architecture-3530701_640Ninth Sunday After Pentecost | July 22, 2018

2 Samuel 7:1-14a and Psalm 89:20-37  •  Ephesians 2:11-22  •  Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:11-22 New Living Translation (NLT)


This scripture is full of wisdom.  I would encourage you to read it and read it again.  It is a reminder that Christ came to save all – both Jew and Gentile.  Interestingly enough, Gentiles were thought to be, in Paul’s words, “uncircumcised heathens.” The Jews were proud that they were the chosen ones. Gentiles were outsiders.  BUT, because of Jesus Christ, the Gentiles have been united with Christ. This is good news!  Jesus Christ came to bring us peace with God through His blood.  One time we were far away from God, but now he has drawn us near to Him.

Christ brought peace and united the Jews and the Gentiles through the cross.  I love verse 19:

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.  

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Prayer for the Week

lens-reflection-2757801_960_720Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Special Olympics

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Several weeks ago I wrote about 1968 being an interesting year.  In 1968 we had the assassinations of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. There were riots throughout our country.  In addition there was the merger of churches that led to the United Methodist and then the merger of the Pilgrim Holiness and Wesleyan Methodists to form the Wesleyan Church.

Today I learned that 1968 was also the founding of the Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to 5 million athletes and Unified States Sports partners in 172 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all around the world—including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 100,000 events a year. [Wikipedia]

They are celebrating 50 years this weekend with celebrations in Chicago.  Congratulations.

#tbt: Women’s Rights Convention

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The announcement of the first convention for women’s rights.

170 years ago today, July 19, 1848, a convention to discuss the social; civil and religious condition and rights of women was kicked off in Seneca Falls, NY.  That convention was held at a Wesleyan Chapel.  This would have been just 5 years after the founding of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America.

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The reconstructed Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, NY.  This sits in the original location of the convention.  So

Just five years earlier, Orange Scott, Luther Lee, and three other men, separated (or were forced to separate) from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of slavery and formed the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America.  There were other issues such as the episcopal structure of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This new church would be an abolitionist and it would not have bishops.  This new church would also be one of the first churches to have equal clergy and lay representation at district and general conferences.  The early Wesleyan Methodists were radical in their pursuit of justice. There were those who were interested in the issue of women’s rights and temperance. And yet this new denomination was one of the first churches in America to put in its discipline a statement on sanctification.

During our service at Emmaus Road tonight, we looked at Galatians 3:26-28, which was one of the guiding verses for the new Wesleyan Methodist Church.

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

So today and tomorrow, because the convention went two days, we celebrate with the women and men who stood up for the rights of women – 170 years ago.

Sunday Thoughts

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It is another warm one here in the Brook today.  Usually I am not as wide awake in the afternoon, but I’ve got a bit more energy at the moment, so I thought I would write this now, instead of later.

It’s been a good week.  I started the school van again – we have a three-week summer session that I’m driving for.  We have been busy getting ready for our church’s 80th anniversary celebration which is coming up this weekend.  I am really looking forward to this time.  We have several special guests coming.  We have been busy with the menu and getting all the food ready.

It has been nice to step back a bit over the summer, but the fall is coming so we will soon need to ramp back up. One of the things that I’ve been excited about is getting my running miles back to where they need to be.  I’m still working at getting 1,000 miles of walking and running. I’m currently under 500 miles for the year, so I have my work cut out for me.  I’m working on having 560 by the end of the month.  Hopefully, I will get out for a long one tomorrow.

Pam and I team preached this morning on the subject of God’s DNA.  It was a good teaching and well received. We had a good service, despite the warmth.

I don’t have much more to say, so…Have a great week and seize the day!

To the Praise of His Glorious Grace

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2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19  •  Psalm 24  •  Ephesians 1:3-14  •  Mark 6:14-29

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Ephesians 1:3-14 New Living Translation (NLT)


I normally don’t get these up as late as Sunday morning, but we were having a great family day and this completely slipped my mind.  In a way I’m glad I did.  As we gather for worship this morning, Paul gives us some great words.  He reminds us of who we are in Christ Jesus.  These are words that I would read on a Sunday that we receive communion.  We are blessed because God has made us and he made a way for us.  He chose us to be his special, set apart, holy people – even before the world began.  God created us to make our own decisions – so he put a plan into place even before the world began, so that He could adopt us into His family.

God is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  (vs. 7)

Through Christ, Paul tells us, God revealed his mysterious plan.  God revealed his plan first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.  The Good News is that God saves you!  This is Gods mysterious plan.  Why God would want to save a sinner like me, is beyond comprehension.  But he made a way for those who choose to receive his marvelous gift.  How do we receive that gift? We receive the gift when we believe in Christ.  When we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit works in our lives – The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of God’s promise.

As we gather for worship this morning, let’s praise God for his glorious grace.