Sunday Night Thoughts

So here we are on the last Sunday of September. Last week was the last Sunday of Summer. Fall is in full swing – and we have some warm days and some not so warm days – nothing I would consider cold yet. We have yet to have our first sub-40 low. By the look of the 10 day forecast, the first one will be this coming week. I am hoping to get the grass cut tomorrow. It might be the last or next to last time we cut grass for the season. From our back window the leaves are still mainly green but there are leaves on the ground as well.

It has been a good week – a somewhat normal week. I was able to get in runs on Monday and Tuesday and yesterday – along with a walk on Wednesday. My run yesterday was ugly and brutal. I only ran 5 miles and I am hoping to go long tomorrow.

Speaking of yesterday, it was nice to have almost day off. We went to the Brad Penn Oil Museum and the Marilyn Horne Museum – both of them are in Bradford. We also had a chance to walk through the Pumpkin Fest in Bradford.

We had a good worship service this morning. The Holy Spirit was very evident. We had 29 for worship – one of the best attended services this year. I asked the question, “Can I really trust God?” This afternoon we enjoyed a day of rest and that’s about all I have for the evening! Blessings…

Prayer for the Week

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 • Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 • 1 Timothy 6:6-19 • Luke 16:19-31

16th Sunday after Pentecost | September 29, 2019

19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

The Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16:19-31

22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Luke 16:19-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

In this week’s scripture, Luke continues to record Jesus’ teaching about possessions and our stewardship of them. We have the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

It is a story of two men – one man had everything – the other man, Lazarus, had nothing. The one who had everything lived in luxury. Lazarus lived outside the gate, covered in sores and longed even for the scraps from the table of the rich man. It is interesting the Jesus leaves the rich man nameless, while giving the poor man a name which gives him an identity.

Lazarus sits by the gate everyday and the dogs come by and lick his sore. He is miserable.

The time comes when both men die. We get a sense of the Jewish belief in the afterlife. Lazarus goes to a place of comfort, while the rich man goes to a place of torment. Apparently – at least in Jesus’ story – they could see each other. The tables have now been turned.

It is interesting to note that at least for the purposes of this story, faith doesn’t enter into the equation. I am not saying that it didn’t, but we have no indication of that. We simply have one who had everything and didn’t do anything to help the poor and suffering and one who had nothing and lived his earthly life in torment.

In this story, their place in eternity was based simply on what they did with what God had given them. Again it is a matter of stewardship. Jesus is warning us once again that we must be good stewards with what God has entrusted us. The rich man ignored the poor and his reward was eternal torment.

The rich man even sees if he can do something about it retroactively, but no. Then he asks if his brothers can be warned – again the answer is no. The man pleads to Father Abraham that he send someone to warn them. Father Abraham replies, “Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.”

The rich man is not persuaded…he says, “no, that is not enough, they need someone who has crossed back over from the dead.” Abraham again says, “No, if they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen to someone who has come back from the dead either.”

How we handle what God has given us is a matter of the heart. Here we have an indication that they way they were handling money was a sin. But even more there was a heart attitude that was against God – the God of their fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We are reminded of the importance of repenting of our sin and turning back to God – whatever that sin might be – in this case it was their handing of possessions. What are you doing with what God has entrusted you?

Ancient Prayers

While not an ancient prayer, it is a teaching from Ignatius of Loyola reminding us that every choice that we make should lead us to the praise of God our Lord.

“In every good choice, in so far as it depends upon us, the direction of our intention should be simple. I must look only to the end for which I am created, that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul. Therefore, whatever I choose must have as its purpose to help me to this end. I must not shape or draw the end to the means, but the means to the end. Many, for example, . . . first desire to have benefices (church offices with a guaranteed income), and afterward to serve God in them. These individuals do not go straight to God, but want God to come straight to their inordinate attachments. Acting thus, they make a means of the end, and an end of the means, so that what they ought to seek first, they seek last. My first aim, then, should be my desire to serve God, which is the end, and after this, to seek a benefice . . . if it is more fitting for me, for these things are but means to the end. Thus, nothing should move me to use such means or to deprive myself of them except it be only the service and praise of God our Lord and the eternal salvation of my soul.”

Ignatius of Loyola

Sunday Night Thoughts

Here I am writing on a Sunday night – the last Sunday night of the Summer. Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. Around here the leaves have already starting changing and we have quite a few leaves on the ground. Interestingly enough, summer is trying to move back in. We have not had anything close to a frost yet. The forecast temps this week don’t indicated anything like that. This week will be cooler than the last few days.

One of the men in our church fixed our riding mower. A few weeks ago the belt decided to break, so tomorrow I have to attack the lawn. It will probably close to one of the last times. I figure maybe two or possibly three more times – especially since the evening temps haven’t been that cold, but the days are definitely getting shorter. As I write the sun is behind the mountain but casting a nice orange glow. It has gotten a bit humid, so we turned the a/c back on – it was warm during church this morning. I’m glad a chose a golf shirt to preach in this morning.

This has been a bit of a busy week. On Tuesday we had a board meeting. Wednesday I attended a community meeting at school and we had our kid’s klub. It was a great evening once again.

Yesterday I was able to get out for a nice long 10 mile run, but boy did my legs hurt most of the day. We were going to go down to Elk County to see the Elk – this is prime time, but maybe next week. They should still be rutting next week as well.

We had a good service at McCrae Brook this morning. I’ve been working on making each time we gather a meaningful experience through music, prayer and God’s Word. This morning was a great morning. Our Sunday School class was lively and engaged and that is always a good thing.

This week, I’m hoping to have a much better running week, not that last week was bad, but I want to get more running miles and hopefully an 11 miler on Saturday! That would be awesome.

That’s about all I have this week. Have a great one!

Prayer for the Week

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Running Wildlife Adventure

Photo by Ameresh Mishra on

For the most part my running week was sort of meh! Even though I have not been getting the kind of regular mileage I’ve wanted, I have been able to extend my long runs and I like what my long runs are doing for me.

For example, yesterday I went out for a short run of 4 miles. What was great about it is that all the miles were under an 11 minute mile and the overall pace was a 10:36. Which all things considered is pretty good of late.

It seems like I can get out for a long run every other week and today I was able to get out for a 10 miler. If completed, it would be my longest run of the year. I am happy to say I did complete it. My overall pace for 10 miles was an 11:40 – so you can see my fast run was about a minute per mile faster than my slow run and that is a good benchmark. So I was happy to complete 10 miles and hope to extend it out to 13 over the next couple of weeks.

Today’s run was also significant in that I saw a lot of wildlife; chipmunks, squirrels – black, grey and brown. I ran past a family of deer – well more than a family more like herd. It was foggy this morning, so I think that’s why more wildlife was out. But it was a gorgeous foggy morning to run. So much fun even though the last mile was more like torture. That’s something I have experienced over the last few weeks – no matter what – the last mile is tough.

That about wraps it up – my schedule looks good for this week, so I should be able to get some quality mileage in. So I do keep pressing on!