THE FRIENDLY WHITE CHURCH ON THE HILL



CHURCH MISSION STATEMENT

We are called to bring people into a personal relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ.
We accomplish this by bringing others into the community of the church through genuine friendship and fellowship. In this loving fellowship we grow in faith through the Word, community, prayer and worship.




SOCIAL ACTIVITIES



A sleigh ride and dinner at Thunder Bay is being considered for March 12, 19, 26. Contact Lynn B. if you are interested and give your date preference.





BATHROOM RENOVATIONS

Recently Topinabee Church has undergone renovations to make the bathrooms more handicap accessible.


ELIZABETH BENSON

Elizabeth has been a rock in the  foundation of this Church for many years. She has served as Church Treasurer for many, many years.  She also served the Topinabee Community for several years as the township librarian and township clerk.
Elizabeth was recognized at the Church service and afterword's with a cake and a gift.  Thanks for all your service, Elizabeth. She will continue handing out programs at Church.




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SERMONS
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MUSIC

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THIS WEEKS DEVOTIONS
by Pastor Mike

“The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.  Jeremiah 18.4 NRSV          

 We may be broken, but are never useless. Our Maker takes us in our spoiled condition and then remakes us into something good. Glorious!  
            Such is the power of a redeeming God in our lives.

Better Than a Map
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep.”  Psalm 119.176 NRSV
February 9th, 2017
The seven of us huddled on the corner of a busy street in Oxford, England.  Our lectures and the various offered tours of the day were done. Now St. Michael’s, the city church, and its evening services was our target.
Pete and Debbie were in a heated discussion. They were arguing over the city map in the fading light. Pete was pointing to his left and Debbie was pointing straight ahead.
I said, “Guys, I think its back a block, then north.”
They ignored me and kept pointing and talking.
       “Really, Pete,” I said, “If you will just—”
“Look, Mike, I really do know how to read a map.  Debbie and I both can see where the church is on the map.  We’re just arguing on the quickest way to get there,” and Pete smiled a very tolerant smile.
I liked Pete, but I was tired and getting grumpy. So I turned and went back a block and then north.  I looked behind me and found three of our group had separated from Debbie and Pete (still arguing) and were catching up with me.
Kate said, “Don’t know who’s right or wrong, but they were getting a little too angry for us.”
Five minutes later, we were sitting inside St. Michael’s as the service began.  We never did see the rest of the group that night.  Kate whispered to me, “How did you know the way?”
“I was here today. I chose the tour of Saint Michael’s this afternoon,” I said.  She stifled a laugh out of deference to the choir.
I added, “I’ve found it useless to argue with people who already have the answer and a map in their hands.”
 I doubt many are “argued” into the Kingdom.  I think most of them follow someone who knows the way.
Prayer: Lord, let me be someone people want to follow home.

And Then John Woke Up
 “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Luke 16.13 NRSV
 February 8, 2017
 It was a dream, only a dream after all. With that thought, John comforted himself.  He had seen Satan called before the Lord to give an account of his activities. 
To John’s surprise, the Lord brought his name into the discussion.  The Lord said that although John was far from His best follower, he was certainly learning to depend on God. 
Satan was quiet for a moment, having learned a hard lesson with Job.  He did not ask God to destroy John’s material possessions.  He did not ask God to kill John’s family or take his health away.
Instead, Satan said, “Of course John depends on You.  What else can he do, living such a modest life?  But curse him with things and add to his bank account.  Cause people to hang on his every word and seek out his advice.  Let him become prosperous and respected.  Then see if he will regard himself too highly and slowly turn away from you!”
That was when John awoke in a cold sweat.  He was unsure of his defenses against prosperity and adulation. 
 Prayer:  Lord, keep me mindful that all good things are a gift from You and not my entitlement.



A Hour-Long Minute


 “Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?”  1 Corinthians 4.21 NRSV

 February 7, 2017

 “Pastor, do you have a minute?”

I dreaded those words.  The last time she had asked for “a minute,” I endured an hour-long monologue on the terrible state of her life. This was followed by how much she and her relatives didn’t get along.

This particular monologue started with the theme that God had not been in our church for years. I did not nod, I just listened. As she veered toward another subject, I told her that I held a very different point of view.

       In that “minute”, she would also cover everything from dancing to smoking to communion and finally to spiritualism.  After most of an hour, I had worked her out of the building and onto the parking lot.

I said, “I need to go, so let’s pray.”  Ten minutes after the prayer, she finally announced she was late and off she drove in a white cloud of carbon monoxide.

I know that in some ways, she was a total waste of time.  At her age, her patterns of behavior and her belief system seemed fixed.  I didn’t fool myself into thinking that I had any impact on her. 

Others might have given her a piece of their mind, but at the time, I didn’t know her very well. It is often very hard to gain the trust of wounded people. Prayer, patience and time are often the only tools that work.

I had hoped that perhaps she saw a little of the gentleness of God, but knew it was a long shot.

I drove home that Sunday realizing it would be a two Migraine-Strength Excedrin night.

 Prayer:  Lord, let me always be kind.  I need kindness, too.



Sometimes We Walk Away

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13.20 NRSV

February 2, 2017

I remember years ago when, for the first time, I blocked email from an individual. It felt rude and what made it harder was that I had once considered him a friend.  But month after month, his e-mails grew increasingly negative and judgmental on many subjects. He made it clear that those who did not believe what he believed exactly the way he framed it, were lost.
Much of it was not even about faith or theology, but was socially and politically ideological in nature. 
The email that finally led to my reaction was his description of his journey into true spirituality.  He said he was praying that I, too, would find my way to the truth of where he was. 
Enough was enough.  How could he know that his growth path was for me? Indeed, he hadn’t asked about my walk with God, where I was and what I thought God was saying to me.  He just assumed that my relationship with God was wrong or inferior and I needed exactly what he had.
       So I walked away.
Prayer: Lord, show us when enough is enough. 

Pastor Mike Versus the Bookshelves


 “Of making many books there is no end.” Eccl. 12.12 NRSV


February 1, 2017


One day I realized that I needed more bookshelves. OK, this may be a continuing challenge for years. I found some inexpensive ones (OK, cheap) at K-Mart.  It took me six weeks to assemble the two shelves.

Although I’m not the handiest person, I’ve successfully put together bikes, lawn mowers, and other complicated pieces of equipment. So I figured a bookshelf would be relatively easy and straightforward. 

In the box I found sixteen boards of several sizes and a dazzling array of hardware to use.  I’m sure my pupils dilated as I looked at all the strange-looking screws, bolts and nuts.  They were called  “34mm kd bolt”, “compression dowel”, “kd fastener” and other exotic names.  Perplexed, I put it aside for later.  Every so often I would get industrious and look at the directions.  They were not clear, even the part written in English.

After six weeks of the pieces laying on the living room floor, I finished the job.  I looked at the pieces and directions for the eighth time and finally just took a guess and started putting it together. 

Within thirty minutes, the shelves was standing against the wall, all loaded down with poetry by Frost, stories by Bradbury and a host of other old friends. I did put that first bolt in wrong, but once I got started it all fell into place and I was able to correct that small mistake.

We aren’t going to get through life without mistakes.  No matter how carefully we check the directions, sometimes we have to go back and start again or even make repairs and alterations.  That’s OK.  That’s the way it is for all of us. 

Prayer: