ANNOUNCEMENTS

Wed. April 25                 7 pm     Bible Study

Next Sun. April 29         10 am   Sunday School;         11 am   Worship

Thank you to all who helped for the work day!

The Gideon’s offering last Sunday was $221.  Thank you from the Gideons.

UPCOMING EVENTS 

Sun. May 6                   Recognition of graduates –Kylie Miller, Jeremy Earsley

Wed. May 9                   7 pm     Council

Sun. May 13                  Mother’s Day Recognition

Mon. – Fri. June 4-8       9 am – noon Community VBS at Darrouzett Baptist

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RE-CALLED

(John 10:11-18, 21:15-19)             Pastor Carol Weist

John 10:11-18     [Jesus said:]     11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

At the end of the gospel John several of the disciples are fishing on the Sea of Galilee when someone shows up on the shore and suggests they try fishing from the other side of the boat. They do, and they get a fantastic haul of fish.  At this point they recognize that it was Jesus who said to try fishing on the other side.  The disciples did not know it was Jesus’ voice at first, yet they listened and the recognition follows.

Jesus had called each of those disciples to follow him at the beginning of his ministry as he travelled throughout the region.  Then when the final trouble hit that led to Jesus’ death by crucifixion, they ran away.  They fled and were scattered. They were like the hired hand that Jesus describes in John 10:12 – the hired hand who is not the good shepherd.  They fled when the wolves came.  They did not stop to care for the other sheep who had listened to Jesus’ teaching.  They cared for their own safety and left the other sheep to their own devices.

When that terrifying wolf of life-threatening trouble came, they fled.  Peter did come around a bit, to see what was happening, using lies to deny who he was and how he was connected to Jesus.  At least one disciple joined up with some of the women who followed Jesus.  Most of the disciples did gather together again for the Sabbath – fearful, behind locked doors.

What was their calling now that Jesus was gone? Continue reading

DISBELIEVING JOY

(Luke 24:36b-48)                Pastor Carol Weist

Have you ever felt like pinching yourself to see if good news is for real and not a dream, ghost, mirage or hallucination?  Then you are not any different from the disciples when Jesus out of the blue comes and stands among them.  They see the scars in his hands and feet and even touch, yet there is still disbelief mingled with their joy in seeing Jesus alive again.

How does Jesus counter that disbelief?  He asks for food to eat and eats it. Ghosts don’t eat.  Jesus, risen from the dead Jesus, is not a ghost. Jesus risen from the dead, alive and well, is forever real.

After eating, Jesus takes time with the disciples to remind them of all he had told them for those  brief years they traveled together before he died.  He teaches them how what he told them connects to scripture.  They only had a glimmer of the significance of the words he shared with them when they were travelling together.  As he teaches them after his death and resurrection, they begin to understand more deeply.  They still only know and understand in part, but they have begun to understand a bit more fully, just as we understand that John 3:16 has the gold nugget of the gospel that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  That is the full gospel.

We grasp that and as disciples of Jesus we have the opportunity to continue to understand that powerful dynamic more and more deeply as we journey through our lives on this earth.  We do not always steadfastly embrace that opportunity.  Believers may even flee from the opportunity of discipleship.  Gathering together with other believers helps us remember what Jesus has done.  Continue reading

LIFE REVEALED

(1 John 1:1-2:2)                Pastor Carol Weist

One of the early names for Christians found seven times in the Book of Acts is people of the Way. (Acts 9:2; Acts 18:25,26; Acts 19:9,23; Acts 24;14,22)

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  (John 14:6) Jesus is life revealed to us along life’s way.  Our ways are not always identical.  However, as we travel along life’s ways we have the same guiding light, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

1 John 1:1 states, “We declare to you what was from the beginning.”  That includes the declaration of Genesis 1:1:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” 

9And God said,  “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place,  and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.  10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas.  And God saw that it was good.  (Genesis 1:9-10)

The dry land called Earth is meant to be good.  It is not good that we have not gotten enough rain to water the earth.  We need rain for the crops and pastures at this point in time.   We cannot turn the rain on and off.  Irrigation systems and lawn sprinklers can be turned on and off by people, but not the rain.   Plants seem to know the difference between being watered by a good rain and water piped in.  Water piped in is definitely a help, but is not quite as nourishing to the plants as a good rain, so we pray for rain.

There are things we can do to protect the soil so that it is there in good condition when the rains do come, so that the winds don’t whisk the soil away and stir up another dust bowl.  The lessons of the dust bowl have not been forgotten.  Soil conservation practices are still practiced.

Specifically how to conserve and protect our soil and water is a subject of intense debate and study at times.  People do not always see eye to eye on such matters.  We do not have to see eye to eye on every detail of such matters in order to be people of the Way, to be in fellowship with Jesus.

1 John 1 is written so that we may fellowship.  Listen again to 1 John 1:3:  “We declare to you what we have seen and heard  so that you may have fellowship with us.”   We have the gift of fellowship with the first followers of Jesus, even though we have not met them in person.  We have fellowship with them, with all those who declare that “truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”   (1 John 1:4)

What is the purpose of these early people of the Way, these early followers of Jesus  sharing this?  They tell us, “We are sharing this that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:5)  That applies to us also. Sharing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that Jesus is the Word of Life is life revealed, doing that completes our joy. Continue reading

EASTER: THE WINGS OF THE MORNING

(Mark 16:1-8)                Pastor Carol Weist

The wings of the morning, the wings of resurrection morning,  the wings of the morning of the first Easter and the wings of the morning of every resurrection day since – the resurrection wings of every day, every hour, every minute, day or night, whether as light as the sunniest day or as dark as the darkest night – are resurrection moments, resurrection life – every day, a gift from our resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Jesus died and was buried on the sixth day of the week,  the day we call Friday. He died before sunset.  The Jewish day of worship called the Sabbath starts at sunset Friday
and lasts until sunset Saturday. It is a day of worship and rest,  limited travel to and from worship, simple ways of setting out meals.

When the Sabbath just after Jesus died was over,  Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him, that is,  so that they might anoint his body in the tomb.  Very early on the first day of the week which we call Sunday,  when the sun had risen enough they could see where they were going,  they went to the tomb.

They knew that the three of them together could not roll away the stone which sealed the entrance to the tomb.  They went anyway even though they did not have that problem solved.   Little did they know as they walked on their way to the tomb that the stone had already been rolled away.

They looked up at the tomb on the wings of the morning  and saw no stone blocking the entrance to the tomb.  It was already rolled away from the entrance.  They looked up once they got to the tomb.  Perhaps as they were walking along in the early morning light they had been looking down so as to watch their step so as not trip or stumble in the dim morning light. Perhaps they had been looking down because they were downcast in spirit and sad about the task they were going to do,  to reverently anoint Jesus’ body with spices.  Continue reading

THE GATHERING HEN

March 29, 2018      Maundy Thursday    Pastor Carol Weist

Matthew 23:37-39      “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Calm, cool, collected.  Not our typical image of a mother hen.  Yet that is what Jesus compares himself to in the days before his death. He does not compare himself to a dove bearing the olive branch of peace after an overwhelming flood of troubles. He does not compare himself to an eagle lifting us up above it all. He compares himself to a mother hen gathering a bunch of errant chicks headed every which way. Not a high compliment to us.

Jesus is recorded as saying “Woe” to the scribes and Pharisees seven times just previously in the same chapter.  Not “w” “h” “o” “a” as in saying “whoa” or stop to a horse, but “w” “o” “e” as in impending death for you if you keep this up.

That list of the frequent sins of the Pharisees could have been longer and more detailed, but Jesus stops at a certain point and stops to mourn that all those children of Abraham cannot be gathered under his wings like a mother hen gathers under her wings all those little chicks going off every which way to protect them from hawks and foxes and other dangers.

Your list of sins may or may not match all or in part those of the Pharisees. Whatever your list, know that Jesus does not rattle on about your sins forever.  Jesus does not want you running around like a chick with your head cut off saying “Woe is me, the sky is falling, I have sinned and I can’t possibly list all my sins.”  Jesus wants you safely gathered under his wings which have much more protective power than any mother hen.  Instead of letting your mind, body, and soul run around in fretful circles, it is sufficient to say “I have sinned, I know some of what I have done or not done, but I don’t know it all,  dear Lord, forgive it all. I am honored that your forgiveness frees me
to continue living and doing my daily work to your glory.” Continue reading

EVER BEARING

(Mark 11:11-25)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Whenever you stand praying, forgive.   Whenever you are seated and praying, forgive.   Whenever you kneel and pray, forgive.   Whenever you lay down and are praying as you fall asleep or are praying as you are waking up, forgive.  Then you will bear fruit in season and out.  You won’t be withered up.

Perhaps as you age you will wither a bit physically, but you need not wither spiritually. You will be ever-bearing fruit.  As God promises at the close of Psalm 92:  12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;  they flourish in the courts of our God.  14 In old age they still produce fruit;  they are always green and full of sap,  15 showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Standing, sitting, kneeling, laying down and forgiving – forgiving yourself and others, claiming Jesus’ forgiveness for them and yourself – and thanking the Lord produces ever-bearing fruit and not just during the growing season.  As Psalm 92 opens:  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;  to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

When we speak of ever-bearing strawberries or other fruitful plants –that generally refers to the growing season, not the dormant season which is often winter.

After his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus left and spent the night in nearby Bethany.   The next morning when he came back to Jerusalem, he was hungry.   There were no figs on the fig tree he spotted.  It was not the season for figs.  In response to that Jesus curses the tree, so that it will not bear fruit again.  The next morning when Jesus and his disciples passed by that way, they noticed that same tree it had withered.

By human standards what Jesus did was impolite and unreasonable. It is not reasonable to expect fruit like apples to be ripe in the spring. Apples take all summer to grow and then fully ripen in the fall.

So what is the point?  Both Ezekiel and Revelation speak of trees that bear fruit continually, every month of the year, when the kingdom of God is fully here.   The kingdom of God  near, it is at hand, but it is not fully here yet. Continue reading