Fire House Generations

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2021 Blog Number 47

November 22, 2021

Fire House Generations

During this past week I had the solemn duty to conduct two funeral services. The two gentlemen who died were from the same family. They were in-laws. A married couple from the church had each experienced the death of a father and a father-in-law on the same day. This was certainly unique, but I’m sure it was not unprecedented. But that is not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is to highlight that one death was that of a former fire chief from town. He was certainly remembered well and received full honors from members of Volunteer Fire Company #2 in Bergenfield.

The point of this blog is not the two deaths or the involvement of the firefighters. The point of this is to admire the generations of faithful service that the Hoyt Family has shown our community. Former Chief Norman Hoyt Sr. was buried with full honors but his funeral was organized by another firefighter, Norman Hoyt Jr. Norman Jr’s children, Ryan and Elizabeth are also part of Fire Company #2. They were among the firefighters standing guard at Norman’s funeral service.

I am certainly in awe of the courage and sacrifice of our firefighters. Few people that I know would be willing to run into burning buildings on behalf of strangers and give up long hours to train for preparedness. Yet, these people do that. Former Chief Norman Hoyt Sr. was especially adept at doing that. He is someone who should be honored.

What intrigues me even more is the multi-generational membership of firehouses. Firehouse memberships can become family legacies. I wish that we in the church did so well. Many congregations have members without the zeal that firefighters show. Many of our congregations lose the next generation due to lack of interest. Firehouses seem to do better than we do at keeping the descendants of fire fighters.

I honor the service of the late former chief Norman Hoyt Senior as I do all volunteer firefighters. I admire the courage that these firefighters show and their ability to recruit subsequent generations. Please, firefighters, tell me how I can do the same in our churches. I would love our members to show the same zeal and to keep the next generation interest.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#NormanHoytSr                                                       #NormanHoytJr

#BergenfieldFireCompany#2                                 #ElizabethHoyt

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book:

ahttps://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Generaciones de la Casa de Fuego

Reflexiones ministeriales del lunes
Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Número 47
22 de noviembre de 2021
Generaciones de la Casa de Fuego

Durante esta semana pasada tuve el deber solemne de realizar dos servicios funerarios. Los dos señores que murieron eran de la misma familia. Eran suegros. Una pareja casada de la iglesia había experimentado la muerte de un padre y un suegro el mismo día. Esto fue sin duda único, pero estoy seguro de que no fue sin precedentes. Pero ese no es el sentido de este blog. El punto de este blog es destacar que una muerte fue la de un ex jefe de bomberos de la ciudad. Ciertamente fue bien recordado y recibió todos los honores de los miembros de la Compañía de Bomberos Voluntarios # 2 en Bergenfield.

El punto de este blog no es las dos muertes o la participación de los bomberos. El objetivo de esto es admirar las generaciones de servicio fiel que la Familia Hoyt ha mostrado a nuestra comunidad. El ex jefe Norman Hoyt Sr. fue enterrado con honores completos, pero su funeral fue organizado por otro bombero, Norman Hoyt Jr. Los hijos de Norman Jr, Ryan y Elizabeth también son parte de Fire Company #2. Estaban entre los bomberos de guardia en el funeral de Norman.

Ciertamente, me siento asombrado por el coraje y el sacrificio de nuestros bomberos. Pocas personas que yo sepa estarían dispuestas a correr en edificios ardientes en nombre de extraños y dejar largas horas para entrenar para la preparación. Sin embargo, estas personas lo hacen. El ex jefe Norman Hoyt Sr. fue especialmente hábil para hacerlo. Él es alguien que debe ser honrado.

Lo que me intriga aún más es la membresía multigeneracional de los bomberos. Las membresías de Firehouse pueden convertirse en legados familiares. Me gustaría que en la iglesia lo hiciéramos tan bien. Muchas congregaciones tienen miembros sin el celo que muestran los bomberos. Muchas de nuestras congregaciones pierden la próxima generación debido a la falta de interés. Los bomberos parecen hacer mejor que nosotros para mantener a los descendientes de los bomberos.

Honro el servicio del ex jefe Norman Hoyt Senior como todos los bomberos voluntarios. Admiro el valor que muestran estos bomberos y su capacidad para reclutar a las generaciones posteriores. Por favor, bomberos, dime cómo puedo hacer lo mismo en nuestras iglesias. Me gustaría que nuestros miembros mostraran el mismo celo y mantuviera el interés de la próxima generación.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#NormanHoytSr                                                       #NormanHoytJr

#BergenfieldFireCompany#2                                 #ElizabethHoyt

Para leer más de los escritos del pastor Mark, por favor pida una copia de su libro:

ahttps://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Pride Set Aside

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Pride Set Aside
November 22, 2021

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife. (v. 24)

The Bible tells us quite a bit about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a young woman, still a virgin, chosen by God to bear the promised messiah. She raised Jesus, followed him, and was there when he died on the cross. Mary is central to the story, and yet she was not Jesus’ only earthly parent to exhibit great faith.

I deeply admire Joseph’s willingness to put aside his pride and follow the angel’s directive to take Mary as his wife. Especially under the most extraordinary circumstances. In a culture where Joseph could have had Mary publicly stoned for perceived unfaithfulness, he chose to leave human logic alone and move in faith. At a time when he could have left her in the dust, he made a choice that eventually meant trekking with Mary and the child over dirt roads to Egypt and back again in the fulfillment of prophecy (Hosea 11:1).

Joseph’s faith and humility should inspire us to remember that when we feel we have been slighted on a large or small scale, how we respond can either be a testimony to our own pride or a witness to our enduring reliance on God as our source of value and strength. “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations” (Rev. 15:3). —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, ask God to replace your pride in self with trust in him.

Drop the Net

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Drop the Net
November 21, 2021

Read: Luke 5:1-11

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (v. 10)

One of the first Sunday school songs I learned as a child was Harry D. Clarke’s “Fishers of Men.” The song’s first verse mirrors the words of Jesus to Simon Peter in today’s Scripture passage: “I will make you fishers of men, / If you follow me.”

I find there are two amazing parts about today’s portion of Luke 5. Not only did Jesus promise to transform Simon, James, and his brother John from fishermen to fishers of men, but all three immediately agreed to this substantial life change and followed him! While many of us consider changing jobs and some of us do multiple times in our careers, I would dare say very few people make such a drastic shift as Simon, James, and John did.

So what compelled these three to become the first disciples? Jesus. They had just witnessed his compassion, heard his teaching, and experienced the catch of their lives with his guidance. Jesus had proven himself to them in short order, and they were all in. If we read further in the Gospels, we learn that their willingness to drop their nets meant their inclusion in the greatest story of all time.

Jesus is entirely that compelling, and he is willing to make us fishers of men, women, and children as well. What worldly safety net do you need to drop to more fully follow him? —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, ask God to give you the tools to help make disciples for him.

Leaving the Past in the Past

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Leaving the Past in the Past
November 20, 2021

Read: Philippians 3:7-16

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (v. 13)

In a little more than a month, we will celebrate the start of 2022. As the New Year dawns, millions of people will resolve to make a life change.

A quick online search reveals the top annual resolutions almost always center on losing something—unhealthy habits, excess weight, or poor spending practices. The hard part is that losing the bad in order to gain the good brings with it the task of re-prioritizing. An inability to do that difficult work often results in broken resolutions.

What if we didn’t need to make a whole bunch of changes for the year ahead to be brighter? What if we could set aside the weight of poor decisions, past hurts (even self-inflicted), and dashed hopes? The beautiful thing is we can, with God’s help.

The apostle Paul, formerly called Saul, is a clear example of a life completely changed for the gospel. If Paul had chosen to sit in regret or wallow in guilt over his past deeds, he never would have impacted the world the way God intended. Nor would we continue to draw encouragement from his conversion story today.

What do you need to hand over to God now to experience more joy, more fulfillment, and more zest for life? God can handle any of your baggage. Release it to him, and join Paul in pressing forward, not looking back. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, ask God to help you release what’s holding you back, today.

Provision

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Provision
November 19, 2021

Read: Matthew 6:25-34

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (v. 26)

For several years my parents have had a year-round bird feeder on the railing of the deck behind their house. There is also a hummingbird feeder that comes out in the summer and a suet ball hung in the nearby crab apple tree during the winter.

My mom and dad have the joy of watching the birds thrive. The robins are regulars, and over the years we’ve all stood at the window to admire the occasional cardinal or blue jay. No one really talks much about the sparrows, but there are always plenty of them. Even though they don’t seem that exciting or have especially vibrant feathers, they get the same treatment as all the other birds. They come. They are fortified. They come again. Oh, that our faith in God’s providence could mirror the sparrows at my parents’ feeder!

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he told all gathered there of God’s love and providence. It didn’t matter who anyone was or their social standing, Jesus urged each of them to know that God’s care for them was far greater than anything else in his creation, including the birds: “Are you not of more value than they?” (v. 28).

When we next choose to be anxious for tomorrow, fearing we may not have or even be enough, may we then also choose to let go of our fear and instead trust God for his daily provision for us. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, thank God for his continual care and faithfulness.

Rebirth

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Rebirth
November 18, 2021

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10

[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions . . . (v. 5 NIV)

My home state of Michigan is known for its great variety of trees. Each spring the maple and birch trees on my favorite running path bud with new life, the leaves eventually providing welcome shade during warm summer runs, and a satisfying crunch underfoot in the fall. I run the least in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees and the cold wind whistles through the bare branches.

While I sometimes wish we could bypass winter altogether, continually surrounded by shades of green or yellow or red, I am old enough to know new life can spring best out of what appeared formerly barren. Like the trees on my path that must shed their leaves in order to stay alive, I too have experienced the growth that comes through times of trial, trials God has used to increase my reliance on him.

Paul reminded the Ephesian believers of God’s great love and mercy (v. 4) and their heavenly placement by his choice (v. 6), regardless of their former sins. God chose to make them alive with Christ though they had been dead in their transgressions (v. 5).

These promises are true for God’s people today as well. As the seasons of life come and go there will undoubtedly be times of barrenness when we feel cold and alone. In those times may we not forget that our God is one of rebirth, bringing new life out of death for all who believe! —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, thank God for his work of rebirth and new life.

Finding Rest

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Finding Rest
November 17, 2021

Read: Genesis 1:31-2:3

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (2:2 NIV)

I love the fall season in the Midwest. When my family and I lived in rural Iowa, the fall meant combines in the fields, soybean dust in the air, and field corn piled high near the local mill. The harvest was hard work, but it yielded food, celebration, and relief. God provided, even if the spring had been wet or the summer unseasonably dry.

Once the fields were harvested and the grain stored or sold, the farmland entered a season of rest. This rest was not because the farmers had become lazy; it was because the Midwest environment demanded it. Fall would soon turn to winter and the land would be blanketed in snow, the moisture helping prepare it for the next year’s hoped-for successful planting season.

God knew when it was time to rest, as the story of creation reminds us. Following the greatest artistic work of all time, even the maker of the universe took a break. Perhaps this year, or even this week, you have been working hard to create or maintain many good things, but at what expense? Are you stressed? Are you just too tired?

After God rested, he began work on his greatest creation: humankind. I would encourage you to follow God’s lead, regularly letting go and finding rest, so you can do his work well and truly appreciate the harvest of God’s blessings. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, praise God for the gift of rest and renewal.

Letting Go

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Letting Go
November 16, 2021

Read: Luke 1:5-23

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard . . .” (v. 13)

As I write this devotional series themed “Letting Go, and Letting God,” the world continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. How fitting this call to action is right now! The pandemic has forced me to let go of many plans over the last year and a half. While this has been an alarmingly consistent shock to the system, the reality is that relinquishing control has not just been an option; it’s been the only option.

Zechariah may not have felt the effects of a pandemic, but his life plans certainly changed when he, already “an old man,” learned he would become a first-time dad! Things changed quickly for Elizabeth as well when her husband returned home mute and had to use hand gestures to share the amazing news.

Undoubtedly, God’s plan was far more than what Zechariah could have ever dared dream. Imagine being told your long-awaited child will pave the way for the Lord himself “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (v. 17)! I can just picture this couple’s eyes meeting over Elizabeth’s growing belly and them shaking their heads in wonder.

Have you prayed for something wonderful for several years? Has God’s apparent lack of an answer caused you to try to control a situation ultimately out of your control? Perhaps it’s time to let go, and let God more fully reveal his plan and timing. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, thank God that he never lets go of you.

Veteran’s Day; Celebration or Solemn?

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2021 Blog Number 46

November 15, 2021

Veteran’s Day; Celebration or Solemn?

During this past week, all over Facebook I have been watching posts that wish people a “happy Veterans Day. The sentiment is nice but too many veterans have suffered too much for this to be a “happy day.” Too many of our veterans have physical and mental wounds some of which will never heal. This is a day to thank veterans but it does not seem like any event that should be “celebrated.” The word “celebrate” seems to me as if it implies a party.

Fortunately, many of our veterans did not return from deployment scarred mentally or physically. Nevertheless, their deployments interrupted their lives as well as the lives of their families. Soldiers when away to other places miss out on important events in the lives of children. Most of us simply take these times with our children for granted. Our veterans, and active-duty personnel give up on a lot of things as they serve our country.

My daughters are now in their thirties. I remember fondly attending their births. The memories of those births are embedded in my mind. Many of our soldiers have no such memories. My son-in-law missed the birth of his son, my grandson because the army would not grant him leave from an overseas deployment. I will never forget the joy on his face when he returned and got to see his little boy for the first time. I was thrilled with the joy of that day but regret that he had to give up the joy of seeing the little boy born.

Yes, Veterans and Active-duty troops need our thanks, respect, and support. I am grateful for their service to our nation. I am also thankful to the families who sacrifice a great deal while their soldiers are away. Veteran’s Day must remain an important day for us but it must never be a day of happiness. It must be a solemn day of Thanksgiving to those who have given so much for us.

Veterans, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you. Let me know how I can express my thanks to you.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#Veteran’sDay                                                          #Veterans

#MilitaryDeployment                                                #MilitaryFamilies                             

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book:

ahttps://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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