On four different occasions, our son and I have canoed the Boundary Waters between Canada and the USA. Those trips have filled our memories with a lifetime of experiences. Each one added something to the previous experience. 

Our first experience was the most remembered. We were certainly novices in all things Boundary Waters. We had prepared ourselves as thoroughly as possible. We did our homework on food, fishing, camping, bear-proofing, and safety. 

So when we set out from Moose Lake outside of Ely, Minnesota we were ready for an all day paddle of nearly forty miles. Our goal was the South Arm of Knife Lake. We had gone over and over our maps making sure to mark the various portages to ensure a safe journey to our chosen campsite. 

As we pushed off from the outfitters dock we headed toward the far end of Moose Lake. We hit our rhythm after half an hour and were ready for the long haul. We could see the end of the Lake and all we had to do was look out for the portage. The closer we got to the end of the lake we began to realize that what we were looking at was not the end of the lake but a very large island. 

That was the first of many experiences when our perspective would change. At the beginning of our trip we were certain we were looking at the end of Moose Lake. 

Everything we do in life is from a particular perspective and if we wish to grow as a christian and as a person, we must be willing to change our perspective. How do we change our perspective you ask? Being open to God’s leadership through His Holy Spirit!

-Dr. Hugh Kirby

Happy New Year!

Dr. Hugh Kirby

Dr. Hugh Kirby

I have always approached the new year with mixed feelings. Sometimes I have written down my list of new year resolutions and watched in disbelief as each one eventually went by the wayside. At other times I have limited myself to one simple or one difficult new lifestyle change for the coming year. That too found it’s way into the drink! So you see, I have been good at making attempts at setting goals to accomplish for the coming new year. However, I’ve not been so good at maintaining those goals.    We should not fault ourselves for not keeping the resolutions. If we don’t strive for the goals, we certainly won’t reach any. So, this year I have decided to look for inspiring words that will hopefully open up new opportunities for personal growth. These words are not my own, but I want to share them with you. 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You are doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you are Doing Something.” -Neil Gaiman.    

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one”. -Brad Paisley         

Everything about the future is uncertain, but one thing is for sure. God has already planned our tomorrows, we just have to trust Him today. I wish a beautiful tomorrow for each of you.

Find your wilderness

Dr. Hugh Kirby

Dr. Hugh Kirby

Everywhere I go these days I run into someone who talks about being so busy. I know, it’s the time of the year when we must purchase that last gift or wrap all the purchased ones. There is preparation to be done in anticipation of the family getting together. We truly are loaded down with “to do” lists. It just seems to be the norm to be busier at Christmas with each passing year.       

I’m not inferring that we should change all the things that cause us to be busy. I just want to sound a note for finding some time in this busy season for “being still” or gearing down and catching our breath or being alone with our Lord. For me it is finding time for solitude.      

Throughout my life I have made it my habit to structure my time where I have solitude.  My go to place for quiet and solitude has been the wilderness. My favorite wilderness place is the woods and streams. In fact, when I have been faced with major decisions or struggling with difficulty, walking in some wilderness has been the correct medicine for me. Psalm 46:10 is my go to verse for scripture verse “be still (or quiet) and know that I am God”.

I do hope that you can find your wilderness place this Christmas season and reflect on the birth of our Lord.

Will you keep Christmas?

Dr. Hugh Kirby

Dr. Hugh Kirby

From time to time you come across a simple story that causes your heart and mind to race with understanding and excitement. One such story comes from Henry Van Dyke’s book entitled, The Spirit of Christmas. I want to share it with you.      There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas, and that is keeping Christmas. Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world;---to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are, and to try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;---to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness. 

Are you willing to do these things even for a day?  Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weakness, loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to trim your lamp so it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so your shadow will fall behind you;---are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world, stronger that hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death, and that the belessed life which began in Bethlem two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. 

And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

The Church

Watching the world wake up recently, I was struck with the beauty of a spiders web. It was a large web and yet very intricate. The angle of the early morning light cast a glowing effect on the web. Then to my amazement, I began noticing other webs. Some were more traditional in shape, but the vast majority of the webs seemed to be single threads.       I was mesmerized. There were thousands and thousands of threads through out the forest. They appeared to be holding the entire forest together.   

My mind began thinking of the church. There are all kinds of folks who make up the structure of the church. some possess an influence that is large and intricate. Others are more traditional. Yet the vast majority of folks are like the single thread. They hold the whole thing together.   Our Lord has given each of us the needed ability to be used within our church so we can do the work He calls us to do.   It is my hope that together we can continue the work of those who have poured their hearts and souls into this part of God’s Kingdom. We have been blessed by the leadership we have followed. It is my intension to steer us on the course we have been following. 

I invite you to join me on this journey. It is an honor to be your interim pastor.