Mt. Pisgah

Lutheran Church

9379 Hwy 127 North

Hickory, NC  28601

(Bethlehem Community)

Phone:  828-495-8251

Fax:  828-495-8252

Worship:  8:00 and 10:30

Sunday School:  9:15 am

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Friday, October 13th

Youth Overnight

Details to be Announced



Saturday, October 21st


10:00 am - 3:00 pm

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Saturday, October 28th

Fall Festival

1:00 - 4:00



Sunday, October 29th

Reformation Sunday



January 13th -15th

Strength to Stand Conference

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Regular Classes

 T/TH for 3-yr olds

M/W/F for 4-yr olds


 Girl Scouts

5-6 year olds

Meeting Mondays

6 - 7:15 pm in

Old choir room



Boy Scout

Troop 275

Meeting Thursdays

6 - 8 pm


Food Pantry Hours

Mondays 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Fridays   1:00 - 3:00 pm



Food Pantry 

On-going Needs

Miscellaneous Vegetables








Share Your Thoughts

The following are two poems, the first recently published in the Trinity Seminary Review.

Hope you enjoy - share your thoughts and words
Pastor Mike

Michael Stone ⋅ 26 April

Back to Eden

An enigma it is
that death...and evil
can be ..
so undeniably tangible;
so painfully palatable; so real
be so foreign; so unreal; so stark; yet so alien to 
that relentless, unquenchable 
primordial memory
of a time, long past,
but of a truth so present
that it bends back and softens
even the stiff hard reality of the day
beckoning us
to reclaim a pure harmonious 
time beyond time...
In a garden
Romans 8:22
"all of creation mourns for a lost good"

Michael Stone 15 May


Is faith 
Best measured 
by those doubt free days
When all goes so well 
that to believe in a Sovereign
Only makes good and easy sense
Or is it better seen in those 
chaotic, senseless times when any sort of order or control seems
persistently and elusively nonexistent 

Or is faith best displayed
by those 
who contrary to the most adverse of circumstance cling on 
for life 
to that Alone worth hoping in 
For is it not the comfortably smug who alone can afford to disbelieve or who have the luxury of finally surrendering to their persistent doubt 

Perhaps God is not as moved by those light exuberant times when we effortlessly bound out of bed to greet a new day
As those despairing mornings when shakily peering above the sheets 
with only scary, threatening possibilities
yet in greater faith 
we carefully step out into the hesitant unknown.

Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"



Jacob - Wrestling with God

This is a familiar story when Jacob is up all night wrestling with God.  In our own lives we too have had times when we have wrestled with God over fears, doubts and struggles.  This great story is a powerful reminder that God is stronger than our greatest doubts or challenges. God always wins and we come out the stronger for it. In fact with Jacob he even came out with a name change... to Israel.  It means "God Prevails" and aren't we glad He does!

Wrestling with God

The nets we thrust
round God so tight
would break at slightest tug
Still we persist
hoping to capture 
yet trusting not in those frail finite bindings
But hoping that in their breaking
will rise again One stronger still



"To wonder as we wander" is at the heart of our Epiphany journey.

We too ponder in wonder with Mary as to how such Good News of her giving birth to the Savior can be both the greatest joy and  the greatest heartbreak and sorrow known to Woman.

We too Journey in our wanderings with the Magi as we know that life is now different.
Nothing will be the same.

We  are wise as they were  to take heed, knowing that after seeing Him we too must leave a different way.

This new kingdom ushered in by the Holy child of life; love and light, is even this day being hunted down by the old world of Kingly pride darkness and death.

So flee as they, but do so quietly  so you can ponder this Wonder and go slowly so you will not miss a thing.  For this is journey home is now a Holy Wandering.


A Bittersweet Christmas to all 

Some Christmas ruminations from Pastor Mike

This morning I was struck with an unmistakable directness sometimes necessary to truly get a needed message across. My morning festive Christmas celebrating with Santa cap on and carol singing was abruptly interrupted with a phone call from a woman who had just become a widow, following her husband’s morning suicide. The fact that I had to move my Santa cap tassel just to put the receiver to my ear made the contrast between the sweetness and bitterness of that moment all the more ruthlessly stark.

Perhaps it is because in this sweetest of seasons, where expectations run high for sweet blessings that the  painful bitter times seem to loom so large in contrast. Ask any good orthodox Jew though and they will let you know that THE meal is not complete without both the Wilderness bitter herbs and the Promised Land honey. One without the other betrays the truthful realities of what it means to be on this journey we call life… regardless of what season it might be

Just in my morning prayer time today I ..

- gave thanks to God for the sweetness of marriage and a dear wife and but could not help but lift up a dear couple who just recently divorced

- blessed God for the special little church He has called me to serve but my attention was diverted to offer prayer for those parishes which are struggling 

- gave heartfelt gratitude for two sons but was quickly overtaken by the prayer for a family whose son has been struggling for life since a tragic accident

- celebrated the sweet comfort of good health when my mind swelled with thoughts for so many whose lives are preoccupied with the challenges of illness.

The sweet and the bitter ..this time of year?

But what is Christmas really all about?

“And this will be a sign unto you that you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Not exactly the sweet experience of a Messiah we were expecting

In fact pretty easy not to find any sweetness in that at all

Born in a feeding trough under the indifferent gaze of animals who probably out numbered the gathered human witnesses

not real sweet

pretty stinky

And just about as bitter a birth scene as one could imagine

So what is the message ..the Sign?

Don’t try to dress it up too much

Don’t get too sophisticated

One does not come in such intentional earthy simplicity

for us to dress up and adorn with heavenly pious niceties

It is

what it is

Nothing more

Nothing less

Nothing else needed

Then Emmanuel ..God with us

There is no bitterness of life we can experience that He has not been through or will not be through with us


This side of heaven there is no news

greater than that.

The One who is with us, Emmanuel wants us to know that the Heaven which awaits us is nothing but Sweet.. no bitter there

No wonder the early Christians were so fond of saying Marantha

Come Lord Jesus

So may your Christmas be bittersweet – always filled with the faithful presence of Emmanuel

As we await with eager longing His sweet second Advent.



This “Glorious Season”

We will soon close our Lenten observance with the beginning of our Holy Week Journey. I am so grateful to be part of a church tradition which takes time to stop and give thanks for our Lord's supreme sacrifice. I am also thankful to be part of a church family which shows, by your faithful attendance, your commitment to Him as well.

Our Men's Bible Study has been studying the Gospel of John these past two years.  It was more than coincidental that our study of the passion in John's gospel coincided perfectly with our  Lenten Season. Each of the 4 gospels has a certain unique flavor, or thematic emphasis, which is one of the many beauties of our church lectionary. John is outside of the other three writers, as he is more interested in painting a picture than the sharing of details.  John's “right brained” emphasis has a powerful uniqueness which deserves special  attention. I am indebted to seminary professor Dr. Bruce Schein, whose shared the uniqueness of  John's Gospel.

These are some of the points he shared with us as students which have taken 25 years of life experiences to finally make sense to me. In John's Gospel we have the joy of seeing our Lord through the eyes and heart of this disciple who was  particularly close; beloved by Jesus.

John goes out of  his way to let us know that Jesus was not a victim caught up in the strong will of Rome or the debauchery of the Jewish religious hierarchy. Jesus was, from his betrayal; denial; flogging and crucifixion , always in control.  He was the Good Shepherd whose life was never taken but was laid down of His own accord.  The way of the cross is the Groom willfully and lovingly coming down the aisle to His Bride, the  Church. As our professor was fond of saying, “this was not a shotgun wedding!” 

In John's Gospel we miss some of the physical agony of this walk to the cross. There is no mention of the sweating of blood in Gethsemane and other gruesome physical details are left out. John, whose heart was particularly close to His Lord, wants us to know that as awful as the physical pain of those days were for our Lord; that was nothing in comparison to the spiritual pain in the separation of the Son from His Father. This Word which had been in perfect harmony and unity with the Father before time began, is now to be separated by our sin which He never knew. It is this pain of loss and separation from the Holy Father as the Son takes on the sins of the world—ours past, present and future—that deserves our real attention and gratitude.

Then there is that recurring word of glory, which particularly surfaces in these latter chapters of our Lord's passion; so what is glorious about this time?  John who, compared to the other Gospel writers, seems to have a monopoly on the understanding of love, wants us to know that behind every step to the Cross is a heartbeat of our Saviours love. When Jesus “sets His face” to Jerusalem it is you and I He is really focused on. It is perhaps those who have lost loved ones and have been at their bedside in those  difficult hours that  know this love best. The love and compassion given by them is not done begrudgingly or with hesitation, but rather it is done in a love that  has its own special glory that appears in those last tender moments. So it is with our Lord; it is not His obligation or duty to go to the cross, as much as His loving joy and glory. No one else could do it and He would not want anyone  else to. It is the Groom gloriously making His way down the aisle to literally rescue and save His Bride (us), The Church.  John wants to make sure that in the blood and sweat of the cross we do not hear so much a heavy sight with the thought that, “some one has to do this for these sinners.” as much as a smile and an unrelenting drive forward for, as Hebrews says because of  “The joy that was set before Him.”  Whenever and however we begin to realize that you and I are that very joy that was set before Him is when the cross makes life changing sense.  His love for us  would  never let us go and it is that great love that captures our hearts and will never let us let go of Him.  It is that love that makes us say with the hymnist “what language shall I borrow to thank thee dearest friend, for this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?  O make me thine forever, and should I fainting  be, Lord let me never, never out live my love for thee.”


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