ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Sun. Aug. 19         10 am   Sunday School ;        11 am   Worship

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sun. Aug. 26     4 pm     Service at Twin Oaks

Sun. Sept. 2      Potluck after worship

Wed. Sept. 5     7 pm     Council

Sun. Sept. 9      10 am   Rally Day Brunch (food provided);   11 am   Worship

Wed. Sept. 12   4:30pm Set up to serve Christian Buffet at Twin Oaks     Meat and potatoes provided. Have food to bring over at church by 4 pm.    Contact Norma Miller with questions.

Sun. Oct. 14      Mission Fest (potluck instead of Oct. 7)

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EVER FRESH

(John 6:35-51)                 Pastor Carol Weist

Fresh bread.  Never stale. Never moldy.  Fresh fruit.  Never spoiled.  Never rotten.  Jesus is the bread of life.  Never stale.  Never rotten.  There are plenty of rotten things.  Jesus is not one of them. When we are rotten, Jesus restores us to genuine fruitfulness.  When we are stale and bored, Jesus renews us. Jesus is the bread of life.

When it rains, it brings the grass to life lush and green. Mowing that grass may get old and stale from time to time, until we remember with thanksgiving the rain for the crops and pastures that provides our daily bread and nourishment. During a dry spell the grass fades and withers.  What could ever come of that again?  The perennial roots remain in the soil even as it hardens for lack of rain.   When the rain comes the grass grows again. We may wither and fade from time to time, but we have perennial roots in Jesus, renewed by Jesus, the bread of life. Continue reading

LOOKING FOR JESUS

(John 6:1-35)                 Pastor Carol Weist

Psalm 77 recalls God’s mighty deeds.  This psalm of Asaph begins, “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.   In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord.”  Asaph considers the days of old and remembers the years of long ago. (Psalm 77:5)  He asks if God has forgotten to be gracious.  (Psalm 77:9)

Then he returns to calling to mind the deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 77:11-20) 11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy.  What god is so great as our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders;  you have displayed your might among the peoples. 15 With your strong arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; the very deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered,  your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
     19 Your way was through the sea, your path, through the mighty waters; yet your footprints were unseen.  20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

When we are looking for Jesus, we may look back and see footprints in the sand when Jesus carried us through.  Or at other times the footprints are through the mighty waters and cannot be seen by human eyes. Continue reading

THANKS, NO THANKS

(John 6:1-21)              Pastor Carol Weist

Jesus says no thanks when he realizes that people “were about to come and take him by force to make him king.” (John 6:15)   He had just miraculously made a few loaves of fish and bread enough to feed a large crowd, a crowd so large it would take six months wages to feed.  Loaves of bread  back then were not nearly as large as loaves are now, closer to the size of an extra large muffin or a hamburger bun than a loaf that yields a dozen plus slices of bread.  Those five small loaves back then were not nearly enough to feed a crowd of five thousand or so even with a couple fish, and those fish were not giant catfish or tuna.

Jesus gave thanks for those few small loaves and couple small fish given by a small boy not yet full grown and that became enough. Jesus gave thanks and that gift became enough, more than enough, with blessings leftover, more leftover than what was originally given.  Those five barley loaves and two fish likely fit easily in one basket.  After five thousand people were fed there were twelve baskets of fragments from the five barley loaves left over.  So it is when Jesus gives thanks thereby blessing our minute gifts. Continue reading

GRACED

(Ephesians 1:3-14)              Pastor Carol Weist

We are graced. We are graced by the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are blessed by the good news of what Jesus does for us.  With Paul in Ephesians 1:3 we thankfully declare: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

To be blessed is to be graced.  God does not need our grace.  We say what we call the blessing or grace for our meals in thanksgiving  to God for God’s provision. In doing so, we acknowledge there is a heavenly place in our lives, not just in the future after we die, but in the here and now.

Saying grace or a blessing at meals is one custom believers have that acknowledges the heavenly place Jesus has in our lives.  Saying grace at meals is not mandatory.  There are other ways and types of moments to thank God for his provision and grace.  Saying grace at meals loses its heavenly touch if the rest of the day there is not grace for each other in the home or other work-place.

We are graced in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places and we do not have to wait until we get to heaven to experience that. We can share heavenly blessings, heavenly graces in the here and now. We can let heavenly graces and spiritual blessings into our homes and other workplaces.   Continue reading

TWO BY TWO

(Mark 6:1-13)              Pastor Carol Weist

The animals entered Noah’s ark two by two.   People for the most part had not been listening to the Lord.   Wickedness was rampant.  The Lord was not pleased.  Noah had been listening to the Lord and listened to the Lord’s instructions to build an ark, a ship which allowed him and his family to survive the flood that was to come as well as the pairs of animals who entered Noah’s ark two by two.

When Jesus taught in the synagogue in his hometown, the people were perhaps momentarily impressed, but they quickly turned skeptical and did not listen.  They were offended by Jesus trying to teach them and did not listen. So Jesus went on from there and went about among the villages teaching.  He did not instruct those listening to him to build an ark, a ship to protect them from pending disasters.  He did not instruct them to build a fortress for protection, a place to abide safely with doors and gates secured.

Instead Jesus sent the disciples out two by two without much of anything other than his authority, his authority over unclean spirits, his power over the power of evil.  He sent his disciples out two by two into a world that is often unsafe. Jesus did not expect that they would be welcomed by all.  He told them if they were not welcome at one place, if people refused to listen to what they had to say about the Lord, to simply leave and shake the dust off their feet.  He did not specify how emphatically they were to shake the dust off their feet, or that it was necessary to shake the dust of their feet angrily. Continue reading

GREAT FAITHFULNESS

(Lamentations 3:22-33)      Pastor Carol Weist

The steadfast lovingkindness of the Lord cannot be counted.  It cannot be measured with numbers.  However the steadfast love of the Lord can be counted upon.  Great is the faithfulness of our Lord.

People cannot always be counted upon.  Human faithfulness is not always so great
and may amount not to faithfulness at all but abject faithlessness. Thankfully the Lord’s mercies and compassion never come to an end. Thankfully the Lord’s merciful compassion is new every morning.  That is how great our Lord’s faithfulness is.

We most certainly need mercy every morning.  We do not always faithfully avail ourselves of that gift, but the gift is there.  Availing ourselves of God’s gift of mercy may require repentance and change on our part, change we may resist or fear.

God’s mercies are faithfully there for us every moment, every morning,  that same steadfast lovingkindness that the Lord requires us to love:  He has told you, O mortal, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)     

We do not always find the steadfast lovingkindness of the Lord lovable.  Not everybody approved of Jesus’ having compassion on some of the people he healed and forgave during his ministry on earth. People still struggle  with Jesus caring for someone they have a hard time caring for.  The Lord’s mercies are faithfully there as we come to our senses  and realize our lack of mercy needs to be changed and needs forgiveness. Continue reading