ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Sun. Oct. 28          10 am   Sunday School ;     11 am   Worship

UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed. Oct. 31     NO Bible Study

Sun. Nov. 4       Council after worship and potluck

Sun. Nov. 11     4 pm     Service  at Twin Oaks

Sun. Nov. 18     5:30pm    Meal & Movie (I Can Only Imagine) here for community VBS

 

“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)

Graced by the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord

Free to be God’s people powered by God for daily gospel service

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ANXIOUSLY WE WAIT

(Mark 10:35-45)          Pastor Carol Weist

For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,  and to give his life a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45)

Jesus came to give his life as a ransom for many, including us. Kidnappers often demand that ransoms be paid to release their captives. Usually it is not a poor person who has been kidnapped.  More often kidnappers go after people connected to rich families or business enterprises.  Even poor people are kidnapped and held hostage such as the 276 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in Chibok, Nigeria.  In that case, a ransom was not demanded.  The girls became slaves of the kidnappers.

The most general meaning of ransom in scripture is a means of release, a means of freeing.  To ransom someone is to redeem that person, set that person free, that is, to liberate that person. We all need to be redeemed and set free from sin.  Jesus did not redeem us with money, with thirty shekels of silver.  Jesus redeems us with his life.  Every day Jesus is our liberator and deliverer.

There is an old German hymn written by Johann G. Olearius who lived from 1611-1684.  The English title is “Come, O  Precious Ransom, Come.”  The words of its verses still instruct and encourage us today: Come, O precious Ransom, come.  Only hope for sinful mortals!   Come, O Savior of the world; open are to you all portals. Come, your beauty let us view; anxiously we wait for you. Continue reading

SEEK THE LORD AND LIVE

(Amos 5:6, Mark 10:17-31)    Pastor Carol Weist

“Seek the Lord and live,” Amos calls out to us. (Amos 5:6)   That is frequently easier said than done.  It is often easier to seek to do all the right things than to face the possibility of not having what we are rich in.

In Mark 10:17-22 we have the account of a man rich in much who runs up to Jesus who is about to set out on a journey.  The man kneels before Jesus as we do, if not on our knees, kneeling in our hearts.  The man appears to be sincere.  After all he ran to catch Jesus who was just about to leave that place.

Jesus seeks to create a deeper sincerity in that man and in us.  The man who runs up and kneels before Jesus is rich, not just in material assets but also in the will-power needed to have done what is right since youth.  He is rich not just in his knowledge of the commandments.  He is also rich in the will-power to obey those commandments.  He has not committed murder.  He has not committed adultery. He has not stolen to get his riches or to keep or add to those assets.  He has not defrauded anyone to protect his assets or to improve his standing in the community.  He continues to honor is father and mother.  He is rich in will-power. Continue reading

SUBJECT TO AN HONORABLE GOD

(Hebrews 2:5-12, Mark 9:42-10:16)                    Pastor Carol Weist

We are subject to an honorable God.  As Christians we acknowledge that we are subject to an honorable God.  As Christians we confess.   We confess that God is the one true God.  We confess that God is honorable and worthy of praise.  We confess that Jesus, true God and true man died to forgive our sins.  We also confess that we have sinned falling short of God’s honor and glory. To be cleansed, forgiven, and restored to honor in God’s eyes means acknowledging before God whatever in our past has been dishonorable.

Some put stumbling blocks before little ones who believe in Jesus.  Jesus says in Mark 9:42 that it would be better to have a millstone put around one’s neck and be tossed into the sea than to have done that.  People’s daily words and actions can be stumbling blocks tripping up little ones How do the children see us respond when life is unfair or disappointment comes our way?  Do they see prayers to Jesus or cursing or other inappropriate, dishonest or dishonorable behavior?  How do the children see us respond when blessings come our way?  Perhaps children stumble to say thanks because they are not used to hearing thanksgivings for blessings from adults.

It is not our hands that cause us to stumble.  It is not our hands that forget to wave that friendly hello.  It is our hearts and minds that forget.  No need to get rid of our hands.  Our hands out of pure habit make friendly waves even when we are absent-mindedly going about our business or thinking of other things.

It is true that our feet may take us into the other room to get something and we may occasionally forget what it was we were getting. That is not our feet’s fault.  More likely our hearts and minds are distracted. No point in cutting off your feet.  We are called to teach children to use their minds and hearts to direct their feet in ways that get them where they are supposed to be and to go over and help another person and cheer them up.

When we close our eyes and do not see another person’s joy or sorrow, whether a child or a person of any age, whether that person is leaping for joy or stumbling through grief, it is not our eyes that are the problem, it is our hearts and minds. God salts us with a little fire from time to time to get our attention and renew our taste for seeing others joys and sorrows as well as our own, to get us out and about again and rather than being stumbling blocks parked in other people’s roads, we are back out there again with an encouraging word for those who are stumbling.

It’s OK to sit in an easy chair now and then or even regularly and share an encouraging word from there.  However, we don’t generally put our easy chairs or beds in the middle of a hallway or road that people use to get from one task to another.  That is being a stumbling block. But thank the Lord, we are subject to an honorable God and his mercy, and if we have parked our easy chairs in a stumbling block location, the good Lord lights a bit of a fire in our hearts and helps us move that chair.  We all need rest, but that need not be in ways that we get underfoot. Continue reading

SAVING PRAYER

(James 5:13-20)                Pastor Carol Weist

The prayer of faith will save.  (James 5:15)

Saving prayer.  We don’t need a prayer saving account.  We may need a savings account for a rainy day.  Whoever made up that saying likely was not a farmer who hopes and prays for sufficient rain for the crops, except maybe during harvest, and better a bit of a delay in the  harvest so rain can soak into the ground for the next crop.  Roofers cannot work on rainy days, and there are many other outside jobs that cannot be done in the rain, so for people in such lines of work rainy days are no pay check days and thus not good days.  So in their case it is wise to have savings for rainy days, if at all possible.  The option of savings is not always possible. There are times that costly unavoidable expenses just keep coming.

“Are any among you suffering?” James asks in James 5:13.  “They should pray,”  he counsels. Suffering includes money troubles and health troubles and getting along with people and how people treat you troubles.

James does not say the response to suffering is singing songs of praise. He does ask in James 5:13, if any are cheerful?  Are any in good spirits? Those folks ought to sing songs of praise. That is his counsel to them. If you don’t feel like singing, James does not demand that you sing. He acknowledges that people are not always cheerful and in good spirits.    James does not order us to get cheerful or else.  Instead he says we ought to pray.  Continue reading

GREATER ZEAL, GREATER MERCY

(James 3:13 – 4:8a)                Pastor Carol Weist

 “Who is wise and understanding among you?”  James 3:13 asks that question. The wise and understanding are not a select few intellectuals.  Any believer can be wise and understanding, not in the sense of being able to pass all the courses you need to get a degree in college physics, but in the sense of knowing how to live a life of discipleship.

As James 3:13 counsels:  “Show by your good life  that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.”   Gentleness is a form of mercy.  God’s mercy is greater than any mercy we have to give.  There are those who have a particularly strong gift of mercy or compassion just as there are those who have a particularly abundant gift of wisdom.  Even if our own gift is not the greatest, we can still show mercy with cheerfulness as Romans 12:8 encourages.  Our works can be done with gentleness, with gentle mercy born of godly wisdom.

We need to be watchful that bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts do not interfere with living a good life with works done with gentleness born of wisdom.  Bitter envy is bitter zeal.  Continue reading

GREATER CONTROL, GREATER GRACE

(James 3:1-12)                  Pastor Carol Weist

God has greater control and God has greater grace than we do. God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has greater self-control than we do. True, the Spirit, the wind blows where it will.  According to John 3:8: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,  but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

Even though we are born again, that does not mean we control the Holy Spirit, and that is the greater grace.  Things would be even a bigger mess if the Holy Spirit were controlled by committees of humans.  The greater grace is that the Lord knows our need better than we do whether that be dramatic tongues of fire that do not destroy those so anointed  or the quiet, ongoing sending forth which creates and renews the face of the earth daily.  (Psalm 104:30)

The sun rises and the sun sets not by our doing.  We can over-rule the sunset a bit by choosing to light a candle or turning on other lights at night.  We cannot tell the sun when to set or the Holy Spirit how to operate. We can control light switches and argue about how many we need on at any given time but we cannot control the sun and most definitely not the Holy Spirit.  That is the greater grace that God has greater control. Continue reading