A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

FaithBITs will be: emailed on Monday mornings, archived on this page, available on our social media channels and printed and available at the Welcome Desk.

June 1, 2020


The Capacity to Help

Reflection by David Beach (Dave is second from the left)

I’ve helped served breakfast many times at the emergency overnight shelter in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church. Hundreds and hundreds of eggs, pancakes, sausages, hash browns and dirty dishes later, it’s still easily the most worthwhile, satisfying thing on my far-too-short list of “Things I Do for Others.”

The truth is, plus or minus a couple of degrees, any one of us could suddenly find ourselves homeless and in desperate need of support. Honest. I’ve certainly never served anyone at Simpson who looked like they “deserved” or “wanted” to be there. But one real bad break can lead to another. And another. And another.

Some of us are “lucky,” I guess, but none of us are truly immune. Homelessness is very complicated, and there are surely as many unfortunate, frustrating stories as there are individuals at Simpson. Life’s just not easy for anyone, and I’m confident God is acutely aware of that. He sees all our sufferings, of every variety, and He knows the score.

So, we’re “called to care and sent to serve,” even if we don’t have the power to solve the many underlying issues that drive our biggest challenges. Providing a hot breakfast meal at least offers sustenance—maybe even a measure of hope—to some folks that could really use either or both. And if we have the capacity to help, why wouldn’t we?

When they’re done, diners deposit their dirty dishes in a plastic bin in a passthrough window between the kitchen and dining room areas. Invariably, a handful of folks out of the 50 or 60 we serve each morning stick their heads through that window and joyously express their gratitude for our efforts.

We shout back something like “You’re welcome.” And in that moment, both the cooks and the diners are exposed for what they are: Human beings fighting the good fight. There but for the grace of God we all go, as they say, plus or minus a couple of degrees.

Note: Immanuel is scheduled to serve at Simpson again this Fall.  Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you’re interested in serving in this capacity.

May 25, 2020


Pandemic Faith Group

Reflection by Kari Totall

The last time our Faith Group met face to face was February 15, 2020. We had Faith Group scheduled for March, however COVID-19 had other ideas about groups gathering together. We’ve really missed having intentional time to connect….it has been hard! I was missing our time together and didn’t really think about other options to connect.

Last week Tammy Vergeront texted me and said “Hey, let’s have a Zoom Faith Group!” Why didn’t I think about this option?

Our group met Saturday, May 16th. Highs and lows were shared along with prayer concerns, smiles, love, tears and virtual hugs. We are meant to be in community; to care and love each other!

It’s important for us to find new ways to gather in small groups and continue to see each other’s faces, as well as support and pray for one another. In our Faith Group alone people have been experiencing job losses, distance learning, long hours at work, isolated family members, sick parents and grandparents, to only name a few of life’s challenges!! We have so missed our small group connecting and praying for one another! This support and care for one other is even more important now as we have been sheltering in place.

Faith Group leaders, setting up a Zoom Faith Group is a simple thing to do! Find the date and time that works best for your group and email Kim Rathjen (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) she will send you as the Faith Group leader all the info you need to set up a Zoom meeting, forward those details to your group and gather in a new way!! Immanuel has a Zoom membership so no 40-minute time limits on meetings!

After meeting with our Faith Group on Saturday and listening to Pastor Paul’s sermon on Sunday I am left with profound feelings of love for my Immanuel family! I miss you all so much. This time will pass, and we will gather again, but until then continue to be intentional about finding new ways to be together! Scripture really reinforced that this week!

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Note: If you’re not in a Faith Group but have a group of friends from church that you’d like to connect with, please ask .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to set you up for a Zoom meeting!

May 18, 2020


Rooftop Encounter

Reflection by Alex Paster (Alex, a high school senior, first shared this in February during a youth-led worship)

I believe trust is a significant part of our faith. If we didn’t have trust, how would we believe in these quite amazing stories that we hear of in the Bible. But I also believe trust is also the thing that keeps you faithful.

For example, when I went to Mexico through the church, I didn’t think I wanted to go. I had always wanted to go to Mexico because my mom is a Spanish teacher and I had always loved the culture and the language. I thought going there for a mission trip would ruin my way of thinking about Mexico and poverty in general. I never wanted to think of such a beautiful country by defining it by what I had seen in those poor cities.

After a while of thinking about the trip, I had said that I didn’t want to go. But, my mom had already put us down to go, so I didn’t have a choice. And she asked me to trust her in her decision.

Fast forward to the trip.  One day, probably the third day, we went to a community named Tultitlan…and that city is garbage. It literally was built on a landfill. The people’s houses that were there were either remnants of houses or they were just built out of the trash that was there. So, when we were there, we were working in the building owned by the community that was probably the only free-standing building that they had there. And we were working to try and to take off their roof and make a new one. But the building had a tar roof on it, and you would think it wouldn’t be so difficult but all the materials they had were kitchen knives. So, we had to get a tar roof off with some kitchen knives in the Mexican sun and that took a long while to do. But working with us was a kid named Martin. He lived about a half a mile away from where the building was so when we got the opportunity to go and eat lunch with these families, my dad and I chose to go eat with Martin. So, we’re walking through and seeing all these houses built out of trash and we come to Martin’s house, or lack thereof. It was a shack with half a roof that had some animals in it and a table and some chairs. So, there we ate our lunch. We ate a dish called posole. I don’t know if you guys have had that, but that is to this day one of my favorite dishes that I have ever tried.

So, fast forward to today. I believe God sent me and my dad to go see Martín, because that day I figured out that this is what the culture is really about. Culture isn’t all about what the country has to offer, it’s more about what the country’s people have to offer.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget Martín and his family, because the experience has really shaped who I am in ways I cannot explain. An experience like that is meant to change the way you look at God and all of God’s people, and it certainly did for me.

So, I want to challenge you and step out of your comfort zone because you might experience something life changing. Immanuel has all these amazing opportunities, and all you need to do is trust in God.

Archive of the current year

May 25, 2020: Pandemic Faith Group by Kari Totall
May 18, 2020: Rooftop Encounter by Alex Paster
May 11, 2020: Reunited-Faith and Friendship by Marc Beyer
May 4, 2020: Swooshing with Jesus by Jeanne Sundquist
April 27, 2020: Quarantine Gratitude by Deb Herrera
April 20, 2020: No Barriers, Boundaries, or Borders by Eliana Hanson and Barb Savereide
April 13, 2020: Light in the Darkness by Norah Bracke
April 6, 2020: Unexpected Blessings by Cindy Paulson
March 30, 2020: The Sanctuary Was Empty by Lori Hanken
March 20, 2020: Peace…like a superpower by Tony Szczepaniak
March 13, 2020: Food Insecurity in Eden Prairie by Cari Larsen
March 6, 2020: The Seven Last Words of Christ by Diane Johnson
February 28, 2020, Behind the Scenes by Pastor Angela
February 21, 2020: Acts of Service by Kari Totall
February 14, 2020: Live in the Moment by Nora Fairbanks
February 7, 2020: Dear God…7th Graders’ Prayers
January 31, 2020: Front Row Church Buddy by Glen Person and Sara Koepp
January 24, 2020: I Have Cancer by Dave Nieting
January 17, 2020: Experiencing God through Service and Music by Hope Anderson
January 10, 2020: Everyday Faith - From Hand to Hand by Pastor Angela
January 3, 2020: Following Jesus in the New Year by Martin Rathjen

Archived FaithBITs from Previous Years


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