Blog: Forest Lake Talks

Young Families and their Children

December 6, 2018

The Young Families Sunday school class is engaged in a Holy Experiment of learning with their children during Advent.  When asked to identify places they found joy, the children listed their answers on the board. Do you find JOY in these simple things?

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A Message from Ellen

December 5, 2018

Dear Friends, When God came to earth in human form it wasn’t because God needed to do so, but because humanity needed God to come.  In Christ, God did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  Our salvation cost God everything.  It was not convenient or pleasant or easy.  As Christ followers we are to do the same for others.  This is part of why I believe that followers of Christ must practice radical hospitality. Let me tell you of three experiences of radical hospitality that I have witnessed in this congregation just this week. First and second,…

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JOY

December 4, 2018

I find JOY when I participate with many others during the Stop Hunger Now packing.  The atmosphere is FUN because we all realize that we are working together, in spite of our differences, towards a common goal that is worthwhile and a reflection of our faith. I find JOY when I help to organize the Elf tree gifts each year.  Every year, as the organization date approaches, some get a little anxious that we have not yet met our goal, and every year God provides.  We always end up with gifts, through the generosity of our members, for EVERY child.…

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JOY

December 3, 2018

I am never more joyful than when I am creating art.  Joy comes at the first little wisp of an idea and grows as the wisp takes shape. Refinements of the idea bring joy in the form of “ah ha!” moments. Drawing, cutting, gluing, sorting sequins, testing spray paints are all part of the joyful journey and never tedious to me. Working with artist Jane Van Wyke in the process is a special joyful experience. Together we dream, try out ideas (some wonderful – others not so much!), laugh and watch our ideas take shape in ways we never imagined.…

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Advent Season ~ Week 1 ~ Leaving Nazareth

December 2, 2018

Advent Devotional 2018 Worship at FLPC is enriched during Advent and Christmas by Worship Banners that were designed and created by Margaret McKinnon Harris and given to FLPC to the glory of God in 2016. Each week another pair of banners will be hung in the sanctuary that invite us into the ancient story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and into the current call to be transformed into a disciple of Jesus Christ.  We hope these banners will enhance your worship on Sundays and will invite you into the journey of discipleship every day of the week. First…

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A Message from Ellen 11-21-18

November 20, 2018

Dear Friends, JOY . . . .  we know it when we see it.  But how to define JOY?  On Sunday, the children’s choir sang and I always feel joy watching the congregation watch the children sing!  I saw mom’s mouthing the words that they had rehearsed with their children.  There were grandparents there, just for this moment.  And that doesn’t count all of the adults who teach Sunday School, help with VBS, keep the nursery or have taken vows on behalf of these children when they were baptized.  It was joy that I saw in their eyes. We are…

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A Message from Ellen

November 7, 2018

Dear Friends, On Sunday, November 18th at 4pm our congregation is invited to join with the Jewish and Christian Congregations in and around our North Trenholm Road area to give God thanks and in recognition of the national holiday of Thanksgiving!  We will worship that afternoon at Rehoboth United Methodist Church.  Nursery is provided. The records say that our congregation has participated in this Community Thanksgiving Service since 1987!  And, to my knowledge, this is the only Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Columbia! Rabbi Eric Mollo (Tree of Life Congregation) said that the Jewish community has estimated that there were approximately…

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A Message from Ellen

October 24, 2018

Dear Friends, Election season is upon us, and I do make an effort to be informed on the issues and candidates. But it is difficult to keep up, and the volume and venom of the campaign ads from both sides cause me to want to quit participating or listening. Am I alone? What keeps me going is the conviction that my Christian Faith requires me to work for the common good. And the way our country has determined that decisions shall be made is through our political process. So, while I do not believe that the political process should be…

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Transformed by . . . . . . Presence

October 19, 2018

Last Sunday, the focus of my sermon was on “Presence”. I spoke of two types of presence.  Psychological Presence is choosing to be present – body, mind and heart – to those who matter to us and to the events that are actually happening in front of us.  But Christian or Spiritual Presence means choosing to be present – body, mind and heart – to God.  And, in my own experience, the most important discipline in this practice is quiet and contemplation. If growth in faith means that we are able to move from “God do my will” to “God’s…

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Presence

October 16, 2018

The most basic claim of the Christian faith is that God is present to us, totally and completely, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God loved us too much to leave us alone and so came to us in human form, thus assuring us of God’s comfort and guidance in every stage of our lives. Even today, we experience this divine presence in the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in and through us. The Bible supports such an understanding in numerous places. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your…

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Transformed by . . . . . Reconciliation

October 11, 2018

The practice or virtue of reconciliation has ALWAYS been at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.  [2 Cor 5:19] That is not new.  But, what we have before us is an urgent need for and a radical call to reconciliation because of the hatred, polarization, partisanship and anger that seems to be bubbling up in the world on every level in our current age.  We are not the first generation…

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A Message from Ellen

October 10, 2018

Dear Friends, I received an invitation that I want to extend to you. The Central Carolina Community Foundation is sponsoring a community discussion about the things that make our community great and the things that need to be changed. Our congregation – along with all sorts of congregations and community groups – is invited to hold Table Conversations on Wednesday, October 24th in order to identify strengths and challenges facing our local community. The whole process is called On the Table, and you can find out more about this initiative at www.OnTheTableCola.org . The goal is to have as many…

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Transformed Into . . . . . . Generosity!

October 5, 2018

At first blush, generosity may seem to be a very strange place to begin when we talk about the values and practices that we need to embody and live out if we want to become more like Christ. It seems strange because Forest Lake Presbyterian Church is already a very generous congregation – both as individuals and collectively. If I listed the ways in which this group of Christian disciples are generous, I wouldn’t have time to say anything else.  Suffice it to say that in every way, I am constantly amazed at the generosity of the members and guests…

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Thoughts on Generosity

October 1, 2018

The second of our four values for the year ahead is generosity. It is a word that reminds us both of the nature of God and of life as God imagines and desires it for our world. The Bible is clear that generosity is a part of God’s identity and that we demonstrate God’s presence in the world when we live in a generous fashion. Numerous stories about generosity are found in the Bible, from the story of creation to the story of final redemption, so that even a quick survey of the Bible makes it clear that generosity is…

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Transformed Into . . . . . JOY!

September 28, 2018

I remember when I first felt – deep in my own heart – the conviction of wanting the words of Psalm 51:10-12 to be my real prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, And do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, And sustain in me a willing spirit. It convicted me because I was tired and resentful and worried and I was taking it out on everyone around me. And, I really…

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