Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Readings for Sunday, January 29, 2017 - #Blessed

Hello Everyone,

May the Grace and Peace of the abiding Spirit be with you today.

A couple of announcements: This Sunday we will be baptizing John Kelly, son of Becky and Brandon Kelly, during worship at Grey Eagle UMC.

Also, Senior Youth Group will be meeting on Sunday at 4:00 PM at Grey Eagle UMC. This is open to all youth of both churches who are in grades 7 to 12. Adults, if you would like to prepare and bring an afternoon snack or meal for the Youth, please let me know.

This Sunday, we continue with our Worship Series "The Great Invitation". Our focus is "#Blessed". For those not familiar with Twitter and Facebook, it is pronounced "hashtag blessed". Hashtags are used to draw attention to a theme or subject matter and to join together many diverse people who don't know each other around that theme. So this week #Blessed. If you are on Twitter (#Blessed) or Facebook (#Blessed) you can go to those sites and search for #Blessed (or click on the links) and you will get amazing results.

We move from the river and lake to the mountains this week as we begin reading "The Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew. Over the next four Sunday we will be in Matthew 5. However, the full Sermon is Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Please read those three chapters to get a feel for what Jesus is asking us to do and be as his followers. As you read through the Sermon think about how the things Jesus is talking about is so very counter-cultural, then and now.

Our Lessons this week are:

Micah 6:1-8 – This section of Micah is set in a courtroom with God as the prosecutor, the hills and mountains as the jury, and Israel (and us?) as the defendants. God wants an answer to why the people no longer love and follow God. What did God do to drive them away? The answer is “nothing”. What God has done is save his people. The people ask, in turn, “What can we do? Slaughter more calves, or rams, or offer rivers of oil, or even sacrifice our children?” This is a classic indictment of the sacrificial system because God wants none of it. What God wants from us is for us to do justice, to have mercy (kindness), and to live with a steadfast and everlasting (humble) walk with God.

Psalm 15 – What does it mean to be faithful to God (dwell on the holy hill)? The psalmist offers a short but powerful list. Every Christian should review this Psalm often. It is a slightly longer way of stating Micah 6:8.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 – Paul is still setting up his response to the divisive issues that are tearing the First Church of Corinth apart. He wants the church to know the true nature of God’s power and wisdom and it has nothing to do with force, threats, coercion, deceit, or condemnation. God’s power and wisdom was witnessed in the death of Jesus on the cross. God dying on the cross is a scandal (stumbling block) and downright foolish according to the wisdom of the world.

Matthew 5:1-12 – The upside down world of God’s power and wisdom is on full display in the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount. In the world’s way of seeing things those with wealth, power, control, and the things that flaunt them are the blessed. If they were not blessed by God why would they have all those things? No, says Jesus, it is the poor in spirit (just "the poor" in Luke 6:20-23), the mourners, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted who are truly blessed. These are the people who suffer at the hands of the powerful. They are the true victims of society. They are #Blessed.

You have been invited to Life in God's Reign. Invite someone to church this week so they may experience God's grace.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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