Posts with the category “from-the-pastor”
In the dark… (Lesson #2)
by JR Wolff on November 15th, 2022
In the dark… Last week, I admitted that I love to run in the dark. On a clear morning, I can catch a glimpse of the stars, but few ever catch a glimpse of me. There is an anonymity to that shroud of darkness. No one hears the prayers spoken to the cadence of my footfalls. And those I pass along the way share a mutual code of silence, so that no one ever hears report of my style or speed. In the pa...
In The Dark...
by JR Wolff on November 8th, 2022
In the dark… I love running in the dark. While most of my neighbors are still fast asleep, I find a peaceful refuge in those early morning hours. The sounds of the day and the hectic pace of life are muted, allowing me to focus on one footfall, one breath at a time. The cadence of the run creates a drumbeat for my prayer, keeping my wandering mind focused on the people I have committed to lift up ...
by JR Wolff on November 1st, 2022
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One Swing… and then the Next!
by JR Wolff on October 25th, 2022
Who could have imagined in the spring of 2022, when the Phillies were hot one minute and cold the next, that they would get hot at just the right time? We barely made the play-offs, squeaking in with a Wild Card. But now… against all odds, the Phillies are going to the World Series!!!! Even if you are not a baseball fan, (admittedly most of the season I am rather uninspired by the game), it is sti...
More than all we ask or imagine…
by JR Wolff on October 18th, 2022
This past weekend was certainly more…The weekend kicked off with fireworks as the Phillies routed the Braves in a 8-3 win cinching the Division Championship. Only the most die-hard fans believed that we would still be in the hunt at this point in the season. Watch out Padres!Then the Flyers grabbed center stage with their win against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. For those of us who ha...
by JR Wolff on October 11th, 2022
You have heard it said: ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… that you may be known as the children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45 Have you ever wondered about God’s creative genius? Why did God create mosquitos, or mold, or poison ivy? I have a whole list of questions that I plan to bring to heaven...
Jesus Saw the Crowd...
by JR Wolff on October 4th, 2022
The front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer told the tale… of “five shooters” who ambushed a group of “teenage football players” after a game at Roxborough High School. The shooters jumped out of a Ford Explorer SUV “and began firing, unloading more than 60 shots, killing a 14year-old boy and wounding four others.” The story tells the facts. It is a story that has been told again and again over...
Back Deck vs. Front Porch
by JR Wolff on September 27th, 2022
The Art of Neighboring… This fall we are considering Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor.” Notice, Jesus is not suggesting… he is not recommending… he is not hoping against hope that maybe sometimes we will ‘love our neighbor.’ NO… Jesus is giving us a command. Most of us think of Jesus as a ‘friend’, so we have a hard time imagining Him giving us a command. But the call to love our neighbor...
Love and Hurry
by JR Wolff on September 21st, 2022
Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don’t have. This quote, written by John Ortberg, a pastor in CA, captures our dilemma. Hurry seems to be the definition of today’s world. Before the alarm goes off in the morning, we have a list of things to do that will more than fill our day. From shopping… to a work call… to a fa...
Can of Worms… or… Great Opportunity?
by JR Wolff on September 13th, 2022
In 1915, Samuel Sorenson Adams wanted to tease his wife Emily after she complained that he had left the jam jar sticky. That night, Sam cleaned out a jam jar, filled it with cloth-covered, spring-loaded ‘snakes’, that would pop out when she opened the jam jar the next day. Emily must have enjoyed the humor of that practical joke, because Sam went on to create a snake peanut brittle can, a snake ...
Welcome to the Family!
by JR Wolff on August 30th, 2022
The Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2:47 One of the surprising blessings of the pandemic is the way God has added to our number these past two years. Who could have imagined that a global pandemic, with all the isolation and uproar, would be fertile ground for church growth. Between those who now join us for live-stream worship from their homes across the country, to...
I look to the mountains…
by JR Wolff on August 23rd, 2022
Imagine a week surrounded by mountains… the Rockies… the Canadian Rockies. From one snow capped peak to the next, the views we enjoyed during our family vacation were awe-inspiring! We saw those views from our first sip of coffee on the deck, to our drives from hike to hike, to peaceful moments sitting by a glacial lake with mountains reflected in the still waters. The view never grew old, in f...
by JR Wolff on August 17th, 2022
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 Last week, our family traveled to Banff, Canada for an adventure of a lifetime: clear turquoise-blue glacial lakes, rocky snow-capped mountain peaks, wildflowers in the colors of the rainbow, fresh mountain air, and the laughter of family all around- best week ever! E...
Crossing the Divide
by JR Wolff on August 9th, 2022
I must begin this ‘Tuesday Letter’ with an admission. I am a chicken. I have been watching and listening… reading and considering… but I have stayed safely on the sidelines since June 24th. Actually, I am not so sure that it is safe even on the sidelines, but I know it is safer than jumping into the middle of the debate. I have not preached a sermon, made a public comment, or written a word ab...
Christmas in July
by JR Wolff on August 2nd, 2022
Christmas in July… just wondering, did you find any good sales? Every year merchants use this theme as a marketing strategy to boost waning sales as our shopping slows down a bit during the summer. For at least a few weeks, we would rather buy Knorr’s Ice Cream and funnel cakes, than invest in big ticket items like dryers and kitchen cabinets. Soon we will be looking for Back to School sales, b...
When I consider the heavens… the works of your fingers…
by JR Wolff on July 26th, 2022
Vacation Bible School 2022 is over! A year in the planning… months in the creating… one week in the experiencing… and now just a few remaining decorations mark the event. But the echoes of vibrant children’s voices singing God’s praise still fill the minds and hearts of many of us. If you joined us for worship on July 24th you were graced with a taste of an amazing week at Lenape Valley. What ...
This is my story… this is my song…
by JR Wolff on July 19th, 2022
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by JR Wolff on July 12th, 2022
A farmer went out to sow his seed…Jesus begins his series of parable stories recorded in Matthew 13 with these words. Picture Jesus in a boat just offshore teaching a large crowd gathered on the hills rising up out of the Sea of Galilee. Nearby, a farmer is working in his fields, casting seed, hoping, even expecting a good harvest in the weeks to come. That seed falls on the good soil… and the ...
The Silent Epidemic
by JR Wolff on July 5th, 2022
July 4, 2022… A beautiful day in New Britain-Chalfont. The sun was shining, the neighbors gathered, the parade participants ready to make their way down Butler Ave. to Main Street, ending at North Branch Park. A special thanks to the Lenape Valley folks who welcomed people to our church lawn with waters and toys for the kids. There is nothing quite like a warm LVC welcome! I was privileged to b...
The Love Quilt
by JR Wolff on June 28th, 2022
My childhood was punctuated by a series of moves compliments of the US Navy. In 17 years, I moved 14 times, living in 8 states and 3 countries. My parents had made a commitment to have our family follow dad to each duty station, if at all possible. Imagine seeing the moving truck that many times as a child. Imagine setting up a home that many times as a mom. I wish I could tell you that I lea...
by JR Wolff on June 21st, 2022
On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed into law the establishment of our newest federal holiday- Juneteenth National Independence Day, to be celebrated on June 19th each year. The bill establishing this national holiday received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, passed unanimously in the Senate with only 14 Representatives dissenting in the House. This new federal holiday will join o...
Ring the Bell!
by JR Wolff on June 14th, 2022
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The Importance of Gluten
by JR Wolff on June 7th, 2022
Many who were in worship on May 1st of this year were witness to a unique comedy during Communion. Diane Daly and I stood on either side of the Communion Table serving bread to those who came forward for the Lord’s Supper. As each person stepped up, we said, “The Body of Christ broken for you” and then proceeded to tear a piece of bread from a shared loaf. The symbolism of this moment can be po...
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
by JR Wolff on May 31st, 2022
Just a week ago… the children of Robb Elementary School woke up, got dressed, ate their Cheerios, kissed their moms and dads, and boarded buses for what was to be one of their last days of school before summer break. The school day began with an awards assembly, celebrating the achievements of the students to the applause of parents and teachers. Then the students returned to their classes to en...
by JR Wolff on May 24th, 2022
Agnostic: A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable, A person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something, A person who is uninterested… (Webster Dictionary)Every semester, I ask my students at Chestnut Hill College how they would describe their young adult generation: Religious, Spiritual, Agnostic, Atheistic. When I fir...
Charity Begins at Home
by JR Wolff on May 17th, 2022
Some of us have been passing the time by watching the NBA playoffs. How fun to have our guys in the mix this year! First, we were treated to a great series between the 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. I’m not sure Toronto would call it a great series since we had a near sweep of games, only losing one to the Raptor challenge. My favorite player is Tyrese Maxie- he always has a smile on his face ...
by JR Wolff on May 10th, 2022
1,000,000 Americans… one million of our neighbors lost to COVID19… what a heartbreaking milestone. Think about their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their husbands, wives, parents, and friends… so many grieving neighbors… some of them here at Lenape Valley. And lest we see this as just an American grief, we must remember the 15 million lives lost around the world. The number is ...
When the enemy invades your house…
by JR Wolff on May 4th, 2022
One of my great privileges as the pastor of Lenape Valley Church is the invitation to be with you in times of great joy and times of great challenge. I love the visits to the nursery when a little one has come into the world… the opportunity to bless parents and child… to remind them of God’s grace. How fun to share those cup overflowing moments! I cherish the moments of quiet sharing when life...
That you may believe…
by JR Wolff on April 19th, 2022
Happy Easter! The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed! What a joyful celebration of Easter we shared at Lenape Valley! The day began with a chilly gathering to welcome the dawn… the sun rising… the full moon fading… the gathering of God’s people declaring the Son has risen! Then, before we knew it, the crowd was gathering for two lively worship experiences that raised the vaulted roof of Lenape ...
Take a Walk
by JR Wolff on April 12th, 2022
Do you remember the early days of the pandemic? We isolated ourselves behind closed doors… ordered our groceries on Instacart… and discovered that you can find almost anything on Amazon. We created distance even from the people we love most in the world, all to keep us and them safe. But we quickly discovered that isolation is difficult to bear, so we began to walk… and walk… and walk. We bega...
Civility… a lost art… God’s Command
by JR Wolff on April 5th, 2022
I’m not a big fan of billboards. They are an eyesore… a blight on the landscape… a distraction for drivers… shall I go on? But the other day I saw one that I liked so much I took a picture. When push comes to shove… don’t.What a good message… a needed message in our current culture. But is anyone listening?On Sunday, March 27th the viewing public had a front row seat to what happens when push ...
David vs Goliath
by JR Wolff on March 29th, 2022
Have you been watching March Madness- the college basketball championships? The tournament starts at the beginning of March with the 64 best teams in the country… each weekend paring down the group by a single elimination play-off. This weekend we moved from the Sweet Sixteen to the Elite Eight, with four games played across the country to determine the final teams in the play-off. The David an...
Happy 60th Anniversary Lenape Valley!
by JR Wolff on March 22nd, 2022
60 years ago…On Sunday, March 25, 1962, people gathered in the basement bar of the VFW in Chalfont for worship… yes, worship in a bar. Before the people assembled, several of the men had come to complete their Sunday morning ritual- clearing away empty beer bottles and wiping down the bar from the revelry of Saturday night. The children rushed in, eager to claim one of the coveted stools at the ...
by JR Wolff on March 15th, 2022
Miracles… Some pray for miracles, but most do not believe that miracles still happen. Perhaps miracles happened back when Jesus walked on the earth, but we fear that those days are past. Some believe that the miracles of the Bible are just fantastic additions interjected by zealous followers into the story of a great moral teacher. Even those of us who pray, are hesitant to pray for miracles fo...
The Journey of LENT
by JR Wolff on March 8th, 2022
From the somber imposition of ashes to the most joyful celebration of the church year, the 40-day journey of Lent offers an opportunity to deepen in faith. Lent is a season full of traditions that many of us observe, but few truly understand. So today… I offer a few fun facts about the season of Lent:The 40-days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday and conclude on the Saturday before Easter. If you t...
by JR Wolff on March 1st, 2022
Today we feast… because tomorrow Lent begins… That is how the letter I wrote last week began. I was trying to work ahead so that I could go on vacation without the ministry skipping a beat, so I wrote my Tuesday letter for March 1st on February 22nd . Great idea, right? But then the world exploded, literally. Bombs dropping on schools and apartments… parents and childre...
by JR Wolff on February 22nd, 2022
Twos-Day… 2-22-22…What a fun conjunction of numbers! At 2:22 pm on 2-22-22, I will be at the Philadelphia Airport waiting to board a plane to California to visit our daughter. I wonder how many of you will pause at that moment to note that long string of 2’s. There is nothing magical about such a confluence of 2’s… it’s just a novelty. Much like the fact that today’s letter is #100. I can’t b...
Valentine’s Day Challenge
by JR Wolff on February 15th, 2022
In December, I was given an Amaryllis. Some of you are familiar with this fascinating plant. Others of you heard about it for the first time in my Tuesday letter on December 21st. In that letter, I marveled at the directions that came with the plant: “No care needed.” How could that be? How could a plant thrive without water or soil? The directions said that all that I needed to do was place...
by JR Wolff on February 8th, 2022
I love watching the Olympics… the grace and skill… the daring courage… the back stories of athletes and their families sacrificing to realize olympic-size dreams. While I am not a winter sports enthusiast, I find myself mesmerized by the speed of the skiers, the high-flying acrobatics of the snowboarders, the graceful spins and jumps of the ice skaters. I am cheering on Team USA, but still enjoy t...
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
by JR Wolff on February 1st, 2022
Sabbath keeping… one of the Ten Commandments… encouraged by our grandmothers back in the day… deemed impractical by even devote Christians today. If you read the whole commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), you will discover that Sabbath keeping is about literally ceasing all work in order to rest. The example that is given describes God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh. That descr...