As any had need…..Going deeper

Acts 2: 43-47
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

My heart aches when I encounter the needs of others that are bigger that what I can fix.  I want others to be better, to get past it and not to allow their need to define them. All my training and years of experience want to help get people past their need.  But that does not always happen on my schedule.  Do you know the experience of caring for someone else in their need and wish you could do more?

 

On Sunday, we read about the early church coming together to share all they had as they worshipped God daily.  They pooled their resources to meet the needs of each other.  What a joyous moment in church history that must have been.  However, dynamics changed as the church grew.

 

As the church grew larger, it became impossible to meet needs in the same way as that intimate First Church of Jerusalem did.  The church no longer lived in such a communal relationship.  There were too many people from to many backgrounds making it impossible to always know the needs or be able to meet them.

 

But they did learn two valuable lessons from their history.  One was you cannot give what you do not have.  They discovered the necessity of placing themselves in the presence of God.  Their worship and spiritual practices served many purposes not the least of which was to have full hearts and souls and peace to give to others.  If our souls are dry, usually the only gifts we have to give are impatience, judgment and guilt.

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Teacher Gifts

Thank you, Mrs. Coke

You were my first teacher. When I got off the bus that first day of kindergarten with milk spilling out of my metal lunch box all over my pants, you were the one who helped me get cleaned up.   You set the bar for all the teachers who would come after you to shape my mind and my life.

Mr. Janche, you were such a dedicated teacher to us on those Sunday mornings. Every week you prepared lessons for us to learn in high school Sunday school. I apologize for what must have seemed to have been an uphill battle keeping our attention. I wish you knew now how much your caring for us and always being there for us really did shape our character.

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Special Place

Where is your special place?  The place where you go to think, or be at peace, or unwind or get renewed?  Our special place can be everything from a garden to a golf course or a river or the beach or any of a thousand places.

As we wave goodbye to Summer past, I hope you had a lot of time in your special places and with special people who make the difference in your life.

This summer has been a powerful season of holy impact and life changing ministry.  For some who are new and others who have been around for a while, church has been a place of healing, blessing and renewal.

As we enter into this fall, I invite you to come and be in worship and reengaged in study and mission and fellowship.  I will be leading us to reflect on a Front Porch Faith where all are welcomed.  Here joy and truth create deep friendships. We yearn for this community of faith to be a special place that transcends seasons.  In the presence of the Risen Christ and in a fellowship of seekers and believers church becomes a special place that is unique.

I wish I could go to the river more often to find my special place.  But my heart is renewed and my soul comforted by the blessing of being in the community of faith that is my spiritual home.  It is my prayer that you will be able to be with us this Sunday and the Sundays to come for this place to be your primary special place and to make it one for others.

See you in Worship and at the Picnic.

Pastor Rick

Choosing

I am so sad.  The tragedies of Baton Rouge, St Paul, and Dallas seem like an unfair piling on of evil and horror.  Such news disturbs my conscience and interrupts my complacency.  The racism, fear, injustice and horror of these events seem too big for my little life or the insufficient gift of my faith.  I am tempted to want to stay off the news and pretend this tragedy is far enough away from me that there is no reason why I should even address it.

After all what can I do?  What can we do?

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Two Special Nights

I want to invite you to two great nights of class starting this Monday. The following two Mondays I am teaching a second tier class on John Wesley. John Wesley’s story and message are critical for us as United Methodists to know and adopt to our life. I believe the we live in times very similar to those of John Wesley. His searching for faith and witness have a lot to offer to us now.

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It Is Finished

Jesus said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  What in your life do you need to finish?  Is it your doubt that holds you back?  Is it the power of the past that still haunts you today?  Is it fear? Is it the brokenness of relationships or the inability to reconcile?  Jesus said, “It is finished.”  Let the the power of Good Friday lead you to Easter where what is finished can lead to the impossible is God’s gift to you.

Holy Thursday

It must have been a restless night.  As quiet and out of the public view as Wednesday was, Thursday would be never forgotten by the world.  The quiet time spent with friends was about to turn into the horror of betrayal, scorn and abuse by those who hated Jesus.

It was Passover, a great day of celebration where families gathered together to remember their God has delivered them when they were trapped in bondage.  The joy in the streets mirrored the preparations for holy meals and special times being prepared in every room in the holy city.

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