Monday, October 31, 2011

Thanks for Having Me!

My thoughts and feelings as I have entered into the New Hope Community Life Ministry family are completely infused with gratefulness, first to the Lord for His faithfulness and then to each one of you, the churches, the board, the counselors, staff, volunteers, and supporters. My thanks is for the warmth and obvious love that you have welcomed me with. This can be chalked up to the shared character of Christ that has been worked into each one of you, and to God's favor in opening this door of service for me to join you in the adventure of putting legs to our faith, by loving others in real and lasting ways!

Though I am a "newbie" around here, it has been a long time coming: almost 40 years! From my first ride into this area down May Post Office Road seeking the elusive Robert Fulton birthplace, I loved the bucolic nature of our farms, fields, and forests, enjoying the ride while not finding the house at all. My wife, Katy, had an amazing journey to this area, from New York City and an encounter with David Wilkerson's mother, who told her to find a Bible believing church, and so spent a summer on a farm on Noble Road with a local pastor's family. By the time we had found each other, the concept of moving to the southern end was already percolating in our minds. Encounters with Conowingo, Muddy Run, Black Rock, and the Birth Care Center reinforced this desire - I have a vivid memory of standing in front of Maplehofe and looking up at Solanco High School on the hill, saying to myself that my children would be going there someday (Katy was pregnant with our oldest daughter, Sarah, who is 31 now!).

From that time it took until 1993 for us to move into our cabin in the woods on Robert Fulton Highway in Wakefield, just down from his birthplace, and from there to watch our children, Sarah, Adam, Jesse, and Leah grow and graduate and go into all the world, following their own life adventures. A big part of that process, while I was still pastoring in Chester County and Katy was working with Birthcare, and both of us with Sight and Sound for various productions, has been our involvement in Wakefield Ambulance Association, as an officer and supervisor. From this springboard into the EMS and volunteer organization world, Katy has developed into a primary EMT instructor and coordinator for Harrisburg Area Community College, with an annual class right here in the southern end. I have become part of the Lancaster County Critical Incident Stress Management Team helping throughout the county with traumatized first responders. The other big part of our journey has been to fall in love with folks we meet on our daily ambulance trips throughout our district from the river hills to the farms to the towns to the newer neighborhoods. Our heart for them has grown as we have settled into Living Stones Fellowship church in Wakefield, while partnering with other churches to bless our community!

Now the Lord has opened this door at New Hope for further service to those in the churches and those not yet! My greatest blessing is to know that I can only do this one day at a time yoked together with Jesus and with each of you. By His Word and through His Holy Spirit, we can go forward in faith and love, building on the incredible foundation He and the master architects who He has used to found and to foster New Hope Community Life Ministry have laid with Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone. May we build together with the gold, silver, and precious gems of our spirits, hearts, minds, and all our strengths in loving God and our neighbors!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet in the Middle

We all relate to people in one way or another. It could be husband and wife, parent and child, boss and employee, friend and friend, or any numerous types of relationships. One thing is certain; any time you have extended interaction with other people, there WILL be times when you do not agree. How you handle this, can make or break the relationship.

I am not a big fan of country music, but since I have a 17-year-old daughter who listens to it a lot, I hear more of it than I would sometimes like to. The other day, I heard the song "Meet in the Middle" by Diamond Rio. Obviously, like most country music songs, this was a guy-meet-girl love song, but I think the message can extend to any type of relationship. I know there are issues (moral, religious, etc.) where there should not be give and take; however, in instances where it is just a matter of preference or opinion, maybe we could give a little like the lyrics of this song suggest. We may be pleasantly surprised how this improves a relationship.

I'd start walking your way
You'd start walking mine
We'd meet in the middle
'Neath that old Georgia pine
We'd gain a lot of ground
'Cause we'd both give a little
And there ain't no road too long
When you meet in the middle

~Mary Lehman

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friendship Counseling

Many of us have friends and family members who confide in us when they are struggling with personal or relational issues. A lot of us intuitively know what to say in those situations. But some of us feel unsure how to help our loved ones through their suffering.

Suffering itself is a topic that leaves many of us scratching our heads. We wonder why certain people experience overwhelming crisis and loss. You may have heard the stories of people who lost children or spouses, then lost their jobs or developed cancer. Why do some people get bombarded with trial after trial?

I remember hearing Billy Graham asking the "Why" question. You can probably hear his distinctive voice asking, "Why do people suffer? Why does God allow pain?" And I remember his answer...I remember because I really wanted to know the was sort of an edge-of-your-seat moment for me. I personally needed to know why I was suffering. But our nation's pastor (as he's sometimes called) disappointed me; instead of saying something insightful, he said, "I don't know. I don't know why you are suffering right now..." However, he went on to say something very profound, "...but I do know God is here for you. And He understands your suffering."

About forty of us have been meeting on Monday evenings at our six-week Friendship Counseling Seminar to learn about how to help others with their particular struggles and sufferings. And though we may not know why our loved ones suffer, we're learning how to offer them hope. We're learning "suffering without hope leads to despair. But suffering with hope leads to redemption. Only  God can take a mess and make it a message."

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us. ~ Romans 5:2b-5

Shannon Shertzer, MS, NCC

Monday, October 10, 2011


As the foliage around us changes color and the farmers are harvesting their crops I am reminded of how the ant gets her food ready in the summer and stores it up for the winter. The ant has no authority over it to tell it what to do yet it goes about its business to make provisions for later on.

Go to the ant...Observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 NASB

Are we putting up provisions for our winter as the ant does or do we need someone with authority to remind us to do so? How often do we put things off until tomorrow and when tomorrow comes it still does not get done? If we deal this way with our own life how do we help others learn to "put up provisions" for their winter?

As we sow our seeds in the spring we expect to harvest a crop in the fall and so it should be in every aspect of our life. We never know who we are witnesses to by our words or actions. We may never know in this lifetime whose lives we have touched by sowing our seeds of love and kindness but one day perhaps our loved ones will learn of how we made a difference in someone's life.

Have you sown seeds today or are you waiting for someone to remind you?

Elaine Campbell, MA

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Mind Games"

When I think of the "mind game" that has wreaked the most havoc on  my own life, I think of worry. Worry can lead to all sorts of health problems such as migraines, back pain and gastro-intestinal issues. On top of that, it can affect our relationships. For example, I would get pretty angry with my husband when he would get home late from work. I worried that he was in an accident. And when I blew things out of proportion, we ended up in a not-so-healthy disagreement. Worry can become irrational. We can imagine catastrophes that will rarely, if ever, occur.

There's good reasons why Jesus said, "Do not worry about your life" (Matthew 6:25). Worry hurts us. If we worry about all the details of life (money, success, our body image, etc.), we will be concentrating on things He never said to focus on in the first place. Instead, we are to "seek first His righteousness, and all these things will be given unto (us)." (Matthew 6:33).

I've been trying to focus on the "right things," not those things that hurt, discourage or worry me. Below is a brief Bible Study that may help you in your particular mind game whether it be worry or some other unhealthy thinking pattern.

To Win the Battle for Your Mind
  1. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind--Romans 12:2. In other words, change your thought patterns by filling your mind with God's Word (Read Colossians 3:15-16).
  2. Prepare your mind for action--I Peter 1:13. In other words, rather than imagining untrue things that do not occur (worry or fantasy), actively direct your thoughts externally to reality (Read Philippians 4:8).
  3. Take every thought captive, making it obedient to Christ--2 Corinthians 10:5. In other words, choose the truth over and over until it becomes your normal pattern of thinking (Read Ephesians 4:22-24).
  4. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything...pray!--Philippians 4:6. In other words, take everything to God. Worry and fear accomplish nothing (Read 1 Peter 5:7).
  5. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy...think on these things--Philippians 4:8,9. In other words, assume your responsibility to choose the truth (Read Colossians 3:1-2).
  6. Set your minds on what the Spirit desires--Romans 8:5-6. In other words, recognize your God talking to you and obey Him (Read Hebrews 4:12-13 & Galations 5:25).
Shannon Shertzer, MS, NCC