Monday Morning
Legalism and Love PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Ireland   
Monday, 20 August 2012 16:33

Our Wednesday night Bible study on Grace talked about legalism.  The Hebrews, who started with 10 commandments on Sinai, had over 600 commandments and by the time of Jesus.  The rabbis and Pharisees enjoyed endless hours of debate over the importance an implementation of each commandment.

A Pharisee came to Jesus and asked which was the first and greatest commandment.  It was meant to be a trick question.

Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and might.”  However, he didn’t stop there he added a quick: “AND the second is love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus taught that you cannot love God and not love your neighbor whom God loves.  It would be like telling your best friend, “I love you, but hate all the things you stand for and enjoy.”  I love you but I hate who you are at your core.

I started the day thinking of two children’s books.  The first, “When Brian Hugged his Mother,” is the story of a kindness that is passed spontaneously from one person to another through the day and finally comes back to where it began.  It is a lovely story about how grace works in the world.

The second, The Quarrelling Book, is a story about a child who gets up on the wrong side of the bed and the hurt that is passed from person to person through the day.  Finally it gets to the dog.  The dog is a puppy and thinks the kick means the child wants to play.  The puppy continues to play until the child cannot help but feel the puppy’s love and passes that love to others in the family.

Both stories are stories of grace and perhaps it is not too far fetched to suggest that the puppy is a Christ figure.  (After all dog is god backwards.)   Even when we are angry and hurt Jesus receives us in love and tries to engage us in the play of creation, the game of love.

Maybe I’m still thinking like the preschool teacher, but I think there’s more than bit of preacher in the thought.  I did children’s time in church long before I became a preacher.  When I began to recognize a different call my mentor said, ‘just talk to adults like you talk to the children.’

Maybe I took that suggestion to seriously, but I’m thinking that the Sunday before Labor Day might be a good time to enter the kingdom of God as little children.   If you don’t have a church home, come on over and worship with us:  10:30 at the Presbyterian Church, 2nd & Maple, Cottonwood Falls.

Until then, seek joy and keep your eyes open for God’s game.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 19:04
Summer Heat PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Ireland   
Monday, 11 June 2012 20:30


I am still thinking of our Pentecost celebration.  As one parishioner kindly said, “There was something for everyone, popcorn for the kids and meditation for the adults.”

That’s what I try to do in summer worship especially, share the good news in various mediums that are accessible to both children and adults in a family worship.  It gives the Sunday school teachers a break, and the kids look forward to it.  (I hope adults do too!)

I’m still thinking about Popcorn and Pentecost.  The children quickly realized that I was offering them un-popped corn.  That’s no fun at all.  So, we used my old popper, that doesn’t have a lid, and popped the corn while we read the Pentecost story.  As we ate the warm popped corn we talked about how the Spirit creates warmth in our lives so that we can fulfill our purpose.

As I cleaned up after the service I noticed another lesson.  There were many un-popped kernels that got exploded out of the pan because of the lack of a lid.  These kernels never did get hot enough to fulfill their purpose.  It made me think of all the folks who are in church only occasionally or who are there for a short while and then drift away, or even worse, get driven out by another’s over reacting.  It makes me sad to think of all those un-popped kernels, never fulfilling their purpose.

Worship is the one place and time when the entire church is together.  Not only is it the time when we get to catch up with what’ happening in one another’s life, it is the time when we let the Holy Spirit catch up with us.  Not only do we stop and rest, offering our thanks and praise, we also we still ourselves to listen for the Spirit’s leading, comfort and commission for to that which comes next.  We get warmed.  We get hot!  Sometimes we even explode in a sense of love, forgiveness or direction.

So, I’m thinking that summer time is a good time to let our hearts warm, even be set afire by God’s work in our midst.  I’m praying you will join us in worship at 10:30 on Sunday morning.  Actually, I am hoping you’ll come at 10 AM and enjoy fellowship around the table.   God doesn’t take a vacation but is with us year-round, even in church!


On the other Hand: Metaphors are always limited and incomplete (just as any language about God is) and overheating can be a serious problem.

Here are some tips for Staying Cool This Summer


  • Be aware of the heat. Pay attention to it and modify your activities appropriately.
  • Pay attention to your hydration status and be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Try to stay in relatively cool areas, even when outside. Many public places, such as libraries, shopping malls and movie theatres, are air conditioned.
  • Avoid hot, enclosed places, such as cars. Never leave children unattended in a car!
  • Use a fan, if available.
  • Stay on the lowest floor of your building.
  • Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Cover windows that receive a significant amount of sun with drapes or shades to help keep your house cool.
  • Cool beverages are good for cooling down the body, while alcoholic drinks can impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.


Signs of Heat Overexposure

  • Heavy sweating — though if heat stroke sets in, the body can no longer compensate and stops sweating.
  • Pale skin.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Feeling tired and weak.
  • Altered mental status (confusion or disorientation).
  • Headache.
  • Becoming semi-conscious or passing out.
  • Nausea or vomiting.



Steps to Take After Recognizing Heat-Induced Illness

  • Call 911.
  • Get the person out of the sun and into a cool area. An air-conditioned area is ideal, but moving someone into the shade will also help.
  • Apply water to help the person cool off.
  • Apply ice to the neck or armpits, where large blood vessels are close to the surface.
  • Remove any heavy clothing.
  • Immerse the body in cool water, either at a swimming pool or in a bathtub.




Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 20:42
May Celebrations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Ireland   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 16:11

I am working on a service of Scripture, Song and Sacrament for the first Sunday in May.  We’ll listen and respond in sung meditation to the scriptures.  Following that we will share communion with Christ’s family through all time and places in anticipation of the heavenly banquet.  Eucharist is given to nourish and equip us for following Jesus.   All who trust Jesus are invited to join us.

We continue our ongoing celebration of love on Mother’s Day on May 13th.  The choir is working on an upbeat and fun anthem and there will be special recognition for those who mother us.  Bring Mom and worship with us!

May 20th will be a recognition and celebration of the Ecumenical Campus Ministry at K-State.  Rev. David Jones will bring greetings and the message.  And we will have an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of ministry at K-State with a special offering.  All you alums and supporters should wear purple and come support this ministry to our college students.

(BTW:  We would be delighted to give equal time to the Jayhawks at ECM in Lawrence whenever they would like to join us!)

We move into Summer with the high holiday of Pentecost on May 27th.   It has been a tradition to celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the church, remembering the outpouring of the Spirit of the Risen Lord on the people of Jerusalem. In addition we'll receive the Pentecost Offering for Children, Youth and Young Adults.  Pentecost looks to the future so wear red join us for family worship.



Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2012 16:32
Christ is Risen! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Ireland   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 16:09

No one saw the resurrection.empty tomb

The disciples saw a stone rolled aside, the tomb empty except for the grave clothes.  Who would unwrap a dead body?


They met Jesus, in a garden, in a locked room, on the road, while at work on the beach.  They didn't always recognize him right away in his resurrection body but they he was revealed in a word, or action or feeling.


Our congregation was blessed with the Spirit of our Living Lord this Easter.  We received new members and baptized Ella Marie who had already participated vocally in worship and was eager to get at the water!  What a model she already is for us all!   May we, with her, continue to grow in faith and discipleship, experiencing the lifting Lord in worship, in our community and in our lives!

Following the baptism, the children took the fishing net and hauled in the fishes we had been feeding with coins all through Lent as an offering for the One Great Hour of Sharing.  You can see may envelopes were also received. The work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, The Presbyterian Hunger Program and the Self Development of People Fund are all supported by this offering.  Their work is a vivid demonstration of God's work through the living body of Christ!

Christ is Risen!   He is Risen indeed!



Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 18:38
Passion Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Ireland   
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 15:51


James Harnish writes for Upper Room:

“The one consistent element in the gospel accounts of that first Easter morning is that everyone was surprised. No one expected an empty tomb, much less the presence of the risen Christ. The women who came to the tomb had good reason to be surprised. They had watched Jesus die. They had seen his bloody, lifeless body taken off the cross. They had followed Joseph to the tomb. They had heard the heavy thud of the stone that was rolled in front of the opening. They knew Jesus was dead.

“The only way to feel the surprise of resurrection is to face the reality of death. The only way to be prepared for Easter morning is to experience the emotion and events of Holy Week.

“As a pastor, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to encourage people to be in worship on Easter Sunday. But each year I find myself doing everything I can to encourage people to be here on Maundy Thursday when we join Jesus and his disciples for the Last Supper and Good Friday when we experience the darkness that fell over the earth when Jesus died. Once we have followed the way that leads to the cross, we can better experience the surprise of Easter morning.”


I hope and pray that many of you will be join us Thursday at 7pm at the Presbyterian Church for a service of song, prayer and communion as we meditate on the “night Jesus was betrayed.”   Music will be provided by our Resident String Quartet performing an original piece.

Our Methodist neighbors have invited us to join them for Good Friday services at 7pm.

Easter will begin at 7am at Camp Wood with a Sunrise Service followed by biscuits and gravy.  We’ll gather at church at 10 am for fellowship (following choir at 9:15).  Session will meet to receive new members and then we’ll celebrate the Resurrection at 10:30 with praise and baptism of Ella Marie Gibb.  Don't forget to bring your offerings for the One Great Hour of Sharing. We'll be hauling in the fish!

May you walk with Jesus this whole week!




Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2012 16:00
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