Rev Helen H Collins

A Message for You

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

Here Come the Pumpkins by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church If you have driven or walked on Kuttshill past North Kent Presbyterian Church in the last few months, you have probably noticed that we turned some of the land around our church into quite a pumpkin patch. Odd thing for a church to do, I suppose, but we had very good reasons. There’s also a big pumpkin sign that says, “Come Grow with Us.” The pumpkin drawing is courtesy of one of our church preschool kids. So, we’re growing pumpkins as a fundraiser, and we hope we’re attracting some attention so that people will know we’re here and that anyone and everyone is welcome to join us. But here’s the thing about pumpkins: Better than any of the other fruits and vegetables God gave us, the pumpkin reveals some wonderful truths about our relationship with God. The best and most common use for pumpkins is for making Jack o’lanterns. (They make great pie too, but that’s another story.) You start by cleaning off the pumpkin, getting rid of any of the garden dirt. Then you cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside. It can be a messy thing to reach in there and pull out all the yucky, slimy stuff and the seeds, but you have to do it so that you can carve a face. When I did that as a child, I always wanted to give my pumpkin a smile to start with, then a nose which usually ended up looking like a triangle, and finally some eyes. We would put our pumpkins in the living room window so they faced the street, and mom would let us put a candle inside so that people could really see the face lit up as they went by. Several years ago a piece ran around the e-mail circuit with the story of the pumpkin and how it demonstrates what God does with us when we give our lives to Him. First, Jesus picks us up and cleanses our life from sin. He removes all the yucky thoughts and the seeds of doubt, hate and selfishness that we have inside. Then he puts a smile on […]

A Message for You

December 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

Give Yourself a Little Rest by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church It’s the week after Christmas. Soon it will be time to take down the tree, pack away the ornaments and other decorations. My mom always set out all the Christmas cards we received on every flat surface in the dining room and living room and it was a sign that the holidays were done when she took down the display. At this point there will still be some family get-togethers as we ring in the New Year, and we won’t do our “undecorating” party at church until after worship on January 8, but for the most part, by the time you read this, Christmas will be over. I like to send and receive Christmas cards, although I frequently run out of time before the holidays to get them in the mail. I try to find the card that will carry not only my love and greetings, but something of the true meaning of the holiday. Several years ago I found the one that so far has been the most unforgettable. It opened accordion style with five panels. On the front of the card was a full Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. The second panel showed the tree having lost a few of its needles—the way your “real” tree might look a few days after Christmas, especially if you forgot to water it. The third and fourth panels showed the tree as it progressively lost more and more of its needles and as ornaments, with nothing to hang on to, fell to the floor. And in the last panel, the cross became visible as all the trappings, the needles, lights and ornaments were gone. The message was clear that underneath the biggest and best holiday we celebrate each year, underneath the love, the carols and Christmas specials, underneath the family time, the presents and parties, when all is said and done, when everything else is gone, the cross of the One whose birth we proclaim, the giver of God’s immeasurable love is still there. We’ve been doing some landscaping around our church in the last year or so. If you drive down Kuttshill before the snow flies, you’ll be able to […]

A Message for You

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

Give yourself a little rest  by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church Most mornings as I get ready to go out, I listen to the national news programs. One of the stories recently included mention of the fact that our President is going on vacation. Some are critical of him for doing that because, of course, we have a lot of national problems; lots of work to be done. One commentator mentioned that the President will still be doing some work, and of course will be available if something drastic happens. My thought was I’m glad he’s taking vacation. The pressures of his job are huge. The responsibilities are incalculable. Democrat, Republican or Independent, everyone needs to rest, renew and refresh to do their best. There is a story told of a wagon train on its way from St. Louis to Oregon. Its members were devout Christians, so the whole group observed the habit of stopping for the Sabbath day. Winter was approaching quickly, however, and some among the group began to panic in fear that they wouldn’t reach their destination before the heavy snows. Consequently, several members proposed to the rest of the group that they should quit their practice of stopping for the Sabbath and continue driving onward seven days a week. This proposal triggered a lot of contention in the community, so finally it was suggested that the wagon train should split into two groups: those who wanted to observe the Sabbath and those who preferred to travel on that day. The proposal was accepted, and both groups set out and traveled together until the next Sabbath day, when one group continued while the other remained at rest. Guess which group got to Oregon first? You’re right. The ones who kept the Sabbath reached their destination first. Both the people and the horses were so rested by their Sabbath observance that they could travel much more vigorously and effectively the other six days of the week. My congregation recently supported me in taking a three-month Sabbatical—a time of refreshment and renewal that allowed me to spend time with family and reflect on our ministry together. For their encouragement  and care, I thank and commend them. I returned to work the […]

A Message for You

June 23, 2011 // 0 Comments

We’re all in life together by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church One of my members sent the following story to me: A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.” The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.” The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.” So, the mouse returned to the house, his head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap—alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house—the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. But, alas, the farmer’s wife did not get well—she died. So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of […]

A Message for You

April 21, 2011 // 0 Comments

Totally awesome! by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church In “Growing Deep in the Christian Life,” pastor and author Chuck Swindoll tells about a Sunday school kindergarten teacher who was trying to determine how much religious training her new students had. She found one five-year-old boy who knew absolutely nothing about the story of Jesus. She began by relating to him the death of Jesus on the cross. When he asked her what a cross was, she picked up some sticks and, fashioning a crude cross, she told him that Jesus had been nailed to a cross and had died. The little boy, with eyes downcast, quietly said, “Oh, that’s too bad!” But then the teacher quickly related that Christ rose again and came back to life. Hearing that, the little boy’s eyes got as big as saucers. His face lit up, and he exclaimed, “Totally awesome!” That’s what we celebrate this Sunday, April 24. Before that first Easter Day, people believed they had to do a lot of things to earn God’s love. They had a lot of laws they had to obey, and if they failed to keep every bit of the Law, they were required to make a sacrifice: grain or a small animal for a small mistake, a lamb or bull for a big sin. The sacrifice would put them right with God, until the next time they messed up. Then they would have to prepare another sacrifice, and so the cycle continued. No one could ever be totally sure they were in God’s good graces. We call the Friday before Easter “Good Friday” because it reminds us that on that day, once, for all, Jesus Christ endured crucifixion and death as the final sacrifice for your sin and mine. With joy we celebrate Easter Sunday, the Day of Resurrection, because Jesus rose from the dead and came back to life. “Totally awesome!” that Jesus took the punishment for all the times you and I break God’s Law of love. “Totally awesome!” that although he experienced death, he is still alive. “Totally awesome!” that God, Creator of the universe and everything in it, loves you and me and offers us the gift of eternal life with Christ. In a […]

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