Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ordinary Time: Thursday, June 28, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

1 Samuel 8:1-22

There is that old saying, be careful what you wish for. Israel longed for a king, and they got one. You can look later in the Old Testament, though, that most every king they received "did evil in eyes of the Lord." Be careful what you wish for, for we do not see the entire picture.

Also, notice why they wanted a king. To be like other nations. There reasons were not noble, they were to simply be like everyone else. As Christians, we must make sure that we are taking our cues on how to live not from our world or from our culture, but from God. Let us be careful not to want a "king," whatever that king might be for you, just because everyone else has one.

New Testament Lesson

Acts 6:15-7:16

We see Stephen tell the story of Jesus Christ not beginning with Jesus, but with Abraham. We must realize how far back God has been working to bring us into salvation. God's plan is not simply something that pops into place today, but has been unfolding long before us. And, then we must realize that we are part of this great story of faith, going all the way back to Abraham. That is why the writer of Hebrews tells us that we are surrounded by this mighty cloud of witness.

We are not the first to walk this road, we are not the first to face these tests. Take heart, you are not alone. Others have been and are where you are. Take heart. God understands, and He knows. Take heart, His plan is at work in your life, even if you don't know how.

Gospel Lesson

Luke 22:24-30

Greatness in the eyes of God is not about anything on the earth. Greatness in the eyes of God is not about the things that we are tempted to think that is about. Greatness in the eyes of God is simply about service. Will you serve God? Will you serve your neighbor? These are things that greatness comes down to. To be what God wants us to be, that is what we must be doing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We've moved, and all should be back to normal as far as my blogging. We'll see.

Old Testament Lesson

1 Samuel 7:2-17

One of the great lessons we can learn from the Israelites is the source of our strength. Literally every time they try to fight a battle on their own, they are defeated. But, the times when they turn to the Lord first, they prevail. This is one of the few times they get it right. The enemy attacks and instead of turning to another country for protection, or taken up an idol, they say to Samuel, don't stop praying!

What a great encouragement. Don't stop praying! That is a lesson we can learn in life. When the storms come, when the wind blows, when things start coming, don't stop praying! Turn to Him, and know that in that moment of trial, He will be there for us, just as He was for the Israelites.

New Testament Lesson

Acts 6:1-15

We see a great insight in this passage. Everyone cannot do everything. That is why Paul says that we are body. The Apostles couldn't possible be everyone at all times. So, they appointed others to do the task that they could not do. They needed that help. If the Apostles realized they could not do everything and be at all places at once, why do we think that we can?

Just like they knew they needed help, so do we. In your hour or need, turn to your sisters and brothers in Christ, and know that they will be there for you. That is why we are body. We all have different gifts and graces, and together, we can do great things for God!

Gospel Lesson

Luke 22:14-23

When the hour came. That is how this passage starts. One of the things that we see in Jesus' life is that everything unfolded at just the right moment, at just the right time. He was born in the fullness of time, at the right time He went to John to be baptized, at the right time, He called the Disciples, at the right time He began His ministry, and at the right time He set His face like a flint towards Jerusalem. At the right time.

God's clock is sometimes different than ours. Be sure that you are paying attention to His clock, to His time, and to His plan. If we are doing that, everything else will work as it should.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Moving Day

We moved today to Ripley, MS. I've been appointed as pastor at Ripley First UMC, and today was moving day. Most of last week was spent boxing up things and finishing last minute details. Sunday was my last Sunday at Coy UMC, and things went really well. Last Sundays are hard. As I shared with some of my people, if it didn't hurt, you hadn't done your job!

We were up early today, Uhaul loaded, as well as my wife's van, my father in law's truck and trailer, and my dad's car. It is normally a 3 hour trip from Coy to Ripley, but our caravan took about 4 hours. We arrived at the parsonage and had a crew from First waiting on us, and man, they know how to get it done! Thanks Ed, Craig, and Michel!

Then the rest of the day was spend unboxing and running errands. Our kids did well, no nap, but with all the excitement, who wants to sleep. I think our cat was traumatized, but he'll bounce back.

I am so ready to get up tomorrow and get started. I feel like a kid waiting for the first day of school. I just can't wait to see what God has in store for us up here in Tippah county. What ever it is, it should be fun!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Trinity: Friday, June 8, 2007

Today, a quick thought from Rich Mullins

"Prayer is a grace through which we pour ourselves out before God and through which He calls us into His presence."

Rich Mullins

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Trinity: Thursday, June 7, 2007

Just a quick thought today. Sorry there was no blogging yesterday, we were on the road for a funeral. Blogging for the next few weeks may be a little sporadic. Annual Conference is next week, then one week back (with a bunch of packing to do, as well as other things) and then Moving Day, and unpacking (along with other things). I'm going to try to blog each day, but it may be spotty and short, at least for the rest of this month.

But, come July, all should be back to normal, whatever that means.

Today a quick thought from the Christian Quotation of the Day, which can be found by clicking here

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Trinity: Tuesday, June 5 ,2007

Old Testament Lesson

Ruth 1:19-2:13

Boaz was under no obligation to do for Ruth what he did. Now, the Law says that he must allow the poor to glean from his field, and later we will get into the understanding of the kinsmen redeemer, but at this point, he is treating Ruth with respect and dignity, even though in that it was not expected that someone rich and powerful would even speak to someone of Ruth's estate.

We see that played out in the fact that Ruth simply falls prostate before him. Boaz was a good man, and sought to do good by everyone, even those that in the society were considered "less' than him. He sought to do right by everyone. What higher sign of character is there, than treating everyone, everyone, the same. May we live in such away where we treat everyone with the respect that they are due as being made in the image of God.

New Testament Lesson

1 Timothy 1:18-2:8

We see for Paul, one of those signs of good life, an obedient life, is prayer. Praying not just those that we know, but for leaders and authority for wisdom. Praying not just for leaders, but for those that do not know the Lord, that they may be saved. Praying for everyone, everyone that needs it.

That is the best option and power we have as a Christian: prayer. Let us not take it lightly. Let us know forget about it. Let us not take it for granted. Let us pray. Let us pray with the power and the freedom that our Lord has given us.

Gospel Lesson

Luke 13:10-17

We see in this passage that those opposed to Jesus were focused on the wrong thing. He had healed someone, and they say, well, you're not supposed to do that, only on the Sabbath. And, Jesus pointed out they were following the letter of the law, but missing the point of it.

Today, pay more attention to following Jesus than following legalism. There are things we are supposed to, and there are things that we are not supposed to do. But, the thing that matters the most is following Him, obeying Him, serving Him. Spent time focused on that, and everything else will fall into place.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Trinity: Monday, June 4, 2007

Old Testament Lesson

Ruth 1:1-18

One of the neat things about Ruth's story is that we see the depth of love and of family. Many of us are blessed to have a loving biological family, but many of us are not as lucky on that end. For those who have not had the love they should have had at home, quite often, God will show His love to them through other means. Maybe it is a coach. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a friend. Maybe neighbor. For Ruth, and for Naomi, it was the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship.

They were no blood kin to each other, yet they still loved each other as any daughter and mother would. So, today, we need to take their example into our lives and not live bound by the things we cannot control, but live lives of love. We need not bemoan the problems or failures of people in our past, but live lives of hope, knowing that God is not done with us yet. Ruth and Naomi could have collapsed into tears over their misfortune, but instead they kept on going toward what God had for them. Today, may we do the same.

New Testament Lesson

1 Timothy 1:1-17

We see here in Timothy those two ends of the sea-saw, grace and works. Paul talks about the law, that is it not entirely a terrible thing, that it can show us where we are short, and where we need to grow.

But, he also reminds Timothy, and us, that Jesus died to save sinners, and Paul was foremost among that group. So, we must be aware of the sin in our lives, we must be looking and allowing the Holy Spirit to search and try us, but in the same way, we must remember we are not saved by works, so no one can boast, but by grace. Today, let us allow God to be at work in our lives, and let us cling so tightly to His grace.

Gospel Lesson

Luke 13:1-9

We see Jesus face that question of why did such a bad thing happen to these people. And, He doesn't answer the question. He simply says, make sure you are ready and living like you should. He did say that tragedy did not come because they were "bad people." Being "bad" does not mean tragedy will come, likewise, being "good" does not mean that it will cause tragedy not to come. Bad things happen to good people. The word tells us that God causes the rain to fall on the righteous an the unrighteous.

I don't know why these things happen, but I do know this. Even in the midst of pain and loss and tears, God is there. Even in the midst of deepest hurt, God is there. Even when the tears won't stop, God is there. God loves us more than we will ever know. Even when the pain seems unbearable, God is there. May we have the grace to see Him.

Saturday, June 2, 2007