Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of this redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I’m going to have to use this song as inspiration this next week. To be sure, I have been knocked down. I only scored a 4 mile run on Monday and a 4 mile walk Friday. Yuk! But Monday is coming and it will be a new week. Even though I’m down – I am Pressing On!
10th Sunday after Pentecost | August 18, 2019
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’”
54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
Luke 12:49-56 New Living Translation (NLT)
As I first look at this scripture, it would be hard to say that there is a harder teaching in the scriptures somewhere. This teaching seems harsh for Jesus…but Jesus has preached harsh messages in the past. We often call Jesus the Prince of Peace – and he is, but here He calls himself the great divider – that people will be divided – that people will be fractured because of him. Even families will have different ideas of who Jesus is.
This teaching comes on the heels of Jesus teaching about his return. He reminds his disciples to be ready for his coming. The reason that Jesus comes to divide is because some will believe in His message and others will not. We can see even today that friends and family are divided. Is Jesus really who He says He is? Or is He just a man who claims divinity?
In many ways, Jesus is reminding his followers to be faithful to the message of the Good News of the Kingdom. He tells them that we know the signs of nature and we should be just as attuned to the signs of the Kingdom. It’s a reminder to us that people will disagree simply because we belong to the Lord. They see our walk with the Lord as foolish and wonder why we do it? Sometimes people can get downright hostile toward the Christian life, but once again Jesus reminds us that it is normal – it’s not something that is unusual, but it is a sign of the times – and it has been a sign of the times for 2,000 years and will continue to be a sign of the time until Jesus returns. The question for us is – will we be faithful to the Kingdom of God – will we preach and proclaim the Gospel – the Good News until Jesus returns? We should do our best, but sometimes people will disagree with our message, just as they disagreed with Jesus. Sometimes the Gospel is a stumbling block – let’s just make sure that it’s the Gospel that is a stumbling block and not us.
Welcome back. It’s been quite the nice week weather-wise. As a bonus this week, we had our grandson Robert with us. We got to take him to the Strong Museum in Rochester. The Strong Museum is dedicated to play – all kinds of play. There is a toy hall of fame and e-game hall of fame and well worth the admission price. We also had a chance to take Robert mini-golfing. He did a great job. That was a spontaneous moment because we had planned to take him to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. This is a great place to come and learn the history of lumbering in northern Pennsylvania.
Yesterday our local churches got together for a picnic. We had a great time and we even had a little jam session. My iPad however had an unfortunate mishap with the ground. I was still able to use it for my notes this morning.
Speaking of this morning, we had a wonderful time of Spirit-led worship this morning. I preached from the book of Joshua. We continued a series we have been calling “This Ain’t Hollywood.” Somehow I got it into my brain that Rahab’s name was Rachel. My family tried to correct me, but I was in the zone. The point of the sermon was that we are called to be strong and courageous – we are called to have faith – but faith’s power is only unlocked through obedience to God. In his letter, James tells us that faith without action (without obedience) is dead.
This week is a busy week – Pam and I have some specialized training and then I am doing some driving this week. And at some point, we want to get to the McKean County Fair. Anna put in an entry again this year.
That about wraps it up. Have a great week.
Somehow I didn’t write this for the past two weeks. Ten days into August and I’m running a little behind (pun intended!) I’m currently sitting at 21 miles this month. My schedule has really been giving me fits. Yesterday I was able to get out for a “long” run. Long is in quotes because it was only 7 miles. In years past, this was a regular run and usually could be run in under an hour. Yesterday it clocked in at over an hour and 20 minutes. But a long run is a long run.
I’m hoping this week, I can get kick-started and at least get close to 100 miles again. I’d like to run a half-marathon this fall, but until then, I Press On!
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost | August 11, 2019
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
Luke 12:32-40 New Living Translation (NLT)
I want to pick up something that Jesus says right before this morning’s text.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”Luke 12:31
This verse is important to understand what Jesus is getting at in the words that follow. The work of the Kingdom and seeking the Kingdom should be the number one priority of every believer – and we are promised by Jesus, if we make that our number one priority – everything else will fall in line.
That’s why Jesus then says, “So don’t be afraid little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” (vs. 32) Jesus goes on to tell his disciples to invest in the Kingdom, because “where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (vs. 34)
Believers are to seek the Kingdom of God with all we have – just as we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Which is one of the reasons he tells his disciples to sell their possessions and give to those in need.
Those possessions aren’t important as we think about the Kingdom of heaven – Those possession aren’t important as we think about the return of the Lord. Jesus changes gears now and reminds his disciples to be ready for the Lord’s return – it’s not a complete change of direction because being ready for the Lord’s return is seeking the Kingdom of God. We need to keep our hearts ready and we need to do our best and making sure that others are ready for the Kingdom of God – which again is what it means to seek the Kingdom of God.
This is our promise that if we are ready, we will receive the reward that the Lord has promised.
But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are readyLuke 12:38b
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.