Blog: Forest Lake Talks

12/6/21 Devotional from Ed

December 6, 2021

Text: Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Devotional: The Union Seminary, Forest Lake, and Eastminster families have worked on me enough to help me realize it can be OK at times to open up. I am always interested in what’s going on in your life, but I’ve generally had a hard time expressing my true emotions to anyone outside my closest circle. Many of you know this. This devotional will be an example of me continuing to work on it. What is the “peace of God?” Paul doesn’t really…

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11/22/21 Devotional from Ed

November 22, 2021

Text: John 12:24: Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Devotional: The losses we experience in life are real and personal, and each carries its own significance. In yesterday’s family class, we discussed how grief is directly related to attachment – strong attachment equals strong grief when something or someone dies. In 2021, we lost many members of our church family. And, many in our church family lost extended family members or friends, too. As we enter the holidays,…

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11/15/21 Devotional from Ed

November 15, 2021

Weekly Devotional from Ed Black Text: Colossians 3:12 “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Devotional: Have you ever had to take an Enneagram personality test? It’s an assessment to help an individual learn more about their personality and how they can potentially work with individuals with different personalities. In other words, it helps you understand you and (potentially) everybody else. When an Enneagram consultant reviewed my recent test, she said one thing in response to a question about the trickiness of ministering to all types of personalities. She said, “Ministry is the…

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A Message from Ellen

November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021 Friends, I am struggling.  I find that the continued frustration and difficulty of the space where we are living has a way of making me feel pessimistic and tired at the end of a long day.  The grief that people have experienced, the suffering of so many, and the hard work that it takes to continually navigate change has the effect of making it harder to see what God is doing! I don’t think I am alone. So, what are we to do? I’d like to hear how you are managing the grief, frustration, and anxiety. What…

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11/8/21 Devotional from Ed

November 8, 2021

Text: Ephesians 4:29-32  Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,  and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Devotional: Do you watch Saturday Night Live? If so, did you catch it a…

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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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