Sunday Night Thoughts

quotes-Sunday-Night-ThoughtSunset Church.jpg

This was the picture from our parsonage last night.  It was a beautiful way to end a dreary week and a great way to begin autumn.  It’s been a good, but wild week – a little bit of a roller coaster ride, but such is life in the ministry.

I continue to believe God has great things in store for McCrae Brook.  It was a good day of worship.  There was a wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit during our worship service this morning.  Today we started a new series called, “Teach Us to Pray.”  We are looking at the Lord’s Prayer for a model of our prayers.

This past week, Pam and I went to our district leadership meeting and I had the privilege to lead worship for my peers.

Yesterday, I ran nine miles for the first time this year.  That felt good. I am still on track to reach 1,000 miles for the year.  Otherwise, we were able to relax, especially on a week that was such a roller coaster ride of emotions.

That’s about all for this week…Seize the Day!

Advertisements

Humble Yourself

cross-2981216_640 (1).jpg

18th Sunday after Pentecost | September 23, 2018

Proverbs 31:10-31  • Psalm 1  •  James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a  •  Mark 9:30-37

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts…

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a New Living Translation (NLT)


James is very practical in his writing and he pulls no punches.  The word that stuck out to me as I read this passage was the word humility.  As I look around at our culture, it’s not something we easily find. Those of us who are older will remember when Mohammed-Ali proclaimed, “I’m the greatest!” We live in a world that says that if you don’t promote yourself, you will be left behind – if you don’t promote your church, you will be left in the ashes.  This self-promotion is what causes much of the conflict in our lives and in our churches.  James reminds us to live a life like Christ.  We are reminded to live our lives with humility – with the wisdom that comes from above.  We should ruthlessly eliminate jealousy and selfish ambition from our lives because that his not where true wisdom comes from.

Pure and true wisdom comes from above and produces different kinds of fruit than jealousy and ambition.  It “is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

James asks the question, “What causes quarrels and fights among you?” It is the desires that come from within…it is those same desires that tempt us and cause us to sin.  Again, Jealousy and selfish ambition rear their ugly head.  James tells us that we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t ask and even if we do ask, we do it with selfish motives.

Is there any hope for us?  Yes!

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts…

These are powerful words…but again it is what Jesus did while he was here on this earth.  Jesus humbled himself by dying a criminal’s death on the cross so that we could be free from sin.  As we humble ourselves before God and draw ourselves closer to God – he will draw closer to us.

Prayer for the Week

lens-reflection-2757801_960_720Grant 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.

Sunday Night Thoughts

quotes-Sunday-Night-Thought

Back to Church Sunday is now in the books.  It was a wonderful day – a busy and exhausting day, but a wonderful day.  The summer heat and humidity continues.  By this time last year, we were barely running the A/C and if I recall, we had the windows closed in the church and may have even run the heat.  I always like when we can get to October before we need to turn on the heat.  We have two weeks yet, but the forecast turns colder later this week.

This past week, we spent preparing for our Back-to-Church Sunday and Tailgate Picnic.  I preached a message from John 8 on the woman caught in adultery.  The story doesn’t end the way we expect it to end. The woman represents us. The Pharisees represent the law and Jesus represents grace and mercy.  All of us have been caught in the trap of sin.  The law says we should die for that and yet, Jesus came so that we may have life.  He was the perfect Lamb of God and died for our sins so that we don’t have to.  Jesus is willing to forgive our sins if we believe in Him and confess our sins to Him.

After church we had a wonderful picnic.  Hotdogs, hamburgers and other tailgate food.  Huge shout-out to our friends Dan and Dawn.  For fun everyone came to church dressed in their favorite football teams gear.

Yesterday in preparation for the day, I cut the grass, trimmed with the weed-wacker, and painted a banister that needed painting.  I also changed out a few light bulbs in the church to get us ready.  Oh, I forgot about the flood that we had on Tuesday – thanks to the remnants of Gordon. Fortunately, I caught it and was able to shopvac it before it got to the carpet in the basement.  Hopefully we don’t have a return with the remnants of Florence tomorrow night.

That’s about all I have for this week.  Our District Leadership Meeting is this week, and I get the privilege of leading musical worship for the meeting.  I always look forward to that.  Blessings….