Florence Congregational Church
Thursday, February 20, 2020
A Place to Connect
A Change of Heart - February 2017
An atheist was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly; the Loch Ness Monster attacked his boat. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat at least a hundred feet into the air. It then opened its mouth waiting below to swallow them both. As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the ferocious beast he cried out, “Oh, my God! Help me!"
Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in midair a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, "I thought you didn't believe in me!"
"God, come on, give me a break!" the man pleaded, “Just seconds ago I didn't believe in the Loch Ness Monster either!"
"Well," said God, "now that you are a believer, you must understand that I won't work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?"
The atheist thinks for a minute then says, "God, please have the Loch Ness Monster believe in you also."
God replies, "So be it."
The scene starts in motion again with the atheist falling towards the ravenous jaws of the monster. The Loch Ness Monster folds his claws together and says, "Lord, bless this food you have so graciously provided..."
You may remember a time when you attempted to bargain with God. You were in a fix, trouble brewing, your heart racing. “Lord if you will just......, I promise I will........” And then, once you get beyond the situation, you forget your promise.
Bargaining doesn’t work. God is looking for true hearts... hearts that want to grow in a relationship with God. When we truly know God, we are assured that God walks with us. God promises to be with us in all circumstances. Whatever monsters want to hold us captive can be destroyed, be it issues with self-esteem, confidence, lack of control, addictions, chaos, etc., God is willing to walk us through it one step at a time. When you give over your heart – Truly give over yourself to God – You will know God has engaged.
Have you given your heart to God? It is a good time to do it. After all, February is the month of love.... a month of hearts, of giving to the one you love. How about the gift of your heart to the One who loves you, your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On another note: On January 22nd we sang a favorite hymn that Brenda and I learned way back when we first began to serve the Warren Second Congregational Church in the 80’s.
The title is “I Am the Church,” and goes like this:
Refrain: I am the church! You are the church! We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus All around the world! Yes, we’re the church together!
1 st verse: The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place, the church is a people!
You are the church. Sometimes people get confused in referring to the building we meet in as the church. Officially, according to early Christians, the building was referred to as the “meeting house”; the place of meeting God. The “church” was the people gathered in the meeting house to be present to God. The first Florence Congregational Church members met outside under the pines before there was a meeting house. They worshipped together as the newly formed church of God.... The people of God gathered as one in Christ.

Blessings, π

Pastor Irv

Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325