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Showing posts from August, 2011

Compassion for the Hurting and Hungry

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Matthew 14:13-21 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." 16 Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." 17 "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. 18 "Bring them here to me," he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked u…

A baptism primer

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Things Your Pastor Totally Loves: Episode 9

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We used to call this stuff "Junk for Jesus."

Funeral for Shirley Oravetz

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

A few short weeks ago, Shirley was in the hospital with blood clots. Then she learned she had cancer. It turned out to be a very aggressive cancer. Shirley loved stories, so I told her a true story that I thought fit her new, difficult circumstances. It is the true story about the Clark family who were from Scotland, but they had dreamed of immigrating to America. In order to make their dream a reality, they scrimped, struggled and saved until, finally, the family was able to purchase tickets aboard a ship that would take them to a new life to a new land.
Then, as often happens to our well thought-out plans, seven days before they were to leave, the family’s youngest son was bitten by a dog. It wasn’t a bad bite, but it was enough for the local doctor to hang a “Quarantine” sign on the family’s door. You see, there was a chance – a small chance – the wee lad had contracted rabies.
The ship was to sail in one week, while the boy…

God's Treasures

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Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

For 20 years, Charlie and Janie have owned eight Victorian chairs on which no one is allowed to sit. No one is allowed to sit on the chairs because the person from whom they had bought them, an antique dealer in Greenville, South Carolina, told Charlie and Janie that the chairs had once been owned and used by Abraham Lincoln during his term in the White House. Indeed, the store owner brought out an old lithograph showing Lincoln sitting in a chair which looked remarkably like the ones he was selling. Charlie and Janie took a gamble and laid out $6,000 for the eight chairs.
Over the years the husband and wife tried to research those chai…

Living with those diabolical Darnell

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Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28 "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 29 "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" … 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and sa…

A New Wind Blowing

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How many of you like to fly kites? It is great fun to watch a kite soaring high into the sky. What is it that keeps the kite up there? It is the wind, isn't it? How many of you have ever seen the wind? That was a trick question! No one has seen the wind. We can't see the wind because it is invisible. Well, if we can't see the wind, how do we know that it is there?

One way we can know the wind is there is that we can hear it. When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes turn on the TV to see what the weather is doing. There are some mornings that I don't even have to look at the TV to know that the wind is blowing because I can hear it! I can hear it whistling through the trees, down the chimney, and around the windows and doors. We can't see the wind, but we know it is there because we can hear it.

Another way we can know that the wind is there is that we can see it moving things. (Take some bits of paper in your hand and blow them into the air.) We can see it moving t…

A good old-fashioned persecution

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Matthew 10:34-42 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' 37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 40 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of …