Kayla's Korner

Kayla's Corner                 December 2019

News for and about the United Methodists of Cresco & Zion 

What came into being through the Word was life and the life was the light for all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
                                                John 1:4-5

The first Christmas began for Mary, the mother of Jesus, with fear and pain. Yet it was also joyous time
of a king born in the most humble of places and a joy of light for all in a time of darkness. Christmas
takes place during one of the darker times of the year. During a season when days are short and filled
with cloudy skies and nights are long. In all this darkness it is in fact the perfect time for light. We
celebrate the birth of Christ because Jesus is the light that has entered into the world. A light very
much needed and hoped for by all of creation. A light needed with so much darkness.

Darkness. Every person in their life experiences some form of it. It can be the obvious of night time
when all the lights are turned off, a deep sadness that feels as if one is suffocating in darkness, or an
illness such as cancer and death. There are many types of darkness we all face. No one is immune to it.
That is why the Christmas story is a light and joy to all people. Jesus is the light that shines in our
darkness. Jesus’ light begins at Christmas and continues even in the darkness of a tomb.
However, Jesus’ birth and life were also filled with much darkness. Even the Son of God was not
immune to pain and struggle. He was born into it just as all of humanity is born in darkness. While a
baby is still in the mother’s womb, every need is taken care of. They are fed, they are warm, and they are given the opportunity to grow safe and secure. The baby does not know pain or sadness. Their first
experience with the world is pain. The pain of birth and going from a secure womb into a cold world
where now they feel hunger pains. Even at birth there is the darkness of pain.

This darkness that we all feel and know too deeply is the reason for joy. We have joy because we know
the difference that it makes having the light and hope of Jesus. We have joy because, just as a candle
helps guide us in the dark, so does the living light of Christ. Jesus know darkness, he knows pain, and
he understands our struggles. This season, in which we celebrate his birth, we also rejoice that darkness
does not last. There is light and hope that does not die, a light that, no matter how thick the darkness
gets, still shines brighter. If you are in a time of darkness this day, do not lose hope. Cling to the Light, the one who overcomes darkness and wins the battle for us. Also know that you are not alone. Jesus
knows your pain and struggle. He understands the darkness and can lead you out into his glorious

May the light of Christ be your guide and hope this Christmas!

Always praying for you,
Pastor Kayla

November 2019

"Nevertheless, the highest form of thanksgiving is when we express gratitude
for things that are not pleasant; and for things that are difficult to identify
as blessings.”-- Joseph A Iyongo

Every year in November we gather together with family and friends for feasting and fellowship.
Some households on this day of thanksgiving gather around to watch football, while others spend
time playing board games. However it is that you celebrate the day of Thanksgiving, one thing is for
sure; we acknowledge what it is that we truly are thankful for.
Just like Valentine’s Day, where we show one another that we love them, Thanksgiving Day is
responding to one another and to God with Thankfulness. Although we have a holiday for both
of these things like love and thankfulness, we really should be doing them every day. Every day
should be about loving others and giving thanks for all that God has blessed us with. Yet
sometimes both of these two things are hard to do. It is really hard to show love to your enemies
and to feel thankful for the people or things in your life that have caused you harm.
We hear the commandment “to love God with all our heart, souls, and minds, and to love our
neighbors”, and it is hard to do this. It is hard to love and forgive someone but even more how
difficult it is to say we are thankful for them! How do we show thanks for even our enemies? Maybe
the best way to start is a Holiday that reminds us what thankfulness is about. Maybe thanking God
for his love for us even when we fail and hurt him, gives us the grace and compassion to be able to
love others and become thankful for them as well. The more we think about being thankful even
for the unpleasant things in our lives, the more Thanksgiving can become a challenging holiday to
celebrate. Do you really accept the challenge to be thankful this year?
We are called by God to grow in faith and love each day, and to be more like Christ. This is a hard
yet wonderful calling as Christians. That means doing the work of trying to be “thankful in all
circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:13) Maybe this Thanksgiving is one in which instead of just
giving thanks for good things in your life, you spend time thanking God even for your enemies. Let
this season of thankfulness change your heart. Your challenge for this month is to learn to be
thankful for one thing in your life that may be difficult to appreciate or love.
Let us all learn to be more thankful and full of love!

Praying for you always,
Pastor Kayla

August 2019
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let
you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The
vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as
seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just
as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O
house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:1-6
Recently a favorite glass of mine broke. I had clumsy moment where I dropped the glass and it
shattered. Before it broke, it was a glass that brought joy to my face whenever I saw it because it
was one of the collectible glasses from 1987 Care Bear Pizza Hut series. I had all of them at one
point, due to liking care bears a lot as a kid. They reminded me of how even at a young age I just
wanted to show love and kindness to others and wished it was reciprocated the same for me. At
first I was little upset that it was now broke due to the fact that it was the last glass in the set that
I had, but now I look at that glass as a symbol for what it means to be human.
We all are created by God as beautiful masterpieces, yet due to our sins, the sins of others, and
the sin of the world we begin to shatter into many pieces. Each piece broken is a part of our life
that has caused hurt to others or hurt that has happened to us. We may be having an ordinary
day and then out of no where something causes us to fall and break another piece. That
something could be a harsh remark from someone that causes us to doubt our worth. Maybe
that something is a diagnosis of cancer or major life illness. Maybe it’s the news that a loved one
has died. Maybe we said harmful words to someone or treated them badly. Maybe we once again
fell into sin.
There are many things that break and shatter us. Yet unlike the glass which I threw away, God
does not give up on us. God is like a potter who sees the marks and mishaps and reworks them
into another beautiful creation. He picks up the pieces of our lives glueing them and gleaming
in the beauty of who we have become. We are like clay being molded each day into new and
beautiful people. It may not always look good, it may be painful, but in the eyes of Christ we are
dearly loved and beautiful.
Know this day, that God is molding you into a work of art and it is never finished until the day
in which you arrive at the feet of Christ and spend all eternity in the presence of the Maker!
Always Praying for you!

Pastor Kayla

May 2019

“It's not that I have already reached this goal or have
already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may
grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for
just this purpose. Brothers and sisters, I myself don't
think I've reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget
about the things behind me and reach out for the things
ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God's
upward call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

May is the month in which graduations take
place, school ends for the summer, and the sun finally
shines warmer and brighter than it had. Goals have
become accomplished, and new ones begin to
happen as students plan for their future adventures.
Graduation is a time of joy but also a time for change.
Change is inevitable; it happens along with the good
and bad. We are created to change and grow each
day. Humans and all creation go through many
phases and changes in life because that is what it
means to be living, to be given free will, and to grow
more like Christ.
The goal for Christians is to be more like
Christ each day, to be perfected in his love and to live
a life of love for others. We should be changing each
day to become better people who are more in love
with God and others. As humans we are created to
change. We don't like change and fight it all the time.
There are a lot of products out there to make one look
younger physically; we turn down jobs or
opportunities that may be really good for us; sickness
happens, and we fear the worse. Sometimes we are
even comfortable with who we are and don't want to
change and be better.
Paul writes that he has not been made
perfect by Christ, but that his main goal in life is to
pursue being made perfect through Christ. We can't
prevent change from happening. Instead we should
embrace it with the greatest strength that has been
given to us, the strength of Jesus Christ. No matter

what we do or how change happens, the hope that
drives us to move forward comes only when we
surrender our hearts to God.
Instead of trying so hard to fight change, we
should call out to God that whatever may happen in
our lives, the Lord will strengthen and continue to
guide us. Our prayer should be that God might make
us more loving and more like Christ each day, even
if it hurts sometimes. It hurts when we try to love
others and they don't love us back, or we are told to
forgive but the pain and wound from that harm is so
hard to let go. Although change is inevitable it
doesn't mean it is easy. God ultimately loves our
flaws and failures, but we pray to change to be more
like Christ because his love knows no limits. We
grow each day into the image of Christ, because
that is our call as Christians, as children of God.
Know that I am always praying for you,that
God might continue strengthening your faith and

Pastor Kayla

March 2019

“If you remove the yoke from among you, the fingerpointing,
the wicked speech; if you open your heart to
the hungry and provide abundantly for those who are
afflicted your light will shine in the darkness, and your
gloom will be like the noon. The Lord will guide you
continually and provide for you, even in parched places.
He will rescue your bones. You will be like a watered
garden, like a spring of water that won't run dry...You will
be called Mender of Broken Walls, Restorer of livable
Streets.” Isaiah 58:9-12

As I prepare this Lenten season for extra services and
studies, I find I wonder how everything will get done or
how it will go. Will the services go well without a
problem? Will people come to the Lenten studies, or
will the time spent planning feel wasted? Do I put more
heart into what God has called me to do than it is
worth? Even as your pastor these questions come to
me week after week as I work to follow God's call and
do the best ministry that I can. Yet all of this work is
futile if my heart is not in it for the right reasons. If I only
want glory instead of humility, does that make me any
better than the Israelites who fast to look good but don't
care about others? Yet, if the work of God does not
bear fruit through me, then something is also wrong
because God's work does not fail.
It seems the difference is not always in the results of the
work we do but in the attitude and heart that we put into
it. If we feed the hungry and care for the poor day after
day, there still seems to be more people hungry or poor.
It's a never ending task of caring for others, and there
are still more needing care. It is easy to become burnt
out and wondering why we try to care for God's people
and creation so much? Does it really matter? Are we
actually doing any good if the problem never seems to
go away? I can see how the Israelites would fast,
wanting to be close to God, and still feel burnt out and
not caring anymore about helping others. They are torn

between a never ending problem and exhaustion. God tells
them that all of their fasting is pointless.
Their hearts are not in it; they are going through the
motions and trying to look good to get praise. God
encourages them that the call to fasting is one of
caring for others and creation. The call to fasting and
following the Lord means spending time caring even it
if seems futile. God not only tells them to care for
those among them struggling, he gives them continual
guidance and provisions. When their spring is dry, he
gives them water. When their bones are tired and
broken, the Lord rescues them.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our work in God's
kingdom is to obey and to love, not receive glory for all
that we do. It is even in exhaustion that we
acknowledge God's presence, and that He will provide
care for us just as much and more as we care for
others. Our life should be one in which we trust, obey,
love, and work for the kingdom as humble servants.
This Lenten season, if your well is dry, don't give up!
Refresh your trust that God will give you all that is
needed and will guide you to springs of living water.
One of the last words of Jesus on the cross was, “I am
thirsty.” He acknowledges that the well was dry, giving
everything he had for us, and taking none for himself.
He called out to God to be given water that he might
continue working even in a broken, torn body for
creation, for us! Let us not give up the hope. Let us
bear the cross of Christ and continue serving the Lord.

Know that I am always praying for you!
Pastor Kayla

February 2019

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your
arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding
as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty
flame. Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot
sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one's
house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”
Esther 4:12-14

Valentine's Day has always seemed like an odd
holiday. Why do we have one day a year in which
we show our love to one another? Every day should
be a day of showing how much you love and care
for each other. It is a great day for all who work in
sales, due to the amount of money spent each year
on this day. It is a great day to show your loved one
you care, because you can never do that enough.
Yet the story of St. Valentine, the holiday's
namesake, did not begin as a sweet, happy love
story, but of a priest standing up for what he
believed was right even with the penalty of death.
Valentine was the name of a Roman priest who
lived during the time of Emperor Claudius II.
Claudius felt that married soldiers were weak. They
were away from home for a long time and would be
thinking about their families. So he made an edict
that prohibited the marriage of young people.
Valentine did not agree with this edict and would
secretly marry couples in the church. He was
eventually caught and imprisoned for his act.
While he was in prison, the jailer had a daughter
who was blind, and it was said that Valentine fell in
love with her. On the day of his execution he wrote
a note to the jailer's daughter and signed it, “From
Your Valentine.” He was recognized years later by
the Roman Catholic Church as St. Valentine.
Valentine cared about love, and he also cared about
his beliefs in God and the sanctity of marriage. He
gave his life for what he believed, setting an
example to so many that marriage is not something
to be taken lightly. It is a gift from God that is
blessed by love, a love that is known through
Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. Valentine's
Day is really a day in which we acknowledge the
sacrifice of God's love that calls us to live a life of
sacrificial love. No gift that is bought on this day
could ever be enough to say how much you love
someone. It is not about gifts but of giving our
lives to Christ, knowing we are loved by God, and
in return loving others, even our enemies.
Because God's love is so strong, a day is not
enough to celebrate it. How can you express that
much love in a day? It is so strong and powerful
nothing we do could ever destroy that kind of
love. Valentine's Day reminds us that we are loved
by God, and that love means we make sacrifices,
we risk our lives, and we give our hearts over to
God. The love of God means we are never alone
on Valentine's Day or any day of the year. Love is
never ending and cannot be quenched by flame or
water, not even death.
Do not be discouraged; do not feel afraid for
God's love is with you always!

Praying for you,
Pastor Kayla

January 2019

“Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us. And
wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all be a little more
gentle with each other, a little more loving,and have a
little more empathy, and maybe, next year at this time
we'd like each other a little more.”
Judy Garland

Every year we come to the month of January
with mixed emotions and thoughts. For some,
January is the longest month of the year with endless
cold and snow. For others, it brings a promise of a
new year, a new start to life, but it often ends in
brokenness and lost hopes and dreams. We get
ourselves so excited that we can start a new year but
forget how easy a new year can start any day we
want. January is just another month of the year, the
New Year for the calendar schedule. Yet not the new
year for everything we do. Think of it as one new
year in a year full of new years. We have hope that
this year we will have more happiness and cheer than
the year before.
All of our hope in life comes from the
opportunity to start over, a fresh start for our lives and
a fresh start to work towards being better people than
the year before. We look forward to new days and
years because they remind us that there is hope
beyond the struggles of everyday life. We have hope
because Jesus Christ gave us a new chance of life
when he rose from the dead, defeating death itself.
January may be an endless month of cold snow, but it
is a time for remembering the one who gives us a
new heart and life. It is not by what we do that we
are given this new heart! It is not given a certain day
of the year. It is not even given by saying we believe
in God. It is a good start to begin with saying you
believe in God, but our new life comes from
confessing our sins, admitting our failures, and asking
Jesus to forgive us and make us new. It comes from
knowing you are loved and cherished by God.
The joy in this hope is that instead of
making New Year's resolutions that are more than
likely going to fail, we make a resolution to become
more like Jesus knowing we will fail but not be a
failure. We begin as children loved and cherished by
a God who forgives and gives us more chances
than we ever could deserve. Instead of looking at
this year as a time to begin new changes in your
life, look at it as how you might make changes in
your life that reflects God's love.
Maybe this new year should be the time in
which we ask Christ to help us be more kind and
loving to one another. For some it does mean being
kinder to him/herself, for others maybe thinking less
of self and more of others is the answer. All of us
can try to be kinder and more loving to each other.
If we were to be kind and loving to one person a day
for a whole year, we would be kind and loving to 365
people. If everyone did this, think of how much love
we would see instead of hate.
We do this not to feel good about ourselves
but to reflect the goodness and love of Christ who
changes our hearts and make us new each and
every day. Let us give thanks to God for this year
and all of the years within it, because we have hope
that give us the strength we need and knowing we
have been set free from sin and given a new chance
of life.
Confess, call out, and receive the mercies of
God's grace and love. Let Christ be your New
Year's resolution!

Always praying for you,

Pastor Kayla