Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

January 23, 2020

January 22, 2020 Dear Friends, Instead of believing what someone else tells us, or what we read on Facebook or other social media sites, it is always good to do our own research.  Seeking the truth is required of all of us.  And, the last couple of years has given us all a quick lesson in how very wrong some of what we hear and read can be. So, I want to invite you to participate in a wonderfully unique event, the goal of which is truth seeking and relationship building.  If you have been disturbed by the recent news…

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A Message from Ellen

January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020 Dear Friends, Over a year ago, the Session heard concerns from the Property Ministry about ongoing repairs and renovations that Property felt needed to be done, but which have not possible within our annual budget.  Some of the items were already way past due.  For example, there was a foundation issue caused by water runoff that had to be addressed.  So, Session voted to use some reserves to fix this issue before more damage could happen.  We saw all of that work done this summer.  But there are some items that we know are larger than our…

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December 28 Devotional

December 28, 2019

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. So who’s seen the latest Star Wars movie? Even if you don’t know a thing about the adventures of Luke Skywalker in a galaxy far far away, you’ve probably heard of the Force. “May the Force be with you” is the common well wish uttered by the good guys on the light side. They promote peace and justice throughout the galaxy through selfless acts,…

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December 27 Devotional

December 27, 2019

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God.  For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.  This verse is from the final chapter of Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth where he warns congregants of his impending visit when he will deal with them much more sternly than in past visits.  His concern is for disputes and practices that are tearing apart the Corinthian church.  Paul reminds the church of the great paradox that is Christ’s…

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December 26 Devotional

December 26, 2019

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. Wow, that’s heavy. I was hoping for something lighter, more Christmas-y. Not “the end will come…destruction of dominion, authority and power”.  The end of the world as we know it. Total chaos. But, perhaps we are the ones living in total chaos. What has dominion, authority and power over us? Our lives are governed by schedules, money, time, possessions, status, comfort (to name a few). I’m beginning to realize that those very things…

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Christmas Day Devotional

December 25, 2019

Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-4 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is…

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December 23 Advent Devotional

December 23, 2019

Scripture: Matthew 10: 24-25 A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant to be like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household. These verses in Matthew 10 are part of a set of instructions Jesus gave to His disciples. In the verses, Jesus reminds His disciples of their roles as students and servants. Jesus further informs them that they, as disciples, are to be like Him, their teacher…

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Divine Power

December 22, 2019

Romans 1:1-7 Paul connects all the dots in these first seven verses of Romans. He defines himself, his identity and his purpose in relation to God: a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle. Paul knows who and whose he is, as well as his ultimate “why.” He has been set apart to bear witness to the grace of God made known through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then he details the “what” of the gospel. Paul knows the message he is to proclaim and it is not his own. As he says often, he…

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December 21 Advent Devotional

December 21, 2019

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NRSV 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Did you catch the last word in today’s reading? Do you consider yourself a saint? I definitely don’t. Just ask my family and coworkers! However, try thinking about it this way. “Saint” is an Old Testament title for God’s people,[1] so…

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December 20 Advent Devotional

December 20, 2019

Scripture: Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” Be merciful. It’s not a suggestion. Or a request. Or a plea. It’s a command. And commands should be taken seriously. Yet, why do we pass the homeless as if they do not exist? Why do we assume the beggar at the intersection is operating a scam? Why do we think the person in front of us in the checkout line using food stamps has enough money to buy anything in the store? Why do we assume the skinny dog is someone else’s problem? And why do we assume…

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December 19 Advent Devotional

December 19, 2019

Scripture: John 8: 10-11:  Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, sir.”  And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way and from now on do not sin again.” Several years ago, my Bible study group picked a book to study together called Respectable Sins:  Confronting the Sins we Tolerate.  The chapters tackled sins that form part of our everyday experience as “good” church-going Christians:  selfishness, pride, greed, gossip, covetousness, unthankfulness, and idolatry, among others. A major theme was that these sins are absolutely sinful…

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December 18 Advent Devotional

December 18, 2019

Scripture: Romans 8: 22-23 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Despite our society’s ills, or perceived ills, the idea that the world is in ruin is not a new phenomenon. The world and Gods people have, since biblical times, cried out in great pain and longed to be delivered into a greater place. We as believers should be an example to others.  We have received the Spirit of…

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December 17 Advent Devotional

December 17, 2019

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Be patient with everyone.  Yeah, this one stings especially for me.  I’m reminded of Christmases past of waiting until the last minute to go and purchase gifts for my loved ones.  I’ve never been one to do this before Thanksgiving or Black Friday or even two weeks before Christmas.  Before the days of online shopping, this procrastination got me in the thick of holiday shopping with all the others that waited the…

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December 16 Advent Devotional

December 16, 2019

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:3 (ERV, Holy Bible: Easy to Read Version): “I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned.  But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love.”           If someone asks you for the definition of the word love, how would you answer that?  I started thinking about it and I kept coming back to this feeling in my chest more than I have words for.  I sometimes feel like my heart will explode when I think about the love…

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Third Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Penitence

December 15, 2019

James 5:7-10 Be patient. Wait with expectation, but not anxiousness. Strengthen your hearts because the Lord is near. Do not grumble against each other, as not complaining about our siblings reflects our patience and strengthens our hearts. Be patient. Strengthen your hearts. Do not grumble against one another. In so doing we will be ready to meet the Lord, our judge, who is very near. Advent provides us a season to reflect on our readiness to meet Jesus Christ. James gives plumb lines for us to evaluate that readiness. In a culture enamored with instant gratification and an age with…

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