Virtual Bulletin – 8/8

August 8th, 2021 – 11th Sunday after Pentecost

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Aug 9nd – Aug 15th

Mon- Fri………………..           Preschool Summer Camps

Monday: ……………….           6:00pm             Men’s Group   

Thursday: ………………           10:00am           Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

Paul’s letters typically have two sections.  The front section is Paul’s big argument – what he is writing to express.  And in most of the letters that is some form of the good news.  In Ephesians we’ve heard the financial (“In him we have the redemption through his blood”), the familial (“We have obtained an inheritance”), and the cosmic (“he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”). And Paul has developed his argument such that we have a cosmic equity (“one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father”) while also receiving different gifts.  Today’s Epistle lesson (Eph 4:17-5:2) starts the second section.  Our translation chooses to use an emphatic change word “now…now this I say and testify.”  Now, remembering that argument.  Now, on the basis of all that good news.  Now, since you have heard the big picture.  Let me – the apostle Paul– try to apply this to some specific problems in life.  In many of the letters, Paul has to be responding to other letters sent to him.  Ephesians feels like one of those letters.  How do you live the Christian life, let me tell you.

This inheritance, this election, this redemption, is not so that you can just go on living as you have.  “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds.”  You know!  You have the mind of Christ.  You have been enlightened with His gifts.  He bought you with his blood not so that you could live like animals but so that you would be “the new-self created in the likeness of God in true righteousness.”  Using the gospel to justify “deceitful desires” is “grieving the Holy Spirit.”  What might we be talking about? Oh, let me see what people have written.

“Put away falsehood, let each one speak truth with his neighbor.”

“Be angry but do not sin.”  Settle your arguments so the devil has no opportunity.

“Tell the thief to get a job.”

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up.” What did mom say? If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything?

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and slander be put away, along with all malice.”  So you didn’t listen to the first warning about anger, I mean it.

Instead of all these “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving.”  But the Christian life is not one run by a checklist.  The law is helpful, but you are not under the law, and it has no power anyway. The reason you have been chosen from before time and given an inheritance is because you are the children of God.  As such you are imitators of God.  “Walk in love as Christ love us.”  Follow Christ.  Out of his love, love your fellow believer.

Paul’s examples pick back up in parts that our lectionary leaves out.  What does love not look like? Read Eph 5:3-5. Instead, what does walking look like?  Read next week.  But there is one last bit to contemplate.  There are plenty of passages that would universalize the behavior that Paul is talking about (ex. The Good Samaritan), but Ephesians is concerned with how Christians treat each other.  You collectively have been chosen.  “We are members of one another.”  If we are one body growing into the fullness of Christ, this is the life blood – love.  If we do not have this, we are nothing.  

MEN’S GROUP

We haven’t had a men’s group in a while.  I’m lighting the grill Monday.  Everyone of the male persuasion welcome.  I’ve put out a sign-up, but if you aren’t on, don’t let that stop you.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: We are going to be looking at the short book of Jude which has an interesting problem.  Come Join!
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: I promise to be back.

Virtual Bulletin – 8/1

August 1st, 2021 – 10th Sunday after Pentecost

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Aug 2nd – Aug 8th

Mon- Fri………………..           Preschool Summer Camps

Tuesday: ……………….           Elder’s Off for Summer

Thursday: ………………           10:00am           Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

One of the big fights in our culture today is between two words – equality and equity.  Equality is the old term probably best defined most recently by MLK as “being judged by the content of your character not by the color of their skin.” The content of your character is something that you can build and reinforce or demolish and deconstruct daily.  The hope is that opportunity might roughly be given to those with appropriate character. Equity is something quite different.  It asserts that character and the right to judge character are of no concern.  Opportunity is not what is of concern.  It is material outcomes that matter.  Everybody should receive the same, and if they don’t there is no good reason for that.

In our Epistle lesson today there is an equity portion.  “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, on God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  The mystical body of Christ is one.  The same Spirit that resides in you because of your baptism resides in all according to their baptism.  We all have the same hope in Christ and likewise we have the same ground of our being in the Father.  We have equity in this. It is also all completely given by the grace of the Triune God.  There is also an equality portion.  The gifts that Christ has given to his people come in different forms: “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.”  The opportunity in these gifts is for all to “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”  The gifts differ.  The parts of the body differ. But the opportunity is the same, to grow into Christ “each part working properly.”

For me there are two points of temptation.  The biblical witness is that the grace of Christ, the equity portion, is so much greater than anything in the equality portion as to make comparison meaningless.  We’ve been forgiven 10,000 talents, do we really want to argue over 100 denarii?  The first and greatest temptation is to spurn the gifts of God that we have been given, to deny the grace.  The second point of temptation is rooted in what we are aimed at by our Creator and the indwelling Spirit.  We are aimed toward love for God and love for our neighbor – “makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  The temptation is to disagree with what God is calling from us.  I have not been given enough honor.  I cannot be called to love this person or task.  But that is the equal opportunity of the Kingdom, to grow in love.  This temptation fractures the body, “driven to and fro by the waves, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”  Since I have been given such a poor plot, I shall take my own.

Help us to be equipped and joined and held together by every joint that we might “walk in a manner worthy of the calling.”

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Galatians, come join us!
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: Ok, I promise, I’ll get back to this.  If you didn’t get it in your inbox, let me know please!

COFFEE HOUR

We have resumed coffee and cookies after services.  We also have a gorgeous new serving cart from the Warriner family begging to be used.  If you could pick up a week, the sign-up sheet is on the first bulletin board.  Thanks!

Virtual Bulletin – 7/18

July 18th, 2021 – 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Note about Virtual Bulletin: This is a shortened form of what gets emailed (if I have your email) and what is passed out with the bulletin on Sunday. I take out the very congregation specific info. If you want to ensure you get that, please contact me with your email.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  July 19th – July 25th

Mon-Mon.………………           Pastor’s Vacation (Stay Mon-Wed, Out of Town Thur-Sun)

Mon…………………….            6:00pm             Women’s Group

Wednesday……………..           7:30pm             Church Council

Thursday: ………………           10:00am           NO Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

Devotion & Prayer Thought

One of the cheats to following Paul’s letters is often to look for the prepositions or transition words, like “therefore” or “since” or “so then”.  Right before our Epistle lesson today Paul has restated what for me is a better gospel in a nutshell than John 3:16.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Therefore…

What Paul says today rests on that statement of the gospel.  And what he speaks about is a new unity.  The world was once divided into Jews and Gentiles.  And this type of division was not unique then and continues to be common.  There were Greeks and Barbarians.  From what I have been told there are “Han” which means “the people” in China and everyone else. The United States certainly thinks of itself as a country set apart.  Each “tribe, people, language and nation” has “dividing walls of hostility” that are maintained by law, ordinance and culture.  Now Paul maintains that the Jewish law is special in this regard in that the Jews through Abraham also had the covenant of promise.  But by both the Jewish law and every other law, everyone was once cut off from God.  But in his flesh Christ has broken down these walls.  Christ is our peace.  He has made things that were natural enemies one in himself.  All of mankind’s laws died when Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate.  Those who were near and those who were far have all been called to the foot of the cross to be reconciled to God.  What is divided by the fallen nature of creation has been united in one Christ, the firstborn of the new creation.

“So then…”. What does it mean that we have been united in Christ?  You who have been united to Christ, Jews and Greeks, Greeks and Barbarians, Americans and foreigners, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens.  You are citizens together with all the saints, and you are members of the household.  More than just fellow citizens, you are brothers and sisters, because Christ has joined us. Yes, this world and its laws will continue to separate, maybe even with hostility.  But this world is passing away.  To be part of Christ is to be freed from those separations and to grow together into a holy temple of the Spirit. God has made his dwelling place here, with you, and with all who have been called to the foot of the cross for that peace.  There are many things that divide us.  But in the church, these all disappear at the foot of the cross.  And not the least because none of us gathered here has done anything to deserve it.  The unity is a gift that flows from the grace of God which we receive by faith. May we learn to live out this faith and to live into this unity in the bonds of peace.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Galatians, come join us! (But not this week.)
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: Lord’s Prayer.  If you didn’t get it in your inbox, let me know please!

Virtual Bulletin – 7/11

July 11th, 2021 – 7th Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Bible Study after service or 11:15ish

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Today is the last of our “Zooming” of worship services.  In the Spirit of Hebrews 10:25 we wish to encourage all to “not neglect to meet together but gather to encourage one another.”

Devotion & Prayer Thought

I think I’ve said prior that Ephesians is the Pauline letter that most resonates with me.  It does so because its metaphors are financial, familial, and cosmic, and those are the ones I get at a gut level.  Almost all of Paul’s letters start the same way.  The first couple of verses are like the return address and basic greeting.  From: Paul To: The church at Ephesus.  Grace and Peace to you.  But then, at various different lengths in the letters, Paul introduces the themes of the letter.  That introduction is our Epistle lesson today.  The cosmic background of the letter is first up.  “Blessed be God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” Everything that is in heaven has been given to you, and this was the plan from before the world was made.  The best in all creation, before there was time, is yours in Christ.  You don’t get more cosmic than that.  Such stakes will of course bring in cosmic “bad guys”, but fear not, this is God’s plan.

What is his plan?  “In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ…in Him we have obtained an inheritance.”  These are the familial themes.  We have been made part of God’s family.  And being part of God’s family means we have an inheritance.  God is not some beggar, but the cosmic King.  You have been made princes of the realm.  Even though we are but dust, we have great expectations because Our Father has given us all spiritual blessings.  The honor of His house, of our house, depends upon God keeping his promises.  Herod felt that weight of his promise enough to deliver the Head of the Baptist to Herodias, how much more The King delivering on something to his family that has been his grand plan all along?

So what are the financial stakes?  Think about the fall of man as an enemy combatant capturing a part of the King’s territory and enslaving those people.  That is what happened in the ancient world when you lost the battle.  That is exactly what Satan did in the garden.  “But in Christ we have redemption through His blood according to the riches of His grace.”  The Father would not withhold the Kingdom’s most precious item, the life of the crown prince.  The King redeemed his territory through Jesus.  And we have been given the Holy Spirit –“You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession.”  The Holy Spirit is the earnest money.  If the King doesn’t complete the transaction – the resurrection – we keep the Spirit.  He’s going to complete it.  You don’t walk away from a person of the Trinity, if such a thing were even possible. Yes, we don’t have that inheritance just yet.  The family is still growing.  Soon.

There are other metaphors for what God has done for us in Christ: sacrificial, creation/light, food, and others.  But I’m a sucker for a big canvass that tells a family story.  What is the language of grace that most speaks to you?  

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  July 12th – July 19th

Mon-Wed.………………           Pastoral Continuing Ed

Wednesday……………..           10:00am        Saver’s delivery

Thursday: ………………           10:00am Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am          Worship

                                                 11:00am       Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Galatians, come join us!
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: Lord’s Prayer.  If you didn’t get it in your inbox, let me know please!

Virtual Bulletin – 7/4

July 4th, 2021 – 6th Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Bible Study after service or 11:15ish

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

You have probably noticed that we have been concluding special pandemic worship accommodations.  The last of these, our “Zooming” of worship services, will be discontinued as of July 11th.  In the Spirit of Hebrews 10:25 we wish to encourage all to “not neglect to meet together but gather to encourage one another.”

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Tom Holland is an English writer something like the American Malcom Gladwell.  They explore interesting concepts that can be told in interesting ways.  Gladwell does it from scientific or social scientific things (10,000 hours) while Holland from a historical angle.  Holland majored in writing books about the ancient word, like Rubicon about the Rome of Julius Caesar and Persian Fire about classical 5th century Greece and their conflict with Xerxes.  His most recent work is called Dominion which advanced a thesis which is quite old, but also one that nobody in the academy would touch today.  In his research and study of the ancient world he came to understand the values of Rome and Greece which are quite different than the professed modern values of the West.  The ideal was perfection.  There is a reason all those Greek statues look like “gods”.  The goal was fame or having your name and family live on.  The fundamental difference in the pagan world was between the weak and the strong.  The strong took what they wanted, and they were entitled to it, to show weakness was contemptible. What we would call casual cruelty to fellow human beings was just deserts. Holland set out to explain how “The West” moved from brooding Achilles and tricky Odysseus as the exemplars to the idea of universal human rights.  He couldn’t do it without Christ and I would add Paul.  The Dominion he Chronicled is Christendom, the Kingdom.  His thesis was that you don’t get the modern west without the meeting of Athens of Jerusalem.  And really he goes further, everything we truly say we admire today in the moral realm is the gift of the cross.

I added Paul, because you don’t get a better passage of the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem than our Epistle lesson.  The Corinthians, Greeks, heirs of Athens, are always “falling” for those boasting.  Boasting of one’s greatness – the best orator, the smartest philosopher – is how one grows their fame.  One would boast of how their words moved cities.  An itinerant teacher would boast of everything his teaching might allow you to be.  But when Paul starts “boasting”, he says “I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”  He boasts of being run out of town.  His boasts were not of his revelations, which were not minor, but of the thorn in his flesh.  Paul boasted of his hardships, his persecutions, his sufferings for preaching the gospel.  All of this would be anathema, weakness, to the Greek.  Why was it not to Paul?  Because in this he was following Christ.  Whatever “Paul” accomplished, his weakness made plain that it was not Paul, but Christ through Paul.  “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The Greek view of the fundamental difference being between the weak and the strong, if not natural law, is our fallen nature.  We get this in our bones.  But part of the witness of the cross is that even perfection will not get out alive.  Our power is not perfected in acts of strength or cunning.  “My power is made perfect in weakness.” We can’t earn it; everything comes to us by grace.  The division is not between the strong and the weak, because we are all weak.  The division is between those who will accept grace, for themselves and grant it to their neighbor as an equal, and those who would demand the law.  The dominion of grace is the Kingdom of the Gospel.  May the light of the gospel continue to enlighten our hearts toward our neighbors as fellow humans.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  July 5th – July 11th

Mon-Fri…………………           Rummage Sale Collection

Tuesday…………………           7:00pm             Elders Meeting

Thursday: ………………           10:00amBible Study

Saturday………………..           9am-3pm          Rummage Sale

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Galatians, come join us!
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: Lord’s Prayer.  If you didn’t get it in your inbox, let me know please!

Virtual Bulletin – 6/27

June 27th, 2021 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Today’s flowers are placed by the Brown Family in honor of Anna’s high school graduation.

Worship is at 10AM, Bible Study after service or 11:15ish

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

You have probably noticed that we have been concluding special pandemic worship accommodations.  The last of these, our “Zooming” of worship services, will be discontinued as of July 11th.  In the Spirit of Hebrews 10:25 we wish to encourage all to “not neglect to meet together but gather to encourage one another.”

Devotion & Prayer Thought

I get a chuckle each time Larry Stojkovic (Pastor at Hope in Greece) shares his Father-in-law’s stewardship sermon.  “Kirk (Senior) used to give this sermon twice a year and whenever it was necessary.  ‘I have three points today. First, you have money.  Second, Jesus needs that money.  Third, time to hand it over.’” I only met Kirk Dueker, Sr. twice, but I can completely believe it.  Although I do wonder if he ever gave that sermon to a congregation in extremis. There is a difference asking a congregation where his first point is abundantly true to support “growth” projects and giving that to a congregation where the first point might be less sure.

Paul in the Epistle Reading for the day gives something very close to Kirk, Sr.’ s sermon.  In the background of Acts and poking out occasionally in the letters, Paul is collecting funds from his gentile churches for the saints, Jewish, in Jerusalem.  Paul opens by pointing at the churches of Macedonia’s (Thessalonians, Philippians) generosity.  Corinth was also part of Macedonia, but if you were making modern comparisons, Thessalonica and Philippi might be Buffalo and Cleveland, while Corinth was New York City or San Jose.  That is Paul making Kirk, Sr.’s first point – “You have money.”  And when they saw what Buffalo and Cleveland had contributed, “we urged Titus that he should complete among you this act of grace.”  That is Kirk’s point two.  The need remains and Titus should set it before the congregation at Corinth.  And then Paul moves on to point three, “As you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” Kirk, Sr. was giving a very biblical sermon.

But Paul doesn’t stop there, he expands on a stewardship truth in two biblical ways.  The conclusion to his argument recalls the experience of Israel in the desert with the manna. “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” That image from the life of Israel is about the providence of God.  It works in such a way that we always have exactly what we need.  It is Luther’s explanation of the First Article, “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” This calls for some contemplation.  Whether we appear to have a lack, or appear to have an abundance, faith sees the right amount for what we are called to do.  The lack or abundance is not in what God has supplied, it is in our use of his gifts.  Along the way to that conclusion Paul tweaks the Corinthians who did tend to think they were better than all, “in faith, in speech, in knowledge.” Paul’s tweaking is that such things are definitely great gifts, and if they were so gifted in the higher things, then such a simple gift as generosity with the less fortunate should be as nothing.  I think the wisdom here is two-fold.  Paul is right that a generous charity is a foundational grace.  “Where your money is, there your heart will be also.” Paul is also highlighting how often we grasp for higher gifts but lack the foundation.  And we lack it because it is not so simple.  Stewardship is a concrete act of faith in the Providence of God.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 28th – July 4th

Mon-Sat…………………           Rummage Sale Collection

Thursday: ………………           10:00amBible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Something New! Come Join Us.
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: It was a busy week.  Will return next week.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/20

June 20th, 2021 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost – Happy Father’s Day

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Bible Study after service or 11:15ish

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

You have probably noticed that we have been concluding special pandemic worship accommodations.  The last of these, our “Zooming” of worship services, will be discontinued as of July 11th.  In the Spirit of Hebrews 10:25 we wish to encourage all to “not neglect to meet together but gather to encourage one another.”

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Corinthian Church was Paul’s “tough” one.  If you the two letters we have closely, you realize there was at last one, maybe two, which we don’t have.  One is described as “a letter of tears (2 Cor 2:4).”  As a congregation I think Paul would say they were always being blown this way and that by every wind of doctrine (Eps 4:14), and every visiting “apostle” could get their ear (2 Cor 11:5). Yet it was the gospel, the ministry of reconciliation, that Paul emphasized.  His apostolic appeal was not to lose what had been given chasing what does not save.  “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain…now is the day of salvation.”  It is an echo of Moses, “Today I have put before you life an death, choose life (Deut 30:15).”

Paul’s apostleship was always the ministry of Christ, and it bore the marks of Jesus words to Ananias when he is told to go to Paul after the Damascus Road – “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name (Acts 9:16).”  As Paul often does he says, “look at my life as proof of what I preach.”  He has endured hardships with endurance, from beatings and jail to hunger and sleepless nights, never afraid of the hard work.  Such endurance is possible because Paul’s ministry has been blessed by the Spirit through: “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, genuine love, truthful speech, the power of God.” His Apostleship is one that has used “weapons of righteousness for both left and right hand.”  Paul would preach Christ through “honor and dishonor”, “through slander and praise”.  Whatever the circumstances of its reception and his, Paul’s message was consistent.  Because even if the world thought Him and imposter, “he was true.”  If the world punished, “it could not kill.” If the world made him poor, “He made many rich.”  Paul worked through these, often at the hands of the Corinthians themselves, because that was the Apostleship.  Paul sums up his entire work as “We have spoken freely, our heart is wide open.”

So the question back to the Corinthians is why does that gospel not seem like enough?  The problem is not the apostleship of Paul. “You are not restricted by us.” The problem is “your own affections…widen your hearts.”  We so often settle for status or niceness or ease when the Spirit wants to give us the power of God or truth and kindness or purity and love.  We choose acceptance of the way things are, instead of hope.  Our loves are misdirected or lacking in appropriate ardor. God wants to give us himself, and we are not willing to make room.  Our affections are elsewhere, and the way is too hard.  The problem is not the gospel.  Christ died for you.  The problem is our hearts.  Will we receive that grace…and live it?  Do we live free people in the gospel, or prefer the faint affections which bind us? Renew a right spirit within me.  Amen.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 21st – June 27th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…           9:00amPreschool

Monday…………………           6:00pm             Women’s Group

Wednesday……………..           11:00am           Preschool Picnic

Thursday: ………………           10:00amBible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 2 Thessalonians, Paul has to expand what he wrote the first time on The End.
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.  Compiling it would also be a job that could be picked up!

Virtual Bulletin – 6/13

June 13th, 2021 – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – Not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

How many events of your life do you wish you could just erase?  I think that is our natural desire.  We want the mulligan, the do-over, the re-run, the skip back, the rewind, the clean slate. We have a lot of words for this desire. It is a measure of the poverty of our desires that we want to wish things out of existence.  But now ask yourselves, would the you without those events be you?  How many could you erase and still be you?  Are you the ship of Theseus that can be 100% replaced and still be the Ship of Theseus?  Yes, they hurt.  We groan every time we think of them.  They weigh us down.  But they weigh us down because of how small we think God is.  If they are sins, God has already forgiven them in Christ.  If they are not sins, they often are subjects worthy of contemplation given to know ourselves better and to know our creator more fully.  Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and provides it.

The Apostle Paul wants us to grow beyond that poverty of desire, and to have faith in the work that God is doing in us.  The Father’s plan is not to erase this life.  This world will pass away.  There will be a new heaven and earth, but as the hymn puts it about the scars of Christ – “rich wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified. (LSB 525)”  We will not be unclothed, naked, erased, wiped clean like a bleach bit hard drive, but we will be further clothed.  The wounds, the scars, the groanings – internal and external – are further clothed.  The things we hide because they hurt too much will be given the beauty that we don’t see today.  The mortal will be swallowed up by life.  The things that kill us, the things that we can’t seem to break free of, that our mind keeps returning to and dragging us down.  It is these things that will radiate and reflect the glory of the creator.

God doesn’t want to erase you; he wants you to have his seamless cloak – the resurrection body.  God doesn’t want you annihilated by guilt and shame but swallowed up by life.  So be of good courage because you are the work of God.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 14th – June 20th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  9:00am    Pastors’ Circuit Meeting

Wednesday……………..  7:30pm    Church Council

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 2 Thessalonians, Paul has to expand what he wrote the first time on The End.
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/6

June 6th, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

There was an interesting novel published in 2019: The Damascus Road by Jay Parini. Unfortunately, I can’t give it a whole-hearted recommendation. About page 209 (where my bookmark index card stopped) out of 343 it lost my interest.  As the author’s note starts, “My Father was a Baptist minister…” which you can probably imagine where that sentence goes.  The novel in part is a ret-coning of Paul by a highly skilled son who was settling scores with dad.  But Mr. Parini is highly skilled, and before the project collapses under the weight of projection and anachronism, he fleshes out the historical Paul and Luke in an interesting way.  Everybody who has read Paul comes across the ideal of Paul as a “tent maker”. And the way that we gloss that is Paul working a job literally sowing tents.  But that bit doesn’t sit well with the rest of what we know of Paul: a Roman citizen from the colony city of Tarsus, from the upper crust of Jewish society studying under the then best Rabbi, mixing freely with doctors and city leaders like Luke, able to take to task the Corinthians and have them take it, able to dedicate years to both missionary travel and staying in foreign cities.  Parini’s tent maker is the inheritor of his Father’s business supplying the Roman legions with their tents wherever they need them. Paul runs an Empire wide supply chain.  Which gives him the access and status we see displayed in Acts and the Epistles.  Which also allows for his travel as his calling – Apostle of Jesus Christ – is supported by the family business.  Parini’s answer fits the history and sociology better if it is not our romantic glow of work-a-day poverty.

It came to mind while reading the epistle lesson for today which is the core of the Gospel – the good news – for Paul.  Paul the tent maker knows that he never runs out of business because the legions are always on the march and tents always wear out.  Even if the Proconsul-General procuring gear is willing to splurge on the best oil-cloth before heading to Germany or Parthia or Britannia, after a few years in the weather it wears out.  Such is life in this body in this world.  Everything about this world is wasting away.  The spirit of the legion may burn within, but every legionnaire if he survives the battle grows old.  His tent is stretched thin.  The rains come in more and more.  But Christ is our tent maker.  He knows that this earthly tent – which is our home – will be destroyed.  Even his was on the cross.  But the Father raised Jesus, who will also raise us.  Today, we know this earthly tent which is our home will one day cease.  But God has prepared for us a house.  A body that will bear the eternal weight of glory, an eternal dwelling that will not stretch thin or wear out.  You might even call it a mansion.

Paul the tent maker can’t procure for you that material, but he proclaims the one who has procured it for you – the LORD Jesus Christ.  May we bear with our current tents, in the hope of our eternal home.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 7th – June 13th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  9:00am    Pastors’ Circuit Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, How the Bible Talks about The End of the World Timeline
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

RUMMAGE SALE … July 10th / SAVERS DELIVERY … July 14th

We will be accepting:  kids clothing and toys, adult clothing and accessories (scarves, hats, purses, shoes etc.), housewares (dishes etc.) bedding, curtains, towels, tablecloths, books, CDs and DVDs, games, puzzles, small appliances and furniture. We can NOT take TVs, or computers. You may drop off items in the Multi-purpose Room anytime between June 27th and the afternoon of Thursday, July 8th

If you are interested in volunteering, we will need help sorting and pricing throughout that week. We also need volunteers to work the sale on July 10th.  Please contact Ellen (585-201-0756) or Mindy (585-489-4972) if you want to help. Feel free to email with any questions or suggestions as well.

Anything remaining at 3pm will be boxed up, so extra hands at this time would be greatly appreciated.  The boxes will be taken to Savers in Webster on Wed., July 14th at 11am.  People willing to drive to Webster are also needed.  Savers will then send us a check based on the weight of what we deliver (fabric items gets the best rate).

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.  I will need three things: dates both of the activity and how long you want the notice to run, a short paragraph, and a subject headline.  This is another available role if someone would like to compile.  The information here also then gets published on the church website and emailed to our current list.

Virtual Bulletin – 5/30

May 30th, 2021 – Trinity Sunday

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Book of Concord is the collection of what is called the Lutheran Confessions.  It includes the Small and Large Catechisms, which are what confirmation makes sure the confirmed Lutheran has studied once.  The Augsburg Confession holds pride of place in the collection as the Symbol of what does it mean to be a Lutheran.  But the first things inserted in the Book of Concord are the three great creeds of the western church.  It does this because the Lutheran church’s assertion is that it is simply the continuation of what has always been taught by the church universal. The Nicene Creed is ecumenical meaning it is confessed by the entire church.  The Apostle’s creed is the baptismal creed of the Western church dating back to when it was simply the Creed of the Roman church meaning the church that was at Rome.  And then the Athanasian creed is the final one recognized by the Western Church.  All the creeds sprung out of the same concern, just who is this God that we have come to know and worship?  If the Apostle’s is a first attempt before competing assertions, and the Nicene is the united church’s great statement of these are the proper words, the Athanasian is at the end of the era bringing in some later concerns.

The first half with its mantra like repetition – the Father is infinite, the son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite…eternal…almighty… – is a repetition of the earlier Creeds.  “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.” If the earlier creeds did not make all this explicit, we repeat it here.  It is the second half that contains what I think is the post-Nicene conclusions.  The Nicene creed confessed that Jesus was True God and True man, but how to talk about those natures wasn’t made concrete until 451 AD at the Council of Chalcedon.  This longer creed instructs how to think about it.  And it is important for example in thinking about the return of Jesus.  In Mark 13 Jesus says “not even the son knows the time.” How can true God be ignorant?  The Athanasian creed, reflecting Chalcedon, says “equal to the Father with respect to his divinity, less than the Father with respect to his humanity.” According to his divinity which is shared fully with the Father, of course Jesus knows the time of his return.  According to his humanity, especially during the time of his humiliation on earth, the Son did not know the time.  He put it aside.  How is this reconciled?  Not by our understanding but only in the person of Christ.  “one altogether, not by confusion of the substance but by unity of the person.”  God and man meet and are held together by Jesus Christ.  The Holy and the Common abide in one Christ.

The last thing about the Athanasian Creed that stands out is its confidence.  “This is the catholic (i.e universal) faith.”  With its closing and opening assertions that to be saved one must hold and believe this.  It is a statement of a happy and confident faith.  God has revealed himself to us in Christ and His Word.  Through prayer and study and yes trial the Holy Spirit has led us into all truth (John 16:13).  These creeds that you confess are True.  When we confess the creed, may the Spirit grant us the grace to confess them with that zeal and confidence.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 31st – June 6th

Tues. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  7:00pm    Board of Elders Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: The Biblical Timeline – Eschatology.  (Mark 13, Thessalonians and parts of Revelation.)
  • Confirmation:  New group in the Fall
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Pick up in the Fall
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: Moving to the Lord’s Prayer.  If you are not receiving these let me know and give me your email address.