a blog from our pastors and staff
Pastor Rick is Home
It is with a heavy heart we publish this post. Early this morning Pastor Rick Long, our former pastor, went home to be with Jesus.
Billie Jo posted this on Facebook this morning:
Just before 6am CST Rick traded his sickly body for a new, improved model. I imagine he’s celebrating Jesus using his new lungs now! Mom slept from 10-midnight and I slept from 2 until she woke me at 5:30. As soon as I got up and hugged him, his breathing changed and he wanted to be moved in his bed. Once moved, I realize he had made room for me to lie beside him. It was only moments after lying beside him and snuggling that he took his last breath. Weeks ago he told me that he wanted me be by his side when he died. I guess he didn’t mean figuratively!
Matthew 25:23 "His masters said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'"
As we begin the mourning of Pastor Rick, please know that our pastoral staff is on call today and throughout the coming week.
Dan Todd: firstname.lastname@example.org 716-790-2141
Nila: email@example.com 716-801-3065
Becky Todd: firstname.lastname@example.org 716-790-2114
Andrew Fidurko: email@example.com
Sunday School tomorrow (9/30) will be devoted to the grief process. We will also be having a special prayer time within our church service tomorrow.
Andrew's Small Group on Thursday (10/4) from 6-8 at the church will be dedicated to grief support as well.
Please reach out if you need help processing this great loss. You are not alone.
To God be the glory,
Your friendly Hillside church secretary
A dark place and a big God...
Last week, one of my oldest friends, Mike, lost his 25 year old son to suicide. Mike was my very first best friend. We went to swimming lessons together, played superheroes together, went to “Herbie the Love Bug” movies together and for much of our young lives went to Church together. Mike and I remained good friends throughout high school and into adulthood. Eventually, our paths went different directions but I have always liked and respected Mike.
Yesterday, Mike had the worst day of his life. He came home from a wedding and found his son dead. He had committed suicide (how I hate that word). I don’t know what it is like to lose a son to this terrible choice but I know a lot of people who have. I have lost a nephew who took his life at 17 years old. I have also had 4 first cousins who did the same. This darkness weighs heavy in my family.
Many people walk through heavy roads of depression in their life. I have been on a few of those roads myself. Life has a way of bringing us down. Whether it is a road of loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness or deep hurt. Depression can happen to anyone. I am a pastor by profession but I have been there. I might end up there again.
But I believe Jesus came into this world to bring us life. He conquered sin and death and he came to save us from the pit of despair. I cling to that message for myself and I will spread that message to all who have ears to hear it. Hillside Wesleyan Church is one of many churches out there committed to spreading hope in a dark world. If you have a desire to raise awareness for suicide and help prevent it. Here is a link to “Out of the Darkness” Olean Walk on Sept 16th, as well as their Facebook event.
Here at Hillside we will be doing 4 week sermon series for those who have been hurt starting Sept 23rd. If you find yourself in a place of regret, depression, loneliness, or trouble, please consider joining us for this sermon series (or on any Sunday). You are always welcome to join us, 10:45am on Sundays.
Remember, friend: you are never too lost or broken for the love of Jesus. He loves you just as you are, where you are.
--Pastor Dan Todd
Back to it...
by Pastor Becky Todd
It's time for "back to school". In our household we are mostly ready for this annual event. The new sneakers plus a few outfits are bought; all the supplies are being gathered. It's a time of preparation, looking ahead with anticipation for the year to come. There is indeed excitement for the prospects of a new year. There is also a natural pull toward the familiar routine. We welcome the return of habits lost; earlier bedtimes, alarm clocks and paused activities.
Just as the morning comes again and brings a fresh start, so do the seasons. What in your life needs a new beginning? It's a question for all of us really, not just families heading back to school. The return of a new church year brings opportunities to try again, perhaps in a new ministry, a bible study or a Sunday class. Maybe it's more personal and for you it means renewal of time alone with God. Even if this is your (fill in the blank) time to restart, just do it again.
Just start, again! God welcomes us back, it's called grace. He gives it freely.
Read: Ephesians 2:8, Lamentations 3:22-23
Invite a friend into your new start. You're likely to be more successful when you work together, and it's just more fun!
Parent Tip: Trying to get into a healthy Bible or devotional time as a family. If morning is your thing, stick your Children's Bible in the cupboard with the cereal boxes. Grab it when you are getting breakfast and share a story. If you are not a morning person, leave it on the table for the dinner hour. Maybe life is tough and the table is never clean, keep it out and visible, pick it up! Just start, again!