Fifty Shades…Really?

by Bishop David Kendall

I haven’t seen the movie nor read the book.  I have talked with several who have and have read reviews of the movie–so I have a general[3] (2)

Still, I googled, “What is the meaning of the title “Fifty Shades of Grey?”  The answer was that the assumption is that there is no such thing as black and white, perhaps especially I suppose in sexual matters.  Rather, there are simply “shades of grey.”

Of course, scarcely anyone really lives as though there is nothing “white” or “black;” or let’s say no absolute Light or Darkness.  Let’s not start with sexual matters, however, though certainly we should not leave such an important area out.

But here are some instances of where I’m pretty sure there is Light and there is Darkness:


Hands Free Praying

by Bishop Matt Thomas

In 44 states, it is illegal to text and drive.  Fourteen states ban holding a device.  You must, in other words, be able to drive hands free.  But, while on a recent road trip spanning five states, I noticed that many people ignore the law.  They just cannot avoid reading emails, texting or internet surfing on their hand held device.  The potential disaster of driving at 70 miles per hour without paying careful attention didn’t seem to dissuade people from catching up on communications.  I am meeting more and more people who are victims of accidents involving mobile device based distracted driving.  People just feel that they must stay connected.

For my Christian brothers and sisters, I wish there were that kind of zeal for connection with our Lord.  I wish that connection through prayer would be nearly impossible to stop, whether driving, eating, walking or working.  Imagine the good that could be accomplished and the growth that would ensue if people were doggedly addicted to speaking with the author of life, the Savior of humanity, the Lord of the universe.

Good news.  Praying is hands free.  You can drive undistracted and become better focused all at once.  You can confess with eyes wide open.  You can thank God for everything you see in front of you.  You can intercede for people in great need while you are driving safely down the road.  I’ve done it.  In fact, I have been able to be more alert in doing it.  In fact, I have finished trips much more refreshed than when I began because of it.  Go ahead.  Stay connected while you drive.  But, keep the connection with the Lord or the living human being in the passenger’s seat.  It is safe, beneficial, truly relational rather than artificially so, and its life changing.

National Prayer Summit 2015 – Pray With Us!

The bishops are calling our people to gather together from across our nation to pray in preparation for General Conference 2015 and form an ongoing National Prayer Ministry.  As prayer leaders and coordinators gather at Greenville Free Methodist Church, you can join the conversation also.  Use #FMCPrayerSummit on social media to share stories of prayer in your life and in your church.  Also follow @fmchurchusa on Twitter for regular updates from the Summit and check out the FMCUSA Facebook page for daily recaps.

WLFMC Library Update

A recent publication has been added to your WLFMC library that is intriguing if you enjoy the “who-done-it” accounts and TV programs. Entitled Cold-Case Christianity, written by a cold-case homicide detective, J. Warner Wallace, it approaches the case for the validity of the Gospels by using the deductive tools marshaled by those who confront many kinds of “cold cases.” Some of the intriguing chapter headings include “Learn How to ‘Infer,’” “Separate  Artifacts from Evidence,” “Respect the ‘Chain of Evidence’” and similar approaches to building the integrity of the case under scrutiny. Dr. Rick Warren says, “Cold-Case Christianity is packed with insights to share with skeptics and will give you the confidence to share them.”
Sheila Walsh has had a fruitful and far-reaching ministry in Christian circles in music, writing books for adults and children, public speaking and other ministries. She recounts in her new book, Loved Back to Life, the challenges she faced as she sank into clinical depression culminating in a life-changing decision to check herself into a psychiatric hospital while serving as a co-host on The 700 Club TV production. As she spiraled into deep depression she dealt with those who would not accept the idea that a Christian could ever need more than faith and prayers to recover mental health, and the ongoing battle within her own mind about how she could survive this condition and continue to effectively serve the Lord she loves and has followed all of her life. This book provides an articulate account of dealing with the agonies of openly confronting a debilitating mental condition and how the many elements of healing come together to restore a person to effective, wholesome living while being an advocate for removing the stigma of mental illness.
A new trilogy, “The Adventures of Akeem” written for children, recounts the life adventures of Akeem, a young African boy and his pet leopard Trakee. Written by Tracee Newman, there are many exciting events portrayed in the adventures of Akeem and his interaction with a surprising variety of individuals who enter his life.

Tips for Better Communication with Your Teen

By Jim Burns

mother arguing with ​​teenage daughter

No one likes to be nagged. Yet many parents resort to nagging as a primary–though negative–way to communicate their feelings and desires with family members. Positive communication is vital for maintaining a healthy family. Successful families talk and listen. Good communication takes work, but if you employ some of the following tips, you’ll be on the road to improving your communication skills and the health of your family.


Kiddie Korner


KK April 2KK April 3KK April 1
Grace College was once again the host of the men’s and women’s NCCAA basketball tournament, held March 17-21.  Each team is required to take part in a service project in our community, and our preschool was one of the privileged schools to receive a team.  This year we had the Dallas Baptist University men’s team spend the morning with us.  They were kind enough to participate in all kinds of activities, from reading, coloring, playing with Legos and puzzles, to dancing and showing off some of their basketball skills.  They even sat in the audience and cheered while the children practiced for our Kiddie Kollege Sunday program.  We have never seen our little boys so in awe and sitting perfectly still!  We appreciate having this collaboration with Grace College which affords us the opportunity to   meet/interact with great athletes from all over the country.

by Jennifer Nier

Happy Birthday WLFMC!

I don’t remember every moment in my life. Some moments are quite foggy. But three moments stand out with clarity. If you’re counting my kids, then you know where I’m going. And at the risk of embarrassing my teenager at just the very mention of baby pictures, I’ll tell you that’s exactly what I’m thinking of.

Naked they all came from the womb. There was wiggling and noises and Jennifer and I were suddenly thrust into new roles: Parents! It was a great moment, to be repeated twice more, when I would hold a newborn baby that God had given to me.

In those moments, I remember having a lot of hopes for my children. I remember having dreams of what they would become. Looking back, I know there was no way I could have predicted what Jacie would become 13 years later. Nor did I see what Luke and Jerica would be like. (In case you’re wondering, I’m proud of all three of my children.)

This is the way it is when we give birth to anything. We can have a vision for it, be it a child, a new business, a piece of art, etc. But by nature or nurture, things have a way of growing into something we could not have foreseen.

Eighty years ago, some people got together and decided a Free Methodist Church was needed in Winona Lake. I wasn’t a part of those conversations. But I imagine they had a vision. I am certain they had a plan. Perhaps it was for one year, maybe five. They had hopes for what would happen in and through this church.

I imagine some things happened like they hoped. Other turns brought changes they would not have originally desired. That’s how our lives go as individuals, so we should not be surprised that is how the life of a church works as well.

As I make personal decisions, I like to remind myself that each choice is slowly building my legacy. It is one reason I depend on God to lead me in my choices. So it goes with the church as well. I believe God has blessed many leaders of WLFMC through eighty years. The building has changed several times. The leadership has changed many times over. Those sitting in the pews have come and gone, some to eternity. I believe God will continue to bless, as we depend on Him to lead us in our choices.

Happy 80th Birthday, Winona Lake Free Methodist Church! Here’s trusting God with the next eighty.

by Rick Nier

Pastor Paul Parker’s Pontifications


It’s personal

Two Sundays back was my first opportunity to participate in serving the Lord’s supper at  Winona Lake. As I read the liturgy before the serving of communion I actually felt butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of the opportunity to participate in this beautiful reminder of the Lord’s gift of His life for us.

Communion and Easter go hand in hand for me.  It makes this time of year all the more vivid and personal. It always humbles me and makes me feel very inadequate to receive this wonderful gift of salvation. The price was paid for each of us to receive salvation when He died on the cross. The cost was so great and the payment, with the loss of Jesus life was so undeserved

“In the night of His betrayal, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

“In like manner after supper He took the cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, “Drink of this, all of you, for this is My blood of the new Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins: do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” Amen”.

Such powerful words, especially when you take the time to place yourself in the picture and remember it was done for you and for me.

Let’s remember to make Easter personal. The crucifixion and resurrection were done because of His love for us.

Pastor Paul Parker



Has Life Got You Spinning?


llm-mar15_discipleshipMy wife and I recently visited our son and his family. One morning, my son entertained our 18-month-old grandson, Jack, by spinning several wooden rings on the floor at once. When all the rings were spinning, Jack was truly mesmerized.

My son eventually became weary of the activity and quit. Jack expressed his obvious displeasure, so my son began spinning again.

I was reminded that we have a lot of plates spinning in our lives, and we have to keep all of them spinning all of the time.


The Sabbath


llm-mar15_historyA tract against the Sabbath has been sent us. It is no wonder that haters of God and man seek to destroy the Sabbath. Where the Sabbath is not observed, irreligion prevails, and man is degraded.

Nothing can be plainer than that the Sabbath was instituted at the beginning. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3 KJV).

This was even prior to the fall of man. It was doubtless owing to its being so early instituted, and so carefully observed, that, on the dispersion of mankind, they carried the Sabbath with them everywhere.