Love & Grace

The other day I read the above quote and something in my heart was tugged. I don’t know what humbles me more, the picture of God’s
love catching me or His grace carrying me.

There are days when I know that I am not as easy to love as I would like to think. These are the days when I fail and know that there is no sugar coating it. . . I am a total disaster. That’s when I am most grateful and dependent on God’s unwavering, breathtaking love for me.

There are other days when It’s not so much about my personal failures, but about the external pressures of the world that make me feel like just getting out of bed is a huge accomplishment. Those are the days when I roll out of bed and ask God to carry me through the day. Whether It’s when I’ve suffered great loss, or an overload of responsibilities that feel too big for me to shoulder, God’s grace is strong enough to bear the load that threatens to crush me.

I don’t know what you may be going through. Maybe you’ve gotten yourself into a set of hard circumstances that are completely your fault. Guess what. . . God’s love will break your fall. You don’t deserve it (and neither do I), but He won’t let you down. He won’t shake His head and cross His arms when you ask for His help. Even when you’re at your worst, He will open His heart and arms to you and embrace you with His Love (Romans 5:8).

If you find yourself in a situation that’s simply too much for you to endure . . . something that breaks your heart . . . God’s grace will carry you when your own strength isn’t enough. When you feel empty from being poured out, He will fill you up. His grace draws from a well that never dries up (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I challenge you to humbly ask for God’s help today. Whether you are overwhelmed, or have really messed up, God has exactly what you need . . . and He has more than enough to go around.



Christmas is a beautiful time of year because of the collection of images this season creates. Lights illuminating the dark winter evenings, beautiful colors of red and gold, aroma of evergreen and citrus, your families special dishes are served and guests arrive for a great dinner together are all definitely part of the Christmas season. But what makes Christmas even more special is the very fact that . . .

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Pastor Rod in last week’s sermon spoke about God’s love for us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’’

Pastor Rod also spoke of a loving God who become one of us and went through all the aches and pains that we have on earth. There is nothing that we have experienced that God hasn’t already suffered and overcome. A loving merciful Father awaits for us to surrender our lives, so He can lead us with knowledge and understanding on earth so that we claim the prize of eternal life with Him.

I recommend listening to this song which is sung by the Ball Brothers: “lt’s About the Cross”. I selected some of the lyrics.

lt’s not just about the manger where the baby lay
lt’s not all about the angels who sing for him at day
lt’s not all about the shepherds or the bright and shining star

lt’s not all about the wise men who travelled from afar.
lt’s about the cross.
lt’s about my sin.
Its about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again.
lt’s about the stone that was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday.
It’s about the cross.
lt’s about God’s love nailed to a tree.
lt’s about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been me.
lt’s about the cross, so that you and I could have real life someday!

Rejoice and Let the Christmas Season Be Merry and Bright!


No Greater Love

It’s helpful at times to list all the things that are troubling you. As long as you treat it like a prayer list, and not a “oh, woe is me” list. And you check off the ‘drama’ as God answers. Sometimes His answer might not be clear, but other times it is.
Just recently during s particular rough patch, I made a list. Less than 24 hours later, nearly half of the situations were resolved! It was crazy! I was talking with a friend and she wanted to know all the things bothering me and then “BEEP” . . . I had a call waiting and I had to go. We didn’t make connections until the next day and we realized something amazing! My list of concerns had drastically decreased! Isn’t that just like our God? He loves us so much that He really wants to make us happy and relieved of some of the difficulties that we face.
There is a great song on Christian contemporary radio called “How Great”. The lyrics are so uplifting, and it just pushed me into thinking about how great my Father truly is! Let me share a part of this song in hopes that you receive a blessing from God as I did.
How great! How great is God’s amazing grace.
That we should be called the children of God.
How great! How great! That we believe our faith
And we should be called the children of God
How great is the love of the Father
That He sent His only Son
That we could be called the children of God
We will never perish if we believe in Him
And we can be called the children of God
That is what we are sons and daughters of God
Oh by this we know love
That He laid down His life for us
No greater love
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:16-17)
No greater love. Need I say more?
~Julie Schultz

February – A Funny Little Month

groundhogFebruary is a funny little month. First of all, its name just doesn’t sound like it’s spelled. At least most people say “Feb-uary,” not sounding the “r”. We usually just drop that misplaced letter. Then we have a case of “is it 28 days or 29 days?” As is the case this year, it’s called Leap Year, and we have 29 days. We also have Groundhog Day in February. Apparently, (if you can believe the little furry rodent) this year we will only have six more weeks of winter. We celebrate President’s Day in February…well, the kids do anyhow, with a day off from school.

This year, Ash “Wednesday” (another one of those words with a letter stuck in there. Hey, what’s up with the “d” anyway?) also falls in this funny little month of February. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Every year we join our community churches to celebrate the Easter season. Every Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm, we join the Twin City Ministerial Association churches in celebrating the wonderful gift our Savior gave us in His death and resurrection. Our church will host both the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services this year. I hope you’ll be able to attend these inspirational services.

In the Phillips family, we will be celebrating another birthday during this month, and in the years to come. If all goes as planned and our little one doesn’t decide to throw us a curveball, Sawyer will be born on the 8th of February. My B-Day is the 26th so “he” or “she” picked a good month, right?

february-14-calendar-valentines-dayYou may be asking, “You missed a holiday, Pastor Rod.” No, I just wanted to save the best for last! Although the birth of my third grandchild could never be outdone by a little cherub flying around with a bow and arrow, shooting her (or is she a he? I can never tell!) love arrows. The greeting card companies and candy manufacturers may think they have a corner on Valentine’s Day market. However, the greatest gift of love the world has ever seen or experienced, is a gift given to us, and that gift is described in John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Now that’s a Valentine’s Day message!

Enjoy February folks…
God Bless You!