Christmas on the Prairie December 3-4, 2022 in downtown Lexington!

The Pastor’s Piece – October 9, 2022

The Pastor’s Piece

FCFI

October 9, 2022

We went shopping for trees today.  It seems when you plant trees in the fall they have a  better survival rate than spring planting. Last fall at this time, we planted nine trees around our new parking lot at church. They were a variety of different types of maple trees. The soil they were planted in wasn’t the greatest, it was a mixture of mostly clay and a little topsoil that got pushed to the edges during excavation. In spite of not watering them all summer, they are all doing well. 

Last spring, I planted six more trees on our farm. They were planted in decent soil. We didn’t hit any rocks while we were digging. The guy from the nursery helped me plant them and I watered them religiously all summer long. He told me 15 gallons of water three times a week and that’s what I did – rain or shine. A landscaper friend loaned me a 250 gallon water tote that I rigged up on a trailer and pulled behind my Farmall H tractor. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I made the trek out to the field to water our trees. Sometimes, if  I was busy during the day and had meetings at night, I watered them by the light of the moon. One can’t help but be filled with awe and wonder being out in God’s creation in the stillness of the evening. It is cause for worship. Bringing life-giving water to plants that God created is relaxing and enjoyable. It was a great way to wrap up the day. 

A few weeks ago, we had a tree next to the house go down in a windstorm. It was a basswood about 80 feet tall, I’m guessing. It fell away from the house, broke off about 20 feet up the trunk, and landed on an older pine that was only about 40 feet tall. It stripped one whole side of the pine tree bare, but what remained stood tall and saved the shed next to it by deflecting the basswood away in the opposite direction. Sadly, (or not) we had to cut both trees down. We drug the whole tangled mess away to the burn pile in two huge pieces. Then we had the stump grinder out and he ground up the stumps. It left a couple of pretty big holes in the yard so I hauled in some dirt. Then we went tree shopping. The first place we checked had 12 foot white pines for 850 bucks apiece. Gulp! The last time we were there, they were $250. That’s a lot of inflation.  We ended up at a nursery in Rockford where we found a nice dawn redwood and a 12 foot tall fir for about 75% less than the other place. Now we have to do a little digging and get them in the ground. 

This is a lot of work for just two trees that went down – imagine what they’re going through in Florida and South Carolina right now in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. While I’m sad about all the destruction, I am happy about the resilience of man – As I watch clips of people in front of their demolished homes and businesses, I hear again and again, “This is home. We will rebuild.” And they will. People always do. It seems to be a God-given trait. 

About a week ago, a bunch of us from church (8 to be exact) went to somebody’s place and cut and split a bunch of wood for a lady who has cancer. She is a friend of one of MCC’s regulars who we’ve known for over 40 years. Back in the day, my wife and I were on staff with Youth For Christ International (YFC) and we led Bible studies in this area for high school and Jr. high kids. We would lead home Bible studies and every few weeks have a big bash where we cooked out, or went on a trip to a special event. Over the Christmas holiday, between Christmas and New Year’s, we traveled to Eagle River, Wisconsin for a leader’s winter retreat. We made life-long friends during those times. We had great Bible studies and bonding times and God is still pouring out blessing after blessing from those days. One of our students became a missionary and served the Lord in Hungary for many, many years. One of our co-leaders from that era, now teaches Jr. and Sr. High Sunday school at MCC. We run into other acquaintances all the time.

Whether we’re planting trees, or seeds of truth in the lives of those we know, God is the One who causes growth. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 it says: “ I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  

(Clean up after Hurricane Ian in Punta Gorda-Arcadia FL (Sites to be determined). FCFI has a Disaster Relief MIssion Trip planned for November 12-19. We will be located at Mt Ephraim Baptist Church 2865 County Rd 661 Arcadia, FL 34266. For more information contact: Bill and Kathy Brown 315-736-5964 or 315-749-6823).

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin)