Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pastor Doug's December 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It's here. Christmas. A couple of weeks ago as I walked into our local Wal-Mart, I was greeted by a fully decorated Christmas Tree. This was 3 weeks before Thanksgiving. Television and the newspapers  have been flooded with ads for Black Friday Sales, although some retailers have felt a return of the spirit of the season, and are giving their employees Thanksgiving Day off, This is all part of the world's view of Christmas; sales, Santa, snowmen, and every child with more toys than they know what to do with. "Merry Christmas" has, all too often, been removed and replaced with the generic "Happy Holidays". However, even as the world turns the entire Christmas season into one great big shopping event, with Santas greeting us everywhere we go, Christians instead hold dear the knowledge that Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when God sent His Son into the world to save all mankind from our sins. Christmas is love, joy, peace, and hope all wrapped up in the form of one small child, born in a manger, under the stars, and surrounded by shepherds and angels. This year lets all remember to keep Christ in Christmas, and wish everyone we see a "Merry Christmas", as it is Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to all!

Pastor Doug


They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with His mother Mary. Matthew 2:10-11

How domestic. How ordinary! 

The Magi followed a wondrous star until it stops over "the place where the Child was born", and what is that place? A house. That's all, Not a castle, not a mansion, but just a house. The Magi discover the Messiah, the Son of God, in an ordinary house. The find Him in ordinary circumstances, with an ordinary looking mother. 

How often do we go looking for Jesus in all kinds of extraordinary places; on a mountaintop, at the seashore, or in any kind of spectacular location? It is always wonderful to see the magnificence of God's creation, but let's not forget that the best location for finding Christ is all around us, in incredibly ordinary circumstances. We find Him in our homes, in our workplaces, and in gatherings of our families and friends.

In other words, the Holy is in the ordinary. That is one of the most basic teachings of the Christmas season. The Son of God arrived not with the kind of pomp and circumstance most people might expect,  but rather entered history in the most ordinary of circumstances, and that is where we are still most likely to find Him.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for being present, always, in every ordinary time and place in my life. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pastor Doug's October 2016 Newsletter

Dear Struthers Families and Friends,

After many long months of hard work, the annual Canfield Fair for this year is over. Even though the Fair officially lasts only 7 days, the set-up and tear down add many more days to the project. The planning began months ago by the Fair Committee, and they worked hard at creating the menu, setting prices, arranging to move the trailer to the fairgrounds, making sure that everything was clan and sanitary, and making sure we had staffing for every moment the Fair is open,  They worked hard in finding suppliers who would offer the best prices so we could keep prices as low as possible while also offering the highest quality food we possibly can. Those involved made countless trips to our suppliers to purchase the items we needed, and then volunteers worked one long, hot evening, making 160 pounds of sloppy Joe! They chopped up  peppers and onions by the baskets, and cooked, and cooked, and cooked some more!,

This is just one quick glimpse into the work this ministry does. There are so many people to thank for their time and hard work in making sure the Fair came off without a hitch. The Fair Committee leaders, Phil, Fran, Sheri, Tom, and Dale guided us through another year of work at the fair, which provides vital dollars with which we can support important ministries of our church. The money we earn at the Fair allows us to be the hands and feet of Christ, serving those in need, comforting people who are suffering, and helping keep God's House in order. To all who took part, and to all who stopped by to buy a sloppy Joe, a chili dog, a street taco, or any of the other Fair treats we offered at the Fair, we thank you! We thank you for your endless hours of work and the effort you put forth to make sure everything ran so smoothly. Thank you for your prayers, and your support of these leaders, We thank YOU! We thank the men and women who had the vision to begin this ministry 54 years ago; to step out in faith, and to make the investment to begin this project, and we honor them all with the reward of 54 years of great service to our families.

See you at the Fair next year!

God Bless,

Pastor Doug

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pastor Doug's September 2016 Newsletter

Everything seems to be changing today, from pencil and slide rules, to the computers that perform everything from our personal and financial needs, to very specialized surgeries. Home phones are almost a thing of the past as cell phones are the main means of communication.

From home cooked meals to microwave meals and fast food, horses to cars, trains to planes, and someday people may even travel in space. Everything seems to be be evolving.

One thing, however, remains unchanged; God, His Word, and Jesus Christ. His Grace and Salvation are the same today as they were when Jesus first offered them to those He walked among some 2000 years ago.

Today God, the Church, and Jesus, are far from many peoples thoughts and lives. They have little, if any, interaction with God, except for an occasional profane utterance of God's name. We are all hungry for something to fill our lives. While the world fills our lives with "things", we are all seeking the peace and happiness that comes from God.

How many minutes a day do our children  spend worshipping, thanking, or praying to God, or studying the Word of God? We wonder why our kids are doing the harmful things they are, and why there is so much senseless violence and murder today. This happens when we forget that Jesus walked here, the Word made flesh, sharing a timeless message; God's love for us all.

Have you experienced it this year? I challenge us all to shut off the TV, turn off the computer, and spend an evening together as family or friends, in fellowship and reading the Bible for just 10 minutes each week, praying for your family, friends, co-workers, our communities, churches, our nation, our service personnel, and ourselves. I know that Jesus always found time with His Father in Heaven. It was important to him. Ten minutes a week doesn't seem like much time, until the world, our schedules, and all of the other distractions step in, and then we find ourselves scratching our heads,wondering where the day went, as weeks, months, and even years slide by. Don't let this year slip by. Make some time for God.  Set a reminder on your iPhone, iPad, Tablet, PDA, or even just a note written on your calendar. Text one another to remind each other to make just 10 minutes this week for God. I truly believe that we will be changed by the time we spend with our Holy, Heavenly Father.

God Bless,

Pastor Doug

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pastor Doug's August 2016 Newsletter

August is upon us now, and I sit back and think where; Where has the summer gone? In a few weeks school will start, the Fair work begins, and we return to our regular lives.

Last September, we, (a group of leaders from the 5 churches involved) began to plan for our annual Mission Trip for the summer. Many hours, meetings, and ideas later, we had a plan for how we would work this trip.

52 people would travel to Georgetown SC to work on homes that the United Methodist Church Volunteers in Mission had selected. Around May I felt the trip getting closer, but so much activity at the church had kept us very busy. June arrived, and our focus turned t the Mission Trip, the 4th of July Parade, getting hundreds and hundreds of bottles of water ready, getting the kids prepared, and making sure that everything was in place for the mission trip, with permission and insurance forms filled out, vans rented, and food, lots of food purchased.

The 4th of July arrived on Thursday, and we had a great time padding out "the Living Waters", nearly 2000 of them, in fact.Returning to the church, the parade crew was treated to hot dogs and drinks from a group serving them.

The following week. on Friday, the truck was packed full of baggage, food, and tools. Rental vans were picked up, and filled up, and made ready to go. On Saturday morning we gathered the group together, prayed, and headed out for Princeton VA, where we spent the night following the 1st leg of our journey.

On Monday morning, out Mission began in earnest, meeting with the Volunteers in Mission coordinator, where final job changes were worked out, and crews of youth and adults left the Duncan Memorial Church, where we stayed during our Mission. Each crew has jobs assigned, from building a porch and replacing floors, to repairing, or replacing bathrooms, and kitchens, doing drywall work, and painting. We did roofing, and in fact stripped the roof down to the rafters, in spots, and replaced sheet wood, and installed new shingles.

All of these jobs were done by high school youth, and their adult supervisors, in a single week's time. Many of these jobs would have cost the homeowners thousands of dollars if done by a contractor, and none of them would have been able to afford the work. Our youth came into town, fueled by the Spirit, and finished each job on schedule. This was no easy task, by any means, for almost every crew had one adult with minimal skills in the areas in which they worked. These crews, these hard working kids, completed their jobs and forever changed each homeowner's life. By the week, many of the homeowners were actually moved to tears when their crew had to leave.

These youth, and their adult supervisors, became the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this community. They forever touched their hearts with grace and love. I never get tired of telling people about the power of these trips, and the lives changed;  ours, and the people of the community we join for that wonderful week. We ate, and ate very well, and we slept on the floor of a gym, worked in incredibly hot and humid conditions. We worshipped and prayed every day, and witnessed the power of God changing the lives of His people. Amazing!

This whole Mission was only possible because God was the center of the trip. The youth and adults answered God's call upon their hearts, and the church supported them in prayer and need.

Just amazing, working with God's people.

Pastor Doug

Children Learn what they live.

In children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, 
\they learn to fight.

If children live with fear,
they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity,
they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule,
they learn to be shy.

If children live with jealousy,
they learn what envy is.
If children live with shame,
they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance,
they learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement,
they learn to be confident.

If children live with praise,
they learn to appreciate.

If children live with approval,
they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance.
they learn to find love in the world.

If children live with recognition,
they learn to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, 
they learn to be generous.

If children live with honesty and fairness,
they learn what truth and justice are.

If children live with security,
they learn to have faith in themselves, and in those around them.

If children live with friendliness,
they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If children live with serenity,
they learn to have peace of mind.

-- Dorothy L Nolte

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pastor Doug's May 2016 Newsletter

"Help me forgive"

When rage and fury overwhelm my heart,
It's time to look to God's own Holy Word.
I search the Bible for His good advice,
My will to His commands must be deferred.

In Romans, God reveals His love for me.
In all things, God works only for my good.
He gives me blessings I cannot understand. 
I'd be peaceful if I'd only do the things I should.

Jesus forgave so much: Why can't I?
I want to mold my life after His own.
I pray, I try, but my sinful nature wins. 
Lord help me, I cannot do this thing alone.

In Colossians, I read about the peace of Christ;
Oh how I long to feel it in my heart. 
All I have to do is to forgive,
But Lord, it seems I don't know where to begin.

I need to walk a mile in others' shoes;
They're doing what the think they have to do.
I know some problems are blessings in disguise,
But Lord, I feel so doggone blue.

Ephesians says; "Forgive as the Lord forgave you";
Get rid of anger and every form of malice."
I'd love to just let go and release it all,
But my heart is a wound that's become a callus. 

I'll keep praying, Lord, no matter what;
I'm determined to let go, and relinquish blame.
Some day I'll say, and be truly sincere; 
"I forgive it all, in Jesus' precious name."

(Romans 8:28, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31)

By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pastor Doug's April 2016 Newsletter

Should Ever Love Be Lost

In a world where little matters
In a place where lives get lost
There is something to believe in
For it comes to you, no cost

In this world where little matters
Where to get ahead, you kneel
There's a common bond between us
With a kiss, no need to seal

In this world, there seems a purpose
For never can we know
Where lasting love will find us
Or when that love may go

Is here, a place to bring your heart
Forgetting not the cost
Is here, I wait to share your pain
Should ever love be lost

Psalms 26: 1-2

God Looks At Your Heart

Henry Blackaby tells a story of a very self-righteous man who prayed; "Lord, there;s something wrong. I read the Bible, pray regularly, attend church faithfully, and always give to charity, yet I don't have much. My brother doesn't do any of these things, yet he's got tons of money. How come you've given him so much, and me so little?"

After a pause, a voice said; "Because you're a sanctimonious pain in the neck!"

The Bible says, "God looks at your heart's intent. He judges your motives. You can sit in church with a heart that is far from God." 

The Israelites did it. (See Isaiah 1: 10-17

You can help the needy, and still be greedy. Judas did. (John 12: 4-8

You can proclaim your love for Jesus, yet be influenced by the devil. Peter did. (Matthew 26: 31-35

You can make sacrifices, yet still be living in disobedience. King Saul Did. (1 Samuel 13: 7-14

You can pray with the wrong motives. Some folks in the New testament Church did. (James 4: 3

You can even be a Pastor who loved crowds, but has no tie for individuals."

Check your heart! The Good Shepherd left His 99 sheep to look for the one who was lost. Then He carried it home on His shoulders, rejoicing. "Motives are weighed by the Lord." God sees your heart. Everything you do must be motivated by love for Him, and for others. So look beyond your actions to what lies beyond them. Ask God hiow He sees. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pastor Doug's March 2016 Newsletter

"It Was a Man Sized Cross"

A visitor to a Church conference ground observed, with admiration, the large bronze Cross erected on the hilltop. Coming more closely to it, on impulse, he stood with his back to the Cross, and stretched out his arms along the cross-beams. 

A shudder surged through him as he suddenly realized, "This Cross if big enough for me!"

Too often we see the Cross as a bit if jewelry, or on an altar. Seldom do we realize that it fits us; it is man sized, and woman sized. It is too big for us, in that we can scarcely comprehend the tremendous sacrifice of Christ upon it.

In another sense, the Cross is like the "yoke" of which Jesus spoke. If we take it up with loving loyalty and obedience, it is "well fitted". It will not crush us, for He will give us the strength to carry it. 

The Cross is big enough for all of our pain, our anguish, our grief, and yes, for our hopes, our dreams, and our joys too, so that we can jubilantly sing "In the Cross of Christ, I glory!"

Just a mere cross is not enough, This Cross is special because of He who was hung upon it, suffered, bled, and died there, and He who brings salvation as we, through Faith, receive Him. 

Three crosses stood on Calvary's hill. Only one, the central Cross on which Jesus hung, was the saving Cross. 

My material offering in the Easter Offering Plate can "pay" for nothing, but as a free will, loving gift, the outstretched arms of Everlasting Mercy will bless, heal, and restore. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pastor Doug's January 2016 Newsletter

The Bible:

"In the poorest of cottages are books: is one book, wherein for several thousands of years the spirit of man has found light, and nourishment, and an interpreting response to whatever is deepest in him."

Thomas Carlyle

"What is a home without the Bible?
'Tis a home where daily bread
For the Body is provided,
But the soul is never fed."

C.D. Meigs

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Psalm 119: 105

"The stars, that in their courses roll,
How much instruction given;
But Thy good Word informs my soul,
How I may climb to heaven."

Isaac Watts

"The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of religion, of special relevation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man."

Daniel Webster

How to read the scriptures

1) Set aside a little time, if you can, every morning and every evening for this purpose.
2) At each time, if you have leisure, read a chapter out of Old and one outt of the New Testament. (If you cannot do this, take a single chapter, or part of one)
3) Read it with a single eye, to know the whole will of God, and a fixed rresolution to do it.
4) Have a constant eye on the analogy of faith, the connection and harmony there is between those grand, fundamental doctrines; original sin, justification by faith, the new birrth, inward and outward holiness.

John Wesley

May God's blessing be upon you. See you next month.

Pastor Doug