Posted by: Pauline | March 29, 2015

Upcoming events: week of March 30

This Week

Tuesday, March 31

10 a.m. Bible Study
7 p.m. Choir Practice

Wednesday, April 1

6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Youth Group

Thursday, April 2

7 p.m. Maundy Thursday service at the Nazarene church

Friday, April 3

7 p.m. Good Friday service at the Methodist church

Saturday, April 4

10 a.m. – noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, April 5

6:30 a.m. Easter Sunrise service in the Community Outreach Building
7:15 a.m. Easter Sunrise Breakfast in the Community Outreach Building
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Looking Ahead

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Wednesday, April 15

10 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Welcome Back Brunch

Thursday, April 23

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, April 26

Community Outreach Building Open House

Posted by: Pauline | March 29, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday April 5

Isaiah 25:6-9

This passage describes, in superlative terms, the salvation for which God’s faithful people wait. There will be an end to hunger, to sorrow, to shame, and even to death. All God’s people will be joined in a joyful celebration hosted by God Himself.

The fulness of that salvation is still in the future, and we continue to wait for it. But in the resurrection of Jesus Christ we receive a foretaste of that joyful celebration, as Paul reminds us, quoting from this passage in Isaiah, that death has been swallowed up in victory.

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

This psalm is thought to have been used in Jewish worship in Bible times, providing the liturgy for the procession into the temple at the festival of Passover. The people celebrated their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, thanking God for providing their salvation.

We use this psalm to celebrate an even greater salvation, our redemption from sin and death through Jesus Christ, and an even greater victory, as Jesus was raised from the dead and promises eternal life to us also.

Mark 16:1-8

Throughout church history, readers of Mark’s Gospel have been puzzled, even bothered, by the way the Gospel ends in verse 8. (Longer endings included in some translations are generally agreed to have been added later by those who wanted to give the Gospel a “proper” ending.) We are told that Jesus is risen, but no one sees him. The women are told to share the news of the resurrection but instead they flee in fear and say nothing.

A variety of explanations have been offered, some of them as puzzling and uncomfortable as the abrupt ending itself. Whatever the correct explanation, one thing to keep in mind is that the Gospel writers were not trying to write a comprehensive biography of Jesus that would include all the facts available, as is common practice today.

Some writers and preachers see a positive message in the “unfinished” feel of Mark 16. We are not to be spectators, enjoying a story with a satisfying ending for those early followers of Jesus. As followers of Jesus today, we are part of the ongoing story, and it is up to us to go out and spread the good news of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

Posted by: Pauline | March 22, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday March 29

Isaiah 50:4-9a

This passage is the third of the “Servant Songs” in Isaiah. The servant describes himself as someone to whom God has given words to teach others, words of encouragement to the weary. Others oppose him, however, and shame him by beatings, pulling out his beard, and spitting in his face. Despite all this, he is faithful to God. Moreover, he does not consider himself to have been disgraced, because God is with him and will vindicate him.

Psalm 31:9-16

Like the servant in Isaiah, the psalm trusts in God despite suffering at the hands of his enemies. The ultimate example of trust in God through suffering was Jesus, who apparently had this psalm in mind when he was dying on the cross. His final words, “Into your hand I commit my spirit,” come from verse 5 (not included in the passage for this Sunday).

Mark 15:1-39

On Palm Sunday we might expect to read the Gospel story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, while people wave palm branches and shout “Hosanna!” That story is important, but Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday, because it begins the week of Jesus’ suffering, a week to which each of the Gospels devotes several chapters because of its central importance to the Gospel message.

It is true that we will hear this story again on Good Friday, but it is a story worth hearing again. It is not a comfortable story to hear, but it is central to our understanding of who Jesus is, why He came, and what He did to accomplish our salvation.

Posted by: Pauline | March 22, 2015

Upcoming events: week of March 23

This Week

Tuesday, March 24

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, March 25

4:30 – 6 p.m. Clothes Depot
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Youth Group

Thursday, March 26

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers
7 p.m. Handchime practice

Sunday, March 29

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Palm Sunday skit performed by Youth Group
Luncheon served by the Youth Group following the service
6:30 p.m. Movie Night “The Blind Side”

Looking Ahead

Posted by: Pauline | March 20, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday March 22

Jeremiah 31:31-34

It would be easy, reading these verses, to think that it speaks of a new covenant that replaces the old one. But many scholars believe that a better translation would be “a renewed covenant.” It is the same God who makes the covenant, and the same people of Israel with whom He makes it. The moral standards are the same. The problem is that the standards were consistently being broken.

What is new is how the law – which could also be translated teaching – comes to people. The old law was external, written in stone, and had to be taught to people who very often refused to listen, and many times rejected those who taught it. Now it will be written on their hearts – which in Hebrew thought was not the center of emotions but of the will and intelligence. All people will know God – which means far more than knowledge about God. It refers to knowing someone personally in an intimate relationship.

Psalm 119:9-16

The psalmist clearly had internalized God’s law in a way that led to knowing God in an intimate relationship. He has stored up God’s teachings in his heart in the way someone stores valuables in a safe place – that is the actual meaning of the word “stored” (or “hidden” in other translations). He follows God’s commands not because he has to but because he wants to, because he loves the God who gave those commands.

Hebrews 5:5-10

This brief passage points out both Jesus’ exalted position as Son of God and high priest, and his humanity with all the suffering that entailed. In the context of this suffering, it speaks of Jesus’ prayer to the Father “with loud cries and tears.” This may refer to his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, or to his lifelong habit of intense prayer.

If it does refer to his prayer in the Garden, it is interesting that we are told “he was heard because of his reverence.” One who had heard him pray “let this cup pass from me”, and then saw him die in agony the next day, might have questioned whether God did hear Jesus’ prayer. But Jesus also prayed for God’s will to be done, and as Jesus remained obedient to God’s will, it was surely accomplished in both his death and resurrection.

John 12:20-33

This is one of several passages in the Gospels where Jesus speaks of those who follow him needing to be willing to lose their lives for him. Here he uses a striking analogy, to a seed dying in order to bear fruit. Seeds often seem pretty dry and dead even before they are buried in the ground, though inside there is an embryo which is merely dormant. It is the outer seed coat which has to “die” and give up the food reserves it holds to feed the embryo that will grow into the vibrant plant we can see. So we also must die to ourselves, but through Christ we rise to a much better kind of life.

Posted by: Pauline | March 15, 2015

Upcoming events: week of March 16

This Week

Monday, March 16

6:45 – 9 p.m. PEO Chapter ET, meeting in the Community Outreach Building

Tuesday, March 17

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, March 18

6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Youth Group
7 p.m. Session meeting

Saturday, March 21

10 a.m. – noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, March 22

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service and Youth Sunday School
5 p.m. Bible Study – DVD series “The Cross of Christ”

Looking Ahead

Posted by: Pauline | March 8, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday March 15

[Note: These have been changed from what was printed in last Sunday’s insert and in the monthly newsletter.]

2 Samuel 7:8-17

David had wanted to build a house for God, but instead God tells him that He will make a house for David, that is, a dynasty. Human dynasties always eventually lose the throne to some other ruler with greater political power, but God promises that David’s throne will be forever.

With the defeat of Jerusalem a few hundred years later and the Babylonian exile, the Jews must have wondered how God would keep His promise. But they believed that He would, and in the New Testament we find the ultimate fulfillment of the promise in Jesus Christ. Human dynasties fail, but the Son of God will rule forever.

Psalm 110

While this psalm does not mention David by name (except to refer to it as a psalm of David, as do many of the psalms), scholars agree that it deals with the Davidic covenant and the Davidic king’s right to rule. This is clearly how it was understood by writers of the New Testament, who quote from it more than any other Old Testament passage, seeing its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:26-33

We are used to hearing this passage at Christmas, when we focus on the birth of Jesus. But the focus in this passage is not on Jesus as a baby but on Jesus as King, fulfilling the promise to David to establish his throne and his kingdom forever.

Posted by: Pauline | March 8, 2015

Upcoming events: week of March 9

This Week

Tuesday, March 10

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, March 11

6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Youth Group Craft Night

Thursday, March 12

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, March 15

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service and Youth Sunday School
5 p.m. Bible Study – DVD series “The Cross of Christ”

Looking Ahead

Posted by: Pauline | March 1, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday March 8

Exodus 20:1-17

The Ten Commandments evoke very mixed reactions in today’s society. To some, they are the gold standard of moral guidance, transcending time and culture with principles that provide for a just and moral society. To others, they are the vestiges of a patriarchal society and hidebound religious views, best left in museums and history books but kept out of the public square.

To those of us who recognize the Scriptures as God’s Word to us, the Ten Commandments tell us not only how God intends us to live, but also reveal something of His nature and character to us. They are both instructions for life and a reminder of how far we fall short of God’s standard, a reason both to ask for His forgiveness for our failures and for the strength and wisdom to learn to live by His rules.

Psalm 19

This psalm reminds of two different ways we learn of God, what theologians call general revelation and special revelation. Nature is seen by all, and the beauty and majesty we witness in the created world tell us of the glory of the Creator. God’s commands, on the other hand, are only known by those to whom God has revealed them and those with whom that revelation has been shared. If we know and keep God’s commands, we are blessed, because we live righteous lives.

John 2:13-22

The money-changers in the temple and those who were selling animals may not have thought they were obstructing the right worship of God. They knew the Commandments against worship of any other god or of creating idols. They weren’t promoting idol-worship, they were providing the proper offerings and sacrifices to God. Likewise, many people today think of idolatry as just something done by primitive people who worship gods made of stone or metal.

But Jesus saw deeper into people’s hearts and knew that the worship in the temple had been corrupted by the commercial activity taking place there. True worship was focused on God, not on rituals. And he hinted at a future time when the temple building would be no more, and true worshipers would find the presence of God in the risen Christ.

Posted by: Pauline | March 1, 2015

Upcoming events: week of March 2

This Week

Tuesday, March 3

10 a.m. Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild

Wednesday, March 4

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, March 5

1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Wapello Study Club, meeting in Community Outreach Building
4 – 6 p.m. Food Pantry Board, meeting in North Classroom
7 p.m. Choir Practice

Saturday, March 7

10 a.m. – noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, March 8

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Communion
5 p.m. Bible Study – DVD series “The Cross of Christ”

Looking Ahead

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