Posts with the category “from-the-pastor”
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...
Predictions and Forecasts … or… Presence and Providence
by JR Wolff on January 25th, 2022
One has to wonder why anyone would choose to become a meteorologist. They are by far one of the most maligned groups of professionals. How many times have you heard someone say, “It must be nice to get paid to be wrong 50% of the time.”? Penn State has one of the top meteorology programs in the country. Those students are proud scientists, but they are also the butt of many a joke on campus. Every...
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
by JR Wolff on January 18th, 2022
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail April 16, 1963 On Friday, January 7th, Temple Judea in Furlong gathered via Zoom for their Shabbat service. As their faith community prayed, an unknown participant entered their Zoom space and wrote hateful antisemitic and racist comments in the chat for all to read. That person the...
by JR Wolff on January 11th, 2022
Star Words, a new tradition at Lenape Valley… just a few years in the making. What a wonderful way to celebrate the Epiphany, when wisemen from afar followed a star to find the King of kings. For the last four years, we have been offered the opportunity to choose a Star emblazoned with a word to challenge and guide us through the year. Many of us have discovered that this “random” selection has a ...
The Christmas Story Seldom Told
by JR Wolff on January 4th, 2022
Happy Epiphany! In just 2 days, Christians will celebrate the coming of the Magi to visit the child Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). Those wisemen brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Much can be made of the significance of the gifts- they celebrate Jesus as king and priest, and one born to die. We can learn from the dedication of these Magi who searched until they found Jesus. We can join them ...
4th Sunday in Advent- LOVE
by JR Wolff on December 21st, 2021
A few weeks ago, I was given a plant. That is always a dangerous thing to do since I am my mother’s total disappointment. While my mother could make anything grow, I can kill even the most resilient plant. But the card with the plant promised that it needs “NO care.” So now I wait… with the plant unattended in my living room window. It is an Amaryllis “in a wax ball”, with directions that say that...
3rd Sunday in Advent- JOY
by JR Wolff on December 14th, 2021
JOY- a simple word… just three letters… yet those three letters express a deep yearning of our hearts. At Christmas we often sing “Rejoice”- which means to Joy again and again and again… But with all that is going on in the world, sometimes Joy is hard to find! Until we stop long enough to celebrate God’s goodness in our midst. Since Joy has three letters, today I will celebrate in threes… three p...
2nd Sunday of Advent- PEACE
by JR Wolff on December 7th, 2021
On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, many of us breathed a collective sign of relief as we heard the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case. GUILTY. That one word declared justice for a young black man and his family. This sad tale began on February 23, 2020 when Ahmad Arbery went jogging, as many of us do…as I do five days a week. He ran through a neighborhood not his own… as I do every morning. I never f...
1st Sunday of Advent- HOPE
by JR Wolff on November 30th, 2021
I hope this letter finds you in Thanksgiving after-glow. After a painfully quiet Thanksgiving 2020, many of us were able to gather with family and friends this year. The Bell house was blessed with wonderful chaos- our whole family gathered around one table! But then, did you notice? Even before we digested the feast, Christmas is upon us… decorations in the stores, Christmas music on our favorite...
by JR Wolff on November 28th, 2021
What does it mean to “give thanks”? Is it a prayer before a meal… or a quiet moment of reflection to remember the gifts of this past year… or an opportunity to express appreciation to those who have touched your life? The answer is a robust- “Yes, to all of the above.” I hope that this Thanksgiving we take a moment to remember the good gifts of this past year. I hope that we take the time to appre...
The Investment Report…
by JR Wolff on November 9th, 2021
Here at Lenape Valley, we can see the blessings every day that come from the generous investment of our people.
by JR Wolff on November 2nd, 2021
Halloween…a celebration of imagination and community… a moment when we teach our children to beg for sweets… or an ancient pagan ritual? Perhaps Halloween is all the above. In 2021, Americans spent over 10 billion dollars on their Halloween celebrations, marking October 31st as one of the most celebrated holidays in our country. But most Americans have no idea what the roots of this celebration...
by JR Wolff on October 26th, 2021
I am writing today in solidarity with sad Eagles’ fans. Yet again, this season seems to be a rather disappointing one for the Philadelphia Eagles… and we are not even half-way through. But today, I am not grieving the win-loss ratio, though that is worth grieving! Today, I am saddened by the loss of Zach Ertz. Since 2013 he has been part of our Eagles’ family, playing tight end with a series o...
Be Aaron or Hur Today!
by JR Wolff on October 19th, 2021
I grew up on Bible stories… My mom didn’t just read the stories, she brought them to life. As mom told stories, we could imagine David on the field of battle against the giant Goliath, a very pregnant Mary sitting on a donkey, and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. When she told the story of Noah and the Ark, we could practically hear the sounds of the animals and the cr...
by JR Wolff on October 12th, 2021
I do a lot of writing in my work… a Sunday sermon, a Wednesday message, Bible Studies, letters, Funeral messages (far too many of these of late!), and my Tuesday letter that I am working on right now. I used to write in my office, but I learned quickly how hard that is to do. Imagine having a rambunctious class of 3-year-olds on one side, a class of crying 2-year-olds on another, and children wa...
Good without God?
by JR Wolff on October 5th, 2021
I read two interesting articles this week… one about Greg Epstein- the new Chief of Chaplains at Harvard University and the other about a German biblical theologian- Ernst Lohmeyer, who died at the hands of the East German communist government. At first glance, these two articles do not seem to have any connection to one another. Yet, God has a way of showing the intersection of thought that can...
Make a Joyful Noise!
by JR Wolff on September 28th, 2021
The front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday, September 23rd featured an article entitled, Beach and Moan. The writer, Amy Rosenberg, spent a page and a half complaining about complainers. She wrote, “It was a perfectly nice summer down at the Shore. Why did people spend so much time complaining?” This summer, the weather was great, masks were off, restaurants and stores were fully open...
The Annual Church Concert
by JR Wolff on September 22nd, 2021
Did you hear the joyful noise that filled the air on Sunday night? Brass, guitar, banjo, drum, and voices… all raised in joyful song! If you were at Lenape Valley on Sunday night, you would have seen three flat-bed trucks side-by-side (many thanks to the folks at Marvic Supply Co. for that donation), transformed into a stage for the evening by flowers and a bold yellow Lion Chaser sign. And you wo...
Light in the Darkness
by JR Wolff on September 22nd, 2021
Where were you 20 years ago?Think of the days in our history that are sealed in our memories… Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr, and now 9-11. We know where we were, what we were doing, the people around us, how we reacted. For the last two weeks, our news media has retold 9-11 stories as we approached the 20th anniversary of that attack: one story after anot...
by JR Wolff on August 30th, 2021
For the past week, I have awakened to the beauty of a quiet mountain lake; the early rays of light reflecting off the gentle ripple of the surface. From three balconies and more windows that we could count, the view of a quiet basin of water stretched out before our eyes… except when we couldn’t see a thing! Several mornings greeted us with a blanket of fog so dense we could barely see the railing...
by JR Wolff on August 30th, 2021
Light… Like grace, Light is a theme that flows through the pages of the Bible from creation to Revelation. The first word that God speaks in creation is Light. And God saw that the light was good. God begins to bring shape and order into the chaos of the beginning through the creation of light. God then spreads those lights across the universe, providing light for day and night. God uses light to ...
A Tale of GRACE
by JR Wolff on August 16th, 2021
Grace… Yes, last week’s letter was about grace… and so was last Sunday’s sermon… and the invitation to the Lord’s Table on the Sunday before… grace upon grace upon grace… We never seem to be able to say enough about grace- God’s amazing grace. When C.S. Lewis was asked what made Christianity unique among all the world’s religions, his answer was “grace.” He went on to detail features of other reli...
Let the Games Begin!
by JR Wolff on July 30th, 2021
Friday, July 21st the 2020 Olympic Games began. After a year of delay due to the pandemic, the XXXII Olympiad opened with the usual fanfare of a grand Opening Ceremony, except that this year there were no cheering spectators in the stands. While in many ways the Olympics will look different this year due to the rising rate of COVID cases in Japan and around the world, the purpose of the games rema...
What’s in a Number?
by JR Wolff on July 14th, 2021
I am writing this letter on July 12th… There’s nothing uniquely significant about this date. It is just another Monday in a summer that is moving along faster than I would like. Yet, that number- 12- is very significant. Think of how many times we see the number 12: 12 hours in a day times two 12 in a dozen 12 months in a year 12 inches in a foot 12 pairs of ribs in the human body 12 Face cards in...
Aspiration- a strong desire to achieve something great
by JR Wolff on July 11th, 2021
Freedom is an aspiration that began in the heart and mind of our nation before we were even birthed into being. Yet, an aspiration is just an idea, a hope, a yearning, until someone chooses to take action. And that aspiration can only be maintained with constant effort. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” I remember celebrating the 4th of July on a Navy base… one b...
Let Freedom Ring!
by JR Wolff on July 11th, 2021
From bells that pealed the declaration of independence from England on July 4, 1776… to Union soldiers that carried the news of emancipation to slaves and slave owners in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865… to a preacher’s yearning call from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 to a nation still struggling to establish freedom for all… again and again we have heard the call to let free...
by JR Wolff on July 3rd, 2021
Greetings to our new members! We could not have imagined that God would add to our number through this past challenging year. But God’s abundance cannot be thwarted even by a pandemic. Please join in celebrating our new brothers and sisters in the faith. Linda and Hank DeMuszLinda and Hank have shared in our fellowship for several years, participating in Bible study, worship and service. They will...
That is the Day!
by JR Wolff on July 3rd, 2021
This is the day the Lord has made-Let us rejoice and be glad in it! How often have we heard these words… but do we embrace their Godly wisdom? A year of COVID restrictions, and family isolation… working from home… school on ZOOM… groceries delivered… activities cancelled… For a year, we have waited for our lives to begin again. But now that the world is opening up, life is speeding up. The demands...