This is a great time of year. Here in WNY we got our first taste of snow early, but I've always preferred a blanket of white over everything so much more than cold rain, soggy backyards, and muddy paw prints in the house. The snow has a cleansing quality, and to me it feels like a fresh start to a new season. It just feels good.

Now, there is definitely a collective eye roll from all of us when we see the blatant commercialism of peddling things and stuff, as a shadow replacement for what it really looks like to give meaningful gifts to one another come Christmas. For some however, this season is anything but warm and comforting. For many struggling with grief, or dealing with difficult questions about their own damaging childhood, this season is incredibly difficult. 

I just finished a book by Katie David Majors called "Daring to Hope." Katie serves in Uganda at a orphanage and school she has built up from almost nothing. She has seen far more in her twenties in difficulties regarding impossible health needs, irreparable social injustices, and seemingly impossible odds than I may ever experience in my entire life. Yet, she remains hopeful. Not because everything has worked out in the end. Katie has had to needlessly say goodbye forever to many of the people she loved the most. Katie remains hopeful, because even when it hurts the most, even when she is red hot with anger against her Creator, He loves her still. More than she could ever imagine. What an incredible reminder this was for me! Maybe for you too?

If you are struggling to find joy this season, know that you are not alone. Our human experience has always come up short. Mankind will always be a dissatisfying and incomplete people. You need a Savior. You need Jesus. We all do! Our hope is found in nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness!

If you need someone to talk to, if you need a safe place to find hope, we'd love to be there for you. Just let us know. 

Pastor Milo 
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Why I'm Warming Up To Moving Chillingly Slow...

This morning I nervously looked out the window to see what additional snow had blown in overnight. Even in Buffalo, this week's cold snap and snow accumulation caught us off guard. November in WNY often has flurries in the air, but I had not counted on it actually piling up enough to cover up our exposed lawn furniture, our rotting Jack O'lanterns and most importantly; our local roads. I made the mistake of thinking we had more time to take care of some of these things. I guess I was wrong!

I was nervous about all of this today, because two of us from our church had made a plan to drive a pickup some 70 miles to retrieve a Christmas tree-farmer's old haywagon. Aligning everyone's schedules had taken some work, and really today was going to be the best day to get it done. Fortunately, even through the skies were still grey, and the temperature was still under freezing, the roads were clear.

What an adventure! Long story short, the excursion came off without a hitch (pun intended). Still, the trip that took us just over an hour on the outbound took us over three on the return. Why? This wagon will be an exciting component to what we have planned for sharing "The Story" at Randall this December. It will transport the Gospel message to hundreds of people around our property while singing Christmas Carols. It's gonna work great for that! However, it was never meant to travel more than 15-25 mph. It's a farmers haywagon for goodness sake! After that speed, it bounces and sways all over the place. The solution? We crept along under 20mph on the shoulder of the road, and along every rural highway we could find. 

All told, I'm warming up to moving chillingly slow from time to time... although I do believe slow is seasonal. Here's a few reasons why:

Slow Requires Preparation
Slow Allows For Mistakes 
Slow Is Better With A Copilot
Slow Aligns Our Heart To God's
 
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:25

Pastor Milo
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