Monday, January 11, 2016

Readings for Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hello Everyone,

With colder weather attendance at both churches have been down. Why is that? If tens of thousands of Viking fans can sit for nearly 4 hours in sub-zero weather, only to see the team lose in the last few seconds of the game, why is our attendance down? A question to be considered. Any thoughts?

Thank you for those who came to our Covenant Renewal Worship Service.

Our readings for the Second Sunday after Epiphany are:

Isaiah 62:1-5 – The prophet waits for the time when God will bring vindication and salvation to Jerusalem (Zion). Verse 4 is interesting because the prophet says that the land will be called “Married” and in fact will be married. God will be the bridegroom and the land (and its people) will be the bride in whom God delights.

Psalm 36:5-10 – The opening and closing verses of Psalm 36 concern those who are wicked and evil. These middle verses are all about God’s “steadfast love” (mentioned 3 times), “righteousness”, and “faithfulness”. God’s love is shown in judgment, salvation, abundance, life and light; all words that occur in the New Revised Standard Version Bible I read in worship. How is our love like God’s love? How can we grow in God’s love so that our love reflects the life and light of God?

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – This is the classic verse when talking about Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are a couple of verses I will highlight. Verse 3b “. . . and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit”. When someone gives themselves to God and Jesus Christ for the first time they are responding to the work of the Holy Spirit within them. John Wesley called this “prevenient grace”. Verse 7, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” The gifts we have from the Holy Spirit are to be used to everyone’s benefit and for the glory of God. So I ask, what are the gifts the Spirit has given you and how are you using those gifts for the good of your church and God’s Kingdom?

John 2:1-11 – Jesus attends a wedding with his mom, Mary. Weddings in Jesus’ day were social events that lasted several days and some up to a week. The Bible mentions marriage multiple times but, as far as I know, there is no proscription how the weddings were to be performed or whether any religious person officiated. Jesus is at the wedding by invitation along with his disciples and was just keeping his head down for “his hour had not come.” When the wine ran out Mom insisted that Jesus could do something. What he does is change some vats of water it wine; not just any run of the mill sangria but the “good stuff”, the $50 a bottle good. What ordinary thing in your life has been changed into the “good stuff” by Jesus’ presence?

Have a wonderful week everyone. Love people like God loves you.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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