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Evergreen Outreach-May 19, 2011

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By Pat Rhodes
We were excited to see the sun shining on Monday as we arrived at the First United Methodist Church for Evergreen Outreach. The warmth from the sun was delightful, despite the cool breeze. We have experienced such a variety of temperature highs and lows here lately. You know what they say about Illinois, “If you don’t like the weather today, stick around, it will change tomorrow.”
Sandy Dothager was already playing the piano when we walked in the door to Wesley Hall. She began, as always, with “Victory in Jesus,” followed by “This is the Day,” “Hawaiian Song,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog” and “Every Day with Jesus.” Sandy really knows how to get a party started.
As the tables filled with our friends from FAYCO, the volunteers began distributing the refreshments. The cookies on Monday were furnished by Cindy Laramee and Shirley Frick. Thank you, ladies, for making sure our guests have delicious homemade cookies each week. Soon, the other buses arrived, bringing the folks from Brookstone, Fayette County Long Term Care and Vandalia Rehab.
We were blessed to have the FourGiven Quartet and the children from Miss Krohe's and Mrs. Rogers' class at Vandalia Christian Academy with us. FourGiven opened with “I Wouldn’t Take Nothin,'” and then the children took the stage to perform several songs,  including “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “I’m Gonna Sing, I’m Gonna Shout, Praise the Lord.” They also sang “We Believe,” to which they signed. When they were finished, FourGiven stepped to the microphones to sing “Thank You for the Miracle,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “John in the Jordan” and “You Are My Sunshine.”
As I watched the guests smile, wave and sway to the beat, I decided that music is the universal language that sooths the souls of all ages.  
The dedicated pinochle players wasted no time getting to their tables to begin their games. In the end, John Hunsley and Wolfram Schlicht won two games and Peggy Lippold and Rosemond Hobler won one. At the second table, Shirley Locke and her partner,  Mary Woolsey, won two, leaving Edith Elliott and Joyce Mueller scoreless.
Phyllis Rames recognized the birthday people of the week: Shirley Brown, Gladys Meador and Nicki Wilson. We did not sing "Happy Birthday" to these folks, due to our expanded entertainment time, so I would like to wish each of you a very happy day!
Carl Rhodes, minister at Northside Christian Church, gave the devotion from Ecclesiastes 8:14-15.
"There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. (15) So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then, joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun."
Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do? Have you ever thought, “God, that doesn’t make sense; why did you allow that to happen?” It’s only human that we look at things that happen around us – we see good fortune come to those who do evil and bad fortune come upon those who try to do the right things. Life appears to be so unfair at times!
In the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer (considered to be Solomon) addresses this very issue. That’s what makes verse 15 so profound, and summarizes the entire theme of the book. The writer, throughout the book, uses the phrase days “under the sun” or days “under heaven” 31 times (in the NIV translation) referring to our life on this earth. He tells us to not focus upon the temporary (the time we have in life), but to focus upon the eternal – upon the time we will spend with God in eternity.
"For now, we carry on with life each day, take the good with the bad, but focus upon our walk with the Lord!"