Posted by: Pauline | April 15, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday April 19

Psalm 4

Some scholars believe that the historical context of Psalm 4 is the same as that of Psalm 3, when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. Regardless of what kind of distress the psalmist had experienced, that God had delivered him from, he knows that he has good reason to trust in God. He sleeps peacefully knowing God takes care of him, and advises others to do likewise.

1 John 3:1-7

John provides both encouragement and warning in this passage. We are encourages by knowledge of God’s amazing love for us, that He chooses to make us His children. At the same time, we are warned against supposing that we can call ourselves God’s children but act nothing like Him.

Luke 24:36b-48

The appearance of Jesus brings initial fear and doubt, but also joy and peace as they receive his words to them. The story doesn’t end here, however, because now that Jesus has spoken his words to the disciples, it becomes their calling to spread the good news to all nations.

Posted by: Pauline | April 13, 2015

Upcoming events: week of April 13

This Week

Tuesday, April 14

10 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, April 15

10 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Welcome Back Brunch
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
7 p.m. Session meeting

Saturday, April 18

10 a.m. – noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, April 19

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service
12 p.m. Luncheon served by Youth Group
4 p.m. Installation of Pastor Jon Evans at the Morning Sun Presbyterian Church

Looking Ahead

Thursday, April 23

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

Sunday, April 26

Community Outreach Building Open House

Posted by: Pauline | April 5, 2015

Scripture for Sunday April 12

1 John 5:1-6

There are churches that focus so much on the importance of loving one another that they minimize the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. There are other churches that put their emphasis on the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ and give relatively little attention to the issues of loving one another.

John makes it clear that both are central to one’s relationship with God. Loving the Father and loving the Father’s children go hand in hand, and the one who is able to keep this command to love is the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

John 20:19-31

John’s Gospel is written to those were not eyewitnesses of the events he describes, but who came to faith later through the testimony of others. They have not seen the risen Lord with their own eyes, as his first disciples did, but they have believed without seeing, through the words of John and others.

We might wish to have our doubts satisfied by sight, as Thomas did. But God intends for the rest of us to believe based on the testimony we have heard and read, and Jesus pronounces those people blessed who come to faith in this way.

Posted by: Pauline | April 5, 2015

Upcoming events: week of April 6

 This Week

Tuesday, April 7

NO Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild

Wednesday, April 8

4:30 – 6 p.m. Clothes Depot
NO Bible Study

Thursday, April 9

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Saturday, April 11

8 a.m. – noon Grant Writing Workshop in the Community Outreach Building

Sunday, April 12

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service with the Keck Singers
5 p.m. “The Cross of Christ” DVD study

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, April 15

10 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Welcome Back Brunch

Sunday, April 19

4 p.m. Installation of Pastor Jon Evans at the Morning Sun Presbyterian Church

Thursday, April 23

9 a.m. – noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, April 26

Community Outreach Building Open House

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

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