Bearing with one another in love

Love one another…Love must be sincere…Love is patient… love is kind…Love does no harm to a neighbor…love covers over a multitude of sins…Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity…Do everything in love… speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

I was speaking with someone the other day when favourite verses entered the conversation briefly. Their favourite verse is Phillipians 4:13. I said I don’t really have one. I find different verses for different times, but then I paused and thought about it. Actually I do have one or at least one that ranks highest and comes to mind the most. ” And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.

So as I was thinking about how much emphasis is put on using material things to show your love during February. My wife will tell you that love for me doesn’t lie in material objects but in moments, experiences, and sharing love. I give kindness to as many people as I can throughout my day. I follow a website called Kind Spring that promotes random acts of kindness and they have smile cards you can order to leave for people when you do a random act of kindness. The smile card tags them to do one themselves.

Love is the greatest of these comes to mind quite often. I think about the love I’ve received from a stranger, love shown from co-workers, family, and more. I believe one of the reasons we were told not to judge others, is because judgement hinders love and it blocks understanding, and even worse it can hurt others. So I try very hard not to judge, to place stereotypes, and not to say things that would hurt others.

This world is filled with plenty of things that hurt and move us away from love. Love is the greatest of these. So with a dash of Faith, a smidge of Hope, and a hefty amount of Love and mix that together for a better world. I would challenge you for the month of February to do random acts of kindness, take a moment to listen to a stranger, to share love and kindness even when you think you don’t have time. Every day do one act of love for someone else.

Remember… Love one another…Love must be sincere…Love is patient… love is kind…Love does no harm to a neighbor…love covers over a multitude of sins…Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity…Do everything in love… speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
With Kindness & Love,

ty blog church

February is Heart Month


With February our mind turns to thoughts of valentines and hearts. Speaking of hearts, did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • If you smoke, quit; and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Eat healthy and get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.

When it comes to your heart what you eat matters. Follow these tips for heart-healthy eating:

  1. Eat less saturated and trans fat. Stay away from fatty meats, fried foods, cakes, and cookies.
  2. Cut down on sodium (salt). Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” types of canned soups, vegetables, snack foods, and lunch meats.
  3. Get more fiber. Fiber is in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

­Warning signs for a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, and light-headedness

If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1immediately.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Call 9-1-1.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.


Cardiac arrest warning signs:

·         Sudden loss of responsiveness

·         No response to tapping on shoulders

·         No normal breathing

If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) and you begin CPR immediately.

If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) before you begin CPR.

Use an AED as soon as it arrives.

Did you know that we just had CPR/AED/Heimlich training at the church on Sunday, January 31st?  Hosted by our church’s Health and Wellness Committee, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital provided three nurses, the equipment and the training. We had 22 participants!  The church does have an AED (automated external defibrillator) available.  It is located on the wall by the bathrooms on the first floor. Check it out – you never know when you may need it or be asked to retrieve it.
Karen Braatz, RN

Health and Wellness Committee

February & Family

Phyllis has a February Birthday. So for the past few years we, as a family, have gotten together in February to celebrate her. And…we have gotten into another February tradition of celebrating Christmas with Phyllis’ side of the family. Typically we are gathered somewhere in Cook County Illinois for these two events.

We know that ‘typical’ hardly describes what family structures are today, but we think of ourselves as a somewhat non-exceptional group of people. We are united by love. We are hugely diverse. But we are joined together by God.

Even though we each bring our uniqueness to the family table, not one of us is the center of our family universe. We each are equal and important as God heads up our home. We do not have to like, understand or agree with one another to show the love, honor and respectful regard that God desires from each of us toward each other.

With Valentine’s Day mid-month, love is a really good and godly focus.
“Love one another with brotherly affection (as members of one family), giving preference and showing honor to one another.” (Romans 12:10 AMP)

Since God is Our Father, He does not like when we dis any of the children in His Family. Something to think about with your family and all of God’s Children!

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Ron and Phyllis




1 John 3:16-24 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brothers in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”


When I was asked to be missions coordinator I was excited and scared at the same time. Excited, because Christ comissioned us to love and help one another, so this was an opportunity for me to feel a larger part of that ministry. Additionally, our church’s example of reaching out to people in need draws others to Christ. O’Fallon First United Methodist Church’s missions have a positive influence in our community and the world at large. Yet, at the same time, I was scared about this leadership role because I had never served on a missions committee. I was worried that I might not be capable of doing a good job as missions coordinator and it is so important for our mission efforts to be successful.


I have much to learn. One thing that I have already learned is that, although I knew our congregation was a generous one, I had no idea how many missions we support. There are 27 missions which recieved $1,000.00 or more from our church. Our congregation gave $147, 475.00 to missions in 2015! Our committee’s hope is to inform our congregation in various ways about some of the important missions as this year progresses. We hope to continue many of the current missions and have a few exciting ideas about new ones. I feel confident that with the amazing team of people on the missions committee we will be able to accomplish great things. I know that God will be beside us during this journey and, with God, we know all things are possible.


Linda Gruchala

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I Fell in Love on Date Night

I spent OFFUMC’s January Date Night with a younger gentleman.  We laughed; we danced; he even kissed me on the cheek during the movie.  But before rumors start to fly and I upset my happy home, let me explain.

You see, my Date Night was with Mason, the 8 year-old brother of one of our Parents’ Morning Out attendees. In addition to an autism diagnosis, Mason has an extremely rare genetic condition called duplication 15q syndrome that affects only 1 in 100,000 children. While Mason’s parents went out to dinner, he and his two brothers came to the church for games, crafts and a movie.   Mason and I hung out all night.  We made rounds through the church halls.  We bounced balls in the gym.  We ate snack off the counter in the kitchen.  We borrowed musical books from the nursery.  We sat on the steps when we got tired.

That night, I learned a lot about love, God’s love.   As Mason and I were busy exploring, we didn’t go unnoticed to the 69 other children attending Date Night, and they had lots of innocent questions.  How old is Mason?  Why isn’t he playing with us?  Why doesn’t he talk?

Their curiosities opened the door to talk about God, how He makes each one of us special and unique in our own ways, how He loves every one of us, and how we are all perfect in His eyes.  Then, amazing things started to happen.  The kids talked to Mason.  They told him hi. They asked to sit next to him during snack. One little boy gave him a hug.   The kids at our church had open and loving hearts, ready to welcome another one of God’s children.



Now, I don’t know what your date nights look like, but I think you’d be hard pressed to have a better one than I had.  I’d encourage you to make a date with someone like Mason.  You may just fall in love with God all over again.




P.S.  If you would like to be a Date Night caregiver, volunteering to supervise children while their parents have a night off, please contact me.  Our next Date Night is scheduled for February 12.

Unagitated Calm…



Unagitated Calm……that is a desire of my heart.


How long can I abstain from motion?  How long can I go without uttering a sound?  Words such as subdued, muted, tranquil, calm, quiet, free from disturbance all describe the word still.  To perceive, recognize, be acquainted or familiar with, to have experience, practical understanding of and/or recognize the nature of…are all things to define the word know.


So when the Psalmist in Psalms 46:10 urges us to “Be Still and KNOW that I am God…”, I am wondering how many of us are being still long enough to discern the divine in our lives?!


God keeps calling me to this verse.  First I hear a praise and worship song on the radio the minute I tune in…’be still and know’.  Then I was checking out a homespun fabric online site and can you believe that on the website homepage is the verse “Be still and know that I am God…”


When God shows me something a few times, slow as I am, I finally comprehend that He is speaking to me.  He is showing me something that I specifically need.


I have a lot of things on my emotional/physical plates lately:  Innumerable questions about the house we bought and are trying to fix up;  questions about how the future will look in retirement; current assignments and obligations that tether me to this wonderful church/parsonage life I have loved…and God’s take is this:  “Phyllis, be still and know that I am God.”


May I share from the Amplified Bible with any of you who may be swimming in a similar pool with the fish and shark questions circling:  “Let be and be still and know (recognize and understand) that I AM GOD.  I will be exalted among the nations!  I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10


“So I am laying down questions that haunt me now; answers I’ll just never know-  Just for the chance to meet You here again and all for the joy just to know the God of the heavens You formed me and made me.  You water the depths of my soul.  Would You keep calling me back to this shore O, Love that will not let me go?  To simply be still, to simply be still and know.”

(Verse three of “Be Still” by Shannon Wexelberg from her “Take Heart” CD)


Phyllis Dickinson

cross fingerprint

History in Me…


It is Sunday night and I am looking at all the photo Christmas Cards that

were sent to us this past Christmas. I nearly never throw a photo or photo

card away. I have albums of Christmas Photos that I go back and look

through periodically. History. Seeing how others have changed over time

reminds me that my own life is moving through time and space with ever

unfolding changes.


Morgan Harper Nichols has a song entitled “Storyteller” in which she sings

“On a Sunday evening

I’m looking back

over all the years where I’ve been

Looking at old photographs

You were right there and

You have been ever since

With every page that turns

I see Your faithfulness

The mountains where I climbed

The valley where I fell

You were there all along

That’s the story I’ll tell

You brought the pieces together

Made me the storyteller

Now I know it is well, it is well,

That’s the story I’ll tell.”


I identify with those lyrics. Times that I was unaware and even unfaithful,

Jesus was aware and faithful. There were apexes that I thought were great

followed by a plunge downward that nearly undid me. But God took the

opportunity to teach me through brokenness my neediness for Him. It has

changed the story of my life. I would not have a good history without HIS

STORY in me.


So this Sunday night as I type this, I am remembering that “It is because of

the Lord’s mercy and loving­ kindness that we are not consumed, because

His tender compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and

abundant is His stability and faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Amplified Bible)


Phyllis Dickinson