The Shepherd’s Gift


llm-dec14_featureThis story is dedicated to my mother, Ruth Burkhart, who faithfully read to me from “Egermeier’s Bible Story Book” as I was growing up. 

Abra was a cheerful boy with curly hair. He was almost 7 years old. His older brothers and father were shepherds in the open pastures. He and his family lived in the countryside where they were surrounded by rolling hills, plentiful water and green pastures for tending sheep. The stunning views included vineyards, olive trees and tiny villages. Papa was good at finding just the right places for the animals. They had just enough food, a tent for shelter and blankets to stay warm at night.


Shopping and Giving


llm-dec14_covShopping and Giving

The average U.S. household is projected to spend $684 for Christmas gifts this year, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers ( That’s $51 less than the household average for Christmas gifts last year, but it adds up to a lot of money for gifts that may quickly be relegated to closets or basements. Christmas promotions began in September or October for 53 percent of retailers (


Reflections on the President’s Immigration Announcement


Last evening, President Obama declared his intention to issue “executive orders” whereby presently undocumented persons in the U.S. may move toward permanent legal status. No doubt this will create a flurry of responses from all side of these complex issues, and will tend to generate far more heat than light. Discussion and debate are to be expected and may play a healthy role in formulating policies that will make sense, deal with a huge and far reaching set of challenges for the undocumented, their families, local communities, and our nation as a whole.

Recently the Free Methodist Church – USA took formal action to join the Immigration Alliance, in anticipation of the president’s actions. The Immigration Alliance is a national effort that equips local churches to provide legal services to under-resourced immigrants. We believe that the church in the U.S. has an important role to play in offering Jesus-like ministry to the many undocumented persons in our communities who need help. A surprising number of them are followers of Jesus and thus our spiritual kinfolk. All of them are dear to God’s heart. We must be guided by who we are in Christ, not by any of the other social, cultural, political or personal feelings, persuasions or allegiances. To that end, please consider the following reflections.


Parent’s Progress: Cell Phone Contracts

Most Thursdays we dedicate space to something that can benefit parents. This week we found a handy cell phone contract from our friends at Stick Faith. Read on…


Winona Lake Free Methodist Member to be Honored

Winona Lake Free Methodist member to be honored.

The Committee on Free Methodist History and Archives has voted to name the new climate-controlled Archives Room, completed last year, in honor of Evelyn Marston Mottweiler. The daughter of Bishop L. R. Marston, Evelyn was the Executive Secretary (Director) of the Historical Center from 1971 to 1988. Subsequently, Evelyn was President of Women’s Ministries International, and with her husband Jack, served the church in several other capacities.
Evelyn Mottweiler

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 10, 2015, at the FM World Ministries Center. At this time Evelyn and her family will be special guests, and the Archives facility officially named in Evelyn’s honor.

We will be placing sign up sheets in future bulletins for those that would like to ride in the church bus or caravan to the dedication ceremony.


I Can’t Wait

The last two weeks of November have been quite the struggle for me. But to properly share this struggle, I have to go back a couple of months…you know….when big box stores began putting out their Christmas decorations and playing Christmas music in certain parts of the store. You know the stores.


Kiddie Kollege Update

We have many silly days at our preschool and some creative ways of learning!  It’s hard to believe our first semester is almost finished!  Our last day of school is December 19 and then we will be on Christmas break until January 6.  Please continue to pray for our children and staff as we’ve had a lot of illness during the month of November.  We appreciate your support!

K Korner Dec 2014 1 K Korner Dec 2014 2 K Korner Dec 2014 3 K Korner Dec 2014 4 K Korner Dec 2014 5

December Reading

With Christmas rapidly approaching (with snowy reminders to cement that fact!) our thoughts turn to enjoying some newly-released books and videos to help us focus on the true meaning of this holy but festive season.  Established author Liz Curtis Higgs has produced an intriguing book, The Women of Christmas. Open the pages to learn more about three very different women whose lives were forever changed by the first Christmas: barren Elizabeth, who continues to trust God for His gifts in her life, innocent Mary, who is asked to participate in an event that yet today impacts the entire world, and Anna, an elderly widow who is willing to wait patiently for the Messiah to appear. Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, an Amish love story by talented author Suzanne Woods Fisher, adds another facet of insight into Amish life, focusing on a very special rose and a complicated path to finding the Christ of Christmas. Music is an integral part of Christmas and the hauntingly beautiful song written by Mark Lowry, “Mary Did You Know”, is incorporated in a small book of that title, which also includes the CD of Mark Lowry’s music. In poignant questions, the reader is introduced to the life and death of this tiny Babe in Bethlehem and brings to remembrance the unique life of the Son of God who was willing to become a man and live among us in order to bring salvation to those who could never achieve it by their own efforts. On a lighter note is the tale of The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson. Garrison Brown is the recipient of an unusual request from his dearly loved grandmother who has passed away and left instructions for Garrison to find appropriate homes for her six feline friends. Matching cats to prospective owners provides some intriguing events as the Christmas season arrives. For the children, a new DVD from the creator of VeggieTales has intrepid newsman Buck Denver finding the answer to his question, “Why Do We Call It Christmas?” Another recently released DVD, “God’s Not Dead”, has received many awards as it portrays the classroom of an atheist teacher who assigns his students the task of proving that God is dead. One student, Josh, cannot turn his back on his faith and proceeds to marshall his defense of the Living God. Check it out for some thoughtful insights and challenges.


Library Hours

Sundays; before and after Morning Worship, Monday ~ Thursday; 8 a.m. –4:30 p.m. , Fridays; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Sustainable Empowerment through Economic Development.

SEED:  An organization of the Free Methodist Church for Sustainable Empowerment through Economic Development.

Through Sunday December 14th goods from SEED will be for sale in the church Gallery on Sunday mornings.  These are “fair-trade” items.  When you purchase from SEED you are helping people in other countries to be self-sufficient.  Look at the bulletin board by room 5 to see who you help when you buy.  These goods make great Christmas gifts.  So kill two birds with one stone -help needy people and help yourself with your Christmas shopping.  A win-win situation.



You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  Luke 1:31 (NIV)
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21 (NIV)


The biblical accounts of the events that preceded the birth of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 1 tell of separate visits by angels to Mary and Joseph, who had been chosen by God to be Jesus’ earthly parents.  The angel that spoke to Mary seems to have appeared to her while she was awake and is identified as Gabriel.  The angel that spoke to Joseph appeared to him in a dream and is not identified by name.