Tag Archives: sermon

More Lights

03 March

Earlier this week, I started my work day as I normally do.  Check the emails, respond to any messages, outline my day, la la la.  I couldn’t help but notice that I felt a little off.  Maybe another cup of coffee?  That didn’t change the feeling.  How about a slice of pizza?  (Yes, cold pizza for breakfast.)  Pizza didn’t do it either.  I still felt something was off.  I checked in with many of my coworkers.  What’s my problem?

As I was checking in with everyone I realized what was bothering me.  Some of my work family aren’t here, so I can’t check in with them.  They are in Richwood, West Virginia, serving the community there.  I’m certainly glad they are there doing what they are doing and I am very proud of them.

Since I came to Hosanna, one of the big themes has been Community.  Do things together.  Work together, learn together, discuss together, laugh together, chances are you’re going to suffer together; but what a blessing it is to be together.  It’s always hard on me when the team gets “split up” for the sake of what needs done.  I just don’t like the feeling of being separated.  Did you ever put two different socks on- one kind of thick like a boot sock and the other thin like a dress sock- it kind of feels like that.  Just a little weird.

Then I remembered that Jesus didn’t always keep all of the disciples together, and that sometimes they had to go out in smaller groups or pairs, in order to multiply.  I remind myself that being separated doesn’t mean you’re less, it just means that the light has now been multiplied.  When we are all together as one big green machine, we are (when we have our heads and hearts in the right place) a bright light, and when we become separated- when the Lord needs some of us here and some of us there- the light doesn’t dim but it becomes more LIGHTS, to work in more places, and to touch more people.  How wonderful is that!  I think that I would rather have many bright lights on my Christmas tree than just one big shining bulb.

Amen to learning things!  Amen to lights!

Dear reader, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing; if you feel a bit lost or a bit disconnected, just let that light shine even brighter, and it will spread!

-Emily Cadenhead, Mission Worker

November 2016: Hammers, Hearts and Hands

05 December

As I write these words, our nation pauses to celebrate Veterans Day in grateful recognition of the thousands upon thousands of men and women who have protected our country’s unique freedoms. One of them, a sergeant by the name of Joyce Kilmer, fought during World War I with the 165th Infantry far from home in the European theatre. He was killed in action near Ourcy, France on July 30, 1918, at the age of 32. Though his loved ones had to suffer the heartbreak of his loss as many do, Sergeant Kilmer left these words which have remained with us for nearly a century –

I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.

Our world couldn’t exist without trees. They cleanse the air and provide oxygen for us to breathe. They hold the soil against erosion and offer habitat for innumerable birds and other small wildlife. They shade the earth from the scorching heat of the Summer, and paint the landscape with breathtaking beauty in the Fall.

Like all living things, they are born to live, they grow, and one day die. Poplars grow twice as fast as oaks, but live only half as long. Even in death, like a poet’s words, trees contribute great value to our lives.

They provide fuel for our fireplaces to heat our homes in Winter. Most of our houses, even if they show a handsome suit of brick, are framed up with wood. The paper you are holding right now came from a gracious tree. The pen I am using was fashioned out of wood. The old rocking chair in my study that I am sitting in right now was once a tree more than a century ago. The bookshelves nearby and all the volumes they hold that have been my teaching companions through the years, all these came from trees. Around the world over, experts tell us that there are more than 23,000 varieties of trees that are an integral part of our planet’s cyclical ecological system.

Wood is a substance unlike any other in our world. It can be split, chopped, rived, and cut. It can be turned, planed, joined, shaped and sanded. It can be burned as fuel, converted into other useful products, or finished with a protective coating intended to last for hundreds of years. Without wood, our music would be limited to the sound of brass.

Once, 2000 years ago, a tree was felled halfway around the world. Its wood was crafted into an old rugged cross upon which the Prince of Glory died. Only God could have anticipated the particular purpose of that tree.

A year ago, when the mission acquired its new facility in Gibsonia and began to re-purpose that property for a new chapter of God’s work, my daughter Emily took note of the beautiful trees there that had lived, while others died, and while others still emerged beneath tall boughs as tiny saplings. In the Autumn she saw how the majestic oaks dropped thousands of acorns upon the ground, each one holding the potential of becoming, one day in due time, another tall oak tree in the forest of our lives.

Nobody but God can make a tree.

It’s been another amazing year at the mission, dear friend! Thank you for all you’ve done in providing the blessings that God used to make all of this possible! We used thousands of 2×4’s and sheets of plywood, swung a lot of hammers, and drove a lot of nails in helping many of God’s needy children during the course of 2016. Much of what was accomplished came from trees that God purposed for such work.

When a little tree is born, perhaps only God can be aware of this new life and all the potential worth that lies within that delicate, fragile structure.

Centuries ago, an unknown carpenter from a far away land took wood from a fallen tree and crafted, with adze, mallet and chisel, a primitive trough. It was built to hold hay for the feeding of animals, but it became the first cradle of a new-born swaddled child whose angel-announced name was Jesus. He would grow up to become Savior of the world.

Soon you may be joining with countless people around the world in decorating your home for the upcoming holiday season. Perhaps a different kind of tree, a Christmas tree, may adorn your own dwelling place. Upon its branches, an unknowable variety of ornaments may be hung, each reflecting its own particular meaningfulness.

Enclosed within this newsletter mailing is our little gift to you. This year, a simple ornament made of wood and stamped with the impression of an acorn. As you hang this little handmade ornament upon your tree, may you be inspired to prayerfully reflect upon the worth of your own God-held life, how you like a tiny acorn, have grown into the great person you are and are yet capable of becoming still!

Only God can fully plumb the depths of potential that lie within an acorn. Only God can know the fullest potential of what yet lies within you and me. Only God can grow greatness.

While all the world slept, a little boy was born to a world aching for God’s love. On that silent night, He was born to “raise the sons of earth, born to give us second birth!” His unique life blessed this world forever, and because of that, so can we if we so choose.

Thank you, dear Hosanna friend, for who you are and for all the good you’ve done. May God’s love surround you throughout the Christmas season and always.
-Donn Ed, Founder & Executive Director of Hosanna Industries

Read the rest of this quarter’s newsletter, here.

Holy Week Blitz Build 2016: Thursday

29 March

On Maundy Thursday at 2PM, we dedicated Jim and Alexa’s new home. At that time, we gave them a few gifts.

Blanket, presented by Emily Cadenhead: 

This next gift comes to you from a new chapter in Hosanna’s story. At our Gibsonia location a group of women have started a fiber arts club, they heard about what we were doing this week and about your story and wanted to do something. They’ve never met you and they don’t know you, but they wanted you to know that they care about you. They crocheted this blanket as a reminder that we are all, strangers and friends alike, woven together in this journey called life.

Bible from Becky Hetzer:

As a mission worker for almost 19 years, I had the wonderful privilege again of presenting a family with a Bible for their new home that Hosanna had just built for them!  I was excited to do so and even more so when the idea came to me of what scripture to read and how to relate it to a new home dedication.

First, I read from Mark’s account of the Last Supper since it was Maundy Thursday when we dedicated the home.  Secondly, I read in Chapter 15 of the death of Jesus on the cross when he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And finally, Chapter 16 and the resurrection of our Lord when the women found the empty tomb!

The message I hope I conveyed to the family and the crowd of volunteers was that I was grateful we have a God who doesn’t quit.  He didn’t stop on Thursday with the Last Supper, nor did we quit after the first day of the Blitz.  Neither of those actions would have helped anyone, whether 2000 years ago or last week.  He also didn’t stop with His masterful plan after the death of his Son on the cross.  Nor did we stop constructing a masterfully designed home for a needy family.  What good would a half-built home do for anyone? How could God’s plan end in such a sad, desperate way?  Thank Heaven God completed his work by conquering death and raising His Son to be with Him again in Heaven – how wonderful is Easter i ask you?!  And Hosanna, in the same way, did not quit and finished a beautiful new home in 3 1/2 days with the help of so many wonderful volunteers!

Easter is real and miracles are real.  Just ask every family whom we have built a home for, or the congregation of the church we built in Arkansas, or the dear little  old widow who received a new furnace to keep her warm this winter.

Keys from Julie Wettach:

This gift is the smallest but please remembered each time that you use it, the volunteers that were a part of this build and how God opened doors so that you can be here. Please remember how doors were opened by Mars Bank so this project could become a reality, and how God is opening new doorways and pathways for you even now.

Thank you for reading this and for supporting a mission trying hard to show the hard, cold world that miracles can be a daily event…if you believe!

See pictures from this build here.

Read more details about this project here.

Don’t let yourself be insulated

05 January

I recently read the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke Chapter 16 in the Bible. In case the story is unfamiliar to you, Lazarus was a poor beggar covered in sores and an unnamed rich man wore purple linens and feasted sumptuously every day. Lazarus sat outside the rich man’s gates and begged. Eventually both men died and Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hell. The rich man begged for comfort from Lazarus but Abraham reminded the rich man of how things were when they were alive and explained that a great chasm now existed and there was no way Lazarus could come to the rich man to bring him even a drop of water. The story goes on further but this is where my mind began to wander. The rich man knew poor Lazarus. He saw him outside his gates whenever he left his home. He saw his pain. He saw his weakness. He knew Lazarus’ name and his needs.  And he chose not to help.

It struck me that I am much more like the rich man than Lazarus. That most of us are. Most of us have food on our tables (we even go out to eat once in a while), most of us have clothes on our backs – even quality, brand name clothing, and most of us have comfortable homes. It also struck me that I don’t see many Lazarus’ today. No one sits near my home sick and hungry and begging for my help.

You see, in this first world country that we live in, we are insulated from the needy. The government provides food stamps and welfare checks and medical assistance. Non-profits give food and clothing and home repairs and counseling and job skills training.  In this wonderful country I call home, I rarely meet Lazarus. I don’t know what his needs are. I don’t know how I can help. I don’t even know his name.

And I’m not really sure what I should do about this. I know what the rich man 2000 years ago should have done.  He should have bandaged Lazarus’ wounds and given him food and water. He should have welcomed him into his home and taught him a useful skill so Lazarus could have supported himself or even hired him as a servant.

But today when we don’t see Lazarus, when we don’t know who he or she is and what his or her needs are, what are we to do today?  I’m really not sure.  For me, I’ve chosen to give my life to a place where “rescue me now, please” is heard every day and where I can be a part of answering those cries.

When a woman calls our office because her hot water tank hasn’t worked for months, or a young parent reaches out because their furnace stopped doing its job, or an elderly widow calls because her roof is leaking and her ceiling is caving in, I know my work is making a difference.  When I hear about an impoverished single mom raising her child with special needs by herself or a widow trying to get by on less than $10,000 a year or a woman carrying her disabled husband from the car to the house because they don’t have a wheelchair ramp and can’t afford one I know that I am right where I need to be to help God’s children.

We live in a world that insulates us from the needs of others.  Shootings in the ghetto neighborhoods of Pittsburgh seem so distant even though, in reality, I can visit those areas within a half hour after leaving my home.  People living without heat or hot water seem so far away – maybe in a third world country – but in reality, my children go to school with kids who don’t have these basics in their home.  Lonely widows who have no money for a Thanksgiving dinner and no one to share the meal with anyway aren’t visible to me but, in reality, there’s at least one living right down the road from my house.  Kids who don’t ever get to celebrate their birthday because there’s no money for such things, who think that the only kids who do receive birthday gifts are kids on TV, live pretty close to me, too.  And although I believe wholeheartedly that the most precious gift came to us on Christmas morning a little more than 2000 years ago, I still believe that having a gift sitting under a Christmas tree today is pretty important whether you are 3 or 93 and I know that even though I don’t see their pain or hear their quiet pleas that there are people in my own community who haven’t received such a gift in years.

And so when you hear the stories from Hosanna Industries or other mission organizations, when your eyes are opened to needs around you, when you heart feels the pain of another person’s hurt, please do something about it.  Don’t let yourself be insulated any longer.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Make a difference in the world.  Don’t make today’s Lazarus wait until he or she is with Abraham to be comforted.

Julie Wettach, Mission Worker

Three not-so-easy points for a person trying to Improve

23 February

We recently hosted a group of volunteers and we certainly got a whale of a lot of work accomplished for the Lord! It was also the coldest week of winter so far, and not one complaint from the youthful group. Throughout the week, the staff shared the responsibility of morning devotions with the volunteers. Many of us choose to read from the inspiring book written by Dr. Morlege, “It’s a Great Day in the Kingdom!”.

As I was commuting to work, I was inspired to choose a different mode for devotions. I presented a mini-sermon with three points. I emphasized that the points were for anyone who wanted to improve as a person and believer of the Lord. The points were inspired by things that I personally need to be reminded of, and I think that’s what made the sermon so easy! What were they?

  1. Patience
  2. Have an open mind and heart
  3. Let the Spirit lead you (hopefully into action!)

None of these points are easy, especially when trying to initiate them at the same time. But our Saviour lived these daily and so we must try to also. Thank you Perinton Presbyterian for teaching me many things last week, and I hope you learned a few new things also!
Becky Hetzer, mission worker

Exactly what this preaching clinic achieved

05 November
preaching clinic

Katie delivering her sermon in the            Morledge Chapel at Hosanna                                        during the Preaching Clinic

For the past five weeks at Hosanna Industries, every Monday night from October 7-November 4, we conducted our first preaching clinic. It was a new experience not only for Hosanna, but also for individuals that are current preachers and individuals that have an interest in preaching. This clinic was open to the public for anyone, no matter if you we’re a current preacher or not. A few of the staff that work for Hosanna even attended, including myself. When I was given the opportunity to preach at The Congregational Church of Etna back in August while Pastor Donn Ed was on vacation, it really sparked my interest in wanting to learn more about preaching. I felt a certain groove once I stepped up to the pulpit and started to preach, almost like it came naturally. Being able to participate in this preaching clinic really opened up my eyes not only on how to speak the word of God and get it across to the congregation, but also have a better insight on how much time, preparation, and dedication it requires of the preacher beforehand.

The clinic started off the first week with reviewing basic knowledge and the meaning of preaching. The next two weeks we reviewed several different passages and went over the steps of how to conduct a good sermon. The last two weeks, each individual wrote their own sermon and practiced preaching. One of the most important pieces of information that I learned in regards to preaching is the status of the heart. It is critical that the heart of the preacher carries the right motives, practically feeds off God’s word, has a positive attitude, and at the core, to strive to bring people to Christ and to keep them on that path. One cannot preach the word of God if their heart isn’t set on God and His messages.

Not only did the preaching clinic assist the individuals that attended, but it also assisted Hosanna in adding to the unique aspect that the mission holds. Hosanna is a mission unlike any other mission, which I think is one of its greatest characteristics. It strives to achieve various goals that fit to any individual, no matter their current state. One of the things I believe to be at the heart of the mission is to aid all people in any way the Lord leads — and that is exactly what this preaching clinic achieved.

-Katie DeJournette, Mission Worker