November 2023

Dear Chapel Family and Friends,

I hope this letter finds you full of Jesus’ grace and peace.  Our inheritance as sons and daughters of the Living God far surpasses any honor or privilege the world might offer.  The bond of fellowship we have in the Holy Spirit is a rich gift in a time when too many people struggle with loneliness.

November is my favorite month, mostly because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The transition from fall to winter brings prospects of snow and adventure.  I also love unpacking our Christmas decorations and planning our Christmas celebration.  It also happens to be the month when college football gets very exciting!

This fall has been unusually busy with another favorite ministry for me: pre-marital counseling and weddings.  I will officiate five weddings between now and next summer.  In fact, as I write this letter Karen and I are in Wisconsin officiating at the wedding of a young woman who is like a daughter to us.  She refers to Karen as her second mom.  Needless to say I have done a good bit of thinking, studying and mediating in God’s Word on God’s gift of the covenant of Christian marriage.

One passage that is often mis-understood is 2 Corinthians 6:14.  The New Living Translation reads

“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.”  More traditional translations read “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”  This is often seen in a negative light, and to be honest that is valid.  However, there is a practical side to this warning.

The image of being yoked refers seeing cattle as work animals.  Often two animals are “yoked.”  This means that are bound to the same harness with the intent that they work together, pulling in the same direction with equal effort and commitment.  If they are “unequally yoked,” it means they pull in different directions, even in opposite directions.  Unequally yoked partners may end up working against one another instead of in partnership with one another.  

There is another dynamic of equal yoking. (I think I just made that term up!). In county fairs across the country there is a common contest where beasts of burden compete to pull the heaviest load.  Animals are harness to a sled, and they must pull the sled a certain distance.  If they are successful more weight is added to the sled until they cannot pull it the required distance.

At one such contest the winning animal pulled a sled weighing 1000 pounds.  The second place animal pulled a sled weighing 950 pounds.  Someone decided to experiment and yoke both animals and see how much they might pull together.  Simple math says they could pull 1950 pounds.  However, they pulled a sled that weighed 2500 pounds!  There is a unique dynamic at work when animals (and people) are equally yoked and pulling in the same direction.

I think this also speaks to our current sermon series on Belonging.  There are times when people think attending church is enough.  However, there is a HUGE difference between attending and belonging.  Belonging means that we covenant together to walk and work in the same direction toward the goal that Jesus sets before us.  And of this we can be sure: God can accomplish more that the simple sum of the commitment, gifts and skills we as individuals bring to the table.

My hope for you and for us is that we fully embrace our call to belong to one another, to “hitch” ourselves to one another and work together toward the goals set before us.  In doing so, we embark on a journey where God can accomplish more than we could even hope or imagine.

In Christ’s Joyful Service,


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