Clash of Temperaments

10th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: St. Luke 10:38-42
When there’s a clash in temperaments, we need to stop and recall this old Indian proverb:
“Don’t condemn a person until you have walked a mile in their moccasins.”

Jesus knows what is about to happen as He is on the way to Jerusalem. This is a stop of rest and relations with two precious friends, Martha and Mary. He is beginning to realize the intensity of inner battle in His heart. He prays, “Father, not My will but Your will be done.”

As we come to the reality today of a large number of friends are coming to our house for dinner, Martha is excited about this event. As the lady of the house, she has prepared for this in-gathering.
· She has cleaned the house from top to bottom.
· The best china has been polished.
· A beautiful tablecloth made by her mother drapes the dining room table.
· The table has been prepared with the best silverware.

Now it’s time to prepare the food. There will be between 20 and 25 guests. The potatoes are ready to be cooked. The meat of the day, lamb and goat, is slowly roasting in the oven. There is gravy to be made and there are several veggies to prepare. Martha has baked apple and cherry pie for dessert. As she walks by the kitchen door, she sees her sister Mary among the men as she is speaking. And her temperament boils over! She says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to prepare this large meal? Tell her to give me a hand.”

Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried about the little things, yet only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better thing, and that shall not be taken from her.”

One person may say, “Lord, of all the pots and pans and things, since I have no time to be a saint by doing lovely things or walking late with Thee or dreaming in the dawn’s light or storming heavy gates. Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.”

Now think, once again, where Jesus is about to go. To Jerusalem, where He will be crucified.
May we all open our hearts and minds and quietly meditate on who we are: Martha or Mary.

May we pray unto the Lord, asking Him, “Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner, and save me by Your grace.

“Open our hearts and lives to see that divinity is possible for each of us when we center down and hear your low, soft voice whisper.”

God calls us all. Insert your name into this statement: “Richard, I love you and will use whatever you offer me to bring peace to you and all others. I need a kind word and helping hands to show and to spread My love for and to a sinful world today.”

Help me to be faithful to my commitment to You. Let us pray!


Today, we did not have a regular session in the church building. Rather, we answered the call to be the arms and feet of Jesus in our community and volunteered at the local 4H. Check out the pictures Katie posted on Facebook!

Who is My Neighbor?

8th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: St. Luke 10:25-31

One hot North Carolina afternoon, a family is going home from a family outing. Then they came upon 2 Native American teenagers selling watermelons at a 4-way crossing.

They stopped to get a melon. They immediately started to barter about the price. After several unfruitful tries with no luck…

…one of the teenagers stated, “Sir, these are the only things we have in this world.” The man was so touched with the words of the teenager tears appeared in his eyes and began to run down his cheeks. They bought all the melons the boys had.

In a movie, the interaction between these 2 white men in their 30s and these 2 young native boys would not look like that.

This is a good example of a story about who my neighbor is.

Luke 10:27 reads that we must love the Lord our God with
· all our heart
· all our being
· all our strength
· all our mind and love
· our neighbor as ourself

Our scripture for today tells us the story of the good Samaritan who stopped to help a bleeding and beaten man left on the road to die.

As one views this scripture, one is told that our neighbors are not just the person who lives on either side of us, nor the person who crosses the street, nor the one who lives behind us.

ALL of these are our neighbors. Any of us should be ready to reach out to anyone who needs help.

One side of my family tree has a real problem with alcohol.

A cousin at age 18 or 19 was arrested by the Illinois state police in 1957 for driving 100 miles an hour, seeking to get away from it all. He was fined and classified as a drunken driver.

Another, my own brother, became an alcoholic. Praise God that today he is a dry alcoholic, but he is still an alcoholic. His drinking took its toll on his body, and at 84 years old he struggles daily with his health.

· A man who beats his wife and children
· Another one who abuses his little children

All these and countless of millions of others are a serious problem to our social environment, yet each one of them is our neighbor. We must help them any way we can to correct their addictions.

Like our Lord, we need to reach out to these individuals.

All too often, the good Christians in our world don’t see or sense people with these social problems as neighbors, and we either fail to reach out or flatly refuse.

Our Lord has reached down to see and touch each one of us.

Likewise, we need to reach out and embrace each one of these people with the same love and compassion and concern that Jesus gave to each one of us.

All too often the church’s population stays safe and secure within the confines of the church structure.

God, help us and forgive us, for we have almost completely lost Christ’s ministry of searching out and reaching real needs of others who so desperately need to be understood and loved.

Anyone who would lower themself to aid the suffering like our Lord Himself did as a suffering servant, dying for each and every one of us, offering each of us forgiveness. We need to do the same.

For all humanity is the offspring of the church of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray!

Laborers for the Harvest

7th Sunday of Pentecost
Scripture: St. Luke 10:1-11

Today’s text includes the labors of the 12 Jesus sent out before sending a 2nd group of 70.

The number 70 is the number of how many were chosen to help Moses in leading the Israelites in the wilderness.

70 is also the number of Sanhedrins, the supreme counsels for the Jews.

If we relate these 2 groups of men as the helpers of Jesus, we are talking about laborers for the harvest.

Luke, in chapter 10, is nothing short of emphasizing the amazement and terror these men experienced.

Jesus, sending his followers out 2 by 2 ahead of Himself, showed all His faithful disciples the things that may be required of them in serving. He provides a kind of traveling checklist that includes danger, dependence, and the deeds of His power.

Today we have a big picture understanding of where that may take us. That’s hindsight 20:20 theology. The 70 came back with joy and surprise. They were amazed at the power He had given them.

Does this mean that they might have power like Jesus Himself? Absolutely yes!

There is one essential thing we must do to find the Lord: One has to leave home.
• Adam and Eve, for disobeying the Lord, were sent into the wilderness.
• Abraham and Sarah became wanderers.
• Jacob journeyed far from his family.
• Jonah ran away to the sea. There he found wisdom inside a whale.
• Elijah lived in the wilderness.
• Ezekiel was alone with the people of Israel, living in exile.
• The oldest Biblical law, found in Exodus 22:21, states: “Don’t mistake an oppression for punishment, because you were once an immigrant in the land of Egypt.
• Jesus also includes Himself in the stories because He wandered from heaven to earth.

Wanders in sin, the lost sheep, and a despised woman are all at home in the realm of God’s love.

I believe that God sends out you and I yet today to gather the lost sheep of His flock. The decline in the Protestant church in the United States is because we all stay in the church building

Meanwhile, the harvest for sinful brothers and sisters wander in the world for each passing day. At the same time, laborers for harvest grow smaller and smaller. Some Christians stay in the safety of the church, afraid that the sinful world may engulf them if they leave it, yet someone left the church building to harvest and seek each of us out so that we may encounter God’s love.

The greatest love one can experience is the living presence of Jesus in their heart and life.

Father God, help us to cry out for mercy as sinners. Have mercy on each one of us so we will step up from the plate and serve You.

One local church I served a while back when I was reappointed has stepped up to the plate to gather in the harvest.
• A certified accountant with many years of experience. (Ed)
• A professional typist for several lawyers. (Judy)
• A chemist, who experienced 2 tragic deaths in his family: his father and his sister. (Tim)
• A church janitor, who became a layspeaker and now serves as a laypastor. (Linda)

Who among us will be the next one to step up to the plate and hit a home run for God with Jesus guiding us?

Let us pray!

Children of God

5th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29

Before coming to Christ, we were under the law. By following that law, we were being drawn closer to God.

The Jews practiced and followed the law to its uttermost. They used the law to separate one another by misinterpreting it. They acted like someone was sinning if they walked a certain number of feet on the Sabbath. (8 feet? No, 9 feet J). Yes, the law was like the action of an older slave, whose only responsibility was to care for the children of his master.

It was there to see that they did not fall into temptation, take them to school, keep them safe in the afternoon, and take them home in the evening.

It was not to teach the child, only to be sure they did not give into the temptations of that day.

Jews separated humanity into classes: clean and unclean. Gentiles were unclean and Jews would have no contact with them if possible at all.

All of God’s children are for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, that his seed would be multiplied as the grains of sand, uncountable. God loves all people. There’s no distinction between Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich and poor, black and white.

We know that God created a perfect world and gave man control over it with one command: Don’t eat from a certain tree in the garden. Over the years, we have said it was an apple tree and Adam ate an apple. The apples were supposedly polished to the fullest of a beautiful creation. The devil tempted Eve and said, “You will not die if you eat from the tree.” And she gave Adam some of the apple, and he ate it as well.

Because of that, God sent them out into the world and sin became a reality in God’s once-perfect creation.

Mankind is still the birth child of God, who loves all and seeks to draw them back into a relationship with Himself. He restores us to His presence.

A Gentile was baptized and circumcised upon seeking to convert to Judaism.

Christ baptizes each of us with His holy spirit, which enables us to follow Him and love Him. He offers all of His children eternal peace and an eternal presence in His heavenly kingdom.

As children of God, we often act like children of this world. And like our earthly parents who still love us when we do wrong, God still loves us when we fall into the ways of the world. He never stops loving us, even when His heart may be broken.

The Lord will never quit loving us, nor will He quit seeking to restore us to His love.

There is much “information” about the “unpardonable sin.” Some say it is taking the Lord’s name in vain or not loving our neighbors.

While I don’t believe there’s an “unpardonable sin,” I believe an unforgivable sin is one we realize yet will not seek restitution with from our Lord. When we ask God to forgive us, He does forgive us and our sin is never recalled or remembered by Him, our Lord and Savior.

We know we are earthly children by the actions of our parents, while at the same time we are God’s children, not just for the time of this world, but for eternity.

Let us pray!

Arrested - A Life Crucified and Risen for the Lord

4th Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Galatians 2:15-21

The life of the early church was dealing with a great problem. That problem was over the common meal shared by all members who gathered. The food was provided by pooling whatever one had to share with the others. All were invited, including Jews and Gentiles, rich people and poor people, and slaves and free people. This meal was probably the only full and decent meal that many had all week.

Paul stated that the young Christian church could not continue if certain members of the church were excluded. The church is for all people, and we all are are one in the sight of God. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, rich nor poor, slave nor free person.

Paul saw that the strenuous actions were necessary to combat this practice, for the Love of God was for all people. Simultaneously, he saw elements within this common meal beginning to separate and divide the membership of the church. The Jews had many types of “kosher” food laws that governed their meals. There were also definitions as to what was clean and unclean, and the Gentiles themselves were considered unclean and many Jews did not accept them. For a Jew, eating pork was considered sinful.

Yet the scriptures state that nothing one put into their mouth and passes through their body can defile them. Only that which he speaks that is harmful to his witness to the Gentiles. Paul states that no amount of observing strict laws can make a person right with God! A person cannot earn their righteousness. They must accept the gracious offer of the love of God that makes a person right with God. This was a concept that Jesus tried to get across to the people of the early church.

That concept still plagues mankind today! There are still people in the church who still believe their works "have merit with the Lord."

Jesus was saying that by simply holding on to the law one cannot wipe out their sinful nature. The old practices must pass away, for this is a new day. All people are permitted to come to the Lord for forgiveness of their sins, for His gracious salvation is offered to all.

There are 2 great temptations that all Christians must come to grip with:

  1. There is a temptation to try to earn God’s favor. That is an unhealthy reason for volunteering to do something for the church.
  2. There is a temptation to judge our actions as superior to someone else’s to curry God’s favor.

In reality, it is only through the grace of God that any one of us will see our Lord face-to-face in the heavenly kingdom. If you or I were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to find us guilty?

Let us pray!

Arrested for the Lord

3rd Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Galatians 1:11-24

It was Paul’s contention that the Gospel he preached to men was not a story or secondhand tale. It had come to him directly from the Lord. That was a big claim to make, and proof is always demanded from some physical source. Yet Paul had the courage to point only to himself, noting that his radical change of life was given unto him by the Lord. It is here that Paul humbles himself, seeking no glory for himself. Glory goes to the Lord for turning his life completely around.

When someone is proceeding headlong in one direction and turns suddenly headlong in the opposite direction, all their values of life are turned upside down. There must be some explanation for such a change.

Paul’s explanation was that God had led him with His hands upon his shoulder, resting him and pointing him in a new direction. One should not be ashamed to tell the world about their radical change in life. Paul has two things to say about this life change.

1. It was not premeditated. The change in his life was in God’s plan for his life. J. Gossip tells how Alexander Whyle came to his ordination in his first appointment. God had been preparing him and the church to faithfully serve Him, sharing in God’s earthly kingdom.

God is preparing me but this congregation I serve for special works in God’s earthly kingdom that I could never dream of. Long ago, God set in place the factions that would put us as pastor and congregation together. This was long before either of us envisioned being involved in His ministry.

Look at Paul preparing himself for service. First he went to Arabia for 3 years to be alone with the Lord, and here God equipped him for his life. Finally Paul goes to Damascus for a second time. Can we imagine what transpired in his heart as he relived his conversion and invitation to full time Christian service?

It was some time later that Paul returned to Jerusalem, knowing that he was taking his life in his own hands. His former Roman friends were out for his blood. They saw him as a turncoat and a renegade.

I see many of Paul’s happenings in my journey to become a pastor. While the Christian ministry is a great blessing anyone can encounter,  it is not without trials, temptations, and pitfalls.

2.) Where one is being led by the Lord, He offers comfort, wisdom, and whole host of blessings.

He only asks when one is up against the army of the devil and his band that we hold on to our faith, for that moment will pass and the light of a new day for the Lord will shine brightly again. Let us pray!