Posted by: Pauline | October 15, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday October 22

Psalm 105

Psalm 105 is one of a number of Scripture passages, especially in the Psalms, that relate highlights from the history of the people of Israel. This history is presented not simply as an account of what happened, as history books today do, nor is there generally any attempt to understand or explain why people acted as they did. Rather, this is an account of God’s acts in human history.

The specific incidents included vary from one passage to another, though they generally focus on God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt. In all of them, the point is not merely to know what God has done, but to praise God for what He has done, trusting that He will continue to act in the lives of His people in every time and place.

Matthew 20:1-16

When we are the ones in great need, we are grateful for generosity that does not depend on the work we have done. But this parable highlights our tendency to focus instead on fairness when we feel we have worked hard and deserve an appropriate reward. To see someone who has done far less receive just as much as us is hard to accept. This is true whether we’re thinking about wages for hours worked, recognition for other kinds of work in the home or community, or divine favor toward those who live good moral lives.

Jesus’ parable makes us uncomfortable because we know it is good to be generous but don’t like it when other people benefit more from generosity than we do. If we were the workers hired first and we were paid twelve times as much as the last hired, as would seem right to us, we might feel generous ourselves and give some charity to those obviously in need. Because, after all, then we would be in control, and we could congratulate ourselves on our unselfish behavior. But we find it much harder to be treated like those whom we feel superior to for having done so much more.

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Posted by: Pauline | October 15, 2017

Upcoming events: week of October 16

Tuesday, October 17

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, October 18

1:30 p.m. Journey
6:30 p.m. Youth Group
No Bible Study

Saturday, October 21

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, October 22

9:30 a.m. Youth Sunday School
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, October 24

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, October 25

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

Thursday, October 26

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Saturday, October 28

10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Fall Festival, including luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Posted by: Pauline | October 8, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday October 15

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Some people today see in Paul’s warnings about sin in this passage a confirmation that religion is about trying to control people by threatening them with hell. Others see justification of their own moral behavior and condemnation of those who do not keep the same high standards.

Paul does speak of the condemnation that is due for violations of God’s commandments. But his purpose is to remind his readers that they are no longer condemned for their former sinful way of life, but rather made righteous and holy through Jesus Christ, who has freed them from sin to live a new way of life in Him.

Luke 16:19-31

Interpretations of this parable vary widely, with some emphasizing the reality of heaven and hell, while others focus on the obligations of the wealthy to be generous to the less fortunate. Since Jesus told this parable in the context of a discussion of the management of money, there is clearly a warning to those who enjoy a place of economic privilege and disregard the needs of those around them. It also echoes a common theme in Scripture about the downfall of the powerful and blessings coming to those who had suffered.

A far less obvious interpretation sees Lazarus as representing Gentiles and the rich man representing Jews, who for centuries had seen themselves as enjoying the riches of God’s favor and revelation, while the Gentiles were dismissed as worthless. Christians who were being marginalized, whether Jews thrown out of synagogues because they professed faith in Christ, or Gentiles told that they could not be blessed by God unless they first became Jews, were to find encouragement in this story that, like Lazarus, they could look forward to a place of blessing in God’s Kingdom.

Posted by: Pauline | October 8, 2017

Upcoming events: week of October 9

Tuesday, October 10

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, October 11

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

Thursday, October 12

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

 

Sunday, October 15

9:30 a.m. Youth Sunday School
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, October 17

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, October 18

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

Saturday, October 21

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Posted by: Pauline | October 5, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday October 8

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20

Some religious traditions see wealth as a sign of God’s favor, and a poor person is seen as one whose relationship with God must also be poor. Other traditions believe that poor people are more favored by God, and that anyone with wealth must have gained it at the expense of the poor.

This passage in Ecclesiastes acknowledges the pitfalls associated with wealth – never being satisfied that one has enough, and worry that it may be lost. But wealth and possessions – however much or little one may have – are seen as a gift of God, to be enjoyed with gratitude. And this gratitude, other Scriptures teach us, will lead us to share what we have with those who have less.

Colossians 3:1-11

Paul draws a clear distinction between the sinful behavior of our old lives, before Christ, and that which is appropriate to our new life in Him. Unfortunately it can be easy to read quickly through a list of sins that don’t seem to apply to us, missing the one or two that cause us to stumble. Some, like covetousness and anger, are often socially acceptable, at least in some forms. And we are generally very skilled at justifying our behavior, at least to ourselves.

Those whose focus is on God and His ways, however, don’t want to continue in their past sinful ways. Their desires and thoughts are changed to align with the desires and thoughts of the One who has given them new life, and that new life inside shows through in their changed behavior.

Luke 12:13-21

Being so successful in business that newer, bigger warehouses are required is generally seen today as a good thing, yet the successful landowner in this parable is called a fool. Jesus does not fault the man for his success, however, but rather for his covetousness. Among the options he had for using his increased wealth, honoring God as the One who was ultimately the source of his wealth, either by sacrifices to God or gifts to the needy among God’s people, apparently does not even occur to this man.

Posted by: Pauline | October 1, 2017

Upcoming events: week of October 2

Tuesday, October 3

10:15 Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild

Wednesday, October 4

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

Thursday, October 5

7 p.m. Choir practice

Saturday, October 7

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, October 8

9:30 a.m. Youth Sunday School
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, October 10

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, October 11

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

Thursday, October 12

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Posted by: Pauline | September 24, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday October 1

Deuteronomy 24:17-21

Family members generally take care of each other. They may not always get along, but when hard times come, people usually know they can turn to family for help. Whether we really like all our relatives or not, there is a sense of responsibility – that person is “one of us.”

But people without families have always faced serious trouble. In ancient Israel, widows and orphans had no one to turn to, no one they could count on to provide for them. Non-Israelites living in Israel faced similar difficulties, because even if they were a family, they didn’t own land, and land was central to the economy. And they certainly didn’t count as “one of us” in Israelite society.

But God made sure His people knew that He counted even these most vulnerable members of society as “one of us” and they were to do so also. They had been slaved in Egypt and they knew what it was like to be poor and powerless. As God had provided for them when they had nothing, so they were now to provide justice and economic opportunity for those who most needed it.

Luke 18:1-8

The widow in this story was a prime example of those needy people that Deuteronomy 24 had in mind. And the judge was a prime example of one who blatantly disregarded the commands given there. He didn’t care that he was breaking God’s commands, and he apparently didn’t care either what people thought of him for breaking those commands.

Many widows probably would have given up, but this one did not. Whether prompted by a strong desire for justice, or just plain desperation, she refused to leave him alone to enjoy his comfortable place in society. That he finally relented doesn’t count much in his favor, but it no doubt made a world of difference to the widow.

Posted by: Pauline | September 24, 2017

Upcoming events: week of September 25

Tuesday, September 26

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, September 27

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

Thursday, September 28

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Sunday, October 1

9:30 a.m. Youth Sunday School
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Communion

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, October 3

10:15 Bible Study
1:30 p.m. Women’s Guild

Wednesday, October 4

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

 

Posted by: Pauline | September 17, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday September 24

James 1:19-27

In a knowledge-based society like ours, people get used to thinking of learning as primarily being about adding to our store of information. Even in church, it’s easy to think that we have learned God’s word when we have heard or read it, we understand what it means, and perhaps we have even memorized some verses. But James reminds us that the word does not benefit us unless we actually put it into practice.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Christians who have found great joy in knowing Jesus may wonder why so many other people do not respond as they do to the gospel message. In this parable Jesus describes some of the reasons. Some people simply don’t understand what they have been told. Perhaps they interpret the message through the filter of what they have heard or experienced about religion in the past. Others may be attracted to the prospect of joy or forgiveness or the love of the faith community, but lose interest when they find out that it means being willing to give up the safe or comfortable life they are accustomed to.

We might be tempted to look for only those people who seem most receptive to the gospel message and focus on them, but God is generous in sowing His word even among those who do not ultimately respond to His call. Unlike good soil, people’s receptivity to God is often hard to discern until the word has been sown.

Posted by: Pauline | September 17, 2017

Upcoming events: week of September 18

Tuesday, September 19

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, September 20

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

Sunday, September 24

9:30 a.m. Youth Sunday School
9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service at Lake Odessa (weather permitting)

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, September 26

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, September 27

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

Thursday, September 28

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

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