Midweek Reflections

Faith and Hope

Read: Hebrews 11

                As I read a devotional recently I was reminded of those first times that our children learned to drive a vehicle.  I still remember the first time our daughter got behind the wheel after getting her drivers permit at age 15.  I started out a nervous and uneasy passenger in the front seat.  It wasn’t long until my wife took over in the front and I was directed to the back seat.  I lost my job as navigator because I was too uptight and on edge with every little turn.  Truth is, both of our children were pretty good drivers.

Carey Scott shared about this experience with her children in a Proverbs 31 Ministries devotional.  She said, “These drives (with her children) were full of all kinds of hopes.  I hope Sam will stay on the road.  I hope he’ll remember his turn signal.  I hope I don’t die.”  She said her son also had a prevailing hope.  That his mom would keep her mouth shut during these drives.

Scott goes on to write, “Hope is a powerful motivator. It’s what drives us to try again. It’s what keeps us from sinking under the weight of adversity. Hope keeps us positive, fuels our joy, and helps us reach for our dreams with gusto. Hope matters. And while many think hope is nothing more than wishful thinking, Christian hope means confident expectation. It’s believing in the possibility.”

Hebrews 11 is filled with the faith and hope of God’s people.  From Abraham, to Noah, and many more, this faith in God’s promise gives the people hope to keep moving forward.  In the end they saw how their hope, faith, and trust in God changed their story and their situations.  It can do the same for you.  We had hope that our children would learn to be good drivers.  We had faith that God would protect them during that time of learning, and in the end we all learned something about faith, hope, and trust.  Yes, I’m riding in the front passenger’s seat again without any fears.

Make it Personal:        Along with Hebrews 11 there are many wonderful testimonies of faith and hope in the Bible.  Get your Bible out this week and read about them.  You will come across great verses like this that you can make personal to your own situation.  “I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Have a great week, Pastor Glen Rhodes

Everybody Is Doing It

Read: Romans 12:1-8

            The common excuse of “Everybody is doing it” is usually not a good reason to join the crowd.  In many cases it is not even true.  How do you truly define “everybody” anyway?  In many cases this phrase is used when people are trying to justify doing something that is either dangerous, detrimental, or probably not in their best interest.

In a recent newspaper article Tribune News Service Columnist Lori Borgman shared some of the ways that phrase is used…
“Everybody’s doing it,” muttered the employee as he stole from his employer.
“Everybody’s doing it,” purred the woman pursuing a married man.
“Everybody’s doing it,” hissed the drug supplier offering a free sample.
“Everybody’s doing it,” bellowed the rioter hurling rocks through business windows.
“Everybody’s doing it,” chuckled the teen forwarding a picture to his friend.
“Everybody’s doing it,” sneered a girl attempting to shame a reluctant peer.
You could probably add your own to this list as well.

Borgman goes on to share that we need to call this phrase what it really is, “A bold-faced lie.”  In Romans 12:1-2 we are encouraged to renew our minds and not conform to the patterns of this world.  Jesus can help us to live in a way that is pleasing to God and not be so worried about what everyone else might be doing.

You see, when we seek the counsel of God then we will be able to test and approve of what His good, pleasing, and perfect will is for our lives. God’s Word (The Bible) is where we should get our wisdom and guidance, not from the latest fade, trendiest idea, or that thing that we try to convince ourselves that everyone is doing.

Make it Personal:  The next time you try to justify something by what others are doing, remember to seek God’s counsel on what you should be doing.  Then remind yourself that most people are probably not doing whatever it is you think they are doing.

Have a great week, Pastor Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

You Never Know

Read: Matthew 5:13-16

                Many people in our community are friends of John Schmid or know of him.  John has a music ministry that travels around the country and world sharing stories, testimonies, and songs about the good news of Jesus.  By the way, John will be playing at Arthur’s Penn Station on the evening of August 26.  His Common Ground Ministries also has a wonderful prison outreach that is reaching hundreds of prisoners each year with the gospel message.

In his most recent newsletter John shared some stories about why it is important to never underestimate the influence you may have on someone.  He shared a story about a music festival he was a part of back in 1978 in Wilmore, Kentucky.  It turns out that Vice-President Mike Pence gave his life to Christ at that same music festival that year.

Another story he shared was from Thomas Hughes’ 1857 book Tom Brown School-days.  A visitor to the British School was surprised when the schoolmaster tipped his hat to a student as they walked across the school yard.  That didn’t fit into the British class system, so the visitor asked why he would do that.  The school master replied, “I may have just saluted the Prime Minister of England.”  You never know!

John also shared a story about how Bill Glass, an All-American college football player from years past, personally answered all of the fan mail he received when he was playing.  Years later, as a prison minister, Glass learned that President George W. Bush was one of the young people he had responded to during his playing days.  Glass was in need of a favor and the President was more than glad to help him out.

These are reminders that what Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16 is very important.  We must let the light of Christ shine through our lives and into the lives of others.  You never know who, how, or what might become of someone when you take the time to talk to them, help them out, or reach out to them.  As John Schmid says, “Only God knows who is in the audience.”

Make it Personal:  Who has been an important influence on your life?  Think about how you are passing that legacy on.  Never underestimate how the Lord may use your life, your witness, your compassion, or your example to make a difference.  Let your light, the light of Christ, shine!

Have a great week,  Pastor Glen Rhodes

The Hope You Need

Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9

This past Sunday in church we sang a wonderful new worship song by Phil Wickham titled “Living Hope.”  As the words to that song were being sung I was taken back once again to the wonderful promises of hope that are found in the Bible.  Words of living hope through Jesus Christ like those proclaimed in 1 Peter 1:3-6.

In this life we need hope!  So often people will look near and far to find that hope but end up wondering if it really does exist.  Fyodor Dostevsky wrote, “To live without hope is to cease to live.”  Emil Brunner wrote, “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.”  The Good News of the Christian faith is that it does exist for each of us.

Here is the proof from 1 Peter 1:3-5.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 In life situations it is too easy to resign ourselves to a hopeless end.  God’s Word promises us that through faith in Jesus Christ we can instead find endless hope.  We can hang on in difficult times because we hold on to the promises of God and our confidence in God.  God has promised to never leave you or forsake you no matter how tough your life may get.  Never give up hope!

 Make it Personal:  Have you been placing your hope in hopeless things?  Have they been letting you down?  Try this living hope that is found in Jesus your Savior.  He can save you, deliver you, sustain you, protect you, and give you a hope that is alive and well in our world today.

May your week be filled with hope,
 Pastor Glen Rhodes


This Week’s Meditation: “Still.”
Read: Luke 10: 38-42; Galatians 1:6-10; Psalm 46:10

Welcome August! As the hustle and bustle of summer starts to ebb, the hustle and bustle of fall is getting ready to flow. Are you prepared for it? Are you ready to serve like Martha? Ready to Grow like Mary?

SWAP has always encouraged a Mary attitude in me. I’m always reminded of my Martha-ness when I go there. It’s just a reminder how we need to both Mary & Martha qualities in us at times. On the Friday morning of our recent trip there, I looked back to my first trip there in 2010 with my MYF (Mennonite Youth Fellowship). Back then, it didn’t seem as cross-cultural of an experience for me because that was back when I would babysit all day everyday which most days, didn’t seem like work at all to me. Now, my outlook has changed a bit. I’m running from job 1 to job 2 and then sleep a little bit and wake up to work on job 3 before job 1 again. I catch myself in this never-ending cycle.

No matter what our responsibilities are, our culture whispers to us to keep going: just finish that one project, or that one email, or that one more ____ (fill in the blank).

Jeff pointed out in the scripture last Sunday that just when the people were going to make Jesus their earthly King, he withdrew to the mountain to find quiet, despite what others thought of him. I mean he’s Jesus, right? If he’s God, he shouldn’t get tired! And back at creation, when God created the heavens, the earth, the winged things, scaly things and big-pawed things, and human beings…on the seventh day, He took a break. As disciples of Christ, let’s follow His leading, because He is the Way, The Truth, and The Life. So, he’s probably doing what is best.

In our Vision scripture, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet despite what others thought of her. As a woman in the Jewish tradition, she was supposed to hang out in the background or in the kitchen. She wasn’t supposed to sit out with the guys and listen to the Rabbi. Yet, she chose to prioritize Jesus over social convention and others’ opinions. Mary was so unreserved in her love for Jesus; she worshiped Him, but not a casual, what’s-next-on-the-agenda worship. But an extravagant worship where she didn’t count the cost. Instead of looking at the people (even at her sister) around her, she gazed at Jesus. In Galatians 1:10, Paul asks, “Am I trying to win the approval of human beings or of God?…If I were trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Mary allowed Jesus to fill her vision and eclipse everything else around her. Her whole posture was one of humility. Her body language reads: “I need Thee, oh I need Thee” rather than “I got this.” She was embodying Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew of “be still” translates to let go of your grip, to make oneself weak. What a freeing idea! In our complete dependence on a God who won’t ever fail us, we find freedom!

So today, I challenge you to stop. Stop hustling through your to-do list, stop freaking out that the start of August means schools almost here and you’ll have to start packing lunches or bookbags, or that with the hint of fall in the air means that the harvest hustle will begin soon. Stop. Just for a Moment. Be.

Bonus Challenge: Do this reflection exercise with me.

(Close Your eyes and quiet your soul for 20 seconds.)


(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that I.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that I am.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that I am God.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that I am.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that I.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know that.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and know.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still and.

(silence for 10 seconds)

Be still.

(silence for 10 seconds)


(silence for 20 seconds)


Have a blessed week, Pastor Ashley Litwiller
Arthur Mennonite Church


Read:  Ruth 2

         Our world is hungry for acts of kindness!  In a time in which social media rears its ugly head time and time again, we need people who will step up and pronounce encouraging, uplifting, compassionate, and kind words to people.  We hear way too much discouragement.  We need more kindness in the world.

Back in 1982, Anne Herbert coined a simple phrase that caught on.  Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK).  The idea took root, and then took off.  In 1992 a book was published with that title and imagined a world filled with an outbreak of random kindness being shared from one human to another.  The book became an instant best-seller and gave birth to many movements that encouraged people to share kindness on a daily basis.

Long before that book was published there was another book that encourages this kind of life as well.  The Bible gives us many stories, examples, and encouragements to bless others with kindness, care, and compassion.  In the book of Ruth we see how the successful businessman Boaz shared his kindness with Ruth and Naomi.  He provided for their needs and made them feel welcomed among strangers.

In the Gospels we see many examples of this kindness in the life of Jesus.  Paul and James encourage us often to show compassion to the widow, orphan, and those in need.  These examples are reminders that the Christian life should flow freely with random acts of kindness.  William Penn once said, “I expect to pass through life once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow-being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

 My prayer is that our acts of kindness become normal and not just random.  I would love to open up Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram each day and see words of hope, kindness, and encouragement instead of negativity and hatred.  Let’s be the ones to lead the way!

 Make it Personal:  
How is your kindness scale reading these days?  We all have days that seem better than others.  Try to use kindness as a way of brightening the day of another, so that your day too can be brightened.  May your Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) then turn into Normal Acts of Kindness (NAOK).

Have a great week, Pastor Glen Rhodes
Arthur Mennonite Church, 710 E. Park St.

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