Posted by: Pauline | April 13, 2014

Scriptures for Sunday April 20

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

This psalm strongly affirms God’s goodness to us and gives Him praise and thanksgiving for His wonderful salvation. The psalmist may have had in mind Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, as well as personal experiences of God’s saving power.

Psalm 118 was written long before the time of Jesus, but it captures perfectly the joy of what God has done for us in raising Jesus from the dead and in giving us new life through him. “It is marvelous in our eyes. … Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Acts 10:34-45

Often people think of the resurrection as the climax in the story of Jesus. But in Peter’s preaching here, as elsewhere in the New Testament, much of the focus is on what came afterward.

Having been raised, Jesus continues to work in the lives of his followers. He sends them out to share the good news of forgiveness of sins through his name, and the power of the Spirit is seen at work in those who believe.

Matthew 28:1-15

We know the Easter story as one of joy, but when we read the story we see also a time of fear and confusion. The guards were afraid of the angel of the Lord, and so were the women who came to the tomb.

Even after the angel told the women not to be afraid, and shared with them the wonderful news that Jesus was risen from the dead, they went with both fear and joy to tell the news to the disciples.

The chief priests had a different kind of fear – fear of what would happen if people heard stories that Jesus was alive. Whether or not they were confused themselves about what had happened, they were not interested in finding out and spreading the truth, but rather in continuing to oppose Jesus and his followers by whatever means necessary.

Posted by: Pauline | April 13, 2014

Upcoming events: week of April 14

This Week

Tuesday, April 15

10 a.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Choir rehearsal

Wednesday, April 16

10 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Kickoff Brunch
7 p.m. Session meeting

Thursday, April 17

7 p.m. Maundy Thursday service

Friday, April 18

7 p.m. Good Friday service at the Nazarene Church

Sunday, April 20

6:30 a.m. Sunrise Service at the United Methodist Church led by our Youth Group
9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday Worship Service

Looking Ahead

Sunday, April 27

The Keck Singers will provide a singing message during the worship service
The Youth Group will serve lunch immediately following the worship service

Sunday, May 4

Larry Fletcher will be here as pulpit supply

Posted by: Pauline | April 7, 2014

Scriptures for Sunday April 13

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Psalm 118 was one of the psalms of praise used by the Jews in the celebration of the Passover. They praised God for the salvation He had provided long ago to their ancestors as they were freed from slavery in Egypt. And they longed for God to again free them from their oppressors.

Besides being sung as a hymn at the Passover meal itself, the psalm is also thought to have been used liturgically for public worship at the temple. Different groups recited various lines of the psalm, as together they proclaimed God’s goodness to their nation and gave thanks for all He had done and continues to do.

Matthew 21:1-11

As people traveled into Jerusalem for the Passover, the words of Psalm 118 would probably already have been on their minds. When Jesus came riding in on a donkey, this rabbi whom so many thought might be the long-promised Messiah, the words of the psalm came readily to their mouths.

“Hosanna! Save us! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Even those who had never seen or heard Jesus before would easily have been drawn into the procession, hoping that they were indeed welcoming the one appointed by God to lead the Jewish people to freedom.

Posted by: Pauline | April 6, 2014

Upcoming events: week of April 7

This Week

Tuesday, April 8

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, April 9

4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Clothes Depot open
6 p.m. Youth Group practice at United Methodist
6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, April 10

6:30 p.m. Handchimes practice

Sunday,  April 13

9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday Worship Service – Youth Group will perform a skit

Looking Ahead

Thursday, April 17

7 p.m. Maundy Thursday service

Friday, April 18

7 p.m. Good Friday service at the Nazarene Church

Sunday, April 20

Youth Group will lead the Sunrise Service at the United Methodist Church

Sunday, April 27

The Keck Singers will provide a singing message during our worship service
The Youth Group will serve lunch immediately following the worship service

Posted by: Pauline | March 30, 2014

Scriptures for Sunday, April 6

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel presents a vivid image, a valley filled with the dry bones of people long dead. It is a scene such as would be seen on a battlefield, long years later, when animals and the elements have devoured the flesh of the fallen soldiers who were left unburied.

It is a scene utterly devoid of any sense of God’s blessing. These are bones of people who were defeated by a powerful enemy, and did not have even the consolation of their remains being properly cared for. There is no sign of life, not even the possibility of life.

Unless God does something. As in the beginning of Genesis, God – through the prophecy of Ezekiel – forms bodies out of what was lifeless, and gives to them the breath of life. In the same way, the exiled Israelites, feeling cut off from God and without hope, may know that God has not forgotten them and that, by His power, they still have a future as His people.

Romans 8:6-11

Some Bible translations use a different word or phrase instead of “flesh” in this and other passages by Paul, to show that the problem is not with the physical body per se but with the sinful things we do with our bodies. (And anything that we do, we use our bodies to do, so this is not just about the kind of sins that we particularly associate with the body, such as sexual immorality.)

Paul uses the word flesh in different ways with overlapping meanings. It is clear in this passage, however, that whatever it means, it refers to a mindset of hostility toward God, and that this is linked to death. In contrast, we receive life from the Spirit and this life is one oriented toward doing what is pleasing to God.

John 11:1-45

When a close friend is dying, we usually want to be there, to provide what comfort we can and to say our good-byes. We may feel discomfort at Jesus’ choice to deliberately delay going to Bethany when he hears that Lazarus is ill.

Even knowing his purpose, we can relate to Martha and Mary’s immediate response upon seeing Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” We know that God has power over all the circumstances of our lives, and we are troubled when our requests for help go seemingly unanswered.

Jesus’ power is displayed very dramatically, however, when he does arrive, and calls Lazarus forth from the grave. Even though we know this return to life for Lazarus was only temporary and that sooner or later he died again, this miracle assures us of Jesus’ power over death. Those of us who believe in him have the assurance that we too, even though we die, will live.

Posted by: Pauline | March 30, 2014

Upcoming events: week of March 31

This Week

Tuesday, April 1

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, April 2

6 p.m. Youth Group practice at United Methodist
6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Saturday, April 5

10 a.m. – noon Clothes Depot open

Sunday,  April 6

9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship Service and Communion for all ages

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, April 9

6 p.m. Youth Group practice at United Methodist

Sunday, April 13

Youth Group will perform a skit for our Palm Sunday service

Thursday, April 17

7 p.m. Maundy Thursday service

Friday, April 18

7 p.m. Good Friday service at the Nazarene Church

Sunday, April 20

Youth Group will lead the Sunrise Service at the United Methodist Church

Sunday, April 27

The Keck Singers will provide a singing message during our worship service
The Youth Group will serve lunch immediately following the worship service

Posted by: Pauline | March 26, 2014

Scriptures for Sunday March 30

Psalm 23

This psalm has brought comfort to countless Christians at the time of their death or upon the death of loved ones. It has been used at so many funerals that there are some people – perhaps those who rarely enter a church except for weddings and funerals – who associate this psalm primarily with death and dying.

Yet it is mostly about living, and about experiencing God’s constant care and provision through all the circumstances of our lives. It is about knowing that when we are following our Shepherd we need never worry, because He is providing for all our needs.

Often it takes faith to believe that we have all that we need, when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise. Then, like sheep, we have to put our confidence in the Shepherd that He loves us and that He is leading us in the path He knows is best.

Ephesians 5:8-14

Paul uses the metaphor of light and darkness to remind believers of their identity in Christ and to live accordingly. Being light means not only doing what is right, but exposing what is evil by shining light on it.

Paul is not specific about how we go about shining light on what is evil. It probably depends on the situation, but there will be times when we have to speak out and confront falsehoods with the truth.

John 9:1-41

The contrast between light and darkness is central to John’s Gospel. In the very first chapter John writes about the light that had come into the world, the light that shines in darkness and is not overcome by it.

In the chapter right before this passage, Jesus says that he is the Light of the World. The story of the healing of the blind man – the longest the miracle stories in the Gospels – can be seen as an extended object lesson on Jesus as the Light. Those who reject him may have physical sight but are spiritually blind.

Posted by: Pauline | March 23, 2014

Upcoming events: week of March 24

This Week

Tuesday, March 25

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, March 26

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

Thursday, March 27

9 – noon JOURNEY Stitchers
7:30 p.m. Handchime practice

Sunday,  March 30

9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship Service and Sunday School for children/youth
Youth Group will serve lunch following the worship service
Confirmation Class following the lunch

Looking Ahead

Sunday, April 20

Youth Group will lead the Sunrise Service at the United Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | March 18, 2014

Scriptures for March 23

Exodus 17:1-7

The people of Israel probably thought that once God had brought them out of Egypt, things would go well for them. Instead they find their lives threatened, first by the Egyptian army pursuing them, then by hunger when their food supplies run out. Now it is lack of water.

Each time they wonder why God isn’t taking better care of them. They’re following His leading; why does He keep taking them into life-threatening situations?

Each time He saves them in a miraculous manner. But they haven’t yet learned to trust Him the next time their survival is at stake.

Romans 5:1-11

Nobody likes suffering, but Paul gives a reason why we can rejoice in it, because it leads to hope. In the midst of suffering we may find it hard to believe God really cares, but Paul reminds us of the evidence of God’s love, that Christ died for us even when we were still his enemies. If he would do that much for his enemies, he’ll certainly do what is good for those who have been reconciled to him.

John 4:5-42

To the Jewish society of Jesus’ day, the Samaritan was an outsider. Yet in this passage Jesus is in their territory. So who is the outsider in this encounter?

Whatever our own experiences of being outsiders or having encounters with those we consider outsiders, we can all relate to longing for something that satisfies a thirst deep inside of us. Those who have found that thirst satisfied by Jesus want to go tell others, as the Samaritan woman did.

Posted by: Pauline | March 16, 2014

Upcoming events: week of March 17

This Week

Tuesday, March 18

10 a.m. Bible Study
7 p.m. Handchime practice

Wednesday, March 19

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

Sunday,  March 23

9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship Service and Sunday School for children/youth

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, March 26

6:30 p.m. Youth Group craft night

Sunday, March 30

Youth Group will serve lunch following the worship service

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