Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022 Dear Friends, I have good news and bad news.  Actually, if I told you all of the good news about life at Forest Lake, I wouldn’t get to anything else.  I’m sure you have noticed the beautiful new playground, the refreshed landscaping, the new security cameras, etc., etc., etc.  We just signed a contract to significantly improve our sanctuary sound system, and we are very close to having all we need to get bids on the renovations of the kitchen, Community Room Bathrooms, and the shower addition. The Capital Campaign will, eventually, provide a cash infusion for…

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5/3/22 Devotional from Ed

May 3, 2022

Weekly Devotional Author: Ed Black Text: Matthew 3:7-12 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize…

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A Message from Ellen

April 27, 2022

April 26, 2022 Dear Friends, Last Saturday I was up and out the door of our house about 7:30am focused on getting to a plant sale at the Riverbanks Botanical Garden!  I know that some of you are snickering.  You may get up early and stay up late for football and basketball games, I happen to get up early for plant sales!  It all boils down to what is important – right? So, I arrived at the Gardens a bit after 8am and found my way to the sale entrance by following all of the cars!!  By the time I…

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4/26/22 Devotional from Ed

April 26, 2022

Weekly Devotional Author: Ed Black Text: 1 Peter 1:17-21 17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised…

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4/20/22 Devotional from Ed

April 20, 2022

Weekly Devotional Author: Ed Black Text: 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Devotional: When listening to a recent sermon by Rev. Scott Black Johnston, I learned about this interview between Yale Divinity School professor Miroslav Volf and his former student, Fyodor Raychynets, now a pastor in the Ukraine and head of the Department of Theology at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary. Raychynets posts updates on Facebook of what it is like on the ground right now, including being explicit about the hunger crisis and physical damage all around. His realistic portrayal of life in the…

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A Message for Ellen

April 13, 2022

Dear Friends, On the Abraham’s Table interfaith podcast that FLPC is sponsoring, Rabbi Case, Imam Shaheed and I just completed a series of podcasts on spiritual disciplines.  Each of us took a session to talk about the spiritual disciplines and practices that our faiths teach. And what was compelling to me was the realization that all our faiths teach practices aimed at connecting us with God, self, and the other, and that unless our spiritual practices help put God at the center of our lives, then the practices are useless. Observance and the celebration of Easter is THE central spiritual…

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4/4/22 Devotional from Ed

April 4, 2022

Here’s a copy of yesterday’s sermon, written in narrative style. Text: Mark 6:30-32  The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Devotional: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” If Jesus told us to do this, could we do it? And, if this was…

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A Message from Ellen

March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022 Dear Friends, We will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday, April 17th.  And the week before that Sunday is full of events that remind us of Jesus’ teaching, his commands, his suffering, and his promises.  Lent and Holy Week are intended to be invitations for us to evaluate our own lives, practices, and hearts, and to work intentionally on our own transformation in faith.  Ed Black and I have been leading small group discussions on Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps.  And the discussions in both of our groups have been…

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3/28/22 Devotional from Ed

March 28, 2022

Note: This is the sermon preached at the congregational retreat worship service on 3/27. It is written in narrative style. Text: Luke 10:38-42 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. he had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then…

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3/21/22 Devotional from Ed

March 21, 2022

Text: Hebrews: 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Devotional: A seminary professor of mine, Paul Galbreath, is a gifted professor who can break down complex theology with simple, one sentence summaries. Dr. Galbreath also was a long-time pastor of a church in Portland, Oregon before joining the faculty at Union, and when he first arrived at the Portland church, he consistently asked all church committees the following simple questions in all discussions and decision-making opportunities: How is God present in this? Where do we see God’s hand? Think about a hospital…

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A Message from Ellen

March 16, 2022

Dear Friends, This Sunday, March 20th, everyone in worship (online and in person) will be invited to stay after worship for just a few minutes (not more than about 10) to hear an update on the work that our congregation is engaged in through MORE Justice.  And everyone is invited to attend (in person) the Nehemiah Action on Monday, April 4th from 6:30-8:30 at the Columbia Convention Center. We know that God commands us to work for BOTH mercy and justice (Micah 6:8), but most of us are much more comfortable doing merciful acts.  Merciful acts are required and are…

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3/15/22 Devotional from Ed

March 15, 2022

Text: Mark 1:35-39 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him.  When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.”  He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. Devotional: Just before our Scripture reading above, Jesus camped out at Simon’s house…

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3/7/22 Devotional

March 7, 2022

Text: Matthew 6:5-14 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their…

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A Message from Ellen

March 2, 2022

March 2, 2022 Dear Friends, If you haven’t been to church in a while, be prepared . . . .  there is a lot going on around here.  Renovations are the easiest part to see, and those will continue because of the support of this congregation for our capital campaign.  But other changes are happening also, and I want to invite your participation and attention. First, we are beginning again to ask our members to suggest names of those who have the faith, passion, and skills to serve as Elders and Deacons.  The Congregational Nominating Committee is asking for your…

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2/28/22 Devotional from Ed

February 28, 2022

Devotional from Ed Black Text: Psalm 69 Devotional: An alternate translation to begin this psalm says, “RESCUE me, O God, for the waters have come to my neck.” Nothing is going right for this psalmist, as we learn there are enemies, follies, and shame, compounded with alienation from family and friends. Ever felt like the psalmist? HOWEVER, the psalmist has not become alienated from God, writing, “In fasting I wept for my being” (alternate translation, again) in verse 11 before saying, “As for me, my prayer is to you.” I wonder what fasting caused this psalmist to do. What did he or…

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