Excerpt from May, 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

What a difference a week makes, one week ago we were up to our armpits, well not quite, in snow, and this week, the snow is almost gone and we have been basking in the sunlight and enjoying truly spring-like weather...
[hover curser over text to stop scroll]
1111 11th Avenue West Ashland, WI USA 54806 715.682.6075 inquiry@zionashland.org


Witness, Mercy, Life Together

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Current Newsletter
Newsletter Archives
Adobe® Reader® is needed to download the following documents. A free download of Adobe® Reader® is available by clicking on the logo... Get Adobe® Reader®
May 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
[please click on above link to open current newsletter]
What a difference a week makes, one week ago we were up to our armpits, well not quite, in snow, and this week, the snow is almost gone and we have been basking in the sunlight and enjoying truly spring-like weather. How quickly things can change, weather, much like life, more often than not, avoids prediction.

It seems the things we plan for, the things we expect often, change or sometimes never even materialize. Our human nature, is quite fickle it seems, It often changes more often and more radically than the weather. We think we know what we want, or that we know the direction that life will take us and then wham, all of a sudden, we veer off on a tangent, we see some other goal or desire that catches our attention. Sometimes it is quick, we see something and we go for it. Other times, it is gradual, we don't even realize it is happening. Sometimes it is a matter of simple distraction.

I believe we all experience distraction in our lives, perhaps, not all the time, but it is most certainly there. I know I am challenged by distraction. Today for example, as I was trying to find a subject for this article I encountered a writer's block. What should I say this month, what profound theological topic could I share with you, what could I write to inspire and lead you in your faith journey. I am sorry to say when I sat down in front of the computer... nothing! I could not think of a thing. I had all kinds of ideas whirling around in my head, but none of them would shake out. So after several failed attempts I decided the best thing to do was to go for a walk, shake out the cobwebs, soak in all the beauty of God's creation, if that doesn't inspire me nothing will. So out the door I went and I began to walk. It went exceptionally well, until I hit the edge of the parking lot. My phone buzzed, I received a text, and someone had a question for me. So I stopped and answered the message and also thought to myself, perhaps bringing the phone was not such a good idea, I continued to walk. Over the next two blocks, two more texts, one phone call, and one Facebook message. It was at that point I decided to turn off the phone, my wife will be amazed at that fact. So, with new found confidence, I began to walk again. Two blocks later, after three people had honked and waved at me and one had stopped to say "hi", I decided to head back to the church. As I sat back down I realized what it was that I felt I should write about; distractions.

Our lives are filled with distractions, it seems to me that over the years the number of distractions in my life, the things that pull me away from the things I have good intentions of accomplishing have magnified significantly. And it also seems those distractions pull me away from accomplishing the good things. I sometime feel that I can relate to the Apostle Paul when he says "For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out" (Romans 7:18). What Paul is talking about and what we are experiencing is sin in our lives. That sin, those distractions, the things that we let interfere, particularly when they interfere with our daily Christian lives and duties, are purely and simply sin. We often try to legitimize them, to make excuses, however when it comes to our faith lives, our prayer life, our stewardship efforts, our helping our neighbor, there should be no distractions.

Now don't get me wrong, we are always going to have distractions in our lives, and I am not about to say all distractions in our lives are sinful in nature, as a matter of fact, sometimes they are quite the opposite, they can be very important parts of our lives and can help steer us down the paths in our lives that God intended. What I am saying is that we must be watchful, and not allow those distraction to lead us away from our purpose, we cannot let them consume us. We must always keep our eye on the prize, our salvation through Jesus Christ our Savior, who was never distracted or swayed from His mission, to die for our sins and lead us to eternal life.

Yes, we are sinners, and yes, the world does its best to distract us from being good Christians. But with our faith in God, our love of Jesus Christ, and power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome this world and all of its distractions. So I pray the Lord bless you as you keep your eye on the prize, as you work to continue to grow in your faith, and you do your best to beat back all of those worldly distractions that would try and lead you away. By the way as a closing note, I was only distracted four times while I was writing this.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Rick
excerpt from...
May 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter