The Most Important Thing

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Eighth Sunday After Pentecost | August 4, 2019

Hosea 11:1-11 • Psalm 107:1-9, 43 • Colossians 3:1-11 • Luke 12:13-21

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Luke 12:13-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

This week Jesus reminds us of what is important – we are reminded that riches are not the most important thing in life. The most important thing is to have a rich relationship with God.

This conversation comes about because a man yells from the crowd. He feels he is being treated unfairly by his brother. We don’t know anymore of the details, but apparently they are trying to settle the estate of their father. It’s interesting how this goes in families. Perhaps Jesus knew in his heart what the man’s problem was – perhaps it was greed because that is what Jesus answers. He warns the gathered crowd to watch against greed.

He gives an illustration about a man who has too many crops. Instead of giving them away, he builds bigger barns, not knowing that his life will soon be over. He lived for the day. We all know people, even maybe yourself, who live for the day – after all you only go around once. But we are reminded it is not our riches that are important, but our relationship with God. Let’s make that first and foremost in our lives.


So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt

I mentioned this song during my sermon yesterday. Little did I know that yesterday was the 37th anniversary of Keith Green’s tragic plane accident. There is a great deal of truth wrapped up in this song – the Israelites rebelled against God and against Moses several times during the long journey out of Egypt and even during the wilderness wanderings – all they wanted to do was go back to Egypt instead of entering the land that God had promised them.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Instead of writing from the comfort of our home tonight, I am writing from the road. We are Refresh Retreat and Family Camp. It is our district’s family camp. We had a great start tonight with heartfelt worship led by Hannah Kerr – a Nashville recording artist who grew up in Buffalo and attended one of our Wesleyan churches in the Southtowns. Our speaker this week is Dr. Meredith Griffin. The musical worship is paired down and it was wonderful to hear the voices in worship. Like I said, it was a great way to start off the week.

This past week, I finished up running the school van for the summer. I have three weeks off until we start up again. It will be nice to have a little break. We are hoping to take one or two more day trips before James heads back to college.

Other than that, the week was pretty ordinary. The weather was much nicer this week – not so hazy, hot and humid. It was much more comfortable in worship this morning. It was beautiful to cut the grass on Friday.

Speaking of worship, we had a good service this morning. I preached on the 12 spies who checked out Canaan. The link is below, if you care to watch it. That’s about all I have. I hope you have a great week!

Prayer for the Week

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Teach Us to Pray

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost | July 28, 2019

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Hosea 1:2-10 • Psalm 85 • Colossians 2:6-19 • Luke 11:1-13

11 Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
    May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Luke 11:1-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus disciples come to him and ask him to teach them how to pray, just as John has taught his disciple to pray. He then says the words that we know as either The Lord’s Prayer or The Our Father. Last fall, Pam and I did a series called Teach Us to P.R.A.Y. The letters in pray stand for:

  • Praise
  • Repent
  • Ask
  • Yield

As we look at the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, these four elements are included in Jesus’ model prayer. Prayer begins with praise. We praise God for who He is. This is the most important part of praise, but we also praise Him for what He has done in our lives.

When we praise God for who He is and what He has done, we remember that He is God and we are not. We realize that we are not worthy and many times we remember how we have not lived as we should, which leads to repentance and asking forgiveness from God.

Once our hearts are clean, we move on to the part of prayer that many think prayer is – the Ask. As we have already seen, prayer is so much more than simply asking God for a long laundry list. Asking is only one small part of prayer. After we ask, then we yield to God’s will and not yield to temptation.

Then Jesus does some additional teaching on prayer. He tells His disciples that we must be persistent in prayer – that we must always be asking. Keep on asking – Keep on seeking – Keep on knocking. As Paul tells us, we must pray without ceasing. This is one reason that our prayers are not answer – but not always. We must be persistent in prayer and keep asking – after all God’s own Son, Jesus, told us we should be persistent.

Why should we be persistent in prayer? Because God is desirous to give good gifts to His children – just as we earthly parents like to give good gifts to our children when they ask. If we ask, he will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we will know how to pray, but we MUST ask.

The Call | Neal Morse Band

For today’s Music Monday post, we have something a little different. One of the bands that I like to listen to is the Neal Morse Band. This song comes from the 2015 album, The Grand Experiment. The band plays in what is called a progressive rock or prog rock style. The tune clocks in at over 10 minutes – it’s not your average pop/rock 3 to 4 minute song. The video is at the end of the post – it’s different than most things I have shared on here, but I really like the lyrics, which I’ve posted below. I encourage you to check out the lyrics. Have an awesome Monday!

Leave it all behind you
Time to let it go
Free the chains that bind you
Let your heart go and follow the call

With every beating of my heart
Every moment of my soul
Like the air surrounds the earth
I’m engulfed in who you are

But at times we find ourselves
In a place where it all comes down
And it seems there is no hope
And forever we’re falling

Far and away
There we will be
It’s all there for the making
If we’ll only turn the key
Close as your breath
Filling it all
So reach across the moment
And come following the call

Just as life can break your heart
And I know how you feel today
If you dare the dream you’ll find
When all you’ve got you just give away

Far and away
There we will be
It’s all there for the making
If we’ll only turn the key
Close as your breath
Filling it all
So reach across the moment
And come following the call
Following the call

Leave it now
You know it’s time
The grief you need you’re feeling
But your feelings don’t define
Who you are
You’re more than your mind
So reach for the connection
Leaving everything behind

Leave it all behind you
Time to let it go
Peace will surely find you
And let love shine a light on us all

Leave it all behind you
Time to let it go
Free the chains that bind you
Let your heart go and follow the call

Sunday Night Thoughts

Well, it’s been quite a few hot, hazy, and humid days. Even tonight the temp is still 80 degrees with a dew point at 70 degrees. That means it’s quite uncomfortable. The A/C has been working well for us. It looks like we get a break in the weather tomorrow.

This past week was really good. I was able to get all my regular van runs in. Except for yesterday morning, I got all my regular workouts in. 8 miles of walking and 13 miles of running. Tomorrow I plan to get my 6 miler in that I tried get in yesterday morning. When I woke up yesterday morning, it was thundering – not a good thing to go for a run when that is happening. Our plan as a family was to go to Erie, so I didn’t want to push back that too much, so I didn’t go out for a run.

We had a great time in Erie. Our family visited the Erie Maritime Museum. At the suggestion of the guide, we also went to Presque Isle to see two lighthouses. I am glad we did. The museum describes the events of the War of 1812, more specifically the Battle of Lake Erie. It was a great way to spend the day. We even got a visit to Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme.

Because the weather was so warm we didn’t do much the latter half of the week.

Today we had a wonderful morning of worship, despite the warmth and humidity. Pam did a great job of preaching. She preached on the story of Esther. I’ll include the link to the sermon below.

It’s been a good day and time to go play a little guitar to finish the day. Have a great week.