August 18

August 18 – August 24
 
Scripture Passage:  “The entrance of thy words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.”  Psalms 119:130
 
Dear Friends,
 
    Thank you so much church family for providing Patty and I time to get away and enjoy some time of much needed rest.  Let me rephrase that. When you go on vacation with Patty you do not rest very much.  Her philosophy is we have places to go and things to see.  She believes in getting the “most bang for the buck.”  (I will say she let me sleep as late as I wanted to each morning.)  This is the first time we have gone on vacation totally by ourselves.  It was kind of nice.  She planned for us to see a couple of Major League baseball games, one in Pittsburg and one in Philadelphia.  I enjoyed them immensely and beamed with pride having my beautiful wife sitting beside me in the stadium.  I know those people thought, “Why is that pretty young girl with that old man?”  My answer is: “Life is not always fair, but it pays to live right.”  We stayed in two of the most beautiful campgrounds we have ever been in.  Keystone State Park in Derry, PA. and Spring Gulch in New Holland, PA.  Both were wooded and shady and a very comfortable place to stay.  We went to Hershey Park on Monday and enjoyed some rides and wonderful chocolate.  On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to tour the New Holland Hay Equipment Plant.  They were building round hay balers that day and we saw the process from beginning to end.  I thoroughly enjoyed it because stuff like that interests me.  Patty and I drove around for two days and enjoyed watching the Amish work and the beautiful scenery and immaculate farms.  Over the course of the week we ate atGood and Plenty, Bird in Hand Smorgasbord, and Shady Maple Restaurant.   It is worth the trip just to eat at those places.  On Thursday we antiqued in the morning and went to the Sight and Sound Theatre   in the afternoon to see the drama “Jesus.”  It was one of the most moving productions I have ever experienced.  On Friday, we drove through Gettysburg on the way home. Patty and I enjoyed the trip, made new friends, and developed lasting memories.
     I have been in Lancaster twice before where I have toured Amish homes and farms.  I have observed the way they farm and the simple “ole timey” equipment they use.  I have watched them work and play and waited to pass their buggies on the state roads as they traveled from place to place.  The all wear the same type of clothes and the same colors so no one can be more prominent than others.  They all walk or ride buggies and scooters so they have no car insurance or gasoline bills.  Their homes have no electricity, televisions or telephones so the cost of modern technology is almost non-existent.  Whereas most Mennonites have church buildings the Amish meet in homes, so there are no buildings to keep up or salaries to pay.  The Amish and Mennonites both hold to a strict interpretation of Scripture and believe it to be the inspired word of God.  The hold each other accountable and practice church discipline.  The Amish do not believe in Nursing Homes or government handouts and most never draw Social Security because they take care of themselves.  As people get older they just build another room on the house and the family unit remains intact.  The single most impressive observance is that I have never encountered an Amish or Mennonite individual who was not happy.  The simple life may be difficult, but apparently having to work together and the lack of worldly desires is a recipe for peace and contentment.
     I do not desire to be an Amish.  I like modern conveniences and modern equipment, but I do desire and long for a more simple lifestyle where it is okay to stop and smell the roses.  I think we have a lot we can learn from them.  Their adherence to Scripture and a desire to live separated, godly lives is a characteristic that should exemplify us all as well.  I pray that today you will slow down and enjoy the day God has given you.  Take time to invest in your family and make time to do something together.  When all is said and done all we get to take to Heaven with us is our faith, family, and friends.  Be sure to lay these treasures up in Heaven.
 
In Christ..
Pastor Johnny