A few weeks ago, I heard this song by Casting Crowns in a whole new light. God’s love is simply amazing and he casts our sin as far as the east is from the west.
Whew! It’s been a long weekend. Let’s just put it this way. I’ve worked close to 20 hours at Radioshack this weekend, cooked breakfast for the men at our church yesterday and then we hosted Mike and Debbie Newman (of World Hope International) today. By the way, I am not complaining. God is working in unique ways in our congregation.
Mike and Debbie did a great job showing us how World Hope is making a difference in our world today. Not only does World Hope work internationally, but they have been involved in disaster relief projects here in the USA; Katrina, Americus, GA tornado; MO tornados; and the flooding in KS. World Hope works in partnership with the Wesleyan Church and was founded by a Wesleyan pastor; Dr. Jo Ann Lyon. After today’s presentation, I am even more impressed by the work they do. Thank you to Mike and Debbie for the time they spent with us today. I hope you enjoyed your Sunday theme meals. We had semi-homemade spaghetti and garlic/cheese bread for lunch and for dinner we had semi-homemade pizza.
It was interesting how our theme for September and October was repeated, “Can you give your life for the Cause?” No matter how young, or how old, everyone is needed to do the work of the Kingdom.
September 23, 2007
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Call to Worship – Reader’s Theater based on Matthew 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats
Narrator: But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right.
The King: Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.
Narrator: Then these righteous ones will reply.
The Righteous: When did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Narrator: And the King will say.
The King: I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters; you were doing it to me!
Narrator: Then the King will turn to those on the left and say…
The King: Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.
Narrator: Then they will reply…
The Cursed Ones: Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
Narrator: And he will answer
The King: I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.
Narrator: And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.
Songs of Worship – Come, Now Is the Time to Worship (Doerkson); Pass It On (Kaiser)
Song of Worship – Rise Up O Church of God
Worship through Prayer
Worship through Giving
Worship through the Word Mike and Debbie Newman/World Hope International
Here are this week’s readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. Instead of offering commentary, I’ll let the readings stand on their own.
September 23, 2007
18 My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. 19 Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord.
20 “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!”
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. 22 Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
1 If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.
1 O God, pagan nations have conquered your land, your special possession. They have defiled your holy Temple and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins. 2 They have left the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of heaven. The flesh of your godly ones has become food for the wild animals. 3 Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem; no one is left to bury the dead. 4 We are mocked by our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 O Lord, how long will you be angry with us? Forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—on kingdoms that do not call upon your name. 7 For they have devoured your people Israel, making the land a desolate wilderness. 8 Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors! Let your compassion quickly meet our needs, for we are on the brink of despair.
9 Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.
I Timothy 2:1-7
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’
3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’
5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’
7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’
8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
All Scriptures from The Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
Check out the full list at the above link, but here are some of my favorite
Top Ten Pickup Lines
- “Paul said that it was better to marry than to burn. Therefore, I am under God’s mandate to marry you.”
- ”Your name must be grace, because you are irresistible.”
- “Until this moment, I thought I had the gift of singleness.”
- “I noticed you crying during alter call, can I help?”
- While giving her a TULIP say, ”This Totally depraved person has been Unconditionally drawn to you, Limiting himself to your Irresistible beauty that is Persevering beyond all others.”
- “Well, gouge out my eyes and cut off my hands. If I hang around you much longer, I won’t have any limbs left.”
- “You must have missed The Fall line, because you are lookin’ righteous.”
- Sing this to the tune of George Strait’s “Chair”: “Excuse me, but I think you’ve got my rib.”
- To paraphrase John Wesley: “When I saw you I felt my heart strangely warmed.”
Keeping it light this Friday.
Lindsay Goodier writes this article “On Reading Obits” for Relevant Magazine. When it comes down to the end of our life, what is important? The author has a great perspective on that.
In a sort of related article from Keith Drury on his students, Dr. Drury uses Jesus’ parable of the sower and says that many students are like those in the parable. It seemed to me that the ones who always had the flash and charisma got the “good positions.” I’ve never considered myself to posess those attributes. Drury points out that many of them have fallen by the wayside as well as those whose lives just got busy with other things.
I probably relate to the 30 or 60 fold. Drury refers to them as the steady plodders. Hey, I resemble that remark. He wrote a similar article last year In Praise of Mediocrity. The Lord has really been working on me over the last several years about this. God has called me to build His Kingdom. He has called me to Martinsville, a place that most people won’t think much about unless you’re talking NASCAR. It’s sort of like the starfish story. God has called me to do what I can do right here and right now. Gayle, one of my adult Mosaic leaders, gave me some great reports of what God is doing right here and right now in the lives of our students. Several of our students will be providing leadership at their school’s See You at the Pole next Wednesday. That is part of the legacy that God has already given us.
God has given each one of us a task, a calling (several in our congregation responded to that on Sunday) to fulfill in life. As Lindsay said my desire is to hear my Savior say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I hope that is your desire as well.
Today I was reminded by my daughter that she attends Southern Wesleyan University. She didn’t like me posting the clip the other day from rival Indiana Wesleyan’s Chorale. She is in the choir at SWU and they will be touring this fall. I’m hoping they’ll be close enough for us to go see them. So Rebecca, here’s a plug for SWU
And if I get a video clip that I can upload, I’ll show off your choir too. Love you!