Wing-A-Thon Fundraiser – Mark Your Calendars

Mark Your Calendars for the Wing-A-Thon Fundraiser!

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to support your local Baruch community as they compete to eat the most chicken wings in one hour and raise the most funds for their community! This event will be live-streamed on YouTube from 2 pm to 3:15 pm on April 12th, 2024. Who will take home the trophy and be declared the Wing Champions? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Last year, 32 teams from nine different Baruch communities participated in this event. A combined total of 2,469 wings were consumed in one hour and over $15,000 was raised! The Community Support Award went to Georgetown & Cambridge Manor who raised over $8,700 for their Patio Project. The Team Support Award and the Wing Champions Award went to the Wing Warriors from Georgetown & Cambridge after they raised over $3,000 and ate 241 chicken wings.

This event is a great way to get involved in your local Baruch community! Mark your calendars and tune in on April 12.

Want to support your local Baruch community by participating? Create your team, fill out this form and email it to allyson.hoekzema@baruchsls.org. All wing-eaters will receive a Wing-A-Thon shirt!Do you own a business or know a business that would like to sponsor this event? Fill out this form and email it to allyson.hoekzema@baruchsls.org.Want to donate? Click here!

God is LOVE – February Spiritual Care Blog

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:7-12

Looking at our passage, we see the word love bolded thirteen times! God does the initiating of his love by sending his one and only Son, Jesus, into the the world (vs.9) to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (vs.10). God did not have to send Jesus. He could have left us in our sin. Yet, God’s love is so deep and so wide (Ephesians 3:18-19) he rescued us from our sin. He initiated our redemption through the blood of Jesus. In verses 8,11 and 12, we see God’s love is not passive, rather it changes and transforms us. We cannot love if we do not know God, because God is love. We are his creation, made in his image, and an extension of his love. God’s love drives us to care for a person in need, to offer empathy to a grieving friend, to rejoice with one who comes to know Christ.

Today, I offer you a challenge – how will you initiate God’s love to another person encountering a mental health crisis, a friend with differing political views, apologizing to your brother or sister, asking forgiveness for your mistakes or listening well to someone else’s feelings and concerns.

You and I do not love because we want to. We love because God first loved us. His love creates a desire within us to be obedient to him in giving his love to those around us. We love because God’s love changes and transforms us.

The month of February is about LOVE. As Valentine’s Day approaches, take the initiative to love others as God loves you and watch it change and transform you and the person you shared it with.

Chaplain Val

The Great Commandment – January Spiritual Care Blog

“’The most important one’, answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12: 28-34 (part)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13: 34-35

Jesus was asked a question. “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” And with this question, he answered clearly and directly. Love God, Love others; especially loving others as Jesus loves us. This is our purpose.

There is a lot of pain and tragedy in the world. And not just “out there.” As individuals we experience a great deal in our own lives, too. Many questions about why and how go unanswered. People attack one another verbally and physically over big and often very small issues. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be different. We are called to live out what Jesus clearly answered.

This first week of January is still in the season of Christmas in which we remember the Good News of God’s love for us. We are called to live out the Great Commandment with God’s help. We are called to be the best versions of ourselves and of the church as we possibly can be. As people with the power of the Spirit of God in us, we can help bring about, more and more, God’s Kingdom here on Earth as it is in heaven. Here in Michigan, here in (the name of your town/facility), as it is in heaven.

Recently, I was at Cedar Cove in the Upper Peninsula and this was the message of the week on the board in their activities room.

In a world where we can be many things. In a world where people speak and act in many ways, not often in line with the Way of Love…. In a world where we can be almost anything,

Let us be like Jesus!

Chaplain Karen

Who Has Time For Peace? – December Spiritual Care Blog

Peace is a popular word at Christmas time. We hear it in songs. The theme of one Advent Sunday is peace. Eve the shepherds in the Christmas story heard the angels say, “Peace On Earth”.

It is obvious the shepherds, angels, and everyone else has not lived my life. Who has time for peace? My family has things for me to do. There are special services to rehearse at church and the assisted living facility. Shopping for gifts and food keep me running. We have get togethers with family and friends. Then there was the year my dad decided to become ill during the holidays. Inconveniently, he passed away and really took away from my idea of the perfect, peaceful Christmas season.

The Angels singing, “Peace on Earth”, was an announcement that Jesus was born. Jesus had arrived on earth as the Prince of Peace. The Shepherds did the most beautiful thing. They went to be in the presence of God. God had arrived in the flesh, in a baby, in a stable. In the stable, the shepherds were assured that everything would be o.k. God’s presence was with them. In 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was feeling the way many of us have felt during the Christmas season. It seemed life had its ups and downs. Longfellow was feeling quite down during the Christmas season.

He was living during the Civil War. His son had been seriously wounded in the war. He was grieving the loss of his wife. Grief is love that has nowhere to go. As a poet, he sat down and composed a poem.

“I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old, familiar carols play; and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men. And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.’”

We’ve all felt that way. We are down because life isn’t the way we want it to be. Longfellow was a person of faith. He didn’t end his poem with head bowed down. He ended his poem with the peace of God strengthening him during a difficult time.

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”

Chaplain Jeff Meyers

Giving Thanks for God’s Bounty – November Spiritual Care Blog

It is a cool, autumn, October morning. Looking out my window, I am seeing God’s
bounty of sunshine and His clouds floating across the sky casting shadows over the
green grass. The trees with their mild shades of yellow, green, orange and red are
swaying to and for in the breeze and two steer are feasting on the abundance of
grass in the prairie. Soon, though, the grass will die away in the cold, winter air.

Opening my window, I am feeling cool air rushing across my cheeks and the
warmth of the sun on my feet, reminding me of the changing seasons. One is
leaving, the other is coming.

Yesterday, I was tasting God’s bounty from our garden. I made a garden casserole
filled with rice, onions, tomatoes and zucchini topped with Velveeta cheese and
bacon! Yummy! From our garden, I picked tomatoes, made tomato sauce and
enjoyed gathering pumpkins and gourds to share with family and friends.

When I think about God’s bounty it is a gift generously given. I encourage you to
begin using your five senses to discover God’s bounty in your life. Every day we live
in the abundance of His generosity toward us. John 1:16 tells us, “We all live off his
generous bounty, gift after gift after gift” (MSG). Through seeing, smelling, tasting,
touching and hearing, we can give thanks for God’s abundance in our life.

God’s most bountiful gift is found in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own
love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. This gift of
salvation is something we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear through scripture,
prayer and interacting in our communities with fellow believers. What joys and
blessings we receive from God’s gift of salvation!

Psalm 34:8 encourages us with these two senses: “Taste and see that the LORD is
good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him”.

This fall season, be intentional of using your five senses to be aware of God’s
bounty. If needed, write on your calendar each day one of God’s bountiful gifts using
your senses. Remember, His bounty is not only outward but also inward – our
words, our attitude, our thoughts, our daily rhythm of life. Isaiah 55:6 reminds us to
“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near”. Don’t
wait or it will be too late, and you will have missed His bountiful goodness toward
you!!

Enjoy seeking the Lord and His bountiful blessings!
Chaplain Val

Giving Thanks for the Seasons – October Spiritual Care Blog

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Harvest season at the end of summer is wonderful. Vegetables fresh from the farm. Red
and orange tomatoes, full heads of cauliflower, broccoli, and squash. Corn so tender
and sweet, needing only a light drizzle of butter. Each bite crisp and very, very good. I
also like asparagus in the spring, and juicy oranges from Florida in the winter season.
Each season brings its own goodness. And to get that goodness requires a lot.

Jesus often used images of seasons and farming. Farmers understand that timing is
important. That crops need nurture and time and attention. That the soil needs rest in
between times of growth and abundance. Farmers understand cycles of birth and
death. They have learned that out of death comes new life in seeds. Farming may not
be as familiar to us as it was to the people in Jesus’ time, but the images do still teach us
about living our human lives.

Life is not just constant abundance. We have endings, and pauses, often not of our own
choosing. We have times where we are growing physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
We have times of “harvest” where we complete projects or see where we’ve made a
difference. We also have different seasons of life as we age.

Ecclesiastes 3 ponders the meaning and purpose of life, and that there is goodness in
every part. Each “season” of life has value. Paul wrote in Philippians “I have learned the
secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether
living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” He is
talking about developing an attitude of thanksgiving, of believing that God is at work in
every season of our life. Each day, each season, may we grow in this gratitude. Every
day, remember to ask, “Where do we see good and where do we see God at work?”

Chaplain Karen

A Caregiver’s Toolbox – September Spiritual Care Blog

Caregiving is a series of attitudes and behaviors that are learned over time. The toolbox for a caregiver is filled with a variety of skills. Below are some of the items found in a caregiver’s toolbox.

Compassion: Jesus was filled with compassion when He ministered. Compassion is kindness in action. It is a way of relating to one another on a caring level.

Kindness: Kindness is a characteristic of the Spirit. D.W. Williams and Willie Williams each lived to be 105 years old. They were married for 82 years. They said the secret to a long marriage was being nice to each other. That’s pretty good advice.

Prayer: Praying for someone is to place them in God’s hands. We provide the care and God provides the cure. Not only do we tell people we will pray for them. We can actually follow through and pray for someone.

Saying a Blessing: When we bless someone, we say good words about them and to them. We all desire to hear good words. Compliments can really make a person’s day. Saying good words will have a ripple effect on those around you.

A Cup of Cold Water: Jesus talks about the importance of doing little things to let people know you care. In Matthew 10:42 He mentions giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty as an act of caregiving. Little acts of kindness help make to fill our days with a sense of being loved and belonging.

Using these tools regularly is something we all can do to brighten our corner of the world.