December 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

March 8th, 2015

Good morning and God’s LOVE and BLESSINGS to you and yours,

 As it is written in the Gospel of John, “Through Christ, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In HIM , was life, and that life was the LIGHT of men.” 

 So it is true isn’t it?  Jesus Christ is indeed the LIGHT of the world.  So let us rejoice and be filled with His presence in our lives.

 When the Rev. Roger Mohler retired from the ministry, he gave me his entire library.  Within these 1200 books was a set of booklets called “The Pulpit Digest.”  There was a story of light about  a couple, who  took their son, 11,  and daughter, 6,  on vacation to Carlsbad Caverns.

 As the tour reached the lowest point in the caverns  the guide turned all the lights off and there was silence and there was darkness.  (I mean total darkness and total silence).

In the silence and especially the darkness, the 6 year old was suddenly frightened and began to cry.  But her brave brother, who was holding her hand said very quietly,  “Don’t cry.  Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”

 Here at the Community Church of Stow, our church, Jesus know how to turn on the  light and is a help in releasing the darkness of sin, from us,  no matter our age or who  may or may not  be holding our hand.

 This is our time to share  God’s Light Shining, through the Birth of His Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Come and join us as we celebrate His Life together, at 7:30 on Christmas Eve in Word, Song, and Fellowship.

 A very Blessed  Christmas and the Happiest of  New Years!

November 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

March 8th, 2015

Good morning and blessings to you and those you love,

 I  am on my second time through a book of “Morning Devotions” and I found a great devotion that, I think, involves all of us who believe in Our Lord’s Love.  I refer to  the words from John 8, where Jesus says, “I am the LIGHT of the world.”

Once upon a time a “Cave” lived deep in the ground, as caves do.  Of course, the cave had spent his entire life in darkness.  One day, he was aroused hearing a voice speaking out to him, inviting him to come up and see the sunshine.  After a lengthy discussion, the cave agreed and was so totally amazed.  He saw light everywhere and not a speck of darkness and everything around the cave was warm, happy and light.

Knowing that turn about was fair play, the cave looked up to the Sun. Then the  Cave said, Come with me and see the darkness. And again, after a lengthy discussion, the sun agreed.

The sun agreed, but going in, there was no darkness.

This month we come together to celebrate Thanksgiving and rejoice knowing  with thankful hearts, we welcome  the TRUE LIGHT  from Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  God so loved the world that He gave to us, His Son’s light, so that we might SHARE HIS Love, feel HIS warmth, FIND HIS Joy, RECEIVE HIS LIGHT   and never walk in darkness again.  It is true and it will happen, when you believe……  

During Thanksgiving and Christmas, COME AND WORSHIP with us, for here, we worship the Light of the World, the one who is the  Christ.                  

Blessings to you your family. 

In His Service.

October 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

March 8th, 2015

Good morning and blessings to each of you,

Growing up on a little dirt street in the heart of Cuyahoga Falls, the neighborhood gathered nearly every night to play “kick the can.”

The thing that some did not like was when we played “Team, Kick the Can,” which entailed choosing sides.  Two people would be the designated leader and I was always one of them, since I owned the can.  Choices were made on the basis of who could help the team win, who was most athletic, and who  was most popular. 

Strange as it may seem, many of our parents sat on the front porches and cheered us on.  It was indeed good seeing parents and children coming together and making choices of being together, rather than allowing decisions that separate parents and children.

Jesus Christ was the same yesterday, is the same today, and will be the same tomorrow in that He chose each of us!  We were never chosen because we were great athletes, or our grades were superb, or we were the most popular.  He chose us  because we have chosen Him.  He chooses us first because our relationship with Him is an unearned, unmerited gift from God, which HE chooses to give to US. 

For me, and prayerfully for you, it is time to pick sides and choose whom we will serve. And yes, in the game of kick the can, Jesus Christ is really the one who owns the can, as I pray that He owns our lives.  I am choosing Jesus and if we are playing teams, know through faith, that He will be on Your team too, if only you will believe, trust, and call Him the Captain of your tomorrows.                                              

Go in peace, serve the Lord, and looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

September 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

September 10th, 2014

Good day to you and those you love through Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord,

I was challenged a few days ago.  My wife and I were having dinner with a couple and the  lady asked me about the forgiveness of Jesus.  She wondered if Jesus really forgives and really believes that we are worth saving.

I am not sure if my words helped, for I told her simply and graciously that Jesus is love.  He loves all of us as we are, where we’ve been and where we are going.  Jesus  is able to see our hearts and sees the real person that He created in us.

I shared with her that I feel we should have faith in knowing that He feels we are worth saving and worth forgiving and gives us a road map to Eternity, if only we are willing to change.

Change begins, in part, by forgiving ourselves and forgiving others.  God’s forgiveness is given in the hope that people will stop, or cease forever,  in hurting themselves and hurting others.

Jesus knows this and has taught us  how to forgive.  You see, He loves people.  Even when man put Him on the cross, He was the first to turn to His Father and say, FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

So, to begin, know that Jesus truly forgives because He knows our heart.  Yes, we sin, and yes the disciples were not saints all their lives, but Jesus saw their hearts and said, “Follow Me.”

This Sunday we begin a new season of Sunday School for all ages.  Worship will be  at 10:30 again with the summer time behind us.  And we’ll  praise God and enjoy  continued fellowship.  Join us as we learn about God in all aspects of our church life, as we help one another to show others that God is Love and His love is forever with us.   Are we forgiven?  What Father would not forgive His child?  You are forgiven, and you are loved.

Looking forward to meeting you on Sunday morning,

Pastor Jim

August 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

September 10th, 2014

Good morning to you and those you love through Christ,

On Sunday, I spoke about God’s Faithfulness in the story of the loaves and fishes.  I do believe the feeding of the 5000 plus happened and that it happened pretty much as all four Gospel writers describe it .( Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; and John 6.)

Was this a miracle?  Yes, but for me, there is a more important story within the story.  All the little boy had was 5 loaves and 2 fish, but he was willing to give it all to Christ Jesus, his Lord.  Jesus took what was offered, blessed it, and made it adequate to meet the needs of those around Him.

When we have but a little faith and we offer it to Jesus, He will make it adequate to meet our needs.  It is the same when we have little strength, little courage, little love:  Jesus will make our needs adequate to meet the needs of our journey of faith.

You might say that this is the miracle of multiplication.  For all of us who know Him,  Love Him , Respect Him, and Trust Him, Jesus will show in our journey that He is INDEED  the Way, the Truth and the Life.

God’s Faithfulness through His Son never ends!

Have faith in Christ.  Talk to Him today,

Pastor Jim

June 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

July 25th, 2014

Blessings to you from God’s Home to your homes,

            What an honor it is in knowing that in the past three years we have received 67 new members and Baptized 30 adults and/or young people.  Yes, it  is a great time of the year, to be here  honoring Our Risen Lord, and “helping others become one in Christ.”

            The great thing about the new members is that 80%+ are active.  One of our new couples are Karl and Pat Slonaker.  They brought into our membership a challenge to the seniors and started a “Senior Fellowship Group”.  This past month, sixteen members visited Medina and went to lunch at Miss Molly’s Tea Room and visited  other  shops, including a tour of A. I. Root Candle Company.

            In one of the shops was a plaque which my wife bought me.  The words are simple  but powerful, for it says:

 “ DON’T JUDGE THE DAY BY THE HARVEST YOU REAP

BUT BY THE SEEDS YOU PLANT.” 

Are you planting seeds to the Glory of God by your acts of kindness and your actions of helping others?  Yes, we know that a seed and our acts of godliness can have small beginnings, but will grow, as we are growing, by making Christ first and allowing His Love to produce great results.

Jesus shared a parable with you and with me in Matthew 13 when He said that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that was planted in the field.  Like you and me, when we plant, like Jesus talked about, we can help others to grow.

Come to God’s house, which is YOUR church and grow with us.  Safe and blessed summer to all of you.      

                                                                        In His Service ,

                                                                        Pastor Jim

May 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

July 25th, 2014

Good morning and blessings to you and those you love, 

I received an e-mail from Gary Aleman stating a story about a man who wanted a car and not a Bible.

He came from a very wealthy family and saw a sports car in a showroom and told his dad, “All I want for graduation is that car.”  When graduation came, he opened a well wrapped box and inside was not a car, but a Bible.

The young man was angry and raised his voice saying, “With all your money, all I get is a Bible?”   He  threw the box to the floor and stormed out of the house, leaving  the Bible behind.

A few  years passed and he had become a successful business man.  It had been a long time  since he saw his dad.  On this particular day, he received word that his dad was soon to pass, but before he could get there, his dad had gone to be with Our Lord. 

Going through his dads belongings, he found a box in the corner of the room in the exact place that he had thrown it years ago.  He opened it and saw it was the Bible.  Inside, were words referencing Matt. 7:11,  “And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?”

The young man picked up the Bible only to have a key fall out with a tag saying “Paid in Full.”  Yes, the car was still waiting for him at the dealership.

Jesus has given to us the gift of His Word.  You may want to open it so that you can see that the true gift to you and me is within its pages.

God so loved the world that He gave first.  My prayer is that you will open your Bibles, read and receive His Gift to you and to me.

                        Come and grow with us. 

                       In His Service,

                        W. James Case, Pastor and friend.

April 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

May 27th, 2014

Good morning and blessings to all of  you and  those you love ,

One of my favorite hymns is “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” written by William Parker in 1885.

As the stories come alive each day for all of us, we need to remember that all of  the stories of our Lord are words for us to hear, learn and share.  As a pastor, each Sunday from the pulpit  I want so much for God’s Word to be fresh from the Gospel stories that have been shared for thousands of years.

The weekly search for an original insight, for a new way of presenting the “Good News” at Easter,  was always difficult until my faith brought me to a conclusion.  And the conclusion for me, and just maybe for all of us, is a renewed understanding  that Jesus  Christ needs to be BORN AGAIN each day of our lives and not just on Easter morning.

During this Easter Season, I pray that you will bring family and friends to worship, so the Story of Jesus will be kept alive in your hearts, minds and souls.  Palm Sunday Service, in YOUR church will be at 10:30 AM.  Maundy Thursday Service will begin at 7:00 PM.  On Good Friday, the church (Your Church) will be open for prayer and meditation from 11 AM to 1PM.  On Easter morning, we will join at our Outdoor “Cross in the Meadow” for the Sunrise Service at 8:15 AM.  The service be followed by an Easter Breakfast in Fellowship Hall.  And thanks be to God, we will Worship in our newly carpeted Sanctuary celebrating the Good News of Jesus Christ at 10:30 AM.

Come and worship during the Easter Season, for this is a time that I can’t wait to share the “STORY OF JESUS” with each of you.

God Bless You.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Jim

March 2014 Pastor’s Newsletter

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

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.