re married one or both starts looking for someone else. Great pain soon follows for everyone involved.

That’s exactly what happens, James says, to believers who turn their affections to the world after having come to Christ. Jesus would like to know today, “Do you truly love Me more than [anything else]?”

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 12, 2017

valentine

Mary Webster writes, “My husband gave me a beautiful anniversary card that had lovely art & heartfelt verses. Wiping away a tear, I said, ‘this is the sweetest card I’ve ever received.’ ‘Really?” he said, griming broadly. ‘What does it say?’” Sometimes the key to communication is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

Be sure to express love this Valentine’s Day but keep your stupidity to yourself. You might think you are being cute or funny when in fact you are being just plain annoying. In today’s text James asks us to choose which we would rather be: a grape vine or a thorn bush. Your words will either be sweet or cutting; like grapes or thorns. Choose to refresh others with the things you say rather than tear into them.

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 5, 2017

The wife & I were in a Target. We got to the checkout to find the young clerk trying to stem the flow of blood from a fresh wound on his finger. “Do you need a bandaid?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. I pulled one out of my wallet & applied it to his finger. We got 15% off of our purchase.

I started out as a Cub Scout, later a Boy Scout & finally a Royal Ranger. The Boy Scout motto is Be prepared, the Ranger’s is Ready. Some of that training must have stuck because my pockets tend to be full of “just in case” stuff: pocket knife, tissues, cough drops (cold or no cold), mints, band aids, extra keys, zip drive, coupons, cell phone, wallet, paper clip, safety pin … My one true wish in life is for more pockets.

James tells us to have our spirit ready to respond to any call of God that may come our way. Its not enough to say we believe; we need to be ready to obey, ready to sacrifice, ready to do His will at a moment’s notice. Be prepared; be ready to serve.

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 29, 2017

broken-dish

It was the morning after I preached on James 1 where he said we are to count it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds. I walked into a dark room with a hot cup of tea in one hand & my bowl of cereal in the other. I set the tea down so I could turn on a light. Unfortunately, I set the cup on top of the remote so it toppled over & landed on the dog’s dish, breaking it into pieces sending dog food, spilled tea, & shards of glass in every direction. Immediately my sermon from the day before came to mind: “count it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I laughed out loud right then.

I had been wondering how I was going to get the floors clean (as I usually do on Mondays) knowing I needed to spend the morning in the office, get my wife to a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, & attend a board meeting that night. No worries … my spilled tea had me sopping, sweeping, & mopping in no time. No matter what you believe, you will be asked to back it up with an action that proves you are not all talk.

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 22, 2017

I now have five grandchildren: four boys & one girl. I can talk your ear off about any one of them. Which is my favorite? The one I’m with at the moment. Each is unique in their abilities & talents. Each is in their own stage of development. Each is delightful in a different way.

It’s okay to have favorites but its not alright to show favoritism. Having a favorite comes naturally, not showing favoritism requires intentional effort. First, you have to own that you like some people more than others. Next, you need to fight the tendency to spend all of your time & attention on those you favor. Finally, speak love & favor into your heart concerning those you do not naturally gravitate toward. Embracing their differences will help to expand your world.

The next time you are tempted to turn away from someone, focus on them instead. Show them favor with your heart, your actions & your attention.

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 15, 2017

I stopped at WalMart the other morning on my way into the office. It was early & there weren’t many customers or workers in the store. As I came through the meat section & on into the bakery a young lady came out of the back room dressed as though she was ready to start working but the look on her face told a very different story. IF she was awake at all it wasn’t by much.

She was clearly unaware that she almost ran into me. The scene was so comical it was begging for a line like, “Hey Sleepy where’s Dopy & Doc?” or “Excuse me, are you sleep walking or walk sleeping?” With much restraint I withheld all my comments & let the poor girl stagger off to her section of the store. I wish I was always that good at keeping my mouth shut. May our study in James today help us to choose our words more wisely & practice silence more often.

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 8, 2017

Ever sat in church & had the truth hit you right between the eyes? A comment was made from the pulpit that set off a series of wonderful thoughts & you were frustrated because it just wasn’t the place or time to share what was going on in your own spirit. Later those revelations faded before their impact could be fully assimilated into your life.

What if you had an opportunity to take what you heard, add what the Spirit is speaking into your heart & share it with someone else? I’ll tell you what would happen. The truth would become yours: it would become more firmly planted in your soul because there is something powerful about speaking what you believe (Romans 10:9-10). Also, you will have taken what God gave to you & planted a good seed in someone else’s life.

Tonight we are trying a grand experiment. We are going to start the service with this morning’s closing song, give a brief overview of the Sunday morning message, break up into groups & give you the opportunity to share what the sermon meant to you. IF we really believe that God speaks through our ministers, IF we believe it is God’s word for us today, shouldn’t we start taking it more seriously? Shouldn’t we take time to apply it to our lives?

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 1, 2017

tire-pressure

After three days of ignoring the tire pressure light on my dashboard, I finally said, “Enough with excuses I need to take care of this.” I pulled into my usual gas station & up to their faithful air dispenser happy that no one was using it. In short order my tire had less air in it than when I started. On to the next gas station … there was someone using that pump. I sit & wait while the clock in my head is ticking & I review the list of things I could be getting done if only I wasn’t just sitting & waiting.

Obviously I’m not still there waiting to inflate my tires; in fact it really didn’t take long at all. Why do waiting moments seem so much longer than doing moments? In this new year may all your moments bring you closer to the One who holds every tick on your clock.

Pastor Joel Everhart

December 25, 2016

baby-in-manger

 

Merry Christmas! I’m willing to wager that your Christmas season hasn’t gone exactly as you had imagined it would. You probably had at least a few glitches with gift buying: couldn’t find the right color, size, or whatever, didn’t get what you hoped for &/or didn’t get the enthusiastic response you anticipated from one of the people to whom you gave a special gift. Maybe someone you invited isn’t coming or you didn’t get an invite to where you wanted to go. Perhaps you ended up doing all the cooking this year or worse — you got locked out of the kitchen.

The good news is that Christmas isn’t about us at all. It’s so fitting & perfect that we are in church this morning to worship the Lord! Soon all your holiday gaffs & foiled plans will be forgotten but He shall reign for ever & ever!

Pastor Joel Everhart

Sermon – Dec 18 2016

December 11, 2016

car-window

I was driving along on a very warm day with my windows open & my grandson in a car seat in the back. Several times he commented on how much he was enjoying the “wind.” We stopped at a red light & he yelled, “Hey, who stopped the wind?”

Obviously he failed to discern that it wasn’t the air that was moving past us but us passing through the air. The wind didn’t stop — we did. His observation highlights a very human trait: blame someone or something else for any disturbance to our comfort thinking that supporting our coziness is the reason the world was created.

This morning we’re going to look at two men with the same name that acted completely different. One thought that God existed to serve him while the other got it right: he was created to serve the Lord.

Pastor Joel Everhart

December 4, 2016

flag

Do you remember this year’s Presidential Election? I know it was almost a month ago but I don’t want us to lose the wonder of all the pundits & polls being badly mistaken with all their predictions. Nor do I want us to relax our burning desire to see our nation turn to God! No president, governor, mayor, or judge is going to save America if her people do not turn away from their sins & turn to the Lord. We need revival much more than we need our policies changed … & many of our policies desperately need changing.

Pray for a change of heart, a transformation of people’s minds by the power of the Holy Spirit. This will be a greater miracle than the election — this will be a change that transforms. Pray for godly people to take control of Hollywood, Wall Street, Main Street, the military, & the church. Pray that you will be in constant step with the Lord, not lagging behind or running ahead, but consumed in His Presence & will. Nations become godly one person at a time. Start with you then work outward from there.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 27, 2016

wall-punch

 

I was vacuuming the floor when it became necessary to move the cord from one plug to another in order to reach into the next room. Trying to step around the sweeper I ran my little toe into the side of the machine. It’s absolutely amazing how much that hurt. The scream jumping from my lips was completely involuntary but entirely sincere. I noticed that my right hand was balled up in a fist & I had this tremendous urge to drive it through the closet door in front of me. Immediately my mind went into action trying to talk my fist out of its craving. My brain said, “I don’t want to pay for a new door! … Little hand you are likely to get hurt if you do that! … How will I explain to everyone else how the door was broken?”

There were a tense couple of seconds as my hand listened because even with all that wonderful logic being thrown at it, it still wanted to be driven through that door. Thankfully, both my fist & my door survived. Urges need to be controlled.

Urges are easily incited to do harm to their host. Maturity comes as we learn to live by discernment & truth rather than impulse & instinct. Just because someone’s words inspire you to take action does not mean those words come from God. The Holy Spirit inspires us but not everything that inspires us is from the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 20, 2016

mountains-background

Do you “in awesome wonder consider all the worlds [God’s] hands have made?” If not, it might not be a bad idea to try some time. As the song How Great Thou Art implies, consideration or contemplation precedes the singing of one’s soul: no contemplation, no singing soul. Thanksgiving is a result of using your mind to consider God’s goodness to you. Some people can’t get past a hurt or difficulty & therefore their mind does not think about God’s goodness, it brings accusations against Him.

It is good & it is fitting that we give thanks to God. If we are not singing God’s praises, we need to have a sit-down with our brain & redirect its thoughts. Examine the evidence: the beauty of creation, Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf, the glories of heaven awaiting all who put their faith in Him … Then see if your soul doesn’t start singing.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

November 13, 2016

I was holding my 3-month-old granddaughter as she looked like she was doing her best to communicate with me:

I said, “The baby’s talking to me.”
My 3-yr-old grandson asked, “What’s she saying?”
“Grandpa is my favorite,” I responded.
Parker put his head down in a pouting fashion & said, “Me-maw is her favorite.”

Jeremiah went through some moments when he didn’t feel like the Lord’s favorite. In fact, he felt like the brunt of one of God’s jokes! However, he knew enough to stay faithful even when it hurt to serve the Lord. It’s alright to vent to the Lord but it’s never okay to quit. Trust that God knows what He’s doing & that everything will work together for good.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

November 6, 2016

fitness

We’re always looking for the keys to a better life: eat this, avoid that … One of the staples of that conversation has always been to “get more sleep.” While visiting with family recently I slept in for several days in a row. After the second night I felt tired all day. I’m not sure I’d be able to stay healthy if I had to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

I believe each of us is an individual & each of us needs to find out what is enough food for me, what is enough sleep for me, what to do to relieve stress … Only a fool would take this journey alone when the Master Potter has promised to give us wisdom if we will only ask. We weren’t just born, we were created. We were crafted with particular gifts & needs. Embrace your talents but don’t ignore what is essential to keeping yourself fit. Then you will be able to bring the Potter great glory.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

October 30, 2016

car-window

 

My 3-year-old grandson Parker was in the car seat in the back of my SUV as we were riding along with the windows open. He said, “The wind helps the sun to not be hot.” Little ones have a way of stating things that bring a new perspective to life. Their viewpoint helps us to see details about life for which we long ago lost our appreciation & wonder. Children fascinate me not only because they often teach me something new but more so for the way they help me see old things with fresh appreciation.

God is the master of changing our outlook. As the old hymn says, “Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.” However, just as with children, we can’t benefit from His wisdom if we don’t take the time to talk with Him. Jeremiah was soldiering on through a particularly rough season in his ministry. He needed to pour out his fear, anxiety & apprehension to the Lord & get God’s wider, longer perspective. It helped. If you are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged or weary do what the prophet did & talk it over with God.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 23, 2016

Ever get exactly what you deserve? You got pulled over for speeding & you know you were a good 15 mph over the limit. In fact, not only were you speeding when you got caught but you’ve done it HUNDREDS of times for which you were not pulled over. Even so, you chafe at getting a ticket, your flesh comes up with a million excuses why you shouldn’t be fined: There were others going faster… I was lulled into a false sense of security by all the times they didn’t catch me… With all the drug dealers & mass murderers in the world why are the police wasting their time harassing innocent citizens that pay their taxes? You may even have stooped so low as to give the officer a hard time: shame, shame, shame.

We want mercy for ourselves & justice for everyone else. The Bible says there will be a day of justice for us all. Each of us will appear before the Lord to give an account of the deeds we have done. Thankfully, we who are in Christ will have our sins forgiven! However, both our good deeds & our bad ones will determine our reward in heaven. Will your eternal estate be great or just a pile of ashes?

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 16, 2016

rusted-nuts

 

My mom & dad have lived in their home for 59 years. Their laundry tub was original with the house so it was no surprise when its faucet began to leak. Dad wanted to replace the washers inside the hot & cold handles; I was thinking new faucet. In order to remove the handles we had to unscrew screws that had been in place for over half a century. We sprayed them with WD-40 before we started & the cold water handle came off like a charm. The screw holding the hot water handle, however, felt more like it was welded in place. We sprayed & worked at it, hit it with a hammer, worked some more, prayed, hit it again, & finally it let loose. With the replacement washers in place the old sink works like new. Change is often difficult.

Change does not necessarily mean that everything has to be different. Sometimes just removing what is supposed to be flexible but has become ridged is enough. This morning we’ll be talking about being careful that the part of our soul that is meant to remain workable in our Master’s hands is still supple enough to move as He sees fit. Don’t be surprised if when He chooses to make some changes in or around you that it involves some pain. He’s not replacing you, just the parts that need renewal.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

October 9, 2016

Scooters are all the rage in Hanover among its senior citizens. I don’t mean motorized wheelchairs for the elderly but mini motorcycles for middle agers. Is it an effort to save on fossil fuels? Is it part of their mid-life crises? Is it about frugality?

As I leave Hanover in the morning to travel to East Berlin I often encounter an older lady coming down Hershey Hill on a red scooter. She wears a full helmet, goggles, & has safety flags flapping in the wind above her head. She reclines with her feet up just like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. She is usually followed by anywhere from seven to a dozen other vehicles. The look on her face is one of pure joy.

In my opinion, a scooter like hers is fine on residential streets but to head out on the highway one ought to use something with a little more horsepower. Whenever our individual pleasure blinds us to the needs of others we need a wakeup call. Truth may hurt or cost us something but in the end it will save our life.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 2, 2016

overgrown-sidewalk

There is a stretch of sidewalk that runs along a local park I frequent with the grandkids. This particular section of walkway was narrower than any other in the area. I had reasoned that it must have been set in place before newer regulations called for wider pathways. This summer someone was hired to push back the grass that had grown on it & “edge” the pavement. Low & behold the sidewalk is a wide as any other in the city of Hanover!

Slowly but surely, year after year, grass infringed on the space reserved for feet. If left untended the sidewalk would have eventually disappeared altogether. Someone decided to act before that happened — and the results are dramatic.

Slowly but surely our morality & spirituality have been eroded over the years. Sin has become comfortable in places it should not be found. Christianity doesn’t look like it used to. “Christians” are more worldly than godly. We need to act before truth disappears completely. It’s time to consider our ways, to consider which direction we as a people are headed, & make some changes in order to recover territory that has been stolen. Otherwise, the path to God will completely disappear & we, as a nation, will be lost.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 25, 2016

sprinkler

It was Sunday afternoon & the heat index was between 100 & 110 degrees. Usually I take my grandson for a walk to the park on Sunday afternoons but this was no usual afternoon. Plan B was to set up the sprinkler in the front yard. 100 degrees just doesn’t feel all that hot when you’re soaking wet.

Standing there dripping wet the thought struck me that a walk to the park would help us drip dry. By the time we were done at the park we were nearly dry but there was that walk back home as the sun blazed in the sky. Thanks to a water fountain we applied a new layer of moisture before heading home. Even our Yorkie voluntarily frolicked in a sprinkler on the walk back! When you’re not entertaining a 3-yr-old you should use Godly wisdom to guide your every step.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 18, 2016

spider-web

I was up a little earlier than normal this morning so when I walked the dog we were the first ones to use the sidewalks. What difference does that make? I was the guy that caught all the spider webs that had been formed overnight hanging under the trees.

It was a gorgeous morning, the air was crisp but not cold, the sun was painting the sky with wonderful colors, then … yuck! A face full of sticky web. Later another caught my ear & wrapped around the back of my head as I ducked under a branch.

The consequences of living by “earthly” wisdom are a lot like that. You are going along just fine, feeling like you’ve got the world licked when suddenly you pick up an unwelcome result you didn’t see coming. For example, you didn’t plan on having a little lie exposed or getting pulled over after having a couple of beers or coming up short on money after indulging yourself at a department store. You had a lot of good reasons to do what you did, but it didn’t end well. It’s never right to do the wrong thing, even if you’ve gotten away with it before.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 11, 2016

landscape_pic_2

July was a very dry month for us and most of our lawns were having trouble staying green. Near the end of the month I noticed one of those trucks from a chemical lawn company parked in a neighbor’s driveway. The serviceman was walking back and forth spraying the dry brown grass. I didn’t think that yard looked any better than any of the others on the block. Then it hit me: there were no weeds. Every other lawn had a weed or two growing to unusual heights due to the lack of mowing. Not this lawn; it was being treated.

As soon as we got some frequent rains that yard turned a glorious green. All her blades of grass stood up in uniform rows, each as perfect as the one beside it. Sometimes we go through dry season in life; it seems like nothing is growing. If you can keep the weeds of sin, discouragement, bitterness, & worry out then your hard work & sacrifice will suddenly be evident when the rains return. Get smart: keep living according to God’s Word & the harvest will come.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 4, 2016

groceries

One of the grocery stores I frequent has a self-checkout isle. A recent visit to that lane went like this: the scanner says, “Unauthorized item in bagging area; remove this item before continuing.” The only thing in the bagging area was a bag full of groceries I’d already scanned but in obedience to “the voice” I removed the bag. “Item removed from bagging area; return item to bagging area in order to continue!” boomed the voice as if I’d just tried to rip off the store. Returning the bag to the register the voice once again said, “Unauthorized item in bagging area.” As the attendant waved her card over the scanner she smiled & said, “You just can’t win, can you?”

God is looking for people who are filled with the Spirit AND wisdom: people who know how to use their gifts for the good of everyone. Gifted people, if they’re not careful, can end up frustrating the very people they’ve been sent to serve. Ask God for power and wisdom today.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

August 28, 2016

Bunker Family

 

Today we honor two of our own who have felt a call into fulltime ministry. They’ve gone from the “pew” to the “pulpit” through a series of sacrifices & initiatives over a long period of time. The transition has been both natural & supernatural.

On the natural side of things they’ve served in just about every capacity imaginable in the church before ever thinking about fulltime ministry. They taught Sunday School, volunteered in the Nursery, went on campouts, hosted numerous events, were active in all age groups … LeRoy served as perhaps the youngest board member ever in his home church & they soon appointed him as their treasurer! Wanda has an obvious gift for ministering to kids & has been quick to help out wherever help is needed. Each of them has dedicated themselves to completing a number of college level courses & internships & the study continues.

On the supernatural side: Only God can call a person into fulltime ministry. As the Assemblies of God says, “We don’t ordain anyone; we simply recognize those individuals God has set apart for the work of the ministry.” These fine people have proven their call by completing their courses, been examined by “those in authority over us (presbyters, Superintendent, etc.),” & having endured hard times while working to see God’s Kingdom advance. Let them now receive the honor that is due to those who have proven faithful.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

August 21, 2016

sleep

Generally speaking I’m a good sleeper. I haven’t gotten 8 hours of sleep in one night for as long as I can remember, but I tend to sleep well when I am sleeping. There are nights, however, when the worries of life will rob me of the sweetness of my siesta. Still, I tend to wake up on time. The following day I’m awake but not AWAKE. Oh how unfair that the troubles of life follow us to bed!

Jesus said we’d experience trouble in this life & some days are worse than others. Paul tells us that some days are downright evil! It’s for days like that we need to be sure we’re wearing our godly armor. When a day of evil comes to you, you’ll either be wearing your armor & be able to stand or be swept away. Strengthen yourself in the Word of God. Renew your faith in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding…”

Pastor Joel Everhart

August 14, 2016

skunk

Out walking the dog one morning I saw the biggest skunk I’ve ever seen. He was completely black with three spots of white on his head, his back, & his tail. I wasn’t concerned because most of the skunks in Hanover are very familiar with people & don’t pay us any mind at all. Add to that the fact that this skunk was “out of range.” However, when this particular one saw us he looked startled, pointed his hind end at us & raised his tail! My heart skipped a beat & my feet shifted into a higher gear. Again, he was out of range but that didn’t prevent me from being alarmed.

Have you ever been afraid of something of which you knew you shouldn’t be afraid? Have you ever shrunk from saying something you should have said? Paul tells us in today’s text that there are two things that will help: 1) prayer & 2) preparing to face whatever it was that previously caused you to respond poorly.

Pastor Joel Everhart

August 7, 2016

We had our four preschool aged grandsons together recently. One is rather dominant & will take a toy off of any of the others simply because they have it. The others respond in various ways: 1) move on to another toy, 2) report the crime to an adult, or 3) scream & cry.

I see my job as Grandpa to discipline the toy snatcher & toughen up the snatchees. I’m not looking for a brawl to break out but for harmony to reign. Taking things from others is unacceptable. Whining & crying isn’t much better. Authorities can intervene if necessary but there is an implied middle ground where one takes reasonable measures to protect one’s own space.

Jesus didn’t ask His followers to resort to violence but He did tell them to stand their ground. In fact, He commanded them to go into all the world & preach the gospel. This is our Father’s world & it’s time we stopped acting like it belongs to a bunch of sinners. It’s time to call everyone to repentance & belief in Jesus’ name. Onward, Christian soldiers!

Pastor Joel Everhart

July 31, 2016

baseball glove

The Pirates had a bit of a losing streak largely due to poor pitching. With their ace on the disabled list they looked to their farm team in Indianapolis for help, & received Chad Kuhl to pitch against the league’s best: Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw. It was Chad’s first appearance in a major league game! He gave up a hit & two walks in the 1st inning but escaped without giving up a run. After striking out against Kershaw, the crowd gave him a standing ovation (led by his mom) because he fouled off a number of pitches, which ran up Kershaw’s pitch count. Later he tagged out a runner at the plate & leapt into the air pumping his fist, once again bringing the home crowd to their feet. He & the Pirates won the game 4-3. The team went on to win something like 10 of their next 12 games.

No one expected Chad to win that game except Chad & maybe his mom. The young man came to the ballpark with two things in his belly: butterflies & fire. He’d spent his whole life preparing for this moment & he was ready. As believers we’ve been spending our time preparing to serve the Lord.

It’s time to take the field. Now fight.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

July 24, 2016

 

I was relaxing on the couch when I began to stretch my arms, grunt, & moan as we old men often do. My grandson left his toys, crawled up on the couch, & began to mimic my actions as well as the sounds I was making. After about a minute he asked, “What are we doing, Grandpa?”

I thought he didn’t want to miss a good opportunity to stretch. Apparently he was just willing to try something that looked strange even though the benefit of it was not immediately obvious.

Many believers fail to see the benefits of studying the Bible. They may actually read it from time to time but do so more out of obligation than anticipation. Dutifully reading the Word of God & mimicking what we see other believers doing won’t cut it. Ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word then read it with an open mind. Learning to love the Bible is a huge step forward in your maturing as a Christian & as a person. Try it; you’ll like it.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

July 17, 2016

 

texting

I was texting my son to see if he wanted to go with me to the clay bird shoot at the Ruth Farm the following day. As I texted, “Planning on shooting t-o-m-…” the phone autocorrected the sentence, “Planning on shooting Tom?” rather than my intended text: “Planning of shooting tomorrow?” That kind of struck me as funny & I wondered how Tom might feel about it. How would you feel if you knew that the whole cellular world was trying to encourage people to shoot you?

Knowing how many times my phone has sent messages I wasn’t intending to send, that got me to thinking further: Could this somehow be used against me in a court of law? With all this NSA surveillance going on could my phone send an unintended threatening message then turn me in to the authorities? More than ever before we need all the protection we can get. This morning we’re going to be talking about the Helmet of Salvation.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

July 10, 2016

anxiety

God has been showing me lately that fear is worse than injury. It is more traumatic to be afraid of a bee than to be stung by one; the fear of a bully does more damage to us than his punch. Fear is our great enemy. Faith, hope, & love are our tools to combat fear. Knowing that we are under the protection of a sovereign, all powerful God who loves us should eliminate most of our anxieties.

If He allows something to strike us, even the pain will somehow serve to improve us. We may not enjoy the experience but will through it learn to endure. Earned endurance & patience make us whole, complete, able to stand. “Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name you are mine.” Every time you cross another fear off your list (spiders, snakes, meetings, speaking in front of others, being rejected, going to the dentist…) you give the enemy less room to trouble your soul. Learn how to use your Shield of Faith to extinguish the devil’s fiery darts of fear & worry.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

July 3, 2016

Bubbles-Iridescence-l

The other day my grandson & I had a large bottle of bubbles at the park. He wanted to hold the base but I only allowed him to dip the wand while I held the soap. Later we were in a different part of the park when he asked if we could blow bubbles again. I said sure & he said, “I’ll get it” & ran off to fetch the bubble maker. As soon as he grabbed the bottle he turned around to make sure I was still at the other end of the park then took off to the opposite corner, opened the top, blew a few bubbles & promptly spilled the soap onto the ground. I didn’t call or chase after him allowing nature to run its course. He ran over to me, grabbed my hand & led me over to the spilled bubbles & said, “We have to pick them up.” That’s when I explained why I need to hold the base while he uses the wand.

The Scriptural command to “be strong in the Lord” is a bit of an oxymoron. In order to be strong in the Lord we need to stop being so strong in ourselves. As long as we’re convinced we don’t need His help we will continue to spill our bubbles.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 26, 2016

getting on bus

I was following a school bus in mid-May. Often the bus had to wait while children came running (& in some cases walking slower than a turtle) down the street. By May it should be obvious to all school children & their parents that the school bus is coming! Therefore, be ready to board when it arrives. At one stop a family waited in their vehicle until the bus came to a complete stop. Only then did they exit their SUV, stop to hug & kiss mom goodbye, paused to wave at the others on the bus, THEN proceeded to cross the road in order to board the bus.

I know they have bus evacuation drills in case of an emergency … I think they need to have bus boarding drills in case someone else is trying to get to work on time. The passage we’ll be studying out of Ephesians this morning asks us to work efficiently & in a sweet spirit not just whenever the boss is watching but even after he’s gone home for the day. People who work like that make the lives of the other people on the planet a little easier.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

June 19, 2016

dad-with-kids

Have you ever contemplated the difference between an off day & a day off? Each assumes that not much regular work is being accomplished yet the mention of one comes with ill feelings while the other is accompanied by pleasant thoughts. One is dreaded; the other is anticipated.

Perhaps saddest of all is when you have an off day on your day off! Yet, at the same time, that might be the very best time to have an off day. If you have too many off days at work you might find yourself with a lot of days off!

On this Father’s Day you may not get any relief from your regular obligations (changing diapers, helping with dinner, mowing the lawn, etc.). As long as it all goes smoothly is about as much as we can ask out of a day. So, today might not be a day off for you Dad (in fact it may require a little more than normal), take it all in stride & be thankful it’s not an off day.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

June 12, 2016

girl on merry go round
I had my grandson at the park the other day when another family came by to play. That family had two children: a boy, Max, my grandson’s age (2½) and a girl, Madison, who is 6. Over & over again Madison mentioned to me that she was older than the boys. She could climb higher because she was older; she could spin faster because she was older; she could tell them what to do because she was older. After finishing a round on the carousel Madison said, “I’m having trouble getting up.” I said, “I hear that happens to old people.” Popping up to her feet she declared, “I’m not old like that!”

At what age does being the older sister go from being a bragging point to becoming a well-guarded secret? Family dynamics are just that: dynamic, ever changing. However, there are a few basics that ought to hold true no matter what age the children become; we’ll be talking about those essentials this morning.

Pastor Joel Everhart

June 5, 2016

cracked eggs

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon when purchasing eggs: there is almost always one cracked egg in the first carton I examine. Very rarely I find more than one cracked egg in any one container. I find that curious. If the box sustained an egg-cracking blow, why is only one egg affected? Is that the hero egg that took the full force of the impact in order to save his “cartonmates” or is the that the weak egg that was unable to hold it together when all the others were able to withstand the pressure? Suffice it say it must be very difficult to get 12 eggs from the henhouse to your refrigerator without any casualties.

Likewise, when we see all the broken marriages around us we have to conclude that it must be very hard to preserve love from the altar to the grave. Each story of endurance & brokenness is unique. My prayer is that you will find something helpful for your particular situation in the sermon this morning. May God bless your marital status.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

May 29, 2016

memorial-day-history

I think you would agree with me that we are, by nature, very selfish creatures. However, we are capable of making some very selfless decisions & doing some very unselfish deeds. Deciding to join the military & serve our country is one of those types of choices. No one knows going in just what that decision will cost them but they know the possibilities.

Memorial Day is all about remembering those who counted the cost then paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms. Some were killed in battle, others died after having lived a long life, but all served & should therefore be remembered & honored. All of us should consider the cost of war: lives lost & lives forever changed. Remember also the One that gave His life so that the grave isn’t the end but a glorious new beginning for all who put their faith in Him.

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 22, 2016

 

cake topper

When the preacher asked the bride if she would take her husband for richer or for poorer she responded, “richer.” Unfortunately, the correct answer was, “All of the above.” Life is quite an adventure with few guarantees. It can become quite difficult. We are allowed to choose one person to be our partner through it all: our spouse.

Some people make their choice based on a rational list of qualities every good partner should possess: intelligence, a marketable skill, mental stability, a good sense of humor, ability to communicate, etc. Most though navigate the waters of matrimony based on goosebumps. Their goosebumps tell them who to pursue & who to avoid.

However you ended up with the spouse you have, remember: they are a child of God, they deserve to be loved & they are worthy of a partner that is committed to their marriage. Does that sound like you?

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 15, 2016

 

bball

Sports fans are familiar with how momentum can swing from one team to the other. A squad may struggle through the game looking as though they haven’t got a chance, but one small victory like a first down in football or back-to-back buckets in basketball changes the feeling in the air. Players who were dragging now have a bounce in their step, discouraged contestants become energized, & the crowd comes to life. When momentum shifts the aggressors go on the defensive & those on defense go on the offensive.

Momentum is huge in church. Once the devil starts eating our lunch, our numbers drop, our members become discouraged, & everything we do takes a great deal of effort & yields little results. BUT just a couple people get saved, a new family starts attending, or an outreach has better than expected results & suddenly everything changes. Members become energized, new ideas replace old excuses, complaints are exchanged for vision, & enemies become allies.

When just one person decides to start imitating God – showing His love to others, helping the hurting, enjoying life – momentum begins to turn. Enthusiasm becomes contagious, work feels more like play, & the discouraged become encouraged. Rick Warren said, “You can’t create a wave but you can ride it when it comes.” I feel a ripple, don’t you?

Joel Everhart

May 8, 2016

Mothers-Day-11

I love being a grandparent: I’m so wise & patient – especially when the little ones aren’t around. There are those moments, however, when it’s just me & a grandkid (or several of them) when I feel outwitted, overmatched, &/or befuddled. During those times I’m sure I should not be trusted to care for minor children. In fact, after a session like that I wonder if I can be trusted to care for myself.

Yet, I think I make a better grandparent than I did a parent. At least as a grandparent I get these long pauses in between those befuddling moments. Parents are on the front lines 24/7. They may not get a break after a sleepless night or a week teething. Little in this world is as unnerving as a screaming child. God bless you moms & dads! Happy Mother’s Day! I pray you are able to eat your meals in peace today & have a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Pastor Joel Everhart

May 1, 2016

I’m a list guy. I start my days in the office by making a checklist of the tasks I hope to accomplish that day. My favorite thing about having a list is checking off items as I complete them. Sometimes my list will include items that need done outside the church (i.e. visit someone in a hospital or pick up some office supplies, which I usually do at the end of my work day). I never check those items off my agenda until they’re complete so I find my “uncompleted” itinerary sitting on my desk the next morning. Looking it over I will check off those items I finished before throwing the list away.

I found out I’m not the only person that does this. Why would anyone bother to complete a form before throwing it away? Maybe no job is complete until it’s “checked off” somehow. You do something kind for someone else & if they fail to say “thank you” you notice it. You didn’t do what you did in order to get a “thank you” but its absence is strangely felt.

All who serve the Lord will one day hear, “Well done thou good & faithful servant.” Suddenly our lives will feel complete. Our tasks will all be done. Our hearts will rest. Oh happy day.

Joel Everhart

April 24, 2016

ants stock
Ants. Ants love spring. Ants love our house. I hadn’t seen an ant all winter then suddenly they’re marching through our home by the hundreds. Every year at this time we fight ants. We use granules, sprays, traps, fingers & toes to kill them. We fight them in the yard, garage, kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. I flipped the light on one night to see why the dog didn’t want to go outside — her doggie yard was glistening with thousands of winged ants!

By mid-summer we’ve got the upper hand & by fall we feel like we’ve killed every ant in Pennsylvania but by the next spring they pop out of the ground like lava erupting from mini volcanoes. Every year my wife asks the same question, “Where are they all coming from?”

Ants are resilient, persistent, determined, committed little creatures. Whatever you used to kill them last year doesn’t seem to work on their descendants. Ants remind me of Christians. Sometimes there are a lot of us, sometimes only a few but one day the earth will be ours! March on.

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 17, 2016

blurry

I recently had my eyes examined so I could order a new supply of contact lenses. A “free” pair of lenses comes with the exam. They didn’t have my exact prescription in stock so the receptionist gave me a lens that was “a half-step off” & told me I shouldn’t have any problems with it. I was able to see well enough to navigate through each day but this morning I decided I’d had enough of vision that was half a step off & I put in a new pair of contacts. I can once again read large signs from a distance! Everything is sharper.

There are times when our spiritual vision is just a half-step off. We haven’t fallen into false doctrine but neither are we seeing the truth clear enough that it propels us in the right direction. May the Word shared today refocus our hearts onto the task of sharing Jesus with a lost world.

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 10, 2016

Baptism-1500

Who has the greatest influence on how you behave: law enforcement personnel, your parents, those mysterious other people, your boss, or is it someone/something else? This morning we’re going to be talking about changing the realm of influence to which we choose to subject ourselves. Many people submit to peer pressure because deep inside they fear being treated like an oddball. Thus, however the morals or opinions of society change they adjust their attitude accordingly. Others are driven by a desire for more money therefore their morals become very flexible depending upon the payoff.

When a person decides to get baptized in water as a sign of their commitment to Jesus they are pledging to leave all other spheres of influence behind & become focused on what pleases the Lord. That commitment may cost you some friends, it will change what you do with your money and it must change your view of life. So I ask again, who has the greatest influence on how you behave?

Pastor Joel Everhart

April 3, 2016

 

Sunrise - cropped

I’ve learned that, in the spring, just because the weatherman says it’s going to be sunny & 70 degrees doesn’t mean you should leave the house at 7am dressed like its 70 degrees & sunny. If you do you might shiver until about 2 in the afternoon. You might also begin to hate your meteorologist.

What is & what will be are often two very different sets of circumstances. This principle is very evident in church. The church is always becoming something other than what it is right now. We are not yet what we will be or should be. If we will – as today’s text urges us – be completely humble, gentle, patient, & bearing one another’s burdens in love, then we are on the right track. However, don’t expect the church to be “all that” just yet.

It’s a good place to worship & meet great people but it’s not a perfect place (thus the need for humility, patience, etc.). Enjoy our progress, forgive our failures & look forward to all of us improving … but don’t be surprised if it occasionally gets a little chilly on our way to a perfect afternoon.

Joel Everhart

March 27, 2016

 

easter header-01

I was talking to my brother John the other day & he shared this story with me: We were at a wedding & because I was dressed more formally than usual, my grandson Aldan (2½) didn’t pick me out of the crowd at first. Finally, when he looked up & recognized me, he pulled free of his mother’s grip, broke into a full run & called out, “Pa-pa I’m coming!”

John is a man with many accomplishments to his credit: youngest top salesman in his district (many years ago), president of a company, leadership advisor to churches, etc. Yet he told me that his grandson running into his arms was the proudest moment of his life.

Sometimes it’s not what the recognition is – a gold watch, a trophy or even a new car – sometimes it all hinges on who recognizes you. This morning we’ll be talking about the ‘resurrected Jesus.’ Knowing about Him won’t get you into heaven but knowing Him will. If you know Him like you should, the gold streets, pearl gates & precious gems won’t be what you’ll be looking for in heaven. “Jesus, I’m coming!”

Pastor Joel Everhart
 
 

– Happy Easter from all of us here at New Life –

Thanks for celebrating with us today!

March 20, 2016

 

bananas

I’d like to thank you for being on the other side of these weekly posts because I’ve found them very therapeutic for my soul. This venue has helped me to articulate some of my personal struggles & find coping skills for them. Two minor examples: vacuuming & bananas.

Earlier I stated that one of my goals was to stop hating the chore of vacuuming the floors by likening it to mowing the lawn, which I rather enjoy. I’m happy to report that the strategy has been working. Vacuuming has risen from “despised” to “I’m okay with it” on my chore meter. Ever since I posted the blog about bananas driving me bananas I’ve developed a new strategy: just about every time I’m in a grocery store I buy 2 or 3 of their greenest bananas. I place those under the others I already have in our fruit bowl & it seems like I have a continual supply of ripe ones rising to the top.

Overcoming the pains of life with God’s help is what we’ll be talking about this morning. Everyone has struggles; the keys are to suffer well, use the pain to get you to a better place & not to use your discontent as an excuse to display bad behavior.

Pastor Joel Everhart

March 13, 2016

 

shutterstock-alarm-clock

Last night I needed to be up in the middle of the night for a while so waking up this morning was a bit more of a challenge than usual. Every time I woke up I’d look at the clock to calculate how much time I had until I had to get out of bed. Finally I willed my feet out onto the floor, trudged to the bathroom, & began my daily routine. About a half hour later I was startled awake – apparently that whole getting out of bed & starting my day had been a dream! Who dreams about waking up to brush their teeth? What a dirty trick my own body played on me. I had to wake up twice this morning: once in a dream and then again for real.

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Now why in the world did that just happen?” That’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about this morning: Why do so many unusual events, actions that seem contrary to all that is logical, take place? There’s more to this than meets the eye.

Pastor Joel Everhart

March 6, 2016

 

snowy winter

It was snowing. Dawn was breaking. There was already about a quarter inch of new snow on the sidewalk as my dog & I were the first to put our prints into it. The sound of my feet pressing into the snow reminded me of stepping on small packing bubbles. The sensory experience was really quite amazing. As we turned the corner toward home the scene was picture postcard perfect. I’d never seen our neighborhood look so beautiful. Everything was blanketed with a fresh, clean coat of white.

That’s when I heard the Spirit of God say, “Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow.” The Lord was reminding me of the power of His forgiveness. I often see myself as in need of many renovations, however, God sees me covered with a fresh coat of perfection. But let’s not forget the first part of Isaiah 1:18, “Come let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow.” Only those who have been to Jesus, asked for forgiveness & salvation get that covering. Have you been to Jesus & had your sins covered?

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 28, 2016

boy on shoulders -2

I had the joy of taking my 2-yr-old grandson for a walk on a sunny, warm January afternoon one week after the blizzard of ‘16. The sidewalks were bordered by walls of snow that in some places were taller than him. This proved to be very helpful with keeping him contained and headed in the right direction. Every so often he would stop & take a bite out of the wall of snow. For him it was like manna from heaven. He pointed out flags, signs, an airplane, a hawk, puddles, cars, trucks, trees, sticks, a big brown dog, a large snowman … It was a great day.

Halfway through the walk he said, Me hold you? That’s his way of asking to hitch a ride. Perched up on my shoulders he loved pointing & saying, We go this way? I would reply, No, we go this way. This is the way to Memaw’s house. He wanted to go to see Memaw but he wanted to get there his way which often led off in the opposite direction. His bearings need a little maturing. He’d offer up some mild protests when the mule he was riding wouldn’t follow his instructions but then he’d see something else to point out and would once again settle in to enjoying the journey.

We need to remember that sometimes our sense of direction is skewed. We need to trust the One carrying us to glory. Stop protesting so much. Lean back into Him & enjoy the trip.

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 21, 2016

 

Stressed
God has decided to refine my character. His favorite tool to facilitate that goal is a stretcher (as in pulling, bending & extending) & my list of responsibilities has steadily grown over the past several years. There are times I feel like I’m going to end up on a hospital stretcher but inevitably I’ve had the strength, time, knowledge, & help needed to finish each task.

I hate to admit this but I still forget to cast my cares on the Lord. I’ll worry over something for quite a while before I remember to pray about it! Instead, I’ll pray about a bunch of other things while another part of my brain is trying to figure out what to do about the worrisome item on my to-do list. Eventually I remember to take my problem to the Lord, & my blood pressure returns to normal, peace settles over my soul, & everything works out just fine.

I’m sure you’ve been there too. Let’s not waste all this good stress: let it drive us to Jesus & shape our character exactly the way He wants it to be. That’s called sanctification & it makes diamonds out of dust.

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 14, 2016

 

Hardwood-Floor-Vacuums

For as long as I can remember I’ve hated vacuuming floors. As I approached the chore the other day the thought struck me: how come you like mowing the grass but you hate vacuuming the carpet? It was a good question. I was faced with two options in order to stay consistent: 1) start hating to mow or 2) start liking to vacuum. What I like about mowing is that it’s mindless labor: my body accomplishes a task while my mind can take a vacation. I’ve decided to try this tactic when working on the floors. A shift in attitude can make a big difference in the level of enjoyment we get out of life.

This morning we’re going to be talking about shifting our attitude toward one another from one that gets offended to one that loves in spite of offenses. Like learning to enjoy sweeping it will take some practice but as with any journey it all begins by taking that first step: decide which way you want to go.

Pastor Joel Everhart

February 7, 2016

It’s been said that people won’t do what you expect but what you inspect. In other words, if you want to be sure someone does their job right give them some feedback to let them know you are taking notice to what they are doing.

Encouraging words when they’re doing well just as corrective words when you find their effort subpar can help propel them to new heights. Did you know it’s possible to follow up on yourself? Set some goals, write them down, give them dates, chart your progress & reward your growth. It works with devotions, losing weight, exercise, continuing education & many other life improving initiatives. Many new apps & computer programs are now available to help make tracking your progress easy.

What is there about you that you would most like to change? Don’t just grumble about it; take action. Write down what it is you want to improve then find out what the next step might be & keep going! With God’s help you can do it!

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

January 31, 2016

Stars - Luke 5-02

The sun isn’t up this time of year when I take my dog out for her morning walk & she’s started to be more apprehensive about the dark. She’s all wiggles & excitement as I get her leash out & put her halter on because walking is one of her favorite pastimes. However, once we hit the street she moves so slowly that I find myself pulling her along behind me. The one thing she seems to respond well to is the sound of my voice. If I speak reassuringly to her, urging her onward she will trot up beside me for a while. If, however, I get absorbed in my thoughts & don’t say anything for a while I can, once again, feel the drag on my line.

That reminds me of when Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. Sometimes we wrongly think that Jesus only speaks to give us marching orders. Not so! Most of what He has to say is to reassure us to not be afraid & to move forward in the confidence that He’s got us covered. Be sure you are abiding in Him before you go anywhere: it’s a cold, dark, dangerous world otherwise! “What a friend we have in Jesus…”

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 17, 2016

 

Leaves 8 - cropped

I’m out on my morning run when a little creature, sized somewhere between a mouse & a chipmunk, scurries out from behind a light pole & does a curl pattern right at my feet. I danced up on my tiptoes doing my best to avoid the little thing but as luck would have it I heard & felt a crunch beneath my shoe. That’s when I realized it was a leaf. I went from freaked to saddened to amused in less than one second. Most leaves don’t draw that much emotion out of a person.

What if we could get more out of our life than we previously thought possible? What if we can draw more out of God than we have in the past? What if He is wishing that we will? What if He asked us to ask Him for an abundance of His presence, peace, joy & love? Would you do it?

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 10, 2016

 

football 2

If you are a sports fan you know there are several kinds of games you enjoy watching — probably in the following order: (1) your favorite team win, (2) your team’s rival(s) lose, (3) teams with players from your fantasy team, (4) a team (that you normally dislike, but you’re cheering for) whose win will help your team make the playoffs.

However, on a rare occasion you get stuck with only one game to watch & you hate both teams equally. You surf the channels to find twelve cooking shows, six Hallmark type movies, & two documentaries: one on the science behind how grass grows & the other on how the Baroque art style has influenced the development of decorated tissue boxes today. Inevitably you end up back at the game.

No matter how many channels we have there will be times we simply aren’t entertained. Such is life. No matter how well you prepare to enjoy your life you will experience feelings of loss, bored moments, & blue seasons. Even there find your peace, hope & joy in the Lord. Unlike your cable system, there is always more worth experiencing in God.

Pastor Joel Everhart

January 3, 2016

In order to help challenged children develop life skills, leaders from Dover High School bring their class with them here to New Life every other week. They do a really fine job of cleaning & other helpful tasks Pastor LeRoy can find for them to do.

As I sat in my office I heard one of the teens enter the kitchen below singing “Hark the Harold Angels Sing.” He sang with full vibrato. His pitch was way off but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it sung more beautifully. Here’s a young man with more challenges than most cleaning up after us yet fully caught up in the Christmas spirit. I think I heard what Jesus must hear whenever we worship with all of our hearts.

No matter what our circumstances may be there is always reason to worship Him. Don’t focus on your disabilities this year; don’t even focus on your abilities. Focus on Jesus who said that we can do all things through Him because He strengthens us.

Pastor Joel Everhart

December 27, 2015

 

bananas

Bananas drive me bananas. I like my bananas ripe but not too ripe. When I buy a bunch of bananas I like to get them a little green but that means I won’t be eating them for a couple of days. They all ripen at once but I’m pretty much a one banana a day kind of a guy.

When the kids lived at home they liked their fruit a little less ripe than I like mine & often the bananas didn’t live long enough for me to get one. Now that the wife & I are a little older we tend to be a little more banana moody: some days we feel like a banana & some days we don’t. How sad when my bananas ripen on the day I’m not in the mood! Our freezer can only hold so many loaves of banana bread made out of those that got too ripe. I suppose I could buy one banana every day & line them up on the counter eating them as they ripen.

With so many banana type things to worry about in this life isn’t it good to know that God is rock solid? He is faithful, ready, able & loving; because He lives I can face tomorrow.

Pastor Joel Everhart

December 20, 2015

 

guests arrive2

As soon as you hear that company is coming for the holidays you step up your game. A deeper clean & shinier polish is applied throughout the house. Whatever Christmas decorations you have are at least increased, if not replaced. Your menu grows. Plans are made to occupy the visiting kids & entertain their parents.

You get dressed up. Perhaps you apply an extra squirt of perfume or splash of cologne. Back when you were dating your spouse you used to do that kind of stuff for them while you ignored everyone else. Now it’s pretty much the reverse: your spouse gets the real you while the company is treated to the made over you appearing in your made over home. Some wives have even been known to review a list of dos & don’ts with their husbands before the visitors arrive just to make sure his real self is properly disguised.

Jesus came so that we could be exposed to the real God. As John says, “We beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace & truth.” If anything God toned it down a little in order for us to get close enough to experience His warmth, His love, & His divine nature. Did I say a little? He was born as a helpless baby & placed in a dirty manger; lowly shepherds were among His first visitors…

Pastor Joel Everhart

December 13, 2015

 

Leaves - brown

I was walking the dog on a brisk fall day a couple of weeks ago after about 75% of the leaves had already fallen from the trees. Many of those leaves were now dry, brown, & curled, & they bounced & rolled down the street as they were driven by the wind.

They made quite a bit of racket as they scattered by us. So many passed us that it felt like the supply would soon be exhausted but then I realized that this fall windstorm could well be carrying leaves from as far away as western PA or even Ohio & beyond! Imagine that: leaves from across the country just passing through — but to where? The sea? Can anyone estimate just how many leaves fall each year?

The number of trees is vast; the number of people is vast; the oceans are vast … life has a vast number of vast things! Here’s something you can wrap your mind around: God created it all & He gave us the Bible to help guide us through our years. As soon as you accept those two facts everything else gets easier.

 – Pastor Joel Everhart

December 6, 2015

I was pulling out of York Hospital early on Monday when I saw two older ladies running up the hill. The incline they were tracking was both steep & long yet they were really going at it. Both were dressed in sweat clothes & neither was carrying anything so I knew they hadn’t just knocked off the drug store at the bottom of the street.

My first thought was, “Ladies, there are easier places to run!” The fact that they were already more than half way up the hill & that neither looked to be in distress gave me a strange sense of conviction. It made me feel like a slacker. I had actually been considering cutting back on my own running routine but here were Mother Theresa & her older sister training for a triathlon.

People have an effect on us; sometimes the effect is quite profound. As we seek heaven for revival there are a few things we need to keep in mind so that the effect we have on others is actually constructive. That’s what we’ll be talking about in this morning’s sermon.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 29, 2015

 

Hospital-Hallway

Looking forward to her surgery earlier this month my wife was understandably nervous. In fact, she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to go through with the procedure until the day before we went to the hospital. Throughout that time I was her calm support letting her know that whatever she decided was fine. Every time she became anxious I seemed to have the right words to calm her nerves. On the morning of the surgery she appeared quite in control of her emotions as I felt my insides turning to jelly. For months she had worried about her recovery & suddenly I was the one who was filled with apprehension.

She said her turning point came the morning before surgery as the Lord blanketed her in a sweet peace. I had great peace & confidence until I needed it most. While sitting in the waiting room I was reminded that she had always made it through past surgeries with flying colors, which gave me confidence to not trust my own jitters.

Sometimes we need to repent of our emotions; apologize to the Lord for losing it. But isn’t it good to know He doesn’t let our failures influence His victories? He stands ever ready for us to change directions & trust Him more.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 22, 2015

 

iPad & Mac2

I was sitting at my desk finishing up some time with the Lord when the thought struck me: I haven’t gotten anything done yet today. The emotion that went along with the thought was one of defeat, guilt, & sadness. The truth is that I had completed many routine tasks already; important routine things. The reason I could then turn to checking the seemingly more important items off my “to-do list” was because I had, in fact, started my day early & well.

Routines are vitally important: they take care of the necessities so we can focus on the urgent or otherwise significant duties of the day. Routines can become so habitual that its healthy to recognize them every so often to see if they need any adjustments. Can I do better? Am I covering all the basics? Are there technologies or ideas that could help to improve my daily schedule? Is it time to shake things up? Shouldn’t I feel good about having established good habits & stuck with them?

This morning we begin a brief series on reevaluating ourselves as a church: celebrating what we’ve done well & dedicating ourselves to do better. They say there’s always room for improvement so let’s do what we do for Jesus with ever increasing vitality & worth.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 15, 2015

I have the deepest sense of loathing for the people scamming our seniors, stealing identities, & putting devices on card scanners to take information in order to empty our accounts. Surely if they put their ingenuity to work toward making an honest living their skills would afford them a living wage. But they don’t want to work to earn a paycheck they want to work to steal yours. They don’t want to abide by God-honoring principles building wealth over time; they want it all now with no concern over who they hurt. Indeed, some of them have come to believe they are entitled to take whatever they can get.

That’s the mindset of that false god we started talking about last week. He has no concern over who goes to hell: men, women, children, young, old, handicapped, intelligent, beautiful, homely, or not too bright. Masquerading as a god of love, posing as the One True God he deceives many into thinking they’re going to heaven when in fact its all a scam. He’ll take your soul & leave you morally & eternally bankrupt. Protect God’s identity. Don’t settle for the impostor.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

November 8, 2015

 

turning

There’s a certain type of driver that only uses his turn signal when it benefits him to do so. You’ve seen him: you are waiting to pull out into traffic but a car is coming so you wait.

The car goes slower & slower but still you wait. At the last second he puts on his signal & turns (if he uses it at all). Had you only known what his intentions were when he first appeared you could have been on your way but as it is that 30 second delay caused you to miss a green light, arrive to work late, lose that promotion … That same driver sits at green arrows until they turn yellow so only he makes the light.

There’s a false god running around with the same motive: to benefit himself. He also masks his true intentions lulling people into a false sense of reality. Falling for his tricks will cost you a lot more than 30 seconds of your time; it could prove eternally fatal. Make sure you are trusting in the right God.

Pastor Joel Everhart

November 1, 2015

 

fireplace

I like to get as warm as I can before I dart out into the cold for my morning run. Often I’ll stretch in front of our gas fireplace. Somewhere between waking up feeling chilly & breaking a sweat is this starting to get hot sensation that almost makes it feel good to step outside into the frosty darkness. The problem is that as my body warms in front of the fire it likes it a little too much. Something inside starts to make excuses as to why it would be better for me to stay right there instead of contend with wind chills.

God has given us all good things to enjoy but He hasn’t given us anything to enjoy so much that it is meant to keep us from the important duties of life. There’s a time to relax, a time to enjoy, a time to recharge but also a time to go to work, a time to endure pain, & a time to leave the comfort of the fireplace for the health benefits of running.

One of our most important duties is to be a light for Christ in this dark world. It won’t always feel good. Pulling away from our comfort zone may be hard. But that’s why we’re here.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 25, 2015

Inevitably during the vetting process of pre-election politics someone will rise in the polls for a while, look to be the next logical choice, then crash & burn as something nasty in their past — or even in their present — comes to light. Two names from earlier elections come to mind: Republican Herman Cain & Democrat John Edwards.

Cain was a businessman from Georgia that looked to have all the credentials conservatives love, though, shortly after he soared to the top of the polls, revelations of his extramarital affairs quickly sank any hope he had of moving into the White House. Edwards was a wealthy, good looking senator from North Carolina applauded for his devotion to his wife as she battled breast cancer. The revelation that he fathered a child with his mistress was only the beginning of his woes.

Each of these men came ridiculously close to securing the most powerful job in the world. In the last days the wickedest man of all will rise to power. He will appear to be the perfect choice. His credentials will look flawless. He will be brilliant, winsome, articulate … & evil.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 18, 2015

Sometimes the wealthy decide to set up foundations to set aside some of their wealth to help others or provide capital to fund projects about which they’re passionate. Rather than choosing to deposit the whole sum of money into their favorite charity all at once, a foundation allows them to keep on giving for a very long time after they’ve passed on. There’s no way of getting around the fact that this is a very nice thing to do.

People are capable of doing great acts of kindness. Although believers in Jesus Christ top the charts for charitable giving, even unbelievers are capable of being generous. Usually, however, there is some ulterior motive involved: it creates a “legacy” after they’re gone or it provides huge tax advantages …

And so it will be with the final empire that rises in the last days. It will have all the show of humanity at its best: caring for the poor, equality for all … but, oh, the ulterior motives! It would probably be utopia if it weren’t for the one driving it all. What’s his motivation? To steal, kill, & destroy.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 11, 2015

 

worship-cropped

Our little Yorkie knows every house in our neighborhood that has a dog that will bark at her as we walk past. As we go down the road she will pull to zig-zag me from one side of the street to the other in order to avoid these “hot spots.” Interestingly enough, she will bark at any dog that goes past our house. From the safety of our home she will run from one window to the next as she attempts to rattle the nerves of passersby. She hates when it’s done to her but has no trouble dishing it out. How human! We love to bark from our places of safety but are quickly shaken whenever we are not in control of our own environment.

Is the same true of our worship? Do we love to worship the Lord whenever we are safe & secure inside our church but withhold the same whenever circumstances are hostile to our faith? What if armies from heathen nations rise up against our country or our allies? Will we worship then? Will we still believe that God is in control? We may soon find out.

Pastor Joel Everhart

October 4, 2015

 
Encourage-One-Another

A week ago my wife & I took a walk around our neighborhood. I had been out a few minutes earlier & told my wife it was a little chilly so we put on our jackets. As we stepped outside we felt hot & wondered why we’d donned an extra layer. Halfway down the block a cloud covered the sun & we braced ourselves against the chill of the wind. As we turned the corner, the sun came out, & we started to feel like we were baking. This cycle continued throughout the walk: we roasted, we froze, it was too hot, it was too cold …

How life like! Life is full of extremes: we’re either overworked or bored; hungry or stuffed;anxious or lazy … Ah, but there is coming a day when a trumpet will sound. We’ll leave all frustrations behind & it will be heaven at last!

The Bible refers to this as the “Blessed Hope” of the believer. No matter how extreme your day becomes remember that it won’t be long — soon we’ll be leaving this too hot, too cold, boring, over-stimulating world.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 27, 2015

 

Boldness-01

My wife & I had the joy of watching two of our grandsons while their parents got a little time alone recently.

Uncharacteristically the older brother wasn’t being very nice to his younger sibling. I warned him a couple of times but he completely ignored me. Finally, I reached for the squirt bottle I use to discipline my dog & let loose with a blast that caught him in the shoulder. The look on his face was priceless: a mixture of shock & indignation.

“Grandpa, you shot me!” he said.

“I know — you weren’t listening to me,” I replied.

If we are here to be witnesses for Jesus but people aren’t paying any attention to us, is there something we can do about that? What good is a witness that no one hears?

It’s time to make a bolder stand. It’s time to rethink our methods. It’s time to get creative.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

September 20, 2015

 

Learning to Walk

One of the greatest days in any parent’s life is the day their child is potty trained, but I have yet to meet a parent that remembers that date for very long. That’s true of so many significant dates in the development of your child: 1st tooth, 1st word, 1st step … we meet each of these new accomplishments with great joy – so why don’t they stick in our memory? I think it’s because as soon as they pass one milestone they’re pushing toward another. We get so caught up in their struggle forward that the past quickly fades. 

What is next is always better than what just happened. That’s not just true about kids. Somewhere in life we start believing the devil’s lie that our clay has hardened, that we are who we are & we can’t change. Liar, liar, pants on fire! Each one of us is constantly changing even if we don’t take notice of it. Don’t settle for what you’ve been. Start with baby steps. “With God’s help I can do it!”

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 13, 2015

Three captured sailors were placed one at a time in front of a firing squad on the beach. The first man was placed against a wall as the soldiers prepared to shoot. As the sergeant barked, “Ready…Aim…” the prisoner yelled, “Tornado!” The hapless riflemen looked skyward as the man jumped over the wall & escaped. Noting what his friend had done the second man waited until the sergeant gave his commands: “Ready…Aim…” & the prisoner yelled, “Tsunami!” The squad turned to look at the ocean & the prisoner escaped.

The third man stood there wracking his brain for some disaster that might distract the gunmen. The sun was hot, the seconds ticked by. Think, think, think, he said to himself. The sergeant yelled, “Ready…” All the good disasters are taken, the man thought. As the sergeant bellowed, “…Aim…” the prisoner yelled at the top of his lungs, “FIRE!”

Communication doesn’t have to be elaborate to be effective. Remember that the next time you want to proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

Pastor Joel Everhart

September 6, 2015

Recently a couple fresh off the farm moved into a small 3-bedroom duplex just down the street from my wife & me. The house sits on a tiny speck of land, shares the neighbor’s driveway, & has a 1-car garage.

The problem: they’ve tried to bring too much of the farm with them, including truckloads of dirt & mulch! The garage is packed floor-to-ceiling with equipment & supplies just waiting to be tooled into useful items. His pickup is one of those full-sized jobs with enough cab space to fit the Partridge family & the other two vehicles don’t even fit on their property. Most days you will find him out in his driveway with his power tools chewing through lumber. They don’t seem to know much about living in a neighborhood … or how to be retired.

When we become Christians, we move into a new neighborhood. The Lord helps us get rid of some old stuff & teaches us how to get along with our new neighbors. Are you learning or resisting what He’s saying to you?

Pastor Joel Everhart

August 30, 2015

One day the dog & I were out walking a mile from home when I decided I didn’t want to walk anymore, but there were no good alternatives to just sucking it up & heading home. How often have you continued to do what you needed to simply because you had to & not at all because you wanted to? It might have involved a difficult project at work, a fussy child in the middle of the night, or resolving a conflict with your spouse. Much of our lives are spent “sucking it up.” Hoover & Dyson have nothing on us.

“Suck-it-uppers” clean up the mess others leave behind, they persevere to get the job done after others quit, they get tired, they have other (better) things to do … but they get the job done anyway. I’m not talking about suck-ups: those who only perform when the boss is watching. “Suck-it-uppers” are those who finish the job long after everyone else has gone home. Let’s take a lesson from them today. Are you troubled? Suck it up.

Pastor Joel Everhart