May 26 2013

So Blessed!

“And God can give you more blessings than you need.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

_CES5609Since I’ve written about my “new beginnings” a few times in recent months I thought I’d give everyone an update on things. I am really enjoying my new church. That comes as no surprise. I made three visits to the church prior to moving to Henderson so I already knew the people were wonderful and that the church had a lot going for it. Also, one of my best friends served as pastor of this church for ten years and he assured me I would enjoy this particular congregation.  I really do feel blessed to be serving where I am.

_CES2612After being in Henderson for nearly a month I can also say that I am thrilled with my new community. There are lots of things that impress me about this community but here, too, this comes as no surprise. I liked what I saw before I moved here and heard many people give testimonies about how much they enjoy living in Henderson.  What has come as a bit of a surprise to me is the natural beauty of the area.  I will confess I was hesitant about leaving the mountains of eastern Kentucky. They had been home to me for almost twenty-five years.  I love the mountains and also have found great pleasure over the years exploring and photographing them.  Somehow I convinced myself that by leaving the mountains I would not have as many opportunities to photograph the beauty of God’s Creation. I have quickly learned that I was wrong.

_CES2581I spent a couple of evenings this past week watching the sun set over the Ohio River. Yesterday I went out photographing with Gene Stinson, a local photographer I had recently met. He showed me around the Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area. In just a few short hours we saw six bald eagles and numerous other bird species. I also got to photograph several species of dragonflies. We saw whitetail deer and wild turkeys roaming around. Gene also showed me a beautiful cypress swamp. I found myself feeling both ecstatic and relieved. There will be no shortage of things to photograph at my new home!

_CES5660Today I truly do feel so blessed. I am very thankful for my new job, my new community, and for the natural beauty that surrounds me here. I offer my praise to God for being so good to me. I have a feeling, however,  that if you’ll stop and think about it you, too, can offer the same testimony.  If so, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell others about God’s goodness and love. And having been so richly blessed by our Maker, we should do all we can to be a blessing to others.  I have certainly been reminded in recent days that there are more than enough blessings to go around.  To God be the glory!

–Chuck

(All the pictures shown here were taken yesterday at Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area.)


May 5 2013

New Beginnings–Again!

AD2471Right before leaving Pikeville a dear friend gave me a stone that had engraved upon it the words “New Beginnings.”  This time in my life truly is a period of new beginnings.  I made the move to Henderson, Kentucky, this past Tuesday. I started my new job at the First Christian Church of Henderson on Wednesday. This morning it was my privilege to share my first message with this congregation as their new pastor. Although new beginnings can be very stressful and scary, I am excited about where God has brought me and I look forward to what is ahead.

AD2408I’m glad that my new beginning has coincided with the season of spring. Spring in many ways represents a new beginning for the earth. I was reminded of that a few days ago as I took a walk in nearby John James Audubon State Park. The wildflowers bursting forth from the ground and the countless shades of green in the trees reminded me of the scripture where God declares that He makes “all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) This afternoon I saw a robin feeding its chicks. Once again there was the reminder, “I make all things new.”   Wherever I seem to glance this time of the year this is the message that presents itself to me.AD2480I see behind both my own new beginning and the signs of new beginnings in nature a God of grace and mercy. I see a God who finds delight in offering us a new beginning every single day. In the third chapter of the Book of Lamentations we find these beautiful words: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (vs. 22-23) How awesome it is that we get a chance to start over or begin again every day of our lives! It is even more awesome to know that the God of all Creation is with us on this journey and provides us with both His presence and love constantly.

When you wake up tomorrow, make sure to offer thanks to God for the gift of new beginnings. And then do it again the day after that.  And the day after that…

–Chuck

(I took the three images shown here this past week at John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, KY.)


Jun 13 2009

New Beginnings

pine-mountain-sunrise-512Yesterday was my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary.  Bonita and I went to Pine Mountain State Resort Park to spend the night and celebrate.  This morning I decided to get up early and try to catch a sunrise.  The scene that greeted me was beautiful.  There was a river of fog flowing through the valley far below and the first light of dawn was quite lovely.  I took a few pictures (including the one above) and then the light fizzled out.  After this I just sat back on the rocks and spent some time thinking and praying.  

Perhaps it was because we had just celebrated our anniversary–or maybe the fact that I had just watched a new day dawn– but I found myself thinking about new beginnings.   When I was younger there was a popular saying that went: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  That is a truth worth remembering.  So is the incredible message proclaimed in Lamentations 3:22-23 which tells us that God’s “compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.”   After recording this, the biblical writer declared: “Great is Thy faithfulness.”  Every day I try to thank God for His new mercies and a new beginning.

Sunrises also remind me that God’s creation is ongoing.  This is something John Muir wrote about.  He said, “We live in ‘creation’s dawn.’  The morning stars still sing together, and the world, though made, is still being made and becoming more beautiful every day.”  As I watched the fog flow through the valley this morning it did, in fact, seem like “creation’s dawn.”  I couldn’t help but stop and pray, “Thank you, Lord, for new beginnings.

–Chuck Summers