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The View From My Window

March 30, 2014

This morning we’re trying a little experiment: the Children’s Church Kids are spending the morning with us in the sanctuary. If everything goes well we’ll be doing it on every fifth Sunday of the month (four times a year). Our purpose is to expose the kids to the adult worship service so that when they “graduate” from Children’s Church it is a smooth transition for them to join us on a permanent basis. Also, we think it is very valuable for a kid to be able to experience worshiping along with their family every so often. So, we’ll be paying special attention to our children this morning because we want to make them feel very welcome.

Can you even imagine how important a child’s first “big church” experience is in their development as a follow of Jesus? Do what you can to make them feel welcome and if there’s a little extra noise, feel good about attending a church that has so many kids!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 23, 2014

Spring has sprung, the grass as riz, I wonder where the birdies is!

During this mother of all winters, I’ve marveled at how warm 20-couple degrees can be after wind chills in the single digits or below zero. I’ve also marveled at how cold the 40s can feel when I’m expecting it to be warm. Expectations are fascinating: they can set you up for pleasant surprises or bitter disappointments. Personally, I always try to aim my expectations a little low and hope for better. There are those times, however, when the Lord just drops something in my heart that is bigger than I could ever expect on my own. That’s when faith takes over.

Faith is the assurance that we will get what we hope for because it’s not based on our ability to produce it. It’s based on our confidence that God has spoken it into our lives and nothing is impossible with God. Don’t be misled into thinking you can produce whatever your heart desires but neither should you doubt that God will do what He has promised. Open up your heart to God today — He’s always looking for someone to bless.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 16, 2014

Pastor LeRoy and I went in to see Ron Strine the day after his knee replacement at the Wellspan Rehab Hospital in York. When we got there he’d just come back from therapy where they surprised him with the amount of pain they were able to inflict on him (while smiling and telling him he was doing great). He said they didn’t mind it at all when he screamed. The nurse came in with an ice pack and explained that they were waiting for his pain meds to arrive. The ice didn’t help. Finally she returned with a pill and a needle; five minutes later we saw Ron relax and smile. Isn’t it amazing what such a little pill or small amount of liquid can do? Sometimes the greatest gifts do come in the smallest packages: life changing gifts.

You never know what small act of kindness or simple word of encouragement will cause another person to think twice about the Lord. Be sure to “season your conversation with salt” and that as the farmer in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower scattered seed he tossed it onto good and rocky soil alike. That little comment you make, as small as a seed, just might take root and change someone’s life. That simple act of kindness can be the very thing that convinces another that God really does live in you. Each of us is just as capable to sow weeds of discouragement or thorns of pain. What’s in your seed bag?

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 9, 2014

This past Monday was such a frustrating day for my wife and me. Barb had a nerve conduction test in Gettysburg at 9 a.m. and a doctor appointment in York at 2 p.m. At 11:30 a.m. we had to meet a guy about a thing and were to meet with an attorney by 5 p.m. — both concerning a neighbor’s property and well-being (she has moved into an assisted living home and we’re assisting with her move). Both doctors, the one scheduled for 9 a.m. and the one at 2 p.m., were running over an hour and a half late. As painful as the nerve conduction tests were they didn’t show anything that would be helpful in treating Barb’s pain. The roads were snow and ice covered and filled with some drivers that were driving too slow and others that were going too fast. Add to all that a below zero wind chill, running late to every appointment only to have to wait, yet at the end of the day being no further ahead than when you started.

I laid my head on the pillow intending to pour out my complaints to God but thought it would be the “Christian” thing to do to begin with praise then transition into grumbling. But once I started thanking God for all He had done in the day, the list just kept growing: we were kept safe on the icy roads, we made it everywhere we needed to be with time to spare, everything we planned to accomplish got done and more, Barb and I had a sweet time of connecting in a very strange way while getting frustrated together over the whole mess, somehow we managed to fit in two very delicious meals (one along the way and the other in the comfort of our own home), we found the guy with the thing and the attorney very helpful, a neighbor opened up the part of my driveway the plow had shut after I’d shoveled …. Suddenly I realized that the only bad thing about the day was my attitude.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

March 2, 2014

It’s March 2nd and I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be done with January and February in all my life! Even though we’re still staring down the barrel of some lows in the teens at least we’ve survived two thirds of one of the coldest winters in recorded history. Someone told me the other day that, worldwide, this has been the forth coldest winter on record. I know what you’re thinking: “There’s still time to break the record!”

The other day I saw a really fat robin; I’m thinking he was wearing long johns under his feathers. Sam told me Donna saw a blue bird; I told him it was a cardinal with frostbite. You know where I’m going with this … this winter is for the birds!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

February 23, 2014

We recently got a classic picture from our daughter-in-law Andrea of her son, Parker (4 months old) perched atop his dad’s shoulders. The look on the boy’s face is one of pride, joy and accomplishment. The haunting thing about the photo for me is the realization that it was just “yesterday” that the dad (Josh) was sitting on my shoulders.

My mother-in-law tells me that grand kids grow up faster than kids and great grand kids even faster! By this time next week I might be a great-great-grandpa! I guess the moral of all this is to do our best to enjoy where we’re at in life right now because it sure won’t be here for long. May God give us the wisdom to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

February 16, 2014

Even though we’ve prepaid for propane this winter and are on automatic fill here at the church we ran out of propane yesterday and boy is my office cold today. I have a little space heater but I guess the heating element is burned out because it only blows cold air – very cold air. It felt a little better after I turned it off. Shipley tells me we’re on the list.

All this causes me to think about how much of these luxuries we enjoy that I take for granted day after day: heat, plowed & salted roads, fresh food, computers, cell phones and the list goes on forever. It reminds me of that old hymn: “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done!”

I can say I was cold for a few hours but how many in the world can say they’ve been cold their whole life?! Some of you work out in the cold — office? What office? Others work in big open spaces like warehouses, garages and the like; God bless you. I still say we ought to oust any politician that has been working against global warming.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

February 9, 2014

I often forget the date, occasionally I forget what day it is but now I think I’m confused as to where we live. Is this Minnesota, Michigan or North Dakota? Please go home and install a coal furnace, burn some trash out in the backyard and if you have an old tractor let it idle in the driveway – we’ve got to do something to promote global warming before we all freeze to death!

By the way, I talked with Jack this week and Dot is doing much better. She’s been able to get up and walk with her walker which she hadn’t done for quite a while. Also, if you see a groundhog, don’t miss.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

February 2, 2014

I’m sitting here munching on a baby carrot trying to think of something to write about in this column when it strikes me that the particular carrot I’m eating is quite tasty. As I pause to thank the Lord for this simple delight I wonder what it took to grow, process, ship, display and sell this product to me. Where did the carrots sitting on my desk come from? How many people were involved in the process of getting them to me? Reading the plastic bag they came in I discover that they were grown in and shipped from California.

Someone(s) (with the help of automation no doubt) planted, watered (California is under a severe drought), harvested, washed, and packaged these little orange nuggets. How many different trucks did they ride in moving from warehouse to market to warehouse to Nell’s Grocery store in East Berlin? How many different workers touched them on their way from the dock to the produce section? The only thing I know for sure is that Linda Mickey is the clerk that scanned and bagged them for me. I had a staff of hundreds deliver my carrots this morning! Not to mention they were on sale: 2/$3.

When you have a whole country working just so you have something to munch on while you are at your desk, you must be a very special person – don’t you think? If there was time I’d tell you about my celery…

– Pastor Joel Everhart

January 26, 2014

That Polar Vortex came back!

Car batteries that have no trouble providing plenty of juice under normal conditions can fail in very cold temperatures. My battery wouldn’t answer the call the last time the Vortex attacked and I had to jump it using our other vehicle.

It was interesting to see that I wasn’t the only guy at Advanced Auto looking for a replacement that morning – we were all lined up –
much to the chagrin of their installer. Personally, I think he should invest in a pair of gloves; it might improve his attitude.

My internal battery is a lot like the one in my car: it provides plenty of pep under normal conditions but when that Vortex hangs around for too many days in a row it takes a toll on my otherwise sunny disposition. The auto parts store has nothing to help that condition (although a new auto air freshener is always nice).

We can, however, sometimes help jumpstart others that are a bit weather worn and they can likewise help us. So, even if you’re having a tough time of it, do what you can to look on the bright side for the sake of the people you love. Life is a team sport and we do better when we’ve got each other’s back. Maybe double up on the phone calls you usually make to our shut-ins or send an extra card of cheer this week. I think it will do your battery good.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

January 19, 2014

It sure has been an interesting winter so far, don’t you think? We’ve had a number of snows, each of which seemed to make travel a challenge, freezing rain, sleet, several fifty degree days, torrential rains, sub-zero wind chills; I think we even had a day in the seventies in December!

We have become familiar with the term “polar vortex”. I hope I never hear that term again. Shifting winds, a moving vortex can bounce us from warm to unbearably cold in a few hours and back again. Some days its 38 degrees and snowing, other days its 25 and raining! A bunch of people studying global warming recently got their boat stuck in ice so thick that other boats designed to break through the ice couldn’t get through to them.

I’m 56 and all this is new to me. We’ve been preaching about the 2nd coming of Jesus lately and the Bible says that as that day draws close there will be signs in the sky and on the earth. The question isn’t, “Is God speaking?” The question is, “Are we listening?” There’s an old catch phrase from those that study Bible prophecy that says, “Get right or get left.”

– Pastor Joel Everhart

January 12, 2014

My email server decided to update its system and felt it necessary to blow up the old one. They did away with my password, wiped out my address book and finally locked me out completely until I started to comply with their new orders.

I resist being retrained. Even when the new is “better” with more options I prefer to be left a couple decades behind as long as I’m getting my work done.

After wasting several hours of my time as I typed in email addresses and became familiar with some of its new features it promises to save me time in the future. I read somewhere last week, “Being busy pays off in the future; being lazy pays of right now.” Being lazy doesn’t appeal to me at all but getting busier in order to be more productive is often a hard sale to me.

But isn’t that the way of Christ? Sacrifice now, serve now, study now, give now – making not only for a better life as we mature here on earth but a greater reward in eternity. Too often I give the Lord the same resistance I give modern technology even though I know that His ways are best. So here’s to a new year: may we become better at embracing the changes ahead!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

January 5, 2014

I was watching the news the morning after Christmas when I saw that many of the stores were opening early with expectations of after Christmas shopping crowds. I had several things to return so I jumped in the car and got to three stores before 8 a.m.

There was a little snow on the ground that may have deterred some people but I was virtually alone in each of the stores I visited! There were roped off areas, signs to direct people and many clerks available but almost no shoppers. With stores opening on Thanksgiving, staying open until midnight on Christmas Eve, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Free Shipping Friday… maybe what we really need is a few more days without ANY shopping. There was a time we used to do that once a week!

There’s something peaceful about quiet streets and empty shopping centers. I know what you’re thinking: “But you were shopping the day after Christmas, Pastor!” No, I was returning – they lost money on me.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

December 29, 2013

Happy New Year! A fresh slate; a clean page; it’s time to reflect on the past and set some goals for the future. It could also be a good time for some pork and sauerkraut.

In everyone’s life there should be some time for celebration as well as perspiration. For many of us, we get a little extra time off during the holidays to relax and enjoy ourselves (whether that’s what we do with the time or not is largely up to us).

Others actually have to work overtime during this festive time of year because of the type of business they’re in. Still others make the festivities themselves labor and stress! They snap at others that laze around or think poorly of those that relax. Some of us would rather be busy than sit around; others are quite the opposite.

So why not let everyone enjoy what they do best? And let not the worker think ill of the relaxed ones among us when we’d rather be serving anyway. However, come January 2nd … everyone back to work!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you for all your kind remembrances of my wife and me during this wonderful time of the year.

Having a new grandbaby in the family renews our wonder of babies: how beautiful they are and how quickly they grow. Our daughter-in-law tells us how captivated she is by the son in her arms even though we know there have been a number of fussy times (he’s cutting two teeth at 3½ months!). She tells us that Parker doesn’t just roll over he’s a regular gymnast in his sleep. What a great gift for God to give to the world: a baby!

I wonder if the shepherds and wise men got to hold Him? Luke 2:28 says, “Simeon took [baby Jesus] in his arms and praised God”. Not only were children later welcomed into Jesus’ lap; I have to wonder how many laps He had crawled into while He was growing up. Maybe there were grandparents, uncles, aunts, and friends of the family He felt especially close to. From the very beginning people were welcome to “behold Him” and even to hold Him.

When Jesus came He shared His life with us, His whole life, even the joys of touch and warmth – and He still does – Merry Christmas!

– Pastor Joel Everhart

December 15, 2013

Wow, it was a tough drive home from church last Sunday morning! I have a four wheel drive SUV but drove my car because they said the icy stuff wouldn’t happen till later in the afternoon.

Traffic stopped on 194 just south of Abbottstown and the lady in front of me couldn’t get moving again. Try as I might I just couldn’t push her by myself; I looked up to a line of cars in either direction as far as I could see but no one else got out to help. Only after she backed to the side of the road did three young people from way back in the line come walking up; with their help we were able to get the lady on her way freeing everyone else in line.

Because we were on the knoll of a hill no one could pass safely; our only hope was to get everyone moving yet everyone was waiting for someone else to do something. Working together we all got on our way safely … seems like there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

December 8, 2013

We greatly enjoyed having our son Josh, his wife Andrea, and their new baby Parker home for the week of Thanksgiving. There is something surreal about seeing your kids take care of a baby.

I really appreciated my wife’s organizational skills as we prepared for the visit and all our friends that loaned us baby equipment! You basically have to remodel your house when a baby is coming to stay for a while. But what I most appreciate is the fact that those old baby watching skills seem to come back when you need them. I was able to take the early morning shift with Parker which allowed his parents to enjoy some well deserved sleep. Even though the baby had a few fussy times (nothing compared to when our kids had colic) I remained calm and seemed to know what to do.

There’s a relaxedness about being a grandpa that may not have been as pronounced when I was a dad (their having colic probably had something to do with that). Barb noted how very comforting it is to hold a sleeping baby. A new life in a family, even when its sleeping, sure adds new life to a family.

– Pastor Joel Everhart

December 1, 2013

For a brief instant we had our grandson to hold but now Thanksgiving is past, relatives have dispersed, and for a short time we focus on the major holiday of the season. In the blink of an eye Christmas will have come and gone.

There will be moments when the wind chill causes us to grit our teeth as we recognize that it is indeed wintertime. But just as we think we can’t take the cold any longer, spring will arrive and we will once again dash through summer.

All of life goes by so quickly. Be thankful, give generously, laugh often, love extravagantly for life is short and days like these are precious. Soon each one of us will appear before God to give an account of how we lived. The Bible tells us that God puts more emphasis on how we finish than on any other part of our life. So finish well. Put on your track shoes. Run in such a way as to win the race and finish with a burst.

Not that you need to get busier or become more stressed; certainly not! Deepen your roots into the Lord, become more serious about serving others and never miss an opportunity to express God’s love to another human being. Everybody runs; few run well.

– Pastor Joel Everhart