Greetings and Peace in the name of Jesus Christ,
I begin by asking you to read two blogs that caught my attention this morning. The first is an interesting turn on “How Feminism Hurts Men” along the lines of last week’s media sensation “Why Marriage Isn’t for You”. Here is the link, “How Feminism Hurts Men”. Note, do not take the title literally but read the article.
The other blog is still up and it pertains to our sermon series on scarcity and generosity. The writer is Ann Voskamp and I love the way she writes. You can find more about her on her site. Do you know where the phrase “yada, yada, yada” comes from? We think we know what it means but Ann show us that generosity results in “yada, yada, yada.” Here is her article: “Why the Best Response to Life, the Holidays, Anything Is: Yada, Yada, Yada.”
Our texts for the sermon series “Moving from Scare City” are:
Acts 15:1-21 – Peter and Paul have been making believers who the Jews classify as Gentiles. Believers who were also Jewish were coming to the Gentile believers and insisting that they convert to Judaism first and follow all the laws in the Torah. Paul and Barnabas argued with these men. They were then sent to Jerusalem to talk the issue over with the leadership, which was still based in Jerusalem. The Christian Pharisees argued that to be Christian you had to be Jewish. Remember, at that time the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem and in Judea were still part of the Jewish faith and dynamic. Peter, Paul and Barnabas argued their side. Finally, James, the brother of Jesus who was the leader of the Christians, decided that the Gentiles did not have to become Jewish. He also thought that the Gentiles should refrain from four things: thing polluted by idols, fornication, eating strangled animals, and blood.
Philippians 4:4-9 – Our theme verse: Rejoice in the Lord. Again, I say, “Rejoice!”
Luke 16:19-31 – The story (parable) of the Rich Man and Lazarus. There are several things to note while you read this passage. 1. Lazarus is not the same person as the friend of Jesus in the Gospel of John. 2. Lazarus is the only character in any parable in any Gospel who is given a name which means “God has helped.” 3. This is not Jesus’ attempt to describe a literal Heaven and Hell; it is a story meant to convey a meaning to those who hear it. So, over all, what is the message that Jesus, and Luke, want to convey to us? Is this some works project – if I take care of people like Lazarus I earn my ticket to heaven? Or is it about our relationship to money and the things we have? Or is it about noticing the hurting people just outside our doors? Please take careful note of the last verse.
The Lectionary Text assigned for this week are:
Isaiah 65:17-25 – God’s glorious new creation: no weeping, no death before 100, no homelessness, no more hungry, etc. 2,500 years after Isaiah, why hasn’t this vision come into being?
Isaiah 12 – This is essentially a Psalm – the Psalm of Isaiah. “Shout aloud and sing for joy, . . . for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 – The closing words of this letter exhorts the believers to work to earn their living. There is also a sense of “shunning” in the next two verses.
Luke 21:5-19 – Jesus warns the disciple of the difficult times ahead: the Temple will be destroyed, the disciple will be betrayed by family and friends, they will be hauled before the courts, and some will be put to death.
Have a great week serving God by serving others.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor