NEWSLETTER: February 2018

"Go, and Love Well"

From the Pastor
By Pastor Steve Dow

In the center of the month of February is the annual celebration of Valentine’s Day, a day in which lovers young and old often share expressions of their love for the other. Cards, candies, flowers, jewelry, etc. are just some of the more common gifts given to demonstrate the love shared between two people. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to remind our spouses, girlfriend or boyfriend, just how much they mean to us. Word of caution here: it’s best NOT to forget to do “something” on this day.

Love. Perhaps no other English word has been so stretched and defaced. We cast it about in our language as if had little value. We say things like, “I just love peanut butter,” or “I love that new dress” or “I love my ’57 Chevy.” Then in the next sentence we say to our sweetheart, “I love you so much.” Do I love my sweetheart as much as I love peanut butter? I used the same word. Hopefully the word “love” was weighted more when I referenced my wife than when I referred to peanut butter. And then we say words like this –“Oh, I really love the Lord.” Romantically? Fra-ternally? Spiritually? I guess ‘love’ needs to be clarified.

The principle word used in our New Testament which we translate as ‘love’ is the word agape. Essentially it refers to a choice; a decision (to love). I sometimes refer to it as “targeted affection.” Agape makes a choice to love someone or something else whether or not the person or object loves back. So in this sense it involves a willful deci-sion to seek the best for the other whether or not the same commitment is reciprocated. So in the famous often quote passage of John 3:16, the “For God so loved (agape)the world...” portion is a declaration of God’s decision to love a rebellious planet of people whether or not they (we) respond in like manner.

Any parent has probably experienced moments when our committed love for our children was met by a less than desirable response or lack of response on their part. I know for myself, that when I was a young teenager I resist-ed my Dad’s efforts to express his love for me. Tension ensued. Words were expressed. Looking back I now under-stand that he was trying to express his love for me in the ways he knew how, but I could not see that then. Yes, his ways were imperfect, BUT his (and Mom’s) commitment to love me was resolute!

God’s love is resolute! It doesn’t waver or vacillate. It’s steady and unchanging –relentless!

Knowing this, how can I now live? First, I can live in the confident knowledge of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. This is liberating! “Perfect love casts out all fear.”(I John 4:18) I am no longer a slave to fear, God’s love has set me free. Second, now that I am a witness to and benefactor of God’s undying love, I can share this love with oth-ers who desperately need it just like I do. “The love of Christ compels(moves us to share with others)...” (II Corin-thians 5:14) Finally, I can commit to love others in the same way God does. I choose to love. I decide to love. And, I do this knowing it may not be reciprocated. Loving can at times be a ‘one way street.’

So Happy Valentine’s Day. Now, let’s go and love well.
Your Friend,Pastor Steve

"Dates to Highlight in February"

2/4-Inter-Generational Service 10:30 AM
2/4-Apostolic Church Service, Every Sunday, 1:30 to 5 PM
2/5 & 19th-55+ Club Bible Study, 2 PM, Fireside Room
2/6-Apostolic Church Meets every Tuesday, 7-8 PM
2/7-Youth ‘lyfe’, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 PM, see schedule...
2/7 Worship Team Meets every Wednesday, 3:30 PM
2/10 -55+ Club Trip to Albany Carousel, 9:30 to 1 PM
2/11 -Town Hall & Annual Business Meeting2/14-HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
2/ 15-Joint Board & Council Meeting, 6:30 to 9:30 PM, Annex
2/17-No host Valentine’s Dinner, Spaghetti Factory, 5:00 PM
2/24-Chrystal & Kevin’s Wedding, 1 PM, Church invited

"55+ Club Trip, Albany Historic Carousel & Museum"

55+ Club Trip, Feb. 10th, 9:30 to 1PM Albany Historic Carousel & Museum Transportation Free, Carousel Ride $2.00, Lunch on your own at Loafers.  RSVP to Eloise by 2/4 at 541.926.1627

Dear Church Family

A note from Pastor Steve

As I prepare to retire from full-time ministry I am beginning to transition into Hospice and Hospital Chaplaincy work.  Beginning February 5th, I will officially start as the part-time Chaplain for the Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House (SEHH).  My work pattern for SEHH will be Monday, Tuesday & Thursday.  I will be using my vacation days over the course of February & March to accommodate this transition, while still being in the office  Tues, Friday, most Saturdays and of course Sundays.  My chaplaincy duties will come in the form of being on-call some weekday nights and on rotating weekends also.  While I am still actively a pastor, the hospital will provide coverage for me on Sunday mornings when I am scheduled to be ‘on-call’. So these coming two months will be ‘different’.  Please be praying for ‘our’ transition time.

Your Friend,
Pastor Steve