Posted by: Pauline | July 9, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday July 16

Psalm 119:105-112

Imagine that you were instructed to write down eight statements about the Scriptures, each starting with the letter N. This is the task the writer of Psalm 119 had in this 8-verse section of the psalm (as with each of the 21 other sections, each for one letter of the Hebrew alphabet).

The collection of verses may seem somewhat random, other than that they all speak of God’s word, of God’s law, of God’s teachings. But then, our lives may feel rather disconnected as well sometimes, or perhaps connected but in a tight tangle where we struggle to find meaning. The many varied verses of Psalm 119 show us God’s word relating to our lives in all aspects, no matter the variety, strangeness, or apparent confusion.

Romans 8:1-11

Paul draws a clear contrast between flesh and Spirit, showing that they are not only very different but opposed to one another. Some people misunderstand the passage as being about physical and non-physical, but the word Paul uses for “flesh” is not the one he uses for our physical body, but rather whatever is opposed to God.

Posted by: Pauline | July 9, 2017

Upcoming events: week of July 10

This Week

No Tuesday Bible Study until August

Wednesday, July 12

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

Thursday, July 13

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Saturday, July 15

No Clothes Depot due to Chief Wapello Days

Sunday, July 16

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

Looking Ahead

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

 

Posted by: Pauline | July 2, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday July 9

Romans 7:15-25a

Even people who think the idea of “sin” belongs to outdated religious ideas recognize that people sometimes find themselves doing things they don’t they shouldn’t do, that they want to stop doing. Anyone who has struggled with addiction knows the feeling of being trapped by one’s own destructive behavior. And 12-step programs teach that the first step for the addict is to recognize that one is powerless over the addiction.

But Paul doesn’t stop with being captive to the law of sin. With an exclamation of thanksgiving he points to the way of freedom from sin through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Both in Jesus’ time and our own, people have often had their own ideas about how they expect Jesus to deliver them from their problems, and are unhappy when he does not meet their expectations. They may be tired of their burdens, but they do not want to take Jesus’ yoke upon them. They want freedom on their own terms, but Jesus only offers us freedom on his terms.

Posted by: Pauline | July 2, 2017

Upcoming events: week of July 3

This Week

Tuesday, July 4

Office closed for Independence Day, no Bible Study

Wednesday, July 5

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Sunday, July 9

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

Looking Ahead

No Tuesday Bible Study until August

Wednesday, July 12

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

Thursday, July 13

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Saturday, July 15

No Clothes Depot due to Chief Wapello Days

July 17-21

Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | June 25, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday July 2

Psalm 13

Many of the psalms are known as “psalms of lament.” These psalms teach us how to cry out to God in the midst of pain and sorrow. The psalmist does not hesitate to pour out his complaint to God. But his cry for deliverance also reflects his understanding of God as sovereign Lord over all things, and this psalm, like most psalms of lament, finishes with an expression of trust and praise.

Matthew 10:40-42

In the preceding verses, Jesus emphasized the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus is not like taking up a new hobby, as though we were just adding one more activity to our lives that will make it more fulfilling. Discipleship means giving our highest allegiance to Christ, which may anger those people who thought our first priority should be family, or country, or some cause or ideology.

In this context of rejection by others, Jesus now talks about welcoming him and his followers. Those who have been expelled from their family, which was the basis for nearly all relationships in that society, need to find a welcome in the new social group made up of those who follow Jesus. Of course, by welcoming these rejected ones, they show where their loyalties lie and face the same kind of rejection themselves. Yet as little an act of welcome as giving something cold to drink (much appreciated in that hot, dusty climate) will in the end be rewarded by God.

Posted by: Pauline | June 25, 2017

Upcoming events: week of June 26

This Week

Tuesday, June 27

10:15 Bible Study

Wednesday, June 28

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

Thursday, June 29

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Saturday, July 1

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, July 2

9 a.m. Worship Service – Note earlier service time this week!

Looking Ahead

July 17-21

Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | June 18, 2017

Upcoming events: week of June 19

This Week

Tuesday, June 20

No Bible Study

Wednesday, June 21

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

Sunday, June 25

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service led by the musical group SELAH

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, June 27

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, June 28

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

Thursday, June 29

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

 

Sunday, July 2

9 a.m. Worship Service – Note earlier service time this week!

July 17-21

Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | June 11, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday June 18

Jeremiah 3:19-22a

While the idea of God as Father was not unknown in the Old Testament, as a name for God it appears only a small number of times. Two of these are in Jeremiah 3. Speaking through Jeremiah, God uses the metaphors both of the relation of a father to his children and a husband to his wife to describe His relationship with Israel, and their faithlessness to the one they should be devoted to. God does not give them up, however, but calls on the faithless ones to return to Him.

Luke 11:9-13

People in our modern society may be puzzled by Jesus’ comments about whether a father might give his son a snake instead of a fish, or a scorpion instead of an egg. But there were in that culture snakes that did have at least a superficial resemblance to fish, and a white scorpion that, when rolled up, did resemble an egg. A child trying to get food for himself might make such mistakes; a father giving food to his children would not.

Posted by: Pauline | June 11, 2017

Upcoming events: week of June 12

This Week

Tuesday, June 13

10:15 a.m. Bible Study

Wednesday, June 14

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

Saturday, June 17

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, June 18

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

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, June 20

No Bible Study

Wednesday, June 21

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

Sunday, June 25

Worship led by the musical group SELAH

Thursday, June 29

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers

Sunday, July 2

9 a.m. Worship Service – Note earlier service time this week!

July 17-21

Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | June 7, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday June 11

Genesis 18:1-15

One may wonder why the text goes into such detail regarding the preparation of the food provided to Abraham’s three visitors. It appears that the writer wants to be sure people recognize Abraham’s generosity and hospitality to the visitors. Some people think Abraham recognized the special nature of his visitors immediately, which would of course account for the extravagant nature of the meal he offered. Others think he realized this only gradually, and that the occasion shows his generosity to anyone who might come to visit. (It is interesting that this example of Abraham’s hospitality comes only one chapter before the destruction of Sodom, which along with its sexual sins was guilty of a lack of generosity to the needy, according to Ezekiel 16.)

Some see, in the placing of this account of Abraham’s hospitality right before the promise that Sarah will have a son, some idea of divine reward. Abraham gave the best he had to his visitors, and was rewarded by the great gift of a long-promised son. But Abraham would probably have recognized that all that he had was a gift from God to begin with, and whether or not he knew exactly who he was serving food to, he was sharing out of the abundance he had received.

2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Bible studies on the letters of Paul do not generally focus on the final greetings at the end of his letters. Some readers may slide over these last verses quickly, and find little of practical or theological importance. But Paul’s exhortations, however brief, provide a path to renewed fellowship and blessing in a church torn by conflict. And his closing doxology, often used today at the close of worship services, reminds us that our faith is in a Triune God.

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