Sunday Morning Services

Traditional Worship: 9:00 am

Praise Worship Service: 11:05 am

And the Story Unfolds …

By Rev. Robert Braudt , Lead Pastor, River Hills UMC


On Thursday, June 21, two things happened:

  • Jocelyn and I moved the final load of items to our new home. It was a relatively small load of cleaning supplies, tools and ladders that we had left to put some finishing touches in preparation for …
  • Pastor Allison Warren arrived at the parsonage in Burnsville after a full day of packing her belongings from her house in Des Moines, and the long drive north to her new home. She would have to wait until the following day for her things to arrive. She only had the things that she needed for the night and her dog, Earnest. Waiting to greet her would be Mitch Miller (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Becky Sefton (Chair of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee), Maddie (Becky’s daughter), Jocelyn (my wife), and myself.

Though the change had been in motion for months, this decisive step changed everything. A new story was about to unfold.

Each of us has a story. New chapters begin and old story lines come to some type of conclusion. Characters come and go, re-emerge and disappear again. No two stories will ever be the same. Sometimes we can predict quite accurately how the story line will progress. Other times a twist in our own plot leaves us with questions about what is next. The reason your pastor is writing about stories is to simply ask the question: What role does faith play in your story? It’s really up to you. We may go days without checking in with our faith. Things of this world will impact us. Sometimes they’re the proverbial storm or the battle with giants. Sometimes they involve brokenness, hunger, and our relationship with community. All of these things can be impacted by our faith if we let it.

Thursday, June 21, will probably not be remembered with an anniversary as a day of special significance, but it did make a difference. So did Friday, June 22. On that morning, I woke up already exhausted. We had been pushing so hard that one good night’s sleep wouldn’t be enough for a full recovery. I slept in as long as the dog would let me. My mind was filled with the day’s to-do list when on my phone I received a picture. (Please see the picture on the back cover of this newsletter.)

Our lovely neighbor (best ever) had woken up early, and captured the image. Its beauty took my breath away, and the joy I felt melted away my exhaustion as life gave way to faith. God was starting a new day in my life, in Pastor Allison’s life, and in the life of River Hills UMC. Even before I would awake, this day would begin with joy and beauty. This story would not start with fatigue and to-do lists. This story would be told with faith. Thanks be to God for being the God of our stories.