Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Notes From My Knapsack – Feb 2004 “The Church Window”
Hebron Christian Church

Two words that get used all through the Gospels are “law” and “love.” Jesus has quite a bit to say about both; that law is not to be ignored, but must be fulfilled by love in order to move human hearts.

In this month where love – sort of – is celebrated all around, I’m reminded of how often I find myself explaining the practical side of Jesus’ words in present day application.

Grandparents want the law to require visitation with grandchildren, which (in Ohio, in most cases) it does not. Couples think the law can end a long relationship which includes children, and are surprised to find that it only creates a different relationship, and one rarely better than what they had. Neighbors look to the law to resolve tensions along property lines, and are upset that the situation only worsens.

What relationships have to have in order to improve and grow is love, not law. But it isn’t a Valentine’s Day kind of love that grandparents and neighbors and even most couples need, but the love Jesus speaks of and Paul sings the praises of, that doesn’t hold grudges or find fault, but forgives and seeks the best in the other.

Love that buys chocolate and flowers and dinners out certainly has a place, but even that kind of “give something to get something” sort of exchange sounds suspiciously like contracts and “law,” not like sacrifice and covenant and self-giving through love. Wed., March 17, when the Interfaith Legal Clinic visits Hebron again at our church, the line will form at 5 pm of folks looking for a brief time to talk to a lawyer for free.

Most of those 40 some people or families will be looking for a lawyer to straighten out a relationship that began with an intention to love. The intention may have been sincere, but the practice fell short. I hope that we can all use the Feast of Saint Valentine on Feb. 14 as a reminder to give of ourselves in love, and not focus on what is due us in obligation and law. Valentine gave his life out of love for Christ in ancient Rome, and today we can set the example for how the law is truly fulfilled through grace-filled love.

In Grace & Peace, Pastor Jeff

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Lent Begins Feb. 25

Ash Wednesday is the start of the 40 days (less Sundays) until Easter, a season for prayer and preparation leading to the culmination of Holy Week, with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunrise at the end of our journey alongside Christ.

Sundays Feb. 15 & 22 we will all have a chance to join in a churchwide commitment to read a 40 day devotional together called “The Purpose Driven Life.” Commitment cards will be shared in worship, and a form to order copies of the book (or audio versions that will cost more, either on tape or CD) if you need a copy. Some already have the book, but our goal is to have as many of us as possible reading each day’s devotional on the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, Apr. 4 and a celebration brunch after worship.

Small group opportunities will be available through the women’s and men’s fellowships, choirs, Sunday school, and Bible study time on Wed. at 10 am starting Feb. 25. If you have questions, call Pastor Jeff at 928-4066 or e-mail him at The weekly themes and questions for reflection for the intro and five purposes will be on our church website at if you need to work on your own.

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Youth Sunday – Feb. 29???

Sunday, Feb. 29 is not a date that we see in print very often. Some places the day is known as “Sadie Hawkins Day,” and much is done backwards on such a day according to tradition. Our youth will lead worship on this unusual fifth Sunday, after having seven away for the first Sunday of Feb. at Massilon for the biannual Midwinter CYF Retreat.

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Keep The Fire Burning
For Camp Christian

Sat. Feb. 14 is St. Valentine’s Day and a wonderful night to eat spaghetti with Dean Martin! Bring your sweetheart and have dinner at Hebron Christian Church. The price is yours to determine, but remember that all proceeds go to the regional capital campaign for Camp Christian (and with a tithe of the work going to help build a camp in Chile with our global mission partners there).

Hebron Christian Church is one of the leaders in the campaign for District 10/11; to see a breakdown of giving for this region-wide effort, look at the latest “Buckeye Disciple” at

Monday, January 26, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 2-01-04
By Jeff Gill

Winter is surely upon us! A note is in order: it takes an air temperature of Zero degrees or a wind chill of Twenty Below to get a day off of school, and that strikes this columnist as about right.
As for snow and ice, that’s a call by the superintendent of Lakewood schools and the transportation director. When Flint Ridge Road is not a good place for buses to be, it doesn’t matter how good Kelly Drive in Hebron is. We’ll have the snow days we have to have, and that’s the way it is.
Oh, and for walking, skating, or messing around generally on ice. If it isn’t four inches or more, and if there’s any running water underneath, stream or spring fed, stay off it, OK? Having done some things in my distant youth that now blanch me with horror, let me count my blessings and say to risk takers everywhere, “Stay off of thin ice.”
When the overnight temps have gone down into the teens and stayed comfortably in that neighborhood, the iceboats come out on the lake (anyone else remember “The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge”?) and the glories of true winter pastimes are visible to all who can take the windchill.
Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, and here’s a last warning on “Souper Bowl of Caring” Sunday. Bring those canned goods, especially the always useful cans of soup, to Buckeye Lake LEADS or to your church food pantry, and know that your extra (excessive?) snacking for the big Patriots/Panthers game helped trigger an outpouring of support for local hunger programs during a time of year that often goes unassisted.
Last week a bunch of us from the Hebron Crossroads area were up at “The Place Off the Square” for the Licking County United Way 2003-04 campaign celebration. While they came a bit short of their hoped for goal, the nearly $2,000,000 raised for local assistance and leadership programs was more than had been raised before for the twenty some United Way agencies, like Boy and Girl Scouts, the Licking County Coalition for Housing, and many others.
What was striking about the reporting at the evening event was that fully 21% of the total was raised through the “Give Where You Live” program. That’s over $400,000 from Licking County residents working in Franklin and Delaware Counties. For many of us in the Lakewood area, that comes as no surprise, but it’s a total that will no doubt continue to climb.
New Life Community, the new church start sponsored by the United Methodist Church in the Hebron/Pataskala area, is having their next “preview” service on Feb. 8 at 10:30 am in the auditorium at Lakewood Middle School (entrance off of US 40). They had over 60 at their initial worship for the public, and Brian Harkness, their pastor, plans monthly worship through the summer as they work towards weekly services in the near future.
So, doesn’t it look like Kerry and Edwards are the likely survivors through March? Well, I don’t know as of this writing what the New Hampshire results were anymore than I knew what Iowa’s were for last week’s column, but I’m sticking with the projection I had this time last month. Howard “I Have a Scream” Dean will continue to fade into the silly sidelines, Joe Lieberman will (regrettably) find it hard to build momentum, and General Clark will learn that, by slamming lieutenants, there are many more former looeys and non-coms voting than retired generals.
I’d comment on Kucinich if I could keep him separate from Bob Denver, and as for Al Sharpton, someone has to keep the debates lively, so keep hope alive Rev.!
Ah, and that darn Groundhog! What will Monday bring in Punxsutawney, PA? Stay tuned for your six week weather forecast, and we’ll fight cabin fever next week in the Hebron Crossroads.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a big fan of Bill Murray whether in “Groundhog’s Day” or “Lost In Translation.” If you don’t want to read a load of filler about movies to watch on snow days next week, send news of local interest to, or call 928-4066.