ANNOUNCEMENTS

Psalm 23:6a:  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”  God’s goodness and mercy pursues us wherever we go, not to destroy us but to cleanse us, renew us, and rebuild us.  Share that good news with others.

11 am  WORSHIP

 

Thank you all the cards and greetings for my 90th birthday!   Liliian Miller

Mon. May 27: American Legion Memorial Day Dinner at noon at the Legion Hall.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Mon. June 10 – Fri. June 14       9  – noon  Vacation Bible School  here

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GOOD CHANGE

(Revelation 21:1-6)               Pastor Carol Weist

There is such a thing as good change, good change that glorifies God. For example, the coming of the new heaven and the new earth is good change.  No more mourning, crying, and pain.  Those first things will pass away as God makes all things new. God already makes things new.  Trees get new leaves. Old cells are replaced by new cells in our body every moment of our lives.  That is the work of our creator’s design.

We change light bulbs when they burn out with new ones, perhaps grumbling a bit about the little work that entails.  Light bulbs are a change from oil lamps.  God created the scientific inventive minds that came up with light bulbs.  For the most part we consider light bulbs a good thing. It is likely we won’t need light bulbs and electricity in heaven.  If the sun and moon won’t be needed because Jesus lights everything up, we might not need electricity.  Who knows?  I guess we will find out when we get there.

Change can be a good thing.  Babies grow and change into toddlers and keep growing and learning and grow up into adults.  Seeds in the ground lose their seed shape and contents which are the starts of stems and roots and sprouts and leaves. Continue reading

PRAYERFUL REFLECTIONS

Psalm 23:1  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  The Lord shepherds me, I shall not be lacking.  With the Lord as our shepherd, even though we are woefully lacking due to sin, we are restored and not lacking due to Jesus’ precious gift of salvation.  Prayerfully remind yourself and others of that.

Psalm 23:2a  “The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures.”  We may not want the Lord to make us lie down any more than children want to be made to lie down when they need rest.  Rest and the nourishment of green pastures gives us energy to do more, not less.  Prayerfully share that good news with yourself and others with thanksgiving.

Psalm 23:2b  “The Lord leads me beside still waters.”  Our Lord Jesus leads and guides his flock to green pastures and comforting waters of life.  Jesus leads us into rest and peace with our God.  We are not lacking in grace and comfort from our Lord There is great comfort in that for ourselves and to share with others.   

Psalm 23:3a:  “The Lord, my shepherd, restores my soul.”  Jesus restores our life, brings us to life and refreshes us daily.  He turns our lives around for the better and repairs and renews us.  Share that blessing with others.  Pray for that for yourselves and others. 

Psalm 23:3b:  “The Lord, my Shepherd, leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.” That restores my soul.  Even though the path seems unclear to us, Jesus’ righteousness is our light, our life, and our salvation. The paths of righteousness include nourishing and refreshing green pastures along with still waters.  All this Jesus does for us and for his name’s sake, freeing us up to give glory to his name.  Prayerfully remind yourself of that often, and share that good news with others.

Psalm 23:4a:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,   I fear no evil, for thou art with me.”   Jesus, our good Shepherd, is with us even in the shadow of his death on the cross.  Of course, we have fears.  With Jesus we learn to go on and overcome those fears and we can prayerfully help others as well.  The shadow of death is not forever.  Eternal life in Christ is forever.

Psalm 23:4b:  “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”  When we are led by the Good Shepherd through the dark valleys and the sunny peaks, he has a rod and a staff to guide and comfort us.  The rod is most often thrown ahead of a distracted sheep to get its attention.  Perhaps a tap with the rod or staff may be needed.  Those signals and taps are a great comfort in times of trouble.  Pray that you might notice and heed them.

Psalm 23:5a:  “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”  The Good Lord, the Good Shepherd guides us through the dark valleys of this world and then prepares a place of nourishment for us, green pastures and still water right in the midst of our enemies, all that opposes our following our Lord Jesus.  Prayerfully share Jesus comfort, strength and guidance with others.

Psalm 23:5b:  “Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.”  Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd King anoints his followers with the oil of salvation.  We are children of the king.  That opportunity is there not just for us, but for others as well.  Share our opportunity.  Jesus anoints each one of his followers, and each of our cups overflow with the joy of the Lord which is our strength.  Jesus gives us the strength when we are strong and we are weak and that joyous strength overflows to be shared with others.  

Psalm 23:6a:  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”  God’s goodness and mercy pursues us wherever we go, not to destroy us but to cleanse us, renew us, and rebuild us.  Share that good news with others.

THE SHEPHERD WHO IS GOOD

(Psalm 23)               Pastor Carol Weist

Jesus is the shepherd who is good. Not every shepherd is good. A shepherd is a person in charge of sheep. Not every person in charge is a good shepherd. It takes skill to be a shepherd and not everybody has learned those skills. Then there is the case of bad shepherds,who might start out looking rather good, or better than good,but then the situation gets scary when folks realize their shepherd is not so good after all.

Even in the midst of scary situations, God is still our Good Shepherd. When life is scary, God is good. That is the theme for the second day of community Vacation Bible School. The Bible verse for that second day is from Psalm 23:  “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  (Psalm 23:4)   

Life is wild and scary at times, God is still good. We are free in Christ to lean on those everlasting arms. Christian parents as part of the body of Christ are part of those everlasting arms. Today is Mother’s Day, a day when we remember the good that mothers do. Mothers are not the only people who mother. The apostle Paul learned from the good example of mothers and honors mothers by describing his work as an apostle in terms of mothering.  Listen to 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8: As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed;  nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.  But we were gentle among you,  like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. Continue reading

THE LORD IS GOOD

(Revelation 5, Nahum 1)       Pastor Carol Weist

The Lord is good.  Nahum 1:7 tells us “The Lord is good,  a stronghold in a day of trouble; he protects those who take refuge in him.”  That is the focus verse for the first day of Vacation Bible School, June 10.  The theme for the week is “Roar – Life is Wild, God is Good.”   The focus for the first day is when life is unfair, God is good.  There are many good ways to prayerfully prepare for Bible School.  I am thankful for those taking care of all the detailed preparations.  We all can prepare the way by prayer and living out God’s promises from now until then and during and thereafter by continuing to come to Jesus as little children.  Jesus says, ““Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;  for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”  (Luke 18:16)

We are reminded in 1 Peter 2:1-5 about how to keep coming as little children, becoming like them.  Peter says: “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice,  and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.  Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Newborn infants are necessarily self-centered crying out for food and attention but newborn infants are not known for their malice or guile.  They simply cry out.  Guile is subtle.  As children grow they learn more subtle, manipulative ways to ask for things that may or may not be good for them.  Newborns are sincerely hungry or uncomfortable when they cry.  Continue reading

FEAR UNLOCKED

(John 20:19-31)             Pastor Carol Weist

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;  fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)  Note that it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of knowledge. People fear many things: other people, whole categories of people, the weather, fire, flying, the list goes on.  It is not the fear of all those other things that is the beginning of knowledge.  It is the fear of the Lord.  We are to seek wisdom and instruction.  It all starts with the Lord.  The Lord created us.  The Lord created knowledge.  The Lord created us with minds that can know things, minds that can know, minds that can grow in knowledge and gain wisdom.

In John 20:19 we find the disciples locked in by fear of the Jews.  They were Jews afraid of other Jews.  They were afraid of their own people because their own people had orchestrated the death of Jesus by crucifixion

Initially they had been so confident they would not be afraid.  They would stand with Jesus as he was arrested and crucified. Instead they had fled in fear.  They stayed in Jerusalem. They had fled and hid behind locked doors.  They had denied Jesus, but they were no longer in denial about that. They also were not in denial about the fact that they also could get arrested.  That was a reasonable, sensible fear. It was reasonable to protect themselves behind locked doors as they worked through their confusion and grief over Jesus’ death and what they had not done to stand by Jesus.

What were they to do next? And then Jesus comes through those locked doors unlocking their fear and giving them peace, the peace which surpasses human understanding, the peace that forgives, the peace that fears and respects an awesome God and the genuine dangers in this world, the peace that empowers us and gives us true courage that holds up under fire, rooted much more deeply in Christ rather than simply letting promises we will not deny Jesus roll off our tongues in the emotion of the moment.

Jesus gives them peace, and then sends them out into the world.  Some would be locked in prisons and killed for their faith. They were given the courage of the Lord to go out and face that risk even while they still locked their doors and gates where they were staying.  There are many accounts of the early disciples now deeply rooted courage created by the Lord.  Here is one from Acts 12:1-19 that occurred at least a year after Jesus’ death and resurrection:  Continue reading

EMPTIED BUT FULFILLED

Luke 24:1-12)             Pastor Carol Weist

The tomb was emptied.  The women who came to the tomb found it emptied.

The tomb is emptied.  God’s promise of resurrection has been fulfilled.

The tomb of death is emptied.  Jesus emptied out all that sin, death and evil so that we can freely confess as Martin Luther did not just the second article of the Apostles” Creed, but his description of what that meant to him and to us for daily living.  The second article opens “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.” What does this mean?  I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also a true human being, was born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.  He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being.  He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.  He has done all this in order that I may belong to him,  live under him in his kingdom,  and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,  just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally.  This is most certainly true.

This is part of Martin Luther’s testimony and part of how he confessed his faith based on the witness of scripture.  We may or may not confess our faith and share our testimonies quite the same way.  How we confess our faith and witness needs to be rooted in God’s word.  The women who first went to the tomb and found it empty were witnesses also long before we or Martin Luther were born.  Our testimonies do not include actually seeing the empty tomb within days of Jesus’ death on the cross. Continue reading