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The Bible continually encourages us to live our few days with eternity in view, to build a life that has weight and worth in the eyes of holy angels and our Lord Jesus (1 Tim 5:21). What is at the heart of such a life? What is the essential ingredient that creates something of noble value and beauty in the eyes of God?

Cemeteries are good for the soul. As we walked through the quiet forest of gravestones, the brevity of life, the certainty of death, and the hope of resurrection were as real as the earth and as true as the quiet beauty surrounding us. Each stone represents a life, just like mine - a life filled with family and summer mornings and work and love and sin. And every stone marks the inexorable reality of death. We all must die. And then they put the dates of your short existence on a stone and place it over where your body lies

Well, this is an absolutely Pure-Michigan postcard August morning. Simply can’t be better. The beauty of a quiet summer morning is a precious gift from the Lord. I took my walk pre-sunrise this morning. It’s wonderful to watch the natural world waking up. I caught three does still in bed (the fawns, of course, were already up and at ‘em!)

As we look ahead, I did want to give you a peek into what Sundays at Harvest will look like in the Fall. At our Session meeting this past Tuesday, the Session decided that starting on Sunday, October 4, we would begin holding two morning services and one evening service each week. We would also discontinue the outdoor sites at Harvest and the Vanderwey farm. It is also our hope that the newly-formed Church Plant Committee for a South Church Plant will help find a facility in the Wayland-Dorr-Moline area that would allow a satellite location to continue to exist south of Grand Rapids.

August anxiety is only a few days away. I’ve experienced this for as long as I can remember but have only recently identified it. It’s the anxiety that comes from the sense that summer is slipping by, far too quickly. I feel the need to be ‘out there’ taking in as much sunshine and summer smells as I possibly can. There are the aromas of fresh hay and verdant woods and cornfields and lake water and rain falling on dry ground

We can liken the work of pastors to those attendants who help a bride look radiant on her wedding day. In Ephesians 4, Paul uses the metaphor of growing up and maturing. The idea is that faithful shepherds and teachers are a key means by which God prepares the bride (the church) for her groom (Christ). Though I’ve never given a pedicure to anyone in my life, there is a sense in which I, as a pastor, can call myself a beautician: my job, in the Spirit’s power, is to help make the church beautiful for her groom.

I don’t know about you, but reading and watching the news these past few months has tempted me to despair. It is unrelenting bad news! No wonder the rest of the world feels like they are watching America implode.

The primary responsibility for disciplining children rests with their parents (Deuteronomy 6:7) and no interruption to church programs will change that. But where is a family to start?

Over the past weeks, there have been a number of things that have stretched the Church; but, viewed historically and globally, it would be embarrassing to refer to the American church’s present situation as persecution (but to quote the 70s rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”).

One of the things COVID-19 has spawned is a wave of strong, differing opinions. It is rich soil for division. So what does Paul say? “Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:3