ANNOUNCEMENTS

Wed. Feb. 13                 7 pm     Bible Study

Next Sun. Feb. 17         10 am   Sunday School;               11 am   Worship, congregational meeting after, (baby shower and potluck cancelled)

A special congregational meeting is called for Sunday, February 17, 2019 after worship for the sole purpose of voting on the following motion:  As the time arises that St. Paul’s has received the gift of the Sturtz house, the council has authority to sell it.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed. Mar. 6   Ash Wednesday     5-6:30 pm   Pancake Supper;   7 pm Service

Wed. Mar. 13, Mar. 20, Mar. 27, Apr. 3 & Apr. 10       “SURELY”     7 pm  Lenten Service in fellowship hall with snacks after

Sat. Apr. 6  starting at 9 am   Workday   for polishing items in historical display and repairing chrismons.  Come when you can.

Sun. Apr. 14                  Palm Sunday

Thurs. Apr. 18   7 pm     Maundy Thursday Service with communion

Fri. Apr. 19        7 pm     Good Friday Service

Sun. April 21   10 am  Easter egg hunt and potluck breakfast;   11 am  Easter worship with communion

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

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GO AWAY

(Luke 5:1-11)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Simon Peter tells Jesus to go away.  There are not so many door to door salesmen any more, but they frequently got told to go away.  I have not met a person who has not wished for a way to tell all those pre-recorded robot calls selling this that or the other thing to go away.  Pouting children have been known to tell their parents to go away when they do not get what they want or are getting a deserved punishment for wrong-doing.

When Simon Peter tells Jesus to go away, he is not doing so as a pouting child who has not gotten as much as he wants.   Simon Peter has gotten more from Jesus than he expected.  His income was from fishing. When he followed Jesus’ instruction to put down his nets again after no income from a night’s work, he got more income, more fish, more than he could handle with his boat and crew alone.   He needed another boat and crew to help.  He was not expecting that much.

A more typical human response would be to invest in more boats since such abundant hauls might continue.  Remember the farmer in Luke 12 who had had abundant crops and was about to build more storage barns?  That did not last long because he did not last long.  He died shortly after he thought of investing in more barns. Simon Peter does not tell Jesus to go away so he can invest in more boats.

In contrast to the pouting child who tells parents to go away rather than admit the consequences for wrong-doing are deserved, Simon Peter admits he is sinful.  First, he comes to Jesus and falls down at Jesus knees and then he tells Jesus to go away because he is a sinful man and not good enough to be near Jesus. Continue reading

ABIDE IN THE GREATEST

(1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13)         Pastor Carol Weist

Love is not speaking in tongues.  Love is not speaking any particular language.    Love is how you use that language.

Love is not knowing all the mysteries of God and God’s creation.   Love shows in how you use what you do know which may not be much.   Do you use what you know to put others down or build them up?

Love is not doing mighty acts, moving mountains of dirt and rock.  Helping others move mountains of problems can be love.

Giving is not automatically love.   It is possible to give without genuine respect for others.  It is possible to give money or volunteer time and see who is being helped  as worthless, even though all people have worth in God’s eyes.

Would it be considered loving for parents to give away all they have including what is needed to feed and clothe and otherwise provide for their children? No!  Loving parents try to give their children at least what they need  with hopefully at least a few things to enjoy.    It is not loving to give children everything they want.  Truly giving out of love calls for prayer and discernment.   When we give for personal gain or prestige, we gain nothing in God’s eyes.

What does it mean to have love?   What are the signs of love, godly love,

as opposed to a couple falling romantically in love?

Love is patient.  Should that couple marry and establish a household, true love takes patience.  A newborn arrives.   Parents, family, friends and those in the vicinity generally overflow with love.   The true ongoing love it takes to raise that child to adulthood  will take patience, kindness,  not being envious of others who do not face the same challenges, but may very well face other challenges, a lot of trying not to be irritable  and not resenting not having the freedoms to do certain things  until a dear child who does not always act dearly grows up.

Good parents do not rejoice at wrongdoing.  They take wrongdoing seriously.  They do rejoice in the truth even though it takes patience to get to the truth.  Love bears with all sorts of things.   Love believes that there is hope for that child  even when learning self-discipline is a challenge for that child.  Love endures.  It keeps on keeping on.

We may become discouraged.  The existence of love does not depend on us.  Even in our most discouraging moments, God’s love is there to abide in.  Even when we do not feel loving towards that child or that other person,  our love is measured not in how we feel,  but whether we are pursuing being patient and kind  even when others are impatient and unkind, or whether we are acknowledging any struggles we may be having with resentment and envy and the like.

According to 1 Corinthians 13:13 faith, hope, and love abide now, and of these love is the greatest.    Love is the still more excellent way promised in 1 Corinthians 12:31.   We do not have to feel the greatest for God’s love to be the greatest.  Right after telling us that godly love is the greatest,  Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to pursue love.   Pursuit means doing. Pursuit means activity.

We may think of being patient as not doing anything.  Being patient is doing.  Being patient takes the faith to keep trying to teach and remind a child, until that child finally catches on.  Being patient can mean taking a pause from one activity and doing another, in faith, prayerfully trusting the Holy Spirit is working in that situation while hoping in God’s merciful promises.    The pursuit of love means actively practicing patience and kindness and other godly virtues.

To abide in the greatest is not being enthralled by the performance or activities  of an athlete or a team or a performer or actor at the expense of loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. To abide in the greatest is to claim the promise that we do dwell here by God’s love and to pursue the hope and promise there is in that love.  Abiding is dwelling.  Our dwellings on this earth may be humble.  That is no hindrance to God’s love.

What we or other people say or think out of envy or resentment or malice or just plain old tired irritability – that is not a hindrance to God’s love.  Should you get caught up in such, pursue God’s love and leave self regret behind.  If you catch yourself regretting regretting again and again, abide in the greatest, abide in God’s love.

Not sure your language or motives have been genuinely loving enough? Leave the judging of yourself to God,  In 1 Corinthians 4:3 Paul leaves the judging of himself to God.   That does not negate Romans 12:3 where Paul calls upon us to think with sober judgment lest we think of ourselves more highly than we ought.  Sober judgment does not mean endless self-evaluation

or evaluation by others at the expense of actively abiding in God’s love,  that is, actively working and living dwelling in God’s love.

According to Galatians 5:6 what counts in God’s eyes is faith working through love even if you do not have absolutely everything figured out or what you thought you had figured out has gone awry.

To abide in the greatest is to abide in God’s love. and that is abiding in the greatest knowing that even if you do not get everything perfectly right, you can boldly come to Jesus who will get you back on the right track.

Thanks be to God.

STRIVE FOR THE GREATER

(1 Corinthians 12:12 – 31)         Pastor Carol Weist.

Strive for the greater.  Strive for the greater gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:31 encourages us to strive for the greater gifts.

Among the gifts just listed include the gift of healing.  You may not think you have the gift of healing.  There are those who pray and people are miraculously and genuinely healed.  There are fraudulent healers where those who appear to be healed were acting sick or crippled.  However, there are genuine miracles of healing.  My guess is there have been more such genuine healings over the centuries as a result of quieter, simpler prayers in less noticeable places than in widely publicized healing services.

Don’t think you have the gift of healing?   Even putting on a bandage counts.  We are not all called to be medical doctors and we do not all have to strive to be doctors to have a gift of healing to share.  Being a care-giver when a person is sick is using your gifts for healing.  Healing is not limited to physical aches and pains and bones and joints. There is also healing of our emotional hearts and minds.  There is helping heal a person’s confidence so they risk beginning to believe they can learn.

Strive for the gift of helping others heal from the bumps and bruises of life.  Strive for the gift of discernment, knowing when to listen, learning how to know when it is time for a helping hand, whether it is a time to offer a hand up or lift them out of a pit so they can get to the point of taking that hand up and back along the journey of life. Continue reading

YOUR

(Psalm 36)                   Pastor Carol Weist

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,  your faithfulness to the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,  your judgments are like the great deep;  you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.  (Psalm 36:5-6)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens. Our love is not nearly so steadfast and does not extend to the heavens. Your faithfulness, O Lord, extends to the clouds.  Our faithfulness does not.  We may fly in an airplane through the clouds, but our faithfulness is passing through those clouds for a relatively short period of time. We cannot live long in the clouds. God’s faithfulness can thrive in the clouds and on the ground and to the heavens and beyond and everywhere in between.

Your righteousness, O Lord, is like the mighty mountains: tall, weighty, majestic.  Our righteousness is sometimes there, and sometimes not, except for the grace of God.  By the grace of God, our Lord keeps us in righteous relationship with him.

Your judgments, O Lord, are like the great deep, the deepest depths of the oceans or the deepest depths of the earth.  The depth of an ocean is measured in fathoms.  A fathom is six feet or two yards.  We can understand God’s judgments in part. We can fathom God to a point, and then God is beyond measuring.  God is unfathomable.  God is unfathomably greater than us. Nevertheless, you, O Lord, save humans and animals alike. What a mercy!  What a blessing! Continue reading

ILLUMINATED

(Psalm 29, Isaiah 43:1-7)              Pastor Carol Weist

“The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.”  (Psalm 29:7)  Fire burns and illuminates.  Without the gospel God’s judgment burns.  With the gospel the light of God refines, redeems and illuminates. How are we with the gospel rather than without the gospel? How do we stay with the gospel? Giving God the glory is a healthy start.  Continuing to ascribe glory and strength is basic to staying with the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah 43:1 continues to remind us that the Lord created us and formed us.  Yet we needlessly complain about the good attributes that God has given us and others.  We and others do not always use our good attributes for good.  We may not enjoy all the good attributes we have or those others have even when those attributes are truly being used for good.  A few of those attributes might even rub us the wrong way.  The way one person’s laugh sounds may be delightful to our ears and another person’s laugh not so delightful.

We are to give God the glory, we are to ascribe to God glory and strength.  We may not be able to re-design our own vocal chords or another person’s vocal chords to change the sound of their or our voices. We can still give God glory for his power which includes knowing infinitely more than we do.

Give God the glory for creating and forming you and them.  Humbly ask God for more appreciation and understanding of the gifts God has made you and others with. Continue reading

ACCESS

(Ephesians 3:1-12)               Pastor Carol Weist

What do you have access to? Access to a home?  Doors give access to homes.  Gates and fences and locks and keys are often used to restrict access. In John 10 Jesus not only says that he is the good shepherd. (John 10:11) He also says that he is the gate.  (John 10:7)  Jesus says that he is the gate before he says outright that he is the good shepherd.

There is a gatekeeper.  Jesus does not declare himself to be the gatekeeper.  He declares himself to be the gate. So who opens the gate so that the sheep can come and go from the sheep fold as led? Who closes the gate to comfort and protect the sheep? Are we to be gatekeepers and if so, how?

The apostle Paul was a gatekeeper, opening the gate, opening up the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Continue reading