Thursday, August 03, 2006

This is Howard...

 
This is Howard...

I was out walking tonight and took this picture of the new Howard sign. They put it in for Howard's 125th anniversary. Nice. It is a nice place to be. They tell me Howard is typical South Dakota. Well, I am a born and bred Nebraska boy, so I'm not sure exactly what that means. If it means the people are warm and friendly to a fault, well that's Howard. It's a place where it's not unusual for the local businesses to make special arrangements for their customers. "It's part of what we do so we can live in a place like this." I was told by one of them. "It's what makes Howard... well Howard." He said. I guess that's small town middle america talking.

And yet, there are many folks here who just need to hear the Gospel again. Lots of us around here grew up with the faith and it's easy to take it for granted. It's easy to let it be a small part of your whole life and kind of forget that it's most important thing in your whole life...a little like breathing. What Jesus did for us is so much a part of who we are, so much a part of everything we do, that we can't really imagine life any other way. What we forget is that there are people around us who don't know about Jesus. We forget that there are people around us who haven't heard about Jesus in a long time. We forget that the privilege of hearing about the forgiveness of sins in Jesus isn't a common thing. Everyone needs to hear about their sin and Jesus death on the cross to take it away. Even those who firmly hold on to God's promise in Jesus to do just that. We forget that lot's of our friends and neighbors don't hear about that, even on Sundays. Well, that's why God puts His people in small towns, too. What a privilege it is to live in a place where we can really get to know people. God puts us next door to someone we get to know better than they do in big cities. We share common community meals together. We sit by each other at High School football games. We find ourselves together at the post office and the grocery store. If we could just remember to share the thing that is more important to us than anything else. Hey, it really doesn't matter if they know Jesus already. God puts us across the table in the coffee shop to speak forgiveness in Jesus over a coffee cup, especially to a neighbor we know very well.

So I thank God for living in a small town. A place where neighbors still care about each other, and even occasionally go out of their way to help. Is Howard perfect? No. People are people. Sin is sin. Bad news travels fast in small groups. Jesus is there, too, because we are there. He puts us there to speak about Him. This is Howard...

Pastor Watt

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1 comment:

Allen said...

Your piece on Howard made me slightly homesick and thinking of the "good ole days." As a Nebraska farm boy small towns were a part of my life. After graduatiion from the Sem I served in two small towns in Michigans's Upper Peninsula for 25 years. I then moved on to eventually become Senior Pastor of a large church/school in Fort Wayne. Now retired I think often of what I see as the many advantages of a small town/church.

Blessings to you and the people of God in Howard.