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Linda Stoddard

Photo above: The Rev. Linda Stoddard at work in her church office. Linda welcomes your questions and inquiries about Maple United Methodist and the Christian tradition. She will help you to find the answers you seek.

If you'd like to meet with Rev. Stoddard to discuss a personal or spiritual matter, please call the church office at (269) 964-1252 or click here to send an e-mail inquiry.

You may also speak with Linda after our Sunday morning worship services. (Click here for service times.) We'd love to meet you!

Did you know? Rev. Stoddard is also an accomplished speaker, poet and author. To read a recent pastoral message from Rev. Stoddard, click here now.

A Special Pastoral Message from Rev. Linda

 

January 2019

              How is your HOPE?  Does it bounce back after being hit?  Does it cause you to doubt when you lose it in a difficult or distressing situation?

              God knows that we all struggle with finding and holding onto HOPE.  When you are facing tests of faith, even the strongest of Christian can find it a challenge to find and hold onto it.

              During 2019, our focus word for the year will be HOPE

                            On the first Sunday of nearly every month, we’ll be talking about                             HOPE…  

                                          We’ll be creating a HOPE garden…

                                                        We’re having a HOPE potluck…

 

 

              There is no question but what our world is struggling to find HOPE.  Despair, anger, frustration, discouragement seems to permeate our news.  There are a few rays of HOPE—thankfully, Lester Holt and others attempt to end their newscasts with an encouraging or inspiring story of some kind.

              But, I’m often reminded of a song made popular by Anne Murray.  The refrain contains this haunting line—“Sure could use a little ‘good news’ today”.

 

 

              One of our goals as a church is to create an atmosphere of HOPE that will bring others into our fellowship to learn about and discover a relationship with the source of our HOPE—Jesus the Christ.  As Christians, people look to us for encouragement, inspiration, and yes, HOPE!  Truthfully speaking, where else in the world can we turn for a little bit of hope in the despair …light in the darkness…and forgiveness amidst the condemnation?

 

              As far back as the prophet Isaiah, we read—THE PEOPLE WALKING IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT; ON THOSE LIVING IN THE LAND OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, A LIGHT HAS DAWNED.  (Isaiah 9:2)

              Jesus told His followers (including us)—YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  A CITY ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN….LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.  (Matthew 5:14,16)

 

              Our world today is surely looking for that light in the darkness…that life in the face of death and destruction…that HOPE in the midst of conflict and turmoil, hatred and anger.  We are called to BEthat HOPE for others.  We can’t do it alone…we need one another for encouragement and strength.  And we need to cling closely to Jesus—our Rock and our HOPE in the swirling seas of change.

 

              From the psalmist---WHY ARE YOU CAST DOWN, O MY SOUL, AND WHY ARE YOU DISQUIETED WITHIN ME? HOPE IN GOD; FOR I SHALL AGAIN PRAISE HIM. (Psalm 42:5 RSV)

 

With HOPE in 2019,

Rev. Linda

   
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