Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

February 16, 2022

February 15, 2022

Dear Friends,

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us a parable about the judgement of the nations at the end of time.  And in that parable the people are divided into two groups – the sheep and the goats.  The sheep are those who treated the poor, weak, lonely, naked, imprisoned, and sick with compassion, mercy, and love.  These, Jesus says, inherit the kingdom prepared before the world began.” (Matthew 25:34).  The goats, however, are sent away from God’s presence for eternity because they did not feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, or visit those who were sick or in prison.  One of the things that has always struck me about this parable is that BOTH the sheep and the goats are surprised at the criteria by which they are judged.  BOTH groups say, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison?””

Following Jesus is a lifestyle, a series of choices about how to spend our money and treat others, and a choice about priorities. What God requires of you and me is not unclear.  So, let me offer you a wonderfully fun way to do what God has commanded us to do!

Forest Lake is unbelievably grateful to have an Endowment Fund that was set up to “expand and enrich the mission of the church.” And each year the Endowment Fund awards grants to (1) local programs whose purpose is outreach consistent with the mission of Christ, or (2) unusual (unbudgeted) repairs and maintenance of our Church – so FLPC can carry on with Christ’s mission.  And this year, The Endowment Fund has $78,671.00 to give to people who will do what God calls us to do.  And, for the first time, local non-profits who are doing what God commands us to do (think of the non-profits who are working for compassion, mercy, and justice in our community) are invited to submit grant applications directly.  So, people inside our congregation and from outside in the community are invited to apply.  See the information inside this newsletter, or visit our website under News and Events, to get an application and to find out more.

As Christians we believe and are assured that God alone is judge.  And in Christ we have come to know that the God who judges is also the God who was willing to sacrifice everything out of love for us.  Because we know this, we are very clear about how to live.  We are not among those who could say, “We didn’t know what God wanted! We were not clear! How were we to know how God wants us to live!?”  We look at Christ and we know.  We look at the need and injustices around us and we KNOW.  Really the only question for us is, “Which group do we want to be a part of, the sheep or the goats?” 

So, let’s get busy with sheep business.  Think of a project or get an application to a worthy non-profit that you support and invite them to apply.  Go sheep! See you in worship (I hope)!

Ellen F. Skidmore

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