Member Lora Fouch was the speaker for the fifth Lenten Luncheon last Wednesday at the host church, First United Methodist of Vandalia.
The guests were seated at round tables, decorated with simple wooden crosses sitting in bases of greenery and flowers.
The church pastor, the Rev. Terry Westerfield, welcomed all present and asked the blessing for the meal prepared and served by the women of the church.
Following the meal, Pastor Westerfield introduced the musicians, Jim Staff playing the banjo and Melody Staff Freeman accompanying him on the piano. Brother and sister, they are members of an accomplished family of musicians, and both play various instruments very proficiently.
Following the music, Pastor Westerfield introduced the speaker, a newly accredited layman speaker, read Psalm 139 verses 23-24, asking God to search and test one’s own heart, acknowledging one’s own faults because, she quoted, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge – confess your sins and repent.
She also read from Matthew 7: 34, referring to judging others, and from II Corinthians 13:5, to test yourself to see if your own faith is genuine, real and true. She said that she believed that God is more concerned with the conditions of our hearts than any outward expressions of doing without certain things.
“We all sin and we need help from God to change these things in our lives that does not produce God’s fruit. “We need to be pruned,” she said, referring to John 15.
She compared our spiritual journey to a GPS.
“Do you know where you are on God’s GPS?,” she asked, and presented some soul-searching questions to ask of ourselves.
“The Bible is our GPS,” she said, “and God is our driver. We need the Word of God in us every day to keep us driving toward a closer relationship with Him.
"Our goal is to move toward our final destination of heaven. “Punch in ‘Heaven’ on the GPS, and God will see that we get there.”
She concluded her talk with a direct, but humorous poem that reminded that we should not judge others, but should examine and test ourselves, so that our friends and acquaintances whom we think may not go to Heaven will not be surprised to see that we made it.
The poem drew much laughter, while it also impressed on all the truth of its contents.