Fall Colors By Pastor Joe

I think fall is my favorite time of the year, for many reasons. When I think about the four seasons of weather that we enjoy in the Midwest, I realize some of those seasons are prolonged and some of those seasons could be just a little bit longer. For me I would love to have six months of fall, no wood ticks, no mosquitoes, nice cool air, beautiful vibrant colors in the trees, and just a really nice time to be outside. Having lived in northern Minnesota for a few years and also in Colorado for a number of years, you begin to enjoy the uniqueness of fall all over our planet. I’ve experienced fall in full array of hardwood colors. I’ve experienced fall where things actually get greener, such as they do on the central coast of California. And I’ve experienced fall with just thousands of pine trees and littered amongst them the golden leaves of aspen trees changing. This week ahead Janet and I will be traveling to central Kansas to be with her parents for a few days and we will in a sense go far enough south that the leaves will have not begun to change colors. It’s amazing depending upon where you live in the world, you appreciate the uniqueness of the surroundings and the environmental factors that we have to learn to enjoy or work around, depending upon the number of seasons we have. Obviously, someone will say that we only have two seasons in northern Wisconsin and they are roadwork and winter. I know that sounds funny, but honestly there’s a lot to enjoy if we will just take a moment and focus in on what God has given to us as a place to live, a place to worship, a place to grow, a place to raise a family, a place to celebrate life and friends, and a place to enjoy the amazing creative power of our Heavenly Father. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of thereof. No, we’re not supposed to worship the creation. We are told to worship the Creator and as we take time this fall to appreciate the beauty and splendor and majesty of an awesome God who spoke everything into existence by His powerful words, we should celebrate not only that we get to live in a place such as we do, but we have a season like this. We have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of our Heavenly Father that we should not just take for granted. Each day we draw one day closer to the return of the Lord Jesus and I am not suggesting we should suck every bit of life out of things which are temporal, such as the outdoors, vacations, picnics, family get-togethers and all those kinds of things that are wonderful. But what I’m saying is, let’s not miss out on what God has given us and let’s use everything, including our local surroundings, to be part of how we reach out into our community. Let’s be as wise as serpents and is harmless as doves. As Paul says, I’ve become all things to all people that I might win a few. What does that mean for each of us? Possibly we would need to learn how to cross-country ski; possibly we need to learn how to ice fish; possibly we need to learn how to garden; possibly we need to learn how to help someone harvest; and would possibly need to learn how to can the harvest. And there are many other things that could be a benefit to those in our community. Each of us has been given many wonderful talents and we should be using those talents to advance God’s kingdom here in northwest Wisconsin. I’m learning to appreciate the values, customs, courtesies and dynamics that make northwest Wisconsin unique, exciting, and different. We have a great place to be alive and to be ministering the glorious gospel to people who need hope, not only for this life but for the life to come. Unless God calls you to another location, as you look out this week at the beautiful changing colors, knowing that winter will be the next season for us to embrace, we also know it means there will be opportunities to invite our friends, family members, and work associates to some exciting upcoming events that correlate perfectly with the seasons that God gives us while we live on this planet.

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