Cool, crisp mornings are awakening our seasons here as leaves change with vivid colors and fall to the ground. Hunting season is upon us, and it’s all about preparation. {Deer and elk seasons are short, so you really have to be ready. You need a license, tag, a weapon that’s sighted in, an area you have scouted, supplies, and a plan. And if you don’t have a hunting partner, someone needs to know where you are and what you are doing.}

I heard a funny story a few years ago about a man who packed everything he needed for a week-long trek into the wilderness—everything except food.

Now, Rich had his favorite trail mix. His wife also packed 7 or so bags of this special blend of nuts & fruits to hand out to his friends, and he did so. But as they arrived at camp he realized that all the meals he had prepped had been left in his garage!

Rich’s friends didn’t want him to starve. They decided together that each one of them would help him with a meal through the journey so he wouldn’t go hungry.

The first guy’s turn came around, so he gave Rich something he knew Rich would really like: the bag of trail mix Rich’s wife had prepared. Then the second guy’s turn came, and he gave Rich his bag of trail mix! The third guy’s turn came, and you can guess what he gave. Rich ate trail mix all week long!

You’re probably thinking these trekking buddies aren’t real friends. I don’t know them well enough to be sure. But the bigger truth is that we need to be prepared for whatever the day holds.

Is all that preparation necessary just for hunting one animal? Yes it is! But it gets easier over time as our habits are formed, our tools and supplies are gathered, and our yearly scheduling makes room for it.

Worship is quite the same way. Our Sunday gatherings are meant for us to celebrate the new life Jesus gives in the presence of our Holy God. To do this well takes preparation. Depending on the week, spiritual preparation can include confession of sin, prayer, focusing our hearts, reconciliation with brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 5:23-24), listening to the Spirit, and preparing our giving. The acts of worship include prayer, singing with our hearts, greeting each other in the name of Jesus, reading or listening to Scripture, listening to the Word preached, sharing testimonies, and responding to the Spirit. 2 Chronicles 28:9 contains a beautiful promise: “the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you.”

When we are prepared, the whole service can be anointed by Christ and gives a great start to a week lived in the Spirit. God’s call upon our life is evident and fresh. We start the week with “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” And what do servants do? We obey our Master. By God’s grace, worship is a life-changing event! I urge you to follow the example of our church family who have gone before us and be prepared for worship each week.

In church news, our building committee has been working to get the “church house” finished for sale.  Our 905 E. Ash property has been invaluable through the transition of our old property to our new facility and from interim pastor to my coming. Now we have accepted an offer and are looking at closing mid-November. We are pleased the house received so much attention so quickly and are able to move forward. Let’s thank our building committee members working tirelessly on it: Tom Solbrack, Clint Sams,  Tim Wilson, and Bob Carlson.

It is a pleasure to work with our church leaders! Despite the difficulty of this present political mood, the church board is quite excited in Christ and excited about what God is doing through our church. We sense His anointing in    the services and know God has good days ahead. We are glad to see the Spirit raise up more leadership in our ministries and serving in our church. My wife, Kaye, Leah and Kim are planning the next Baby Boom Shower with possibly even more babies than last year—what a wonderful thing to celebrate this Nov. 13! The Sunday Ladies Bible Study group is planning a fun outreach event for this New Years Eve. Other things are coming as well.

If you’d like to be more involved, remember that Jesus desires our worship, our discipleship, and our service and witness. In these means of grace God forms us as His holy people. You are welcome, encouraged, and invited to participate!