Parables for Lent: Receive Mercy//TTF Report

For the wages of sin
is death,
but the free gift of God
is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23
 
“It’s not fair!” is the response from the workers who put in 12 hours of work and got the same wage as the workers who only worked 1 hour. What they were complaining about is “Those guys got more than they deserved!” That is the crux of the matter in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. Equal pay for unequal work. Remember the parable was told to
teach something about the kingdom of heaven—about the way that God operates. It might be that the way God operates is different than the way the world operates.
 
Some times we do wish that God would be fair. That we would get what we deserve. But in the Lenten season, we are reminded that getting what is deserved is not God’s way. Consider the repentant thief on the cross who was promised: “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
 
He got all of heaven but did no faithful kingdom service after coming to a faith relationship with Jesus. He gets the same heaven as St. Paul who served greatly and suffered greatly for the name of Jesus. That thief gets the same heaven that Billy Graham entered. That just doesn’t seem fair. That’s how God is. He favors grace above fairness. Grace to those who don’t deserve it.
 
When it comes right down to it—every person can be glad that God is a God of grace and favors grace above fairness. Think about it.
 
What every person really deserves and has “earned” is judgment and condemnation. The Bible is clear “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) This death that is mentioned is not merely the cessation of bodily activities but also includes separation from God—a lasting spiritual death. But thanks be to God—He gives eternal life as a gift—earned by Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
That brings us back to God’s ultimate act of grace based on Jesus’ ultimate experience of what is Not Fair. The one who knew no sin became sin for us. If you have ever felt that life was “not fair” you are not alone.
 
But no one has experienced injustice like holy sinless Jesus who was rejected, ridiculed, tortured and put to death as his “pay” at the end of the day on Good Friday. He gets what we deserve. And that is God’s way. So that you can have life without end—by God’s grace—as God’s free gift—something more and better than you could ever earn or deserve. And that is God’s way. The way of grace.
 
Blessings on your Lenten Journey and your Sunday worship as we celebrate “receiving grace”!!
 
Pastor Scott
Interim Pastor

 

Transition Task Force: Video Reports
In these changing times the Transition Task Force is preparing to bring their two sessions “Identifying Our
Mission Field” and “Becoming Fracture Resistant” to your home via video in the next week or two. Watch for
more details. Please join me in thanking these faithful and creative servants!

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog: Life Together – In Christ

 
“Therefore as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12
 
Life Together—In Christ
 
Friend, read the first two lines of the verse of the week one more time. Are you grasping the wonder and magnitude of these statements? You are God’s chosen one. You are dearly loved. You are holy. These are all grand realities because you are “in Christ”. This is how the God over all the universe sees and knows you to be. You can rest in this great truth and reality. All of this is yours as a gift. It all is yours because God has called you to saving faith in the one Jesus of Nazareth who gave his life for you on Calvary’s cross. Your value and identity are based on how God sees you. He sees you as his chosen one, holy and dearly loved. I guess none of us in Christ need wonder about our worth again!
 
The rest of that sentence relates to the wonderful characteristics and qualities that reflect who we are as God’s beloved. Paul writes that we are to “clothe” ourselves with these. He is indicating that these are available to us. We get to dress out of Jesus’ closet. Each of these helps us do “life together” in community safely and peaceably.
 
Compassion includes bringing help to those in distress; kindness knows no distress and one leader calls it the WD40 of relationships. Humility is putting the welfare of others above yourself; gentleness is not easily provided by the carelessness of others, and patience does not bear a grudge or seek revenge.
 
In worship this week we will rejoice in the work of Christ that makes us one in Christ and gives us the gift of salvation. We will also rejoice that God is at work in our midst enabling us to live safely and peaceably with one another. May you continue to experience the peace and joy of offering others compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience in our home, congregation and wherever you may be.
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Scott
 
 
P.S. I hope you will be able to join in the Ethiopia Report that I will be sharing this Sunday, August 18, 9:45-10:45 in the Community Room. Again, many thanks for your prayers and encouragement regarding my recent teaching trip to Ethiopia!!

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – United In Christ

 
“…put off the old self
with its practices, and
…put on the new self,
which is being renewed in knowledge
after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:9-10
 
What Divides Us?
What divides us?  What divides us from one another in the same family the same congregation, the same state and nation?  It seems that being divided is almost like our national past time these days.  
 
Sin divides us.  Sin makes me think only of myself and my self-interest. We might call in “Living Pointed IN” (make a fist, showing fingers curled in toward self). But as a church faith community we have a powerful force at work to heal what divides and make us United. 

What Unites Us?

What has the power to restore unity in the midst of all that can and wants to divide us?  What can be that strong?? 
 
The Love of God.  The Love of God that we all need.  In Christ we see one who was always “Living Pointed OUT “, that is NOT wrapped up with self-interest but is fully pleasing God and loving neighbor. Living Pointed Out–is demonstrated with fingers pointing out–with hand open–to receive grace and love from God with fingers pointing out–with hand open–toward our neighbor.  
 
The cross of Christ leads us to see and know and trust the love of God shown in the death of the Servant/Christ.  And we are reminded that we ALL like sheep go astray. And we are ALL redeemed and UNITED in our need for CHIRST and our love for CHRIST. 
 
What can you do to Live UNITED and not give in to what the Evil one might use to Divide us in our home, our church, our neighborhood?  We will keep answering that question this week. And also next week when we focus on Life Together in Christ.
 
Blessings on your worship!!
 
Pastor Scott

 

P.S. Thanks for your travel prayers as my travel buddy and I head home Friday August 9 at 3:45 Detroit
time and arrive Saturday at 2:30 pm. And thank you for your prayers for those receiving this training
that they will be edified, and that God will continue to bless our teaching and learning together! Lord
willing, see you Sunday in worship!

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