Archive for March, 2014

March 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Greetings and God’s LOVE to each of you,

Here we go again?  Yes, some people will look at Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014, and the Lenten Season as a repetition of years past or just another day.  How sad!!  Are you ready for a little change?

Ash Wednesday is an annual renewal of sacrifice and love for our Lord.  It is the time in the calendar of the Christian year when the pre-Easter, or Lenten Season, begins.  It is not a time that  we focus on giving up–but a time of giving, so that others will know that we truly are Christians by our love.  By our actions during those special six weeks, others will know that we believe– we truly believe. . .

For forty days, plus Sundays, we as Christians make our journey to the cross on Good Friday. And then,  thanks be to God, our journey ends in the celebration of Easter–this year on April 20th.  My prayer  is that we will all see the importance of this season and come together in Worship in a church–our church–that loves you.

The Lenten Season is a period of time designed to make us more aware of our Spiritual Needs.  It is a time leading us into a deeper and more personal relationship with the CRUCIFIED and RISEN LORD.

On Ash Wednesday, Carol Zeh and I will be honored to have you come forward as we place  the Ashes on your foreheads while the Christian words are shared, “Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”

The promise of Lent is this:  the potential within us can be realized.  The life latent  (physical but not seen) in the ashes of our existence can spring forth as a thing of beauty and fulfillment.

May God bless you and yours in this season of Lent and, prayerfully, we will share this time together in His Name.

February 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

From God’s House at the  Community Church of Stow to your homes:

Blessings and consider this my Valentine to each of You,

Looking at a calendar in our kitchen, I noticed a painting titled, “The Victorian Garden.“  It was a copy by the artist, Thomas Kinkade.  Writing on such a gloomy and cold winter night, it was very refreshing to see the beautiful gardens coming alive in thousands upon thousands of flowers, showing God’s artistry through Mr. Kinkade’s hands.

In the center of the picture is a walkway with three steps that lead to a gate that is open and seems to lead into eternity. In that setting, can you almost hear the birds singing?  Possibly true.  But I could better hear Jesus saying , “I love you and I welcome each of you into the beauty of My world.”

Now, since Christ has invited you and me to be a part of His world, we need to understand that God sincerely loves us.  In spite of our sins, and because of bad things happening to great people like you, Christ Jesus does not disqualify us from the beauty of His world around us.  AND HE DOES NOT DISQUALIFY ANY OF US FROM HIMSELF.  God is love and we need to know His love better.  For, “If you do not know love, you do not know God.” (1 John 7).

You know it was Almighty God who gave His Son to be Our Savior.  As the gates on the painting are open, my prayer is that you’ll understand that the arms of Jesus and His LOVE  are open to you and me. He is sending an invitation to all of us to come and worship in His House on Pilgrim Drive.

It is sad in a way that some of our members have not come back to worship.  But it is also more sad that our world is still full of those who do not believe.  I invite you to come home.  I invite you to join those who come,  Worship Christ, learn of Him, and are growing.  The gate is open to you; the arms of Jesus are open to you; and the doors of our church are wide open, too.

Looking forward to being with you on Sunday morning.

January 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Happy New Year and blessings from our  home to yours,

It may seem a little funny to some of you, but I am getting to the age where “change” is something that challenges me.  I realize that it is human nature to resist change, but wouldn’t it be nice to slow it down until we understand it completely?

Charles E. Farrell wrote saying that a 92 year old man must have seen a lot of changes in his time.  At this, the gentleman replied, “Yes, I have seen a lot of changes,  but I’ve been against every one of them.”

As I look at the front of our church, I remain honored to see change that makes it easier for some to enter with new ramps and stairs.  I see a change in many of you, who really want to get to know others and share God’s love with them just as all God-Centered Families should.  For some of you–and for me–I pray that change would include OUR making more time for Christ over ourselves.

With the gazebo coming down last August, we saw change.  The area went from dangerous to peaceful–an area for meditation, a quiet place for lunch, and a place where “prayer time” was “your time” in the meadow.  As I look at the 9-foot high Cross of Jesus, sitting in an area that God-loving people built and landscaped in two days, I can still see love, hope, joy, peace, and purpose.

Perhaps you have noticed that you can now see through the entrance doors (without the need for a superman cape) before opening the door into the church.  Another nice change.  As far as seating goes, we now have 100 padded chairs in our fellowship hall.  And that is a great change for people like me, rather sitting in the  metal chairs.

The book of Revelation speaks of believers having a new  name (3:12),  singing a new song (5:9 and 14:3), dwelling in a new Jerusalem (21:2), and pictures God upon His Throne saying , “Behold, I will make all things new. (21:5)

There are changes  in our council this year and everyone will be making a commitment  to serve God and His Word in service to you.  With Mr. Doepker as our new Moderator, I pray that you will join us in the changes, so together we will better serve God’s Son, His Word, and His journey.

May God Bless you and yours in the New Year with LOVE,

December 2013 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Christmas Greetings from our home to yours,

This month will end my six years as President of the Stow-Munroe Falls Historic Society.  (That means for six years, I received all the credit for the work the officers and members did to make our Society succeed!)  Even as our own Carol Zeh is a historian who brings history to life, I love to look into the history of the museum as the thousands of items come to life in the historic house.  Each item has a story, just as each Book of our Bibles has factual stories of HOPE, JOY, PEACE, AND LOVE.  These stories help us so that we can “Help Others Become One in Christ.”

In Luke’s Gospel, we learn of Christmas as an historic event.  An event made for you and for me to share.  God’s promise is fulfilled.  A CHILD is born, and a Son is given as Isaiah had prophesied.

Maybe it is just me, but isn’t December 25th truly more than a day of receiving and a holiday with food, candy and a laugh or two? Yes, it is a time for sharing, a time with family and friends, a quiet time alone, and an opportunity to get to know God’s Love, through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We gather in this season of hope, peace, love and joy because it is such a special time in ALL the world.  Advent is a joyful season!  It is a time of hope amid crisis, of light in deep darkness, of fulfillment in our emptiness, and of a growing sense of expectation for those of all ages.  It is a time of realizing the true meaning of LOVE and a growing trust in the promises of God.

Believing in God’s Word, which is enclosed in our Bibles, we realize through FAITH that God is the Creator, and His Words are not only historical, but also words of writing for today.  It is a majestic story of His creation of the universe and brings with Him Peace on earth.  Reading God’s Word, we are honored in knowing that born to us is indeed Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

As we look to bringing history alive, together let us look at the Second Chapter of Luke, written in AD 60 and written today for you and me, that:  “An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and appears to us today saying, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you;  He is CHRIST THE LORD.”

I am praying for a gift from you–telling me that this Christmas Advent Season, Christ is indeed alive in your hopes, your peace, your joy, and alive in Your LOVE.

October 2013 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

From God’s House to your home, good morning and blessings,

There is  a  story of a little girl named Beth Ann.  She went to a party and had a lot of  energy playing badminton, tag,  and kick-the-can.  The thing they all waited for was  the mom calling everyone together to sing happy birthday and share cake and ice cream.   Girls in their summer dresses and boys in their favorite stripe T-shirts, ran, laughed and had fun, but it was exhausting.

The next morning, Beth Ann’s mom came in to wake her up for Sunday school and church, but she was very tired.   Beth Ann pleaded asking for more time or better yet–a Sunday off.  But her mom said, “We  go to church every Sunday.”  And Beth Ann responded 60 some years ago, as we respond today, “ I don’t need to go to church, I  need to sleep !”

Some things never change.  But for you and for I,  it is  most important  that we take time to give thanks.  Every day, not just every Sunday, we need to declare a time out to give thanks to God for the good we have received in the past day, week, month and year.  Yes, as Christians, we give thanks even when things are not right in our lives or things are happening that we never dreamed could happen to us.

With Thanksgiving coming soon, I pray that you will come home to God’s House and join us in worship.  Theodore Baker’s hymn, “We Gather Together” reminds us that we should desire to gather together so that we can ask the Lord’s  Blessings, for God chastens and hastens HIS WILL TO MAKE KNOWN.

Blessings ,

May God’s Love come alive in You.

See you Sunday?  That is indeed my new prayer  to  you.

October 2013 Pastor’s Newsletter

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Blessings to all of you who proclaim the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ in your lives.

In London, during the summer of 1999, I heard the story of the “Power Plant”.

The story goes back five time zones and fourteen years and it is so true then, that we can rejoice in knowing that it is happening here at the Community Church of Stow.

In Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London, England, one of the members met a stranger at the front of the church, near the portico.  Asking many questions, the stranger also asked about the power plant of the church.  The member, smiling from ear to ear,  returned the question with a question, asking this stranger if he would like to go down to the basement and see the power plant.

Opening the door to the power plant, the stranger expected to find furnaces, larger than the average home.  But when the door opened, there were 400 people (some writings say up to 700!)  on their knees, praying for the service, for the teachers, for the choir, and for the Pastor.

The man showing the stranger, looked over and said, “Sir, this is our power plant.”

So why pray in the basement?  In 1898, the Tabernacle burned to the ground, with the exception of the portico and the basement area.  Later , being rebuilt around 1904, the church stood tall until World War II.  It is written that the church took a direct hit by an incendiary bomb and once again, everything was lost, except the portico and the basement.

As in England, it is the same here.  I am praying that YOU will soon come back to a safe place–is God’s House–away from our homes.  It is here that we pray directly to God, “one on one.”  And it is a place where fifteen to eighteen people gather to pray on Wednesday mornings.

No, we do not have 400 in our “power plant,” but we have made room for you.  Come and worship with us and bring a friend so that we can grow in the Spirit of God’s Love together.

I look forward to serving you and yours in church , in a place we call God’s House, at 1567 Pilgrim Drive.  I can’t wait to introduce you to the congregation, show you the places that God’s Word is taught in the Sunday Schools, and a church where you will respectfully be called friend.

From my home to yours– God’s richest blessings to you.

W. James Case , Pastor