Posted by: Pauline | August 13, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday August 20

Genesis 45:1-15

Joseph’s brothers have reason to be afraid of him, this powerful ruler over Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. Then when they find out he is their brother Joseph, they still have reason to be afraid, because of what they did to him back when he was a teenager.

Joseph does not want them to go on living with the guilt of what they had done, however. He sees the hand of God in what happened, turning their attempt to get rid of their brother into the means of saving the lives of their family and the entire land of Egypt.

Psalm 133

This psalm extols the excellence of brothers dwelling in unity – perhaps because it seems to appear so rarely in Scripture. Joseph and his brothers certainly did not get along well. David, to whom this psalm is attributed, had plenty of conflict in his family, first with his own brothers, and then among his sons. In a larger context, the people of Israel, all descendants of Jacob, often had conflicts among the different tribes.

We need some cultural context in order to understand why unity among brothers is compared to oil running down someone’s beard or to dew from Mount Hermon winding up near Jerusalem. But these are clearly superlatives intended to show just how wonderful unity is, and our own experiences of family – in unity or disunity – confirm the psalmist’s elevated praise for living in harmony.

Posted by: Pauline | August 13, 2017

Upcoming events: week of August 14

This Week

Tuesday, August 15

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 16

1:30 p.m. Journey
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Session

Saturday, August 19

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, August 20

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

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, August 22

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 23

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

Thursday, August 24

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Posted by: Pauline | August 8, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday August 13

Romans 10:5-15

Since Paul is contrasting the righteousness based on law with the righteousness based on faith, readers may be surprised to find him quoting from Deuteronomy and the giving of the law to support his teaching on faith. Moreover, the passage from which he pulls these phrases says that the commandment “is not too hard for you.” But if it was not too hard, why did they fail to keep it?

The law contained no commands too hard to understand or to follow, but because of sin, even doing the right thing can often be done in the wrong way. Trying to follow the law could become a burdensome duty resented some, while others took pride in how well they followed it and became self-righteous.

But the way of righteousness Paul is talking about isn’t about trying hard. It’s about accepting the righteousness of Christ, and it’s available by simply trusting in Him and confessing Him as Lord.

Matthew 14:22-33

Why did Peter want to walk on water? Did he want confirmation that it was really Jesus and not a ghost? Was he eager to follow in his Master’s footsteps? Did he long to show Jesus how fully he trusted in Him? Or was he just not thinking too clearly at all, and said the first thing that popped into his head?

Regardless of his motivation, he provides a vivid example of faith, fear, and being kept from falling when he called on Jesus to save him.

Posted by: Pauline | August 6, 2017

Upcoming events: week of August 7

This Week

Tuesday, August 8

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 9

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

Thursday, August 10

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Sunday, August 13

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

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, August 15

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 16

1:30 p.m. Journey
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Session

Saturday, August 19

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Posted by: Pauline | July 30, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday August 6

Genesis 32:22-31

This passage is one that makes the lives of Bible characters seem so different from our own. We have struggles that we may describe as “wrestling with God,” but it’s not a physical wrestling match. We may feel limp afterward, but we don’t generally wind up actually limping.

Scholars disagree about the nature of the “man” who wrestled with Jacob. An angel? A pre-incarnate appearance of Christ? Was it just a vision, or just metaphorical? What commentators do generally agree on is that Jacob needed to learn to depend on God instead of on his own cleverness. And this we have in common with Jacob, even if we never have an experience as strange as his nocturnal wrestling match.

Romans 9:1-8

Paul’s loyalty to the Jewish people may have been questioned by many Jews. Not only had he become a follower of Christ, but his invitation to Gentiles to become followers without following Jewish laws and customs might suggest a lack of respect for the traditions of his people. But Paul insists in the strongest terms possible on the reality of his devotion to them.

It is not the physical ties which matter most, however. God’s call transcends heredity, and it is the second birth that matters more than the first.

Posted by: Pauline | July 30, 2017

Upcoming events: week of July 31

This Week

Tuesday, August 1

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild planning meeting for rummage sale

Wednesday, August 2

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Saturday, August 5

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, August 6

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service  including Communion for all ages
2 p.m. Celebration of Life for Lu Barrick

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, August 8

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, August 9

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

Thursday, August 10

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Posted by: Pauline | July 23, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday July 30

Psalm 128

Some people may be uncomfortable with this psalm because it sounds a bit like the so-called “prosperity gospel” – obey God and you’ll be rewarded with lots of good stuff. But this psalm is not talking about getting rich. Eating the fruit of one’s labor means working hard and that work yielding enough to provide for oneself and one’s family (as opposed to facing ruin due to crop failure, bandits, or seizure of property due to unjust laws). It is true that sometimes disasters happen to faithful Christians, but like many passages in the Psalms and Proverbs, this presents a general principle, not a promise that it will always be that way.

Most of the blessings described here are not even material things but family. This is what the faithful man works for – not to get things but to take care of his family. He finds his joy in his wife and children, and eventually grandchildren. Even those who do not have these particular family blessings generally find that God’s greatest blessings come through relationships with others, not from wealth or accomplishments.

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Since the disciples claimed to have understood these parables, we don’t get the benefit of Jesus’ explanation of what they mean. We can be pretty sure, though, that these brief characterizations of the kingdom of heaven challenged people’s assumptions about God’s kingdom. Many people expected a kingdom established by force, its rulers and army very visible, but Jesus described a kingdom that grew nearly unseen and in unconventional ways. Traditional kingdoms often grew into empires as kings sought to increase their power and wealth. But in the kingdom of heaven, one gives up everything else in order to obtain it.

Whether Jesus’ hearers understood clearly or not, they must have understood at least that there was a lot they did not understand, that they had to give up old attitudes and learn from Jesus a new way to think about God and His rule.

 

Posted by: Pauline | July 23, 2017

Upcoming events: week of July 24

This Week

No Tuesday Bible Study until August

 

Wednesday, July 26

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

Thursday, July 27

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Sunday, July 30

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including children singing songs from VBS

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, August 1

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild planning meeting for rummage sale

Wednesday, August 2

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Saturday, August 5

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Posted by: Pauline | July 16, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday July 23

Genesis 28:10-19a

Jacob had left his family (and his brother Esau’s rage at having lost out on Isaac’s blessing to Jacob’s deception), and he might have thought he had left his family’s God behind as well. But this famous dream taught him that, unlike the localized gods of the people in the surrounding region, the God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham was “in this place,” no matter what that place might be.

Romans 8:12-25

Scholars do not all agree about the legal context behind Paul’s references to adoption in this and other passages, but most think that he had Roman adoption practices in mind. In light of the reference to slavery in verse 15, he likely had in mind the practice of adopting a slave, thus not only granting the slave freedom but also the status of heir.

In Roman practice, an adopted ex-slave would still be subject to discrimination and legal restrictions not experienced by a freeborn adoptee, and would hardly have been considered as a joint heir with a natural son. Yet God’s love and grace are so great that He adopted us out of the slavery of sin, and raised us up to be joint heirs with His own Son.

Posted by: Pauline | July 16, 2017

Upcoming events: week of July 17

This Week

No Tuesday Bible Study until August

July 17-21

6 – 8:30 p.m. Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church

Wednesday, July 19

1:30 p.m. Journey
6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Sunday, July 23

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

Looking Ahead

No Tuesday Bible Study until August

Wednesday, July 26

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

Thursday, July 27

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

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