Monday, April 30, 2018


There is a current movement called “mindfulness.”  It is the practice of living in the moment, being aware of what’s going on around us, paying attention to the “now” instead of the future.  The frenetic pace of modern living has forced us always to be thinking ahead, planning for the future, preparing for what is to come.  As a result, we don’t truly “live” in this moment. 

Part of living in this moment is enjoying the beauty of it.  For example, when did we last enjoy the beauty that God has put all around us …

·         the limitless shades of green in the trees and vegetation
·         The brilliant colors of blooms and blossoms
·         The rainbow spectrum of a sunset
·         The earthy sweetness of newly mowed grass

And then, there is the freshness of the air on a brisk morning.  And the coolness of the breeze on our skin.  And the warmth of the sunlight on our face.  But do we sufficiently focus on the present moment and actually enjoy these blessings?

The Psalmist was reminding himself to enjoy the beauty of God’s world when he wrote, “Oh, Lord, my Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth … when I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and starts which you have put in place, what is mankind that you think about him.”  (Psalm 8:1, 3, 4)

But there is another facet to mindfulness.  It is being aware NOT JUST OF OUR PHYSICAL SURROUNDINGS but of the people around us.  It is thinking about how important people are to God and therefore to us.  Jesus said, “Are you not of much more value (to your Heavenly Father) than the birds?”  (Matthew 6:26)

Mindfulness is thinking about how to bless people.  Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”  When we do good deeds and say encouraging things to others, we are blessing them.  When we take the time to listen to their problems, and pray for their needs we are blessing them.  James 2 says, “If you say to someone in need, ‘Go in peace, and be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the necessities, what does it profit?”  God wants actions and not good intentions.

Eva Rose York states the URGENCY of blessing others in her poem, “I Shall Not Pass This Way Again.”  I commend the whole poem to you.  Here is an excerpt:

O soul, be happy; soon 'tis trod,
The path made thus for thee by God.
Be happy, thou, and bless His name
By whom such marvelous beauty came.
And let no chance by me be lost
To kindness show at any cost.
I shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten someone's heavy load;
A helping hand to this one lend,
Then turn some other to befriend... 
For I shall not pass this way again.

--Rev. Ken Shick, Interim Pastor

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Recently someone called my attention to the Serenity Prayer which most of us know and have prayed:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

This prayer is a very Biblical approach to life—accepting life events that we can’t control.  Jesus taught us, “In this world you will have troubles …”  --John 16: 33a.  We can’t keep difficulties away.  They will come.  Some troubles we cause ourselves.  But many happen just because we live in an evil and fallen world.  Job 5:7 reminds us, “Mankind is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”  It is irrational to suppose that we will escape trouble. 

But Jesus didn’t leave it there.  He said in the 2nd half of John 16:33, “…But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”  Christ’s Resurrection has unleashed God’s power into the world.  Christ is alive and his resurrection power working in us will help us overcome trials.   Christ will strengthen us to endure.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13.

God will help us be strong in the time of testing.  “God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” –I Corinthians 10:13. This means that in Christ I will come through trouble and not be overwhelmed by it.  His strength will always be sufficient for my need.

So, we are overcomers.  Nothing can defeat us.  Christ’s power is sufficient!

By the way, there is more to the Serenity Prayer.  It ends with,

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that you will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happily in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.  Amen

--Ken Shick, Interim Pastor

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Does the end justify the means?

I was listening to a news show recently and one of the commentators  was justifying what one of our elected officials had done by saying, “Well, you know, the ends justifies the means.”  That is the mantra of our secular world, “The end justifies the means!”  But does it?

The ends DID NOT justify the means for Jesus.  One of the lectionary readings for Lent is the account of Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4.  Satan provides 3 temptations: turn stones into bread; ask God to miraculously save you; and worship Satan and have all the nations of the world bow down to you.  In each case, the temptation was to LET THE END JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

If Jesus made stones into bread, he could feed himself because he was very hungry.  But using his miraculous power for selfish purposes was not the God’s way to sustain himself.  Instead Jesus prayed for God to sustain him and God did—for 40 days.  THE END DIDN’T JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

If Jesus threw himself off the temple wall and prayed for God to miraculously rescue him, the people would have been amazed and many would have been swept into the Kingdom immediately.  But Jesus knew that only through hard work—preaching God’s word and Jesus’ proclamation that he was the Messiah—would people truly enter the Kingdom.  THE END DIDN’T JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

If Jesus bowed down to Satan, he would give the Lord all the countries of the world to rule.  But the timing was wrong.  God promised that at the end of human history when Jesus returned a 2nd time, God would give Jesus all the countries of the world to rule.  But not now.  THE END DIDN’T JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

When we make something happen by any means, we’re bypassing the plan of God.  He wants us to discern how he wants to bring things to pass.  And he wants us to join him in doing it his way.  God has good reasons for doing it his way and when we do it by any means, we bypass God’s wise ways and timing. 

No, the end doesn’t justify the means.  It takes patience and trust to do it in God’s way and time.  But that is the best way. 

Join us for Lenten worship and Holy Week services.  You will draw closer to Jesus as he walks to the cross.


Pastor Ken Shick

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Choose

Dear Friends,

Lent is a time to choose.  Just as Jesus chose the cross, so we are called to choose the Christ-like life.  The Christ-like life is described in Galatians 5: 22-23:  “For the fruit of the Spirit (of Christ) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Max Lucado has put these fruits of the Christ-like life in terms we can all understand.  I have included them below.  Put these in your pocketbook, wallet or Bible and look at them every day.  They will transform your life.

I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience. I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control. I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Amen to that!!  Grace and peace be to you, Pastor Ken

(“I Choose” is from Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mapping the DNA of our Church

Hello Church family,

There are many companies that can run a DNA profile on you and tell you what genetic characteristics you have.  They do that by mapping your genes.  Then they compare your characteristics with others around the world to tell you where you came from.  Fun!

Well, we can map the DNA of the church, too.  We do it by telling stories about how God has touched us and blessed us through his church at Village.  We did that on Sunday night, January 21, at our “Love Your Church” potluck dinner and discussion.  We reminisced about the good things our church is known for.  We told stories about the times we were most proud of our church.  What emerged was a profile of our church’s DNA.  (We will publish a summary of our discussion soon.)

We praise and thank the Lord for the good things God has done in our church through the years.  Paul says, “To God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” –Ephesians 3:21  Paul is saying that the credit for the good things done in the church belongs to the Lord.  By his Spirit, he has empowered us to make VPC a great place to worship and work for Christ.

So, let us rejoice that God has blessed Village Presbyterian and that we could be a part of his body of believers here.  But now we must all keep working  and praying to ensure that the church’s future is even brighter than our past.

Please plan to attend the “Envisioning our Future” chili dinner and table discussion on Sunday, February 18, 5 pm.  Make your favorite chili and then share your thoughts on what God wants Village Presbyterian to become in the future. Look for a letter in the mail with your personal invitation.  Please read it carefully.  WE NEED YOU to participate!

Yours in Christ,

Ken Shick, Interim Pastor

Monday, January 15, 2018

You Make a Difference When you Serve!

I was in the office on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday when a group of elementary and middle high school students came in to help in the food pantry.  They were so excited to be helping stock the pantry and make it ready for Wednesday’s distribution to the hungry.  They had such a joy in helping.  They all said, “This was fun.  We will be doing this again!”

I hope we all have that sense of excitement as we volunteer at Village Presbyterian.  For we are not just helping, but we are serving the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.  This is HIS church and so we are serving him as we serve his church.  That alone should make you shiver with excitement.  YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU SERVE! 

You make it possible for the church to share the Gospel of Christ with our own members and the neighborhood.  You make it possible for people to worship and experience God’s Word and the sacraments in a life changing way as you serve communion, usher or greet, sing or play music, be a worship leader, etc. 

You make decisions that move the church forward as you work on committee/teams, as elders and deacons, etc. 

You give food aid to the hungry as you volunteer in the pantry, as you work in the clothes closet, etc.  People are given hope because they are given the basics to keep body and soul together.

When you serve, you do this and MORE!  And I know you feel joy because you are pleasing Christ.   Thanks for filling out a “Plus 2” form!

If you haven’t filled one out, please do so.  We need your service to improve the church.  ATTACHED IS AN ELECTRONIC COPY OF THE FORM. PLEASE PRINT IT, FILL IT OUT AND MAIL OR BRING IT TO CHURCH! 

“You are they body of Christ and individually members of it.”  It takes all of us to build the church up!  Please help us. 

In the Love of Christ,

Ken Shick, Interim Pastor

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jesus Shows Us God

I remember watching a magician perform on TV.  I think it was David Copperfield.  He made the Statue of Liberty disappear.  I was amazed.  I don’t know what kind of trick he used, but it was impressive.  First, it was there, and then it wasn’t.  Just before he snapped his fingers, he said, “Now you see it, and now you don’t.”  Poof.  Gone. And then he said, “Now you don’t see it, and now you do.”  Poof. There it was again.

At Christmas, God the Father said, “Now you don’t see me, and now you do.  Poof!”  And then the God-child was born in a stable in Bethlehem.  It was not a trick, but more like a miracle of God’s great power.  He took his own divine nature and squeezed it down into the babe of Bethlehem.

The Bible says, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” –Colossians 1: 15   Think about that!  The mighty God who has universe-creating power and stands above the universe came to us in Jesus.  The theological word is “Incarnation”, meaning literally “enfleshment.” 

Clearly this is a mind-boggling move on the Father’s part.  The disciples had trouble believing it.  In the upper room on the night before Jesus’ betrayal, our Lord said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  That means that when we know Jesus, we know God.   

Isn’t this what we all long for—to know God?  And when Jesus came, he showed us who the Father was.  God did everything he possibly could to help us know him so that we might love him and receive his forgiveness.  His biggest and boldest move was to give us a visible image of himself. 

Colossians 1:15 uses the word “image”—Jesus is the “image” of the invisible God.  In the Greek language, “image” is “eikon.”  Icons are pictures which make ideas clear.  Pictures make difficult ideas easy to understand.  Jesus is the accurate picture of who God is. 

Pause a moment and feel the wonder of that.  Jesus is God in the flesh.  “No one has ever seen God.  But Jesus the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”  --John 1: 18

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus, for making God known to us.  Help us to believe that when we know, believe and love you, we know, believe, and love God.  Amen.

--Pastor Ken