“Prayers and Pizza” by Pastor Robert Argot

“Prayers and Pizza” by Pastor Rob Argot                 pizza_12699c

As I write this newsletter, I am recovering from being a chaperone for four days. The Hamburg Area High School sent about 75 instrumental/ vocal musicians and their chaperones for a very unique experience. We saw Phantom of the Opera on the first day, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, and 9/11 Memorial on the second, Central Park and other NY landmarks on the third day, with that evening being a concert in which Hamburg performed. Sunday we worked our way home. What an experience.

I have lots of visual images in my mind…the only pane of glass to have survived the crashing of the two Trade Center towers…a crushed fire truck…the inspections areas of Ellis Island through which my mother and her family may have gone….well behaved teenagers with the ability to nap in unique positions.

And yet, for me, one of the more unique visuals which happened not once but twice…seeing what used to be a church building now being the site of a pizza shop.

As conversations over the fence have become text messages…as one car per family becomes one car per per-son…as youth sports as recreation has become youth sports as competition and parents living their dreams through their children’s accomplishment….is the church becoming replaced by pizza?

Are people hungrier for pizza than for faith? Craving a deep dish more than a deep spirituality? Wanting to share breadsticks rather than….bread?

Actually….I don’t think so, but in our commercialized society, where the cost of 30 seconds during the Super Bowl could feed….well…a lot of people….there is a message of telling people what they want. We are told we want pizza, or a car, or this medication, or involvement in that lawsuit, or to have that body shape, or this wall.

I believe that people are as still as hungry as they ever were for faith, prayer, relationship, connection, and spirituality….we just don’t realize that that is the hunger we have, and we spend so much time trying to satiate that hunger, but with the wrong stuff.

Offer to share the “good stuff”….the heavenly food…with those around you. Keep your neighbors, families, communities, and churches in prayer.

The pizza will wait.

Peace.

Pastor Rob

 

“Conflict & Kitty Litter” by Pastor Rob Argot

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When I do weddings, I give a brief message about marriage, and I try to personalize it to the couple getting married. Recently, what I knew of the couple lead to a kitty litter metaphor for a successful marriage. It was well received, and I now share that metaphor with you, as it relates to the challenge of dealing with conflict in any relationship.

Let us assume that the tray of kitty litter is life, and that the lumps/clumps/etc in the litter represent stressors and conflicts in your life. Man…they really stink sometimes.

Finances, health, work issues, family issues, and more can be nasty, smelly deposits in our tray of life. So what do we do with them? Obviously, though not exciting, the best way is to deal with them. Face the fact that they exist, dig them out, and deal with them. We all have conflict in our life, and the best way to clear it out is to deal with it.

However, like with the cat litter box, we don’t always deal with it. Sometimes we wait for someone else to deal with it. We figure if we wait long enough, the other person will clean the box. Meanwhile they are doing the same thing…pretending they don’t notice the stench and thinking, “I am not making the first move.” The conflict is right there….all of your friends and family can smell it, but because you don’t deal with it, it affects all those around you, and of course, they are too polite to suggest that you clean your own litter box.

Or, as I tend to do with my real litter box and my four cats, I just lay some fresh litter over the mess and figure I will get to it later. That is like filling my life with other events and thoughts so I just “never get around” to dealing with the conflict. It’s not that I expect someone else to do it. I do see it as my issue, but I just don’t feel like dealing with it now. Of course, even if I keep putting on more litter (and even some deodorizer), my box of life just keeps getting more full of a massive amount of crud.

So friends. Face your conflict, deal with your conflict, resolve your conflict, dispose of your conflict, and then you can breathe easier.

Peace.

Pastor Rob

 

“Getting to know you”

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“Getting to Know You”     posted by Pastor Rob-  Friedens Tydings February, 2016 

In the book of Jeremiah, we hear God speak saying in Chapter 1, verse 5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

I think this is true for all of us…God knows us from day one, and hopes that we will take the time to get to know God.

It was with this thought that my mind wandered to Julie Andrews singing “Getting to Know You” in “The King and I.” The joy expressed is not from having someone getting to know the singer, but the singer has got-ten to know others.

In today’s world, it is becoming easier to know some basic facts about a person by going onto the computer and reading their profile, whether professional or social. But while this gets us the basic facts, it doesn’t really give us a chance to get to know the person. But…when you take the time to get to know someone a truly en-joyable and uplifting journey may begin.

As Lent comes upon us in what could be a very cold & gloomy February, I have a suggestion to help raise your spirits….get to know God, and get to know someone. Take time with the Bible or some other devotional/educational reading, and take the time to have a conversation with someone you never really gave yourself a chance to know. Sitting down and getting to better know God/someone most certainly takes time, but the pro-cess can be one that makes your spirit, well, in Julie’s words, “Bright and Breezy,” as you grow closer to God/someone day by day.

Pastor Rob

“It’s All About the Grace”

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“It’s All About the Grace”

In early December, I was sitting with my Jewish rabbi friend, and he asked me what I felt was the most important part, or key selling points, of the Lutheran Faith.

I thought about the rich traditions of liturgy, music, and food. I pondered that Lutheranism is a world-wide religion, involved in political advocacy, education, medical centers, and nursing homes.

But ultimately, it is all about the grace.

No matter how much I don’t like the person I see in the mirror, God sees me as someone worth loving.
No matter how many mistakes I make, God sees me as someone worth forgiving.
No matter how lost in my own ways I become, God sees me as someone worth saving.

I cannot do it myself. I am broken. God comes to me through Jesus, graces me with his pres-ence, and restores me to the perfect creation that God sees me as.

As we move into 2016, we now find ourselves one year short of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Let us be open to the many ways that the grace of God challenges us to see new, worthwhile endeavors in our own lives and the life of the church.

Happy, grace-filled, new year.

Pastor Rob