Wrong Thing For the Right Reason

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  Matthew 1: 19

Resolved.  His mind was made up.  Scripture does not tell us how hard a decision it was for Joseph to make about Mary.  Was he reacting emotionally to shocking news or had he thought about this decision and weighed all the options?

Either way, he was resolved.  He would tell his pregnant fiancé he would not marry her.   That was what would be expected.  Why would he bring that shame into his family?  By the bias of his culture, it was the right thing to do.  What was merciful about this decision was that he would not publicly embarrass her.  He would, “put her away quietly’.   

He was about to do the wrong thing for the right reason.

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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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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

Palm Sunday Crowd

What do you think of when you consider the crowd that waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna” as Jesus entered Jerusalem?

Maybe you think of children waving palm branches.  They were unaware of the significance of that parade.  But they knew fun when they saw it.  Perhaps they noticed Jesus as one who actually cared about them.  Maybe they hardly noticed him as they played with their friends.   It is interesting to me that in the middle of such a critical moment of the Gospel, children are in the center of the action.  They are not put off to the side or told to be quiet.  It is a day for them. It still is.

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Winning the Lottery

Did you hear anything about the Lottery lately?  In seems as if there is no place where you can go today where it is not being talked about.  Perhaps that includes even in our own heads.  I know I have wondered what I would do if I won.  Have you?

I know I would want to take care of family.  My grandkids would not have to worry about whatever training or education they wanted to pursue.  My parents and brother would not have to wonder how they would receive the care they need.  Laura and I would finally be able to plan for a retirement on a waterfront somewhere.  Yes, I would keep working here because I don’t think God has released me yet.  But I would also create foundations that would provide for long term investment in bringing the best in leadership to ordained ministry, serve the work of helping other congregations thrive in their mission and address issues of education in underserved communities.

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What a night of Joy!

Last night, our church went to the movies to see the “Joy”.  In fact, so many went, the theater we had to ourselves sold out and we had a good number have to wait 45 minutes to see the movie in another theater.  So thank you for those who were able to make that shift.  The great News is Great Lakes Crossing has promised the largest theater movie room they have next week so we will all be able to see the movie “Concussion” together on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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We can always learn from visitors

feinMy in-laws visited last week and came to church with me on Sunday. They were impressed with all the ways that CUMC is in mission to the community and my Mother-in-law was particularly interested in our Food Pantry bags. She thought that was a great way to encourage donations to our food pantry and took the idea home to her church in Ithaca, NY.

She also gave us a tip about something that has worked very well at their church. Continue reading “We can always learn from visitors”