Faith Formation - Pastor Sarah's Post

November 2018

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more….” Revelation 21:1

You may have heard this verse from the book of Revelation read at a funeral of a friend or loved one.  Offering words of hope and promise through a revelation given to the writer of the book of Revelation by Jesus these words speak of a new time.  Reading further in this chapter we find this new heaven and new earth to be part of a time and place where there will be no more pain, suffering, or sorrow.  Although these verses offer words of hope and beauty, there is much of the book of Revelation that seems to be quite the opposite.

Beginning in November we will be starting a sermon series on the book of Revelation based largely on the book “Revelation and the End of All Things” by Craig Koester.  Each week we will be exploring a few chapters and verses in more detail.  The study will also unpack some of the larger themes of the book.  Hopefully through the sermon, outlines, and your own study and reading the book will become less confusing, and will show God’s love and promises. 

The following is the outline for the sermon series, feel free to read ahead and prepare for the sermon discussion.

Week 1: Chapter 4 verses 1-11

Week 2: Chapter 5 verses 1-13

Week 3: Chapter 6 verses 1-8 & Chapter 7 verses 9-17

Week 4: Chapter 21 verses 1-6 & Chapter 22 verses 1-5

Blessings to you as you begin to look at the book of Revelation.

Pastor Sarah

 October 2018 

Did you know?....“In the United States, as many as 2.8 million kids run away from home every year.  Within 48 hours of being on the run they will be approached by a pimp, trafficker or perpetrator looking to sexually exploit them.”  (Terebinth Refuge email)

Hard statistic to swallow….we don’t want to believe that we live in a world like that, a world where someone chooses to sell children for money and use them for sex.  And yet, the reality is the illegal profits made from trafficking or sexual exploitation is $99 billion dollars or 66% of the trafficking pie, which also includes forced labor and domestic servitude.  These statistics are from the International Labour Organization, the World Economic Forum.  The Bible is clear in telling us how important children are to God.  Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.”

 A phrase that seems to always be on my mind is that it takes a village to raise a child.  Today, however, society has created walls instead of a village.  People are disconnected from each other, replacing face to face conversation with text messages and leisure time with electronic games.  The result is staggering.  Young people are finding connection in unhealthy ways, seeking companionship and love in a virtual world.  What they are finding is not love but abuse, drugs, and a great deal of danger.  Look on facebook.  You will constantly see posters of missing youth, often with comments about how they met someone online.  These perpetrators are good.  Good kids are falling into the trap of being groomed by these people, often right under the nose of school teachers, counselors, parents, and friends.  I believe it is time to rise up as a community.  No longer can we think that because we live in Brandon or Evansville, MN that it cannot happen here.  I have noticed even in this area that people on facebook are reporting suspicious people and vehicles that seem to be canvassing the area…and this IS what it takes to be that village.  People need to pay attention, to pass the word, to educate themselves and children….. to get INVOLVED in the lives of young people.

 On Sunday, October 14th Grace Through Faith Ministries is going to team up.  There will be a joint worship service at Grace at 9 a.m. which will talk about this very issue.  Laurie Kallevig who works on a global scale with her ukulele ministry will share her passion and call.  Others from the community will share what is going on in our area around human trafficking and what we can do to be that village to support and nurture our youth.  This will be an ongoing conversation with other opportunities for education and awareness.  Curriculum will be presented during confirmation touching on this topic with the students and any parents that want to attend. Self-defense classes will be offered empowering young girls and women to stand up for themselves, giving them the tools to keep their bodies safe.  Please plan on attending this worship service, it will be difficult, but I feel very necessary as we work to keep our young people safe.  I look forward to this service as well as the opportunity to serve both congregations as your pastor….and feel very blessed by the welcome I have received.  Thank you!


Pastor Sarah