June 2018

“A Word About Doing Without!”
From a practical perspective I’m sure most know what it is like to “do without”, but when it happens to be your “helpmeet”
a cry for help is often in order as I recently experienced following my wife Colleen’s necessity to be with her grieving Mother after the eternal home going of her husband.
Of course there really wasn’t any other option because her #1 responsibility was to lend support to her Mom
at this particularly difficult time which caused me to accept how to, temporarily…live without, which in comparison to Colleen’s Mom’s loss as well as the number of women in our congregation’s emotional struggle with “widowhood” is minute. Therefore I choose to learn the value of contentment when “abased” or “abounding”. See Philippians 4:11-13
Pastor Mike

May 2018

“A Word from Pastor Mike About the “Good” and “Bad” of Life!”
While recently thinking about our new puppy, Mia, I was struck with the reality that one must learn to accept the “bad” as well as the “good”. I mean how is it possible that some cute and cuddly critter could “suddenly” turn into a demon possessed, 4 legged, obsessively compulsive monster? And without getting too graphic, since I’m sure many of you have had experience with the aforementioned “dilemma”, for “me” it draws a tremendous parallel to the typical life of a typical Christian where everything in your life has been peachy cream, (“right”). Yet for most of us the norm is that life presents itself with a number of “highs” and “lows”, “expectations” and “disappointments” as well as “joys” and “sorrows” to which I might add…welcome to the club! And who could forget the old country favorite…“I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson which at the time, I thought was a “sappy” “syrupy” tune which simply played on one’s emotions, but truth be told it has “Scriptural” merit! *Some verses to consider! Job 1:20-22; Proverbs 24:10; Ecclesiastes 7:14; II Corinthians 4:15-18; 12:1-10; James 1:2,3; I Peter 1:6,7.
Praying we’ll all accept the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ of life…and AND the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ of puppy dogs also!
Pastor Mike

April 2018

“A Word about Breakdowns”
Through being the not so proud owner of ‘4’ vehicles I have learned that keeping them operative all the time
is no small challenge; therefore consistent “maintenance” is a must. And I’d like to suggest that such is the case with
“spiritual” maintenance as well. For if we as Christians desire to operate “smoothly” regardless of how old we are,
we must check the proverbial fluids occasionally and have regular tune ups so as to not become sluggish, if you know what
I mean. Now as funny as it may seem but our 1998 Camry with 286,000 miles on it seems to be the smoothest runner
of them all because it’s “obviously” been cared for, but whenever one of our other vehicles is “neglected” for whatever reason,
they have the tendency to either run lousy or stop functioning all together. And while these practical matters may seem
‘obvious’ to get a handle on when it comes to vehicles…why is it that we so often fail to maintain our Scriptural lives
which are clearly linked to things eternal? (Selah)
(Scriptures to consider) Psalm 34:4; 37:3-8; 90:12; 119:129,130; Proverbs 3:5,6; 4:1-10; 7:1-4; Matthew chapters 5&6;
I Corinthians 6:19,20; 9:24-27; Philippians 4:4-9; Hebrews 10:22-25
In His love and mine, Pastor Mike

March 2018

“A Heavy Heart, Enveloped by Prayer and Praise”
I’m sharing with you this month from a heavy heart for those who are dealing with difficult circumstances related to “loss”.
And whether it’s the loss of a loved one, one’s health or a job, etc. etc. the pain and hurt associated can sometimes seem
unbearably overwhelming, “if” you don’t consider “God” in the midst of it all. Yet while I’m sure most have heard plenty of
“make lemonade out of lemons” messages in the past, I am still convinced that even though…“weeping may endure
for a night”…the believer in Christ can be confident that…“joy comes in the morning”. Psalm 30:5b which is why we can…
…“sing praise to the Lord”…and… “give thanks at the remembrance of His Holy Name” Psalm 30:4. For I also believe that
when we begin to view life from God’s infinitely divine perspective in the midst of “our” “limited” finite grasp
of His master design and purposes we will ultimately gain a foothold of a truth that will carry us through, even though we may
not process “all” of the whys and why nots of life. For the hymn writer would also remind us that
“We’ll understand it better by and by”. Some Closing Passages to Consider Psalm 139; Proverbs 3:5,6; Ecclesiastes 7:14;
Isaiah 45:5-7; 55:8-11; Matthew 11:28-30; II Corinthians 4:7-9; 16-18; Philippians 1:29; 4:20,21; 8,9; Ephesians 2:7;
Hebrews 4:10
Praying that each would find “rest” for a heavy heart! Pastor Mike Simiele

February 2018

“A Word About Valentine Wishes”
I’ve been thinking about Valentine’s Day recently and I’m struck with the sad reality that asks the question…
…why in the world do those of us who are married need a reminder to love our marital partners a little more that day?
Is it because throughout the remainder of the year we’ve taken each other’s love for granted? Or perhaps the emphasis
we place on Valentine’s Day is because of the “guilt” we’re experiencing because we “have”, I don’t know!
But the one thing we can say for sure is the fact is that God and ‘His’ love “is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore”
(Hebrews 13:8). (Plus)…His “love suffereth long, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, hopeth all things,
endureth all things, love never fails…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)
So let these thoughts be a Valentine’s reminder to all of us!
In His love and mine, Pastor Mike

January 2018

“A Word from Pastor Mike about Resolutions”
Resolutions! Resolutions! What good are they if you don’t keep them, that’s what I always say. “Better is it not to vow
than to vow and not pay” that’s what Solomon would remind us in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 5 and verse 5.
And while it may be profitable to set goals like “saving money” and “losing weight” I believe it would be much more
worth our time and effort to…“press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14)
in the coming year because when we do so we are not only benefiting our current spiritual well-being but investing for
eternity as well! See Philippians 3:7-13
Wishing you a joyous, “spiritually” profitable New Year!
Pastor Mike

December 2017

“Looking Back!”

As a look back on the past year of ministry that God has called me to at the Cresco Community Chapel it could be summarized
as one of “challenge”, where the challenge to remain consistently relevant in my teaching to the needs of the congregation
are forefront in my mind. And while I try to do my best in attempting to meet those needs I may fall short sometimes;
yet the Scriptures remind me in (I Corinthians 4:2) to be faithful irregardless.

Another challenge for me has been the need to be sensitive to both the hurts and spiritual victories of those in my trust.
For example it’s relatively easy to be encouraged when someone has recently been saved, is clearly growing in their faith,
been married, learned of a pregnancy, or seen the answer to many years of prayer, “but” what about the loss of a loved one,
an unexpected medical diagnosis, or struggle with an addiction? For I’ve discovered that’s when a Pastor is really worth
their salt. But through it all friends, I’ve also learned that God is good and has given me the wonderful privilege
of serving as your Pastor.

In closing I would like to express my appreciation for the many ways you as a congregation have come alongside
of Colleen and I through your generosity, emotional support, and prayer. I’d like to especially thank the board of elders
and deacons for allowing me the freedom to spend some time with my two brothers Pat and Bob prior to each of
their passings. Seeds were planted and I am grateful.

Together for souls,
Pastor Mike
“Glorify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3
Ministry Reports

November 2017

“Taking Too Much for Granted!”
After putting in roughly 4,800 miles on a couple of road trips recently, I came to the sad conclusion that perhaps I took much of what transpired for granted! For example there was the potential for an accident, car trouble, and hearing the dreaded, “Why didn’t you fill up at the last exit?”

Yet in spite of the fact that God protected my wife and I from “all of the above”, which we prayed about prior for which He graciously saw fit to answer, I’m still struck with the reality that “maybe” my pride got in the way a little too much, thus causing me to “not” give God the genuine praise and thanks that He truly deserves!

A little reminder for the upcoming Thanksgiving season! Please check out…I Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 9:1,2; 18:1-3a; 30:12; 34:1-3; 48:1; 66:1,2; 75::1; 89:1; 92:1,2; 95:1-3; 118:1; 121:1,2; 135:1; 145:1-5; 147:1; 148:1; 149:1; (the entire 150th Psalm); Isaiah 12:4,5; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:15-17; I Thessalonians 4:18

Trying to not take so much for granted!
Pastor Mike

September 2017

Recently while considering the future of the Cresco Community Chapel I’ve tried to discern what our philosophy of ministry is,
and while many are aware that our firm “mission statement’s theme verse” can be found in the book of Colossians chapter 1
verse 28 where Paul would admonish us to…“present every man, complete in Christ” but what somewhat concerns me though
is whether or not we are merely “maintenance minded” or true “visionaries”.

Well from the Scriptures I’ve concluded what is needed is a wise blend of the two, where if something ain’t broke,
it don’t need fixin, but on the other hand as Proverbs 29:18 reminds us “without a vision people perish”. Therefore I believe
we must find ways so as to “delicately” and “prayerfully” remain relevant to today’s culture without compromising
our biblical convictions regarding the fundamentals of our faith! See Romans 3:4; I Corinthians 15:58; and Ephesians 4:14.
In conclusion I would add that good old proper maintenance is a valuable asset to any church body,
‘but’ if we remain “stagnant”, insensitive to God’s leading, and blind to the genuine needs of others we sell ourselves short
for God would have us seek His face in all things!

Sensing some lack in all of us!
Pastor Mike

August 2017

Whatever Happened to…?
Now for those who haven’t been attending our recent morning worship services, on Sunday, July 16th I began
a somewhat provocative teaching series on the hot button topic of “shame” and its connection to a vivid contrast between
what has been commonly viewed as a “traditional” marriage with the “nonbiblical” concept of a same sex union.
And while the subject matter can be “volatile”…“let God be true and every man found a liar” (Romans 3:4) which brings me to
how far we’ve drifted as a nation where sadly, the church is not immune. And therefore I’m taking the liberty to share
a wonderful story of a retired college baseball coach told through the impressionable memory of a current coach,
who learned a tremendously valuable life lesson from him!

“Don’t Widen the Plate”
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon
the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s convention. While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff,
I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend.
One name in particular kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here?
Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare. “Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948.
He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt,
and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Seriously, I wondered,
who is this guy? After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck,
Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos
had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said,
his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy.
The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned
about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches
were in the room.

“Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League? After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”,
more of a question than answer. “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches
in the house?” Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up,
as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident. “You’re right!” Scolinos barked “And you college coaches,
how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison. “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate
in pro ball?”…………“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher
who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it
eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that,
let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause. “Coaches…” pause, “… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid
facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change
the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?” The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet,
the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie,
began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn
door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids.
With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards.
We widen the plate!”

…Pause… Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today.
The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful
and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence… He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions
of authority have taken advantage of young children only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years.
Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so-called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply
to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them
to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run
better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck,
I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader.
I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society
continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today.
It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses
and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet
the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve,
there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside,
“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches,
including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom
and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more
than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children,
your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and how to fix it.

“Don’t widen the plate.”
Pastor Mike;
Who is thankful for the two ladies who directed me to this story!
(You know who you are!)