Pinewood Press Newsletter

October 2020

          Genesis 1:27 states: “so God created man in his own image.”  What does that mean?  We’ve always taught (correctly so) that it means we were created without sin, without any evil afflicting or affecting us.  We were perfect in every way.  However, I’m beginning to think that there is more to it than that.  We also were created as sensory beings.  Humans have 5 senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and seeing.  So, we have a nose, taste buds, sensory touch receptors, ears, and eyes.  The animals share in these things, too.  Why?  Why did God give us such important gifts?  Why did He dream them up?  I’m beginning to think that they are an integral part of God, His image, as well. 

          We know that God “sees” things here on earth and beyond.  Recall Sodom and Gomorrah,  where God speaks of going down to earth and “seeing” their evil.  Likewise, God “hears” things, such as the prayers of His faithful.  I can think of the passage: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  That’s talking about grace and the sacraments of blessing, but conversely, it argues for God being about to relate to our ability to “taste.”  Smell?  “Let my prayers be set before Thee as incense.”  Incense smells good.  Does God smell sweet, aromas?  Apparently, yes.  I cannot find a specific passage about “touch.”  But He does touch our souls with His grace, so again, I believe you can say He relates to our sense of touch because He also possesses it. 

          Now, theologians have a fancy term to help us understand all this.  It’s called: Scripture employs “anthropomorphic” language.  That is, man centered language that descriptively applies man “stuff” to God, in order to help us relate to Him.  So, does God have eyes, a nose, a mouth and tongue, ears, and skin receptors?  No.  He’s a Spirit being.  But then, God intimately knows all about senses, gave them to us, and relates to them.  Is that because He possesses such ability innately?  I would say: Yes.  Getting back to Genesis, that also is part of the “image of God.”

          I’ve read that smell is the most powerful sense.  Thinking back to my youth, when everyone raked the Fall leaves into the gutter on the street and then burned them, that burning leaves aroma immediately returns whenever I think about it.  Also, Sunday roast beef permeating the house after church is truly unforgettable. 

          We possess all sorts of taste buds in our mouth.  They change a bit over time, too.  That’s why as you get older, you tend to like pickles, “bitter,” more than just sweets.  Our hearing stems from little crystals within the eardrum that vibrate and pick up sound.  What would life be like with no sounds to fill our heads?  Eyes are obvious.  Colors, shades, shapes and the interplay of light are vital for enjoying life.  They enrich and help keep us from danger.  And as for touch, well, a loving touch is truly a gift from God.  It evokes joy and calmness.  Whereas a sharp slap does the opposite. 

          I write all this because to me it means that we have a God Who can truly relate to us.  He’s not some distant Entity.  He’s literally “up close and personal.”  And if you downplay God’s sensory abilities, just remember that once Jesus was born and assumed our flesh, all our senses were taken into the Godhead, too.  But personally, I believe that they were already there and I find that comforting….Pastor Thomas H. Fox   Sept. 30, 2020

Church News: 

          September was a busy month around the church  The weather was fabulous for working outdoors.  So.  We finished oil staining the parsonage deck in two coats.  Hooray!  I also oil stained the back of the parsonage after giving it a really good scrape.  The trustees, on the heels of taking down and redoing the old, rotted church portico, redid the soffit and fascia on the back of the house with non-rotting materials.  It looks terrific!  The Pastor also engaged in various minor repairs on the outside of the parsonage.  (My muscles got a work-out!)  The trustees were active and are appreciated. 

          At a voter’s meeting we agreed to repave the entirety of the asphalt at a cost of: $62,000.  The paver’s schedule has filled up, so this will occur in the Spring.  Also, this fall the dying ash tree in front of the parsonage and the white pine in the wires will be removed by a tree service. 

          Speaking of projects, ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD WE WILL HAVE THE CHURCH CLEAN-UP FROM ABOUT 9 TIL NOONISH.  We need everyone of all ages!!!  So come, even for a few hours, if you can. 

          Sunday School is progressing along with Bible Class.  The new arrangement of the hall facilitates social distancing, etc.  Sorry, no food after church until the governor gives the go-ahead.  Confirmation classes will be held on Wednesday’s from 4 til 5 starting on the 7th.

          Everyone is healthy for now.  Fred Laffin has eye issues, loss of sight, in one eye that the doctors are analyzing, and also will have knee surgery later this month.  Our prayers are with him.  The shut-ins are o.k. as of last check.  Although, like you, they long for a covid-free life and all that goes with it.

          Also, congratulations to Derrick and Camile Ward as they are expecting in late March.

          Giving for September was approximately: $11,400.  God is good.  Additionally, some of the Live-Streaming equipment has been installed and the “crew” is working logistical kinks.  Many of our churches have gone with live-streaming.  The only negative is that some folks are tempted to use it instead of attending regular services.  I remind all: in person participation is still the best!  “Let us not forsake the ASSEMBLING of our ourselves together, as the manner of some is.” 

          One last item: this week the organ repair folks came back to install the big item they repaired in the great organ.  It sounds great. 

TORI AND TESSA:

          Our oldest member really likes Tessa and Tori stories in this venue.  Here’s a new one:

Tori has always been a fastidious little dog.  She hates getting wet and makes us take her out with an umbrella when it rains—covering her, not us.  Meanwhile, Tessa just plows through all kinds of weather.  Anyway, they tacitly accept baths, but don’t like it when Papa digs out the clippers!  Tori resigns herself to it, but afterwards likes looking prim and proper.  Tessa fights it at every turn.   And then races around when it’s all done.  ‘The girls’ are very opposite—Tomboy Tessa and Fastidious Tori.  Ah, life goes on.     


September 2020

          Why do we call it: Labor Day?  Shouldn’t it be: Labor-Free Day?  But, truth-be-told AND if you grew up in a work-ethic household, you probably labored a lot on that holiday weekend. 

          A couple of years ago I wrote a lengthy newsletter on trichotomy vs. dichotomy.  You can hold to either position and still be a good Christian.  But I concluded that I support the trichotomist position.  The former (dichotomy) says that humans are comprised of a body and a soul. The later (trichotomy) says that we are: body, soul, and spirit.  References to both are found throughout Scripture. So, what does all this have to do with Labor Day?

          Obviously, we all possess a body.  We have skin (the largest organ in the body), bones, tendons, organs, muscles, and the like.  We all try to take care of our bodies, too.  We exercise, walk, eat in a healthy manner, get our rest to rejuvenate the body, and even relax so as to help it heal.  I guess Labor Day is about doing so in most people’s minds.

          When it comes to our souls, what do we do to rejuvenate and take care of that vital part of us?  After all, the soul is even more important than the body in that it is eternal.  Recall the passage: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word which comes from the mouth of God.”  You cannot live without your soul, so you cannot let it sleep.  You cannot take a break from your soul, either, unlike ceasing your work-out regime.  The soul is just “there” and always laboring.  So what are you doing to strengthen your soul?  Are you feeding it with God’s Word regularly?  Are you communing regularly?  Are you praying regularly?—Asking God to protect and defend you from Satanic attacks?  God’s Word is the original “soul food.”  Use it.  That’s what Christ says in the above passage.

          Then we come to our spirit.  Everyone has a spirit.  It’s the unseen aspect of our being that animates us giving us: drive and a purpose in life.   I would say it has emotional components.  Your spirit helps you to be happy, content, and grateful.  Sometimes your spirit feels overwhelmed, listless, or sad.  Let’s face it, if you feel stuck-in-the-mud on certain days, it’s because your spirit has run out of gas!  When people die “their spirit departs from them.”  Your spirit is really what makes you, you.  A person.  A unique creation of God.  How all three of these components: body, soul, and spirit work together and are intertwined is a great mystery and also a gift from God.  They make human life unique. 

          So, what can we do to enhance them, or at least prolong our lives in a better way?  Labor Day should be about resting the body, the soul, and the spirit.  But rest for the body gets all the attention, doesn’t it?  So, how about calming the soul through daily prayer?  How about “restoring the soul” Ps. 23, through ongoing worship and home devotions—along with pondering our blessings?  These “enhancers” spill over into the spirit, too.  That’s because the Holy Spirit works and uses them to uplift our spirits.  This spiritual link with Him began when you were converted (probably that means your baptism for most of you).  Thereby He drew you into a oneness with God.  Faith in Christ has pulled you into God’s spiritual realm. 

          All of us have times when our spirit is broken, or close to it.  Do you even think about the fact that rest for the spirit is even more vital than rest for the body?   The Greater Spirit doesn’t want us to cut ourselves off from His vitality!  He can and does repair us because He’s also our Maker, Preserver, and Comforter.  In short, He knows what to do and how to do it to make us “right” again. 

          For most, Labor Day in America means rest for the body.  That’s fine, well, and good.  But people need rest for their soul, and rest for their spirit, too.  In fact, I would submit that that kind of rest is even more important.  Alas, it is usually forgotten and overlooked until we become dried up husks internally.  God’s prescription to prevent this from happening is the same today as it was during Christ’s time.  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word which comes from the mouth of God.”  So, this Labor Day weekend, don’t just eat the food off the grill, but the Divine food that sustains forever.  Be a new you!  Our wise God makes it all possible….For nothing is impossible with God. 

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

Church News:

  • Our remote service production team: Seth Cordes and Jon Larson, are taking a break over Labor Day.  It is well-deserved.  They, too, are refreshing their bodies, souls, and spirits.  Seth finally received the new cameras he ordered and will be installing them.  That, along with other AV equipment will cost approximately $10,000 when it’s all in place. What a blessing.
  • The trustees are finished work on repairing the front entrance area. Cost was minimal (mainly the dumpster fee).   They will plan on fixing the fascia and soffit on the back of the parsonage at minimal cost, as well. 
  • Hooray!  The parsonage deck is now fully stained!
  • Everything starts up again on the 13th.  Bible study will be starting a new book of the New Testament.
  • Esther Lowrey, our oldest member, has her 93rd birthday over Labor Day weekend.  Best wishes to her and God’s continued blessings.
  • We had one Sunday in August where more than 50 were in attendance.  We looked like we had our church back.  Let’s keep it going.  Or as the old hymn line says: “There still is room!”
  • Giving for August was over $11,000.  Regular, weekly, make-up giving is a huge blessing!
  • On the 13th we will also have a voter’s meeting on asphalting the drives and parking lot.  We have three quotes. 
  • The Fall clean-up should be held in early October.  We’ll keep you apprised.