Posted by: Pauline | August 30, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday September 6

Psalm 125

Mountains have always reminded people of certain eternal truths. Mountains are so big, so strong, and so apparently unchanged by time (though we know that over long enough stretches of time, they do change). To the believer in God, they are a wonderful symbol of God’s might and unchanging goodness.

Physical mountains, of course, are quite indifferent to human life or death. But God cares for His people, and uses His might to protect them. He not only saves them from dangers that threaten us from outside, but He also saves us from the evil that we find within ourselves.

James 2:1-13

We like to think we do well at loving our neighbors, but James points out a situation where it is so easy to fall short. Of course when someone well-dressed comes into our worship service, we are eager to make the visitor feel welcome. Why wouldn’t we? Yet if a beggar or homeless person were to come in, we might well find it hard to give as warm a welcome.

We want to defend ourselves. Giving a better welcome to one person than another is not such a serious sin, is it? But James reminds us that sin is sin, whether it’s one we think of as a “big” sin or a “little” sin. We need mercy for all of them, and we need to learn to show the same mercy to others.

Posted by: Pauline | August 30, 2015

Upcoming events: week of August 31

This Week

Tuesday, September 1

10:15 a.m Bible Study

Wednesday, September 2

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Sunday, September 6

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Communion

Looking Ahead

Clothes Depot will be closed on Saturday, September 5 for the Labor Day holiday weekend

Tuesday, September 8

8 a.m. Set up for Rummage/Bake Sale

Sunday, September 13

Corporation Meeting after the worship service

Sunday, September 20

Back to Church Sunday

Posted by: Pauline | August 23, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday August 30

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9

This psalm is generally considered to have been composed to be sung at a royal wedding, though we can only speculate about what king it may have been written for. Considering the words addressed later in the psalm to the king’s bride, she may have been a royal daughter from another kingdom, married to the king of Israel to seal an alliance.

We are accustomed to psalms addressed to God, praising Him for His goodness and greatness. We may find it disconcerting to read this psalm of unalloyed praise directed toward a human king. But this human king would have been seen by those in his own time as having been anointed to his position by God, given all his beauty and strength by God, and representing God in his just rule over his people.

James 1:17-27

Some translations begin verse 17 referring to “every good gift,” while others say “every generous act of giving.” Either way, whether we think about gifts we receive or those we give, the gift and the giving have their source in God.

Remembering this can help us follow the instructions James gives next. Awareness of the ways in which we have been gifted for giving leads to patience with others and generosity toward those in need.

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

While we generally consider it important to wash our hands before eating, it is for reasons of health rather than ritual purity. It is hard for us to understand the idea of being “defiled” by ritual impurity or why the people in Jesus’ time cared so much about it.

To us in a society with strong Christian traditions (even if many people no longer recognize their source), it may seem obvious that the more meaningful “defilement” is by our evil actions rather than what we eat or drink. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier for us than it was for Jesus’ original audience to live holy lives. Our hearts also are corrupted by evil thoughts, immorality, coveting, pride, deceit, etc., and apart from God’s grace we are just as defiled as those rebuked by Jesus.

 

 

Posted by: Pauline | August 23, 2015

Upcoming events: week of August 23

This Week

Tuesday, August 25

No Bible Study

Wednesday, August 26

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

Thursday, August 27

9 a.m. – Noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, August 30

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including hymn sing and guest speaker John Hays

Looking Ahead

Clothes Depot will be closed on Saturday, September 5 for the Labor Day holiday weekend

Tuesday, September 8

8 a.m. Set up for Rummage/Bake Sale

Posted by: Pauline | August 16, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday August 23

Psalm 84

The people of Israel made three yearly pilgrimages to Jerusalem, to worship at the temple there. This psalm expresses the longing of someone on this journey, longing to be in the presence of God. Such is the blessedness of being there that one day there is better than a thousand elsewhere, and it is better to be a humble servant there than to enjoy power and wealth apart from God.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Some people today are uncomfortable with any militaristic metaphors in connection with our faith. But Paul’s description of the “armor of God” makes it clear that the battle is not with other people, but with spiritual evil. Our weapons are not such as would promote armed conflict – we “fight” with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God.

We are in conflict with evil whether we like it or not – and if we avoid such conflict we put ourselves on the wrong side of the battle. Only by using the resources God provides can we remain faithful in this spiritual conflict. The end result will be sharing the gospel, spreading not warfare but righteousness and peace.

John 6:56-69

We are used to seeing Jesus in conflict with the Pharisees, and in the passage right before this one it was the “Jews,” which many commentators believe should be translated “Judeans,” representing perhaps a groups with close ties to the temple in Jerusalem and a suspicion of Jesus and his primarily Galilee-based ministry.

Here, however, we see many of those called “disciples” who turn away from Jesus. These are not the disciples known as the Twelve – we see at the end of the passage that they do remain with him. But there had been many others who gladly followed Jesus up until this point.

We don’t know exactly what turned them away – his references to eating his flesh and drinking his blood, or perhaps his insistence on himself as being not only helpful but essential to their spiritual life. Whatever it was, the Twelve may have felt the same struggle, but they had found in Jesus the source of eternal life and knew they would not find it apart from him.

Posted by: Pauline | August 16, 2015

Upcoming events: week of August 17

This Week

Tuesday, August 18

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
6 – 9 p.m. T.T.T. Meeting

Wednesday, August 19

1:30 JOURNEY
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
7 p.m. Session meeting

Sunday, August 23

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Blessing of the Backpacks

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, August 26

4:30 – 6 p.m. Clothes Depot

Thursday, August 27

9 a.m. – Noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, August 30

Hymn Sing
Guest speaker John Hays

Posted by: Pauline | August 9, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday August 16

Psalm 111

Psalm 111 is one of the acrostic psalms – each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This means of structuring the psalm lends itself more to a series of statements praising God rather than developing a theme with logical progression.

Repeatedly, the psalmist praises God for His great works, though he does not elaborate on what works he has in mind. His hearers, however, would have known well the history of what God had done for them as a people, as well as the obvious work of God in creating and sustaining the world and all living things.

Ephesians 5:15-20

Paul exhorts Christians to “make the best use of the time” we have. To some people that would suggest the need to be always busy, getting things done. But just a few verses later, Paul emphasizes the importance of thankfulness and singing praises to God for who He is and what He has done.This is not necessarily in the context of corporate worship, but may include social gatherings of believers (occasions where non-believers might spend their time getting drunk).

Much has been written about the meaning of the Greek in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Some people see these as three different kinds of music, while other point to the fact that all three Greek words were used in the Greek translation of the book of Psalms. What is clear is that they are all songs that praise God and that this praise is a result of the Spirit working in the believer.

John 6:51-58

This passage prefigures the sacrament of Communion that would later be instituted at the Last Supper. While Christians of different denominations have differed over the meaning of Communion, Jesus makes it clear that in some way accessible only by faith in Him, we draw our spiritual life from Him.

Posted by: Pauline | August 9, 2015

Upcoming events: week of August 10

This Week

Tuesday, August 11

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 12

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

Thursday, August 13

9 a.m. – Noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Saturday, August 15

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, August 16

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including kids reporting on their Camp Wyoming experiences

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, August 19

1:30 p.m. JOURNEY
7 p.m. Session meeting

Sunday, August 23

Blessing of the Backpacks during the Worship Service

Wednesday, August 26

4:30 – 6 p.m. Clothes Depot

Thursday, August 27

9 a.m. – Noon JOURNEY Stitchers

Sunday, August 30

Guest speaker John Hays

Posted by: Pauline | August 8, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday August 9

Psalm 130

We don’t  know what sort of suffering the psalmist was experiencing, but we probably have all experienced a feeling of calling to a God who is far from us, hoping He will hear and come help. The psalmist knows his hope isn’t just wishful thinking though – he waits in expectation that God will indeed come to his aid, and urges all the community to have that same confidence.

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Anyone who has tried to end a bad habit knows how important it is to replace it with a good habit. Perhaps Paul had this in mind as he wrote this passage, as for each sinful behavior he says to stop doing, he offers a godly behavior to take its place.

John 6:41-51

This passage follows not long after Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. The crowd is very impressed, and would like to see another miraculous sign – and perhaps get some more free bread. Jesus tries to redirect their focus from earthly things to heavenly things.

In this many of them resist him, however. They seem particularly put out at his claim to have come down from heaven, since they think they know exactly where he came from. To them, Moses is the greatest prophet and teacher ever, and they do not welcome Jesus’ claim to provide bread from heaven greater than what Moses gave them.

Posted by: Pauline | July 26, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday August 2

Psalm 3

It’s hard enough to deal with opposition from one’s enemies. But David was fleeing from his own son, Absalom, who had led a revolt and taken the city of Jerusalem and had himself proclaimed king.

Many of those who had once followed David had concluded that God had abandoned him, and mocked him. But David was still confident in God, at peace enough to sleep well even knowing he would soon face a large army in battle.

Galatians 1:11-24

In Paul’s day, most Jewish teachers had no authority to teach new interpretations of Scripture but rather passed on the accepted interpretations they had themselves learned from others. Their credentials as teachers would thus be important to establish.

Paul’s opponents, who were leading the Galatian Christians astray, apparently had impressive credentials. But Paul makes it clear that his authority depends not on any of the apostles in Jerusalem or other human teachers, but that he teaches what he has received directly from God.

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