Blog: Forest Lake Talks

11/1/21 Devotional from Ed

November 1, 2021

Text: Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Devotional: I wonder how many hands would be raised if we asked the following question during worship: “By show of hands, how many of you are “weary and are carrying heavy burdens?” And, I wonder what would happen if we followed it up with an additional statement: “Keep your hands up if you always turn to God when you’re weary.” Would some of the hands go down? I know I’m exceptionally good at thinking I can work out a “heavy…

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A Message from Ellen

October 28, 2021

Dear Friends, This week, a small group of FLPC folks took advantage of an invitation to tour the new and permanent Anne Frank House exhibit that is housed on USC’s campus.  We learned that Dr. Harris Pastides initiated this partnership with the Anne Frank House and Institute in Amsterdam years ago.  As a result of his behind-the-scenes work, USC now is home to this permanent exhibit!  I encourage you to make the effort to tour this remarkable exhibit. Many of us have read The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank’s diary that gives an account of how the Frank…

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10/18/21 Devotional from Ed

October 18, 2021

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ Devotional: The Hebrew word for soul is “nephesh,” but it’s one of those words that doesn’t have an exact literal translation in English. However, while we don’t have an…

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A Message from Ellen

October 13, 2021

Dear Friends, The book of Judges in Scripture describes a dark and turbulent period in Israel’s history.  The tribes were loosely joined, but kinship and unity often crumbled as each tribe sought its own good.  There were a few strong and wise judges who unified the disparate groups and who spoke for God to all the people.  But there were also unwise judges who served chaos, division, and their own pleasure more than they served God.  Read again the stories of Sampson!  At the very end of the book of Judges there is a summary of this whole era in…

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10/4/21 Devotional from Ed

October 4, 2021

Click here for a recap of Sunday school from October 3, “take home” activities, and the Sunday school schedule for October 10. The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Devotional: One of the many traits of being born a human is we love power and being in control, so where does the power reside in this passage above? We read that John announces Jesus’ arrival, and upon the disciples hearing “him…

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9/20/21 Devotional from Ed

September 20, 2021

“Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She 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 to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only…

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9/14/21 Devotional from Ed

September 14, 2021

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was…

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9/7/21 Devotional from Ed

September 7, 2021

Text: Exodus 3:11-12: But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” Devotional: Do you consider yourself a prophet? Maybe you should! Joan Chittister, author of The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage (a book approved for H3 group study), urges us to become prophets, noting, “Faith is invalid unless you are…

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8/31/21 Devotional from Ed

August 31, 2021

Text: 1 Corinthians 27-31: You are the body of Christ and parts of each other. In the church, God has appointed first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, the ability to help others, leadership skills, different kinds of tongues. All aren’t apostles, are they? All aren’t prophets, are they? All aren’t teachers, are they? All don’t perform miracles, do they? All don’t have gifts of healing, do they? All don’t speak in different tongues, do they? All don’t interpret, do they? Use your ambition to try to get the greater gifts. And I’m going to show you an…

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8/23/21 Devotional from Ed

August 23, 2021

Weekly Devotional from Ed Black 1 Give ear to my words, O Lord;     give heed to my sighing. 2 Listen to the sound of my cry,     my King and my God,     for to you I pray. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;     in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. 4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;     evil will not sojourn with you. 5 The boastful will not stand before your eyes;     you hate all evildoers. 6 You destroy those who speak lies;     the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. 7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,…

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A Message from Ellen

August 18, 2021

August 18, 2021 Dear Friends, Almost every day, as I check on this congregation, I find that we are all anxious, stressed, worried about the future, and tired of the political ping pong that seems to be our new normal.  I have talked to couples who are so tired and stressed that they know that they are taking it out on each other or on their children and who want to change that.  Others have realized that they have been “medicating” themselves with food, drink, sleep, or online sites/games to keep the anxiety at bay.  If you feel that way,…

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8/17/21 Devotional from Ed

August 17, 2021

    Weekly Devotional from Ed Black Text: Mark 7:24-30: “From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair…

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A Message from Ellen

August 6, 2021

August 4, 2021 Dear Friends, We had all hoped that this Fall would be back to normal (if we can remember what that means). But the continued uncertainty of having a surge of delta-variant COVID cases in our community and nation is unsettling and makes planning difficult.  But I have decided to take another perspective.  I think it is amazing how resilient and how adept at change we have become!  What might have sent us into massive frustration and chaos two years ago is now more of an opportunity to practice flexibility.  I can move back to wearing masks, because…

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A Message from Ellen

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021 Dear Friends, Our congregation is a part of an interfaith, non-profit organization called MORE Justice.  This is one of the most racially and religiously diverse organizations of which I have ever been a member.  And our purpose is to come together to fulfill our scriptural mandate to “do justice” (Micah 6:8 and Matthew 23:32-24) and make the Central Midlands a more just place to live for all people. Doing justice is not easy or comfortable.  I have personally squirmed under the weight of asking elected officials to take small measurable steps to address structural issues that need…

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7/19/21 Devotional from Ed

July 19, 2021

Text: Acts 13:44-52 The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the…

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