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Okay, so it’s no secret that we are no longer a large or even a medium sized congregation. We left that back in the 80’s or 90’s. When Janine and I came here the average attendance was around 120. According to our records this year we have between 55 and 60 in our Sunday morning attendance, closer to 90 when we have the combined worship services each 3rd Sunday. This is shaping up like an "attendance drive" article, but it’s not. Not that we couldn’t and shouldn’t do better, but that’s not where we are going today.

Hungry for Change

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When we lived in Russia back in the mid 90's Russia was in the midst of dramatic change. Everything was changing, politics, money, world concepts, people ... everything! We got to see a nation in the midst of transformation. It wasn’t easy for them either. When they changed their currency it (from our perspective) was so sudden that people went to bed with lots of money only to wake up with nothing. Imagine if you woke up this morning and were told that the $100 bill you have in your mattress is now only worth a dollar. That’s not an exaggeration. The politics were changing, too, at least on paper. Those who were communists were still communists, but they changed their name to capitalists. Another big change was their concept of the world. Throughout the cold war Russians had been given a dismal picture of the rest of the world, especially the Western world. Everything, as far as they knew, was chaotic and impoverished while Russians lived on a very high standard. When the world opened up to them they were amazed at how the rest of the world really was. Watching people change during that time was an amazing thing.

Oh, Give Me A Home Where The...

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The year is 1860. We’re in Saint Louis, Missouri. Upon talking to people who have been to the other side of the river we’ve decided to embark on a new life. Being from the east, our only knowledge of what is before us is what we have been told. Those who have been have recommended a guide—he’s not just any guide he is "the guide." He settled the land, he knows the ropes, he has not only ridden the trail, he blazed it. Our lives are at stake and so we will only follow the best there is. We want someone we can trust. We have decided by his resume, the evidence of previous trips, and the testimony of others who have followed him that we can trust him. Having put our trust in him we sign on to his party of pioneers. The first thing he does is set down some rules, some laws, if you will.

It's Not Easy Being Green

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Kermit said it’s not easy being green. He struggled with that thought throughout his song. He didn’t get the attention that light sparkling on the water gets or like the stars in the sky and was often passed over as just an ordinary thing. He blended in with all the other green things when he would rather have been red or gold or something like that. In the end, however, he came to the conclusion that it’s okay to be green. It’s the color of spring, it can be big like an ocean, important like a mountain or tall like a tree. "Green is beautiful," he says, "and it’s what I want to be."

To: You, From: The Holy Spirit

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There was chaos and then there was life. That’s how it all began. What was before the beginning I cannot even begin to explain. The Bible opens up with the declarative statement, "In the beginning God (Deity) created the heavens and the earth." The heavens refer to what we look into when we look up - the place the birds fly and the place of the sun, moon and stars. For me it is a little difficult to say that God, in the beginning, created the heaven in which He dwells because He was already there and wherever God dwells is heaven; but enough of those semantics.

What I want to deal with is this concept presented in Genesis: