Colossians 3:12-14
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

The verses we just read list Mercy, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Goodness, Patience, Forgiveness, Faithfulness, Self-Control, Peace, Joy, and Love. And we are to clothe ourselves in them. But how do we get there? I imagine that we all have some we wear well and often and others that could use a bit more tailoring. But I believe clothing ourselves in each of these begins with Appreciation.

While clothing ourselves with these characteristics, it is important to remember, and especially important at to teach our children, the characteristic of self-control. We need to Control our desires to do whatever WE want and place the welfare of others – our community, our neighbors, and our Pastor – to place their needs before our own. Because this is where we find God’s peace, joy and love! Did you know that the “Church” is built to be a family, a family that cares for one another through thick and thin? We all need each other and we all need to appreciate each other! I want to start by saying that if I have not made it clear to you that I do appreciate each and everyone of my White Pine Family, I apologize. And please know that you are all in my heart and in my thoughts.

October is Pastor Appreciation month and today we are celebrating Pastor Rosemary and Joe! I looked up the definition of Appreciation and this is what I found:
1.the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
2. a full understanding of a situation

I know each of us appreciates both Joe and Pastor Rosemary. But I wonder how often we REALLY think of their welfare, the hours and hours they spend ministering to not just those in this church but in the community. The standing joke is that Pastors only work one hour a week…But how many times have we picked up the phone and called Pastor Rosemary for a prayer, advice, comfort or help in an urgent situation? How many times have we stopped in her office, even just to talk, while she is at the church? How many of us have had her drop everything to show up at the hospital or home when care is needed? How many have been blessed to have her be part a ceremony: wedding, baptism, confirmation, funeral? I dare say, most of us have had at least one of these experiences. But to truly appreciate someone, as the definition states, we need to recognize their good qualities and understand their situation. So, how often, do we ask her how she is doing? How often to we attempt to lighten her “load”?

You see, a Pastors job never ends…She receives monetary compensation, but no money can truly pay for what she gives. And the reality is that she works 24/7/365. I know that all of us are always in her heart. Even when she is “on Vacation”, she receives emails and calls. How many of us would be willing to take on that kind of job? And how many without pay? Pastors are always on call, but they don’t receive “X” amount of dollars for each time the phone rings, or a stipend for the number of prayers said.

How many of us go about our day without uttering a word of prayer for our Pastors and their families? How many of us live our lives doing more taking than giving? I have to admit I am guilty. My world is often comprised of things I must get done, places I must be, deadlines I must meet…Catch all those I’s in there? It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit teaching us self-control, that we can remember to take a deep breath, pause, focus on God and place Him and his Kingdom before our own “To Do Lists”. It is easy to get wrapped up in this world. I recently read a devotion that said as Christian’s, we need to keep one foot in Heaven lest we lose sight of His Kingdom. It is easy to keep two feet in this world. It is easy to go about our routine and think things are going great! Until they aren’t.

So, I wonder how many of us are truly appreciating all that we have, recognizing the good qualities of the community instead of complaining about the things we don’t like, appreciating the people in our lives, including our Pastor, instead of taking them for granted. Do we attempt to appreciate and truly understand their situations?

It is so easy to get wrapped up in our day to day lives and take our “foot out of Heaven” and have our numerous blessings go unnoticed.

Today, I would like to encourage you to take some time with God and re-learn to appreciate; appreciate the sun that gives light and warmth, appreciate the rain that cleanses and brings life, appreciate the stars and moon that light the sky, appreciate the trees that provide oxygen, beauty and shade, appreciate the workers that maintain our roads, ring up our groceries or serve our meals, appreciate those who take on the tasks of running the towns, cities, counties, States and Country – even if we do not agree with them -, appreciate those who leave their homes putting their lives in harms way to protect the freedoms we have come to enjoy and often take for granted, Appreciate every person God has put into your life, yes, even the difficult ones. Because, it is probably through them that we learn the most!

So, as we go on with our day, let us all remember to truly appreciate one another and make our appreciation known, especially to Pastor Rosemary and Joe. After all, dealing with all of our different personalities, situations and issues cannot be easy! And always remember to keep one foot in Heaven!

This church, that is all of us – we are the church, as a church we have reached out in so many ways to our community! And we could not have accomplished this without the Leadership and love that Pastor Rosemary and Joe put into all they do!

I would like to share some of the ministries that have been started over the last 15 years… If you do not know about these or would like more information, please ask!

Christian Kids’Club
Friendship Tea
Men’s Prayer Breakfast
Sponsorships for Camp Michigamme
Women’s Bible Study
Mission Trips
Christmas Dinner
Christmas Play
Easter Play
Corkie’s Bell Choir
Good Neighbor Fund
Food Pantry
Worship on the Mountain
Fourth of July Parade
Hot Dog Give Away
Simple Blessings Shop
New Roof Project
Youth Group
Bible studies
Movie & Dinner Night
Chili Cook-Off
Children’s Sunday
Vacation Bible School
Monthly Breakfast Potluck
Church Library
Backpacks for Kids
Hat & Mitten Tree
Youth Spaghetti Dinner
Raising a Missionary
Lay Servants
Children’s Protection Class
Confirmation Classes
Christmas Baskets
Long-Term Care Ministry
Bears & Blankets
Scholastic Books for Kids
Acolyte Training
Soldier Care Box Ministry

And I’m sure I missed some! So thank you Pastor Rosemary and Joe for all you do and may God continue to pour His blessings upon you! And if anyone has a need or idea for a new ministry, please let someone know!

Jeni Varecha, Lay Servant

Pastor’s Appreciation Sunday

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