ANNOUNCEMENTS

TODAY                    4 pm     Service at Twin Oaks

Wed. May 24                NO       Bible Study

Next Sun. May 28

10 am   Sunday School

11 am   Worship

Mon. May 29: American Legion Memorial Day Dinner at noon at the Legion Hall.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Mon. June 12 – Fri. June 16  Community VBS at St. Paul’s

Sun. July 23                  Bishop Mike Girlinghouse will be our guest.  We will be serving a planned German meal after worship.  Check with Norma Miller about what is needed.

FREE TO WORK

(John 14:12-31)                 Pastor Carol Weist

We are free to be God’s people powered by God for daily gospel service.  What is daily gospel service?  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us. Our daily gospel service is how that shows through our daily activities.

When we wake up in the morning and go about our morning routine, what difference does the gospel make?  Is there ever a thank the Lord as you brush your teeth?  You may or may not be looking forward to the day’s activities or lack thereof.  How about asking the Lord for help? Don’t wait to ask the Lord for help.  Ask the Lord for help to stay on track.

In Christ we are free to work.  We are free for daily gospel service.

In John 14:12, Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and in fact will do greater works than these.” What are these greater works that we are free in Christ to do? What works are greater than Jesus’ miracles?

Jesus tells a few of his earliest disciples, “I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

How do we know that what we are asking in Jesus’ name, that what we are doing, glorifies the Father in the Son?  Thanking the Lord glorifies the Father in the Son.  Asking the Lord to help us and to help us stay on track glorifies the Father in the Son.

What about our more specific prayer requests and actions?  Continue reading

FREE TO BE FAITHFUL

(1 Peter 1:13 – 2:3)                 Pastor Carol Weist

We are free to be faithful.   Many are blessed to be taught that by the wisdom and examples of Christian mothers.  That teaching is not limited to Christian mothers.  2 Peter 2:2 is very maternal:  “Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation.”

What do Christian mothers do?  As in 1 Peter 1:13 they prepare their own minds and their children’s minds for action. Bringing a child into this world is preparing for action.  Children don’t start out crawling and walking and running, but that is coming.  Meanwhile it takes all sorts of action even to prepare to tend to that child.

A healthy child does not always quietly long for food and comfort, that child cries out in loud, noisy longing if that food is delayed.  Likewise, our longing for pure, spiritual milk need not always be silent.  We are free to faithfully cry out to God for continued nourishment.   Much of the book of Psalms is a cry for continued spiritual nourishment.

Not only does it take preparation for action to welcome a child into this world, it also takes discipline. 1 Peter 1:13 says, we are called to discipline ourselves. It takes discipline, to have the supplies on hand to feed and clothe a child.

God has no lack of self-discipline and self-control. God does not need to learn self-discipline.  Humans do.  As an infant becomes a toddler, that child can start to learn self-discipline and self-control.  As we grow into our salvation, we also learn self-discipline and self-control.   1 Peter 1:13 concludes that when we prepare our minds for action and discipline ourselves we are free to set all our hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring us when he is revealed.

The grace that Jesus Christ brings when he is revealed to us is the good news of the gospel, the good news that our sins are forgiven, that we are forgivable, that we are free to repent and be transformed, and free to have new faithful life in Christ. Continue reading

BY THE GATE

(John 10:1-10)                  Pastor Carol Weist

By the book.   There are those known for doing things by the book, a book of laws and regulations and procedures.   Going by the book is often intended to treat everybody fairly.   There is a lot to be said for going by the book.

Then there is going by the good book.  The good book, the Bible, is not a short book.   There is the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   That is fairly simple and straightforward, but even that can be challenging to follow.  We don’t always know how we would like to be treated in a given situation we haven’t experienced yet.  We might think we know how we would like to be treated if we were seriously ill, how much privacy or how much attention that would help.  And then should we ever land in that position, we find out that our own personal reaction about what we want from others is different than we would have guessed.

However, other scenarios are more straightforward: don’t steal, because you wouldn’t want someone stealing from you;  don’t lie about another person, because you wouldn’t want others lying about you.

The good book also tells about the ups and downs of the lives of many people.  There is much to learn going by the good book. The Bible is not just any good book, not just any best-seller or classic,  It is a book through which Jesus speaks to us, a book to be heard and read in prayerful conversation with God. Jesus says to us in the good book: “Very truly, I tell you,  anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate  but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.”  (John 10:1)

We are called to be sheep.  I don’t recollect sheep being particularly good climbers.  We may not want to be called sheep, but that is what we are called to be.  We are not called to be cats or squirrels that are good at climbing not just fences, but trees and all sorts of things.  Life is simpler if we don’t try to climb the church walls and get in through the roof.  Continue reading

WELCOME CONVERSATION

(Luke 24:13-35)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Welcome conversation.  Prayer is welcome conversation.

It is hard to be friends with a person for whom there rarely if ever seems to be a moment for even a brief conversation whether in person, by phone, by mail or the various types of internet conversation.

Jesus is our friend.  What a friend we have in Jesus.  When we are forever busy, it is hard for Jesus to be our friend. There are long attentive conversations and brief attentive conversations, brief exchanges.

Attentiveness is leaning our ears to listen.

In many of the psalms there are cries for God to lean his ear toward us.  God also asks for us to lean our ears towards him. Gathering for worship is a time to lean our ears toward God.

There are other times for welcome prayerful conversation. For example, on the road to a village called Emmaus shortly after Jesus died, two disciples of Jesus were having a prayerful conversation about what had recently happened to Jesus in Jerusalem. Someone came up to them and asked what they were discussing.  They welcomed that person into the conversation.

Often when we discuss things we don’t have all the answers or clearly understand everything.  It is not much of a conversation when one person makes a series of pronouncements that may be perfectly clear to that person, but not to all present.

The person the two people on their way to Emmaus welcome into their conversation did share some insights, but clearly he took time to clarify what was in scripture, the word of God, passages from scripture right under their noses all along but that the disciples of Jesus had not fully seen or understood, particularly the promises of hope and new life in Jesus. Continue reading

THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN

(John 20:19-31)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Thomas was not the only one who had to see to believe.   Remember when the women came to tell the men about the empty tomb.  The men had to go to see to believe for themselves.  When the women had seen the empty tomb, they also had to be reassured that what they were seeing was real, that the measure of their grief was not playing tricks on them.

The angel at the tomb assures them that what they are seeing, that is, what they are not seeing, Jesus’ dead body lying in the tomb, is for real: “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid;  I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.   He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.”  (Matthew 28:5-6)

The women are asked: “’Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners,  and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’

Then they remembered his words,  and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James,  and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.   But these words seemed to them an idle tale,  and they did not believe them.   But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in,  he saw the linen cloths by themselves;  then he went home, amazed at what had happened.  (Luke 24:5-12)

The women remembered the words of Jesus. When Peter sees the empty tomb for himself he begins to remember the words of Jesus. Those early disciples who were reminded of the words of Jesus and repeatedly, faithfully remembered those words, those words were written out for us in scripture.

We don’t have the opportunity to go check out the empty tomb. Yet we believe.  Continue reading

GREETINGS

(Matthew 28:1-10)                Pastor Carol Weist

Greetings!

There are Christmas greetings and Easter greetings and form letter greetings.

Now Christmas greetings in the form of form letters, one letter to all with an extra note here or there, there are those who don’t like them and prefer totally personalized notes.  I can understand that.  As for myself, it is simply good to get any sort of Christmas greeting from folks, whether it be a phone call, an in-person “Merry Christmas,” a card with a signature, a handwritten note or letter, and yes, even a machine printed letter updating friends and family on the events of the last year.  It is good to hear from folks.

Now there are other types of form letters mailed or emailed to thousands that start with “Greetings!” which may raise questions. What are they trying to sell?  What do they want money for?

Then there is the case of Judas at the Garden of Gethsemane coming up to Jesus and saying, “Greetings, Rabbi. Greetings, Teacher.”  (Matthew 26:49) That was a greeting of betrayal.  That is how Judas identified Jesus in the dark of evening to the soldiers ordered to arrest him.

Greetings can be phony.  After Jesus’ arrest and trial, before his crucifixion, the soldiers mock Jesus, saying, “Greetings, King of the Jews.  Hail, King of the Jews.”  They don’t regard him as their king.  They dress him as a king with a robe and a crown of thorns and spit on him.  (Matthew 27:29)

The word for greetings is the same as the word for rejoice, as in Matthew 5:12 at the end of the beatitudes at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Those are words that Jesus taught.

“Greetings, teacher.  Rejoice, Rabbi.”- the words Judas betrayed Jesus with.

“Greetings, king.  Rejoice, king, Hail, king of the Jews.”- the words the soldiers mocked Jesus with.

“Greetings, women.  Rejoice, women,”  the life-giving word the risen Jesus gives the women leaving the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:9) Continue reading