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Reading the Ancient Texts 103013

English: By Rembrandt.

English: By Rembrandt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 84:8-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2084:8-12&version=MSG

 

Daniel 5:13-31 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%205:13-31&version=MSG

 

Matthew 21:28-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021:28-32&version=MSG

 

 

Reading the Ancient Texts 103013

 

As disciples of Jesus we often make a commitment to read the Gospels frequently and also to read the Hebrew books, our ‘Old Testament‘.

 

Reading the New Testament, the Gospels, makes instant sense to us; we can read through and pick out the words of Jesus himself, and I must admit I still prefer a Bible that has ‘the words of Jesus in red’. On a page of text, the clear, prominent words in red jump out to me, and speak clearly to me. Even though the words of Jesus are 2,000 years removed from now almost, and Jesus was a Mediterranean Jewish peasant (and most of us are not) the words, the characters, the events speak out loud to me, and have become a foundation of our culture.

 

The Old Testament is more problematic. The morals, the stories, the characters and the teachings sometimes just do not speak to me, or to many disciples. We are not pre-Christian, Jews living in a Roman, a Babylonian, or a Jewish kingdom. I’ve never lived the life of nomadic shepherds or seen what the temple was like. Neither have I lived a life such that family, community and the temple were the key features of my identity, and actually, my identity as a disciple of Jesus does not easily tie into the ancient, Semitic language and culture. Sure, we are all human, but there is much I just don’t understand.

 

But, if I read the Old Testament and make allowances for it—such as, ‘well, it is the honest voice and history of God’s people‘ even if I don’t understand it completely, then what should I say when I read an ancient Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu text? Are those texts also the honest voice and history of God’s people?

 

There’s much to consider here. If an old Buddhist text recommends I wear an orange or ochre robe, pray and burn incense, should I? No, but then neither do I slaughter lambs, and doves and pigeons and make burnt meat offerings to God in the temple.

 

So, I’m left confused. Do my beliefs and faith as a disciple of Christ compel me to behave like an ancient Jew, and does reading an ancient text from any ancient religion or philosophy compel to practice as the ancients practiced? Perhaps, but remember that burning incense is a primary cause of home fires. Be careful.

 

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 84:8-12

The Message (MSG)

8-9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, listen:
O God of Jacob, open your ears—I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun,
our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.

10-12 One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

Daniel 5:13-31

The Message (MSG)

13-16 So Daniel was called in. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel who was one of the Jewish exiles my father brought here from Judah? I’ve heard about you—that you’re full of the Holy Spirit, that you’ve got a brilliant mind, that you are incredibly wise. The wise men and enchanters were brought in here to read this writing on the wall and interpret it for me. They couldn’t figure it out—not a word, not a syllable. But I’ve heard that you interpret dreams and solve mysteries. So—if you can read the writing and interpret it for me, you’ll be rich and famous—a purple robe, the great gold chain around your neck—and third-in-command in the kingdom.”

17 Daniel answered the king, “You can keep your gifts, or give them to someone else. But I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18-21 “Listen, O king! The High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar a great kingdom and a glorious reputation. Because God made him so famous, people from everywhere, whatever their race, color, and creed, were totally intimidated by him. He killed or spared people on whim. He promoted or humiliated people capriciously. He developed a big head and a hard spirit. Then God knocked him off his high horse and stripped him of his fame. He was thrown out of human company, lost his mind, and lived like a wild animal. He ate grass like an ox and was soaked by heaven’s dew until he learned his lesson: that the High God rules human kingdoms and puts anyone he wants in charge.

22-23 “You are his son and have known all this, yet you’re as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven! You had the sacred chalices from his Temple brought into your drunken party so that you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines, could drink from them. You used the sacred chalices to toast your gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone—blind, deaf, and imbecile gods. But you treat with contempt the living God who holds your entire life from birth to death in his hand.

24-26 “God sent the hand that wrote on the wall, and this is what is written: mene, teqel, and peres. This is what the words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your rule and they don’t add up.

27 “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.

28 “Peres: Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Belshazzar did what he had promised. He robed Daniel in purple, draped the great gold chain around his neck, and promoted him to third-in-charge in the kingdom.

30-31 That same night the Babylonian king Belshazzar was murdered. Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old when he succeeded him as king.

Matthew 21:28-32

The Message (MSG)

The Story of Two Sons

28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’

29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.

30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.

31-32 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’

kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.

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Reading the Bible 093013

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 62 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2062&version=MSG

 

Amos 6:8-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%206:8-14&version=MSG

 

Revelation 3:14-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203:14-22&version=MSG

 

 

Reading the Bible 093013

 

A problem with our religion, this Christianity, is us. We like to make things complicated, then tear and gnash them into pieces, and complain we can’t piece it all back into one.

 

But as Anabaptists, Mennonites, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we simply must read the Bible often, at least daily. It is not a hurried thing to do, to sit quietly, probably alone, and carefully outloud speak each syllable, word and phrase.

 

Take a look at our Mennonite USA conference website http://mennowdc.org/year-of-the-bible/ and their program for the year.

 

Of all the things I would wish for my family, my friends, my enemies, the world is the joy of reading the Bible daily.

 

Pray for Peace,

Pastor Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 62

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

62 1-2 God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I need comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.

3-4 How long will you gang up on me?
How long will you run with the bullies?
There’s nothing to you, any of you—
rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters,
Anthills plotting to bring down mountains,
far gone in make-believe.
You talk a good line,
but every “blessing” breathes a curse.

5-6 God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.

7-8 My help and glory are in God
—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.

9 Man as such is smoke,
woman as such, a mirage.
Put them together, they’re nothing;
two times nothing is nothing.

10 And a windfall, if it comes—
don’t make too much of it.

11 God said this once and for all;
how many times
Have I heard it repeated?
“Strength comes
Straight from God.”

12 Love to you, Lord God!
You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work!

Amos 6:8-14

The Message (MSG)

You’ve Made a Shambles of Justice

8 God, the Master, has sworn, and solemnly stands by his Word.
The God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:

“I hate the arrogance of Jacob.
I have nothing but contempt for his forts.
I’m about to hand over the city
and everyone in it.”

9-10 Ten men are in a house, all dead. A relative comes and gets the bodies to prepare them for a decent burial. He discovers a survivor huddled in a closet and asks, “Are there any more?” The answer: “Not a soul. But hush! God must not be mentioned in this desecrated place.”

11 Note well: God issues the orders.
He’ll knock large houses to smithereens.
He’ll smash little houses to bits.

12-13 Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks?
Do you plow the sea with oxen?
You’d cripple the horses
and drown the oxen.
And yet you’ve made a shambles of justice,
a bloated corpse of righteousness,
Bragging of your trivial pursuits,
beating up on the weak and crowing, “Look what I’ve done!”

14 “Enjoy it while you can, you Israelites.
I’ve got a pagan army on the move against you”
—this is your God speaking, God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
“And they’ll make hash of you,
from one end of the country to the other.”

Revelation 3:14-22

The Message (MSG)

To Laodicea

14 Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:

15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.

18 “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.

19 “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!

22 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

 

Buckham Mennonite Church

Buckham Mennonite Church (Photo credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives)

Why Does it Matter? 091113

English: Hinkletown, Pennsylvania (vicinity). ...

English: Hinkletown, Pennsylvania (vicinity). Mennonite girls waiting for “Deutsch school” to begin in Mennonite church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 101 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20101&version=MSG

 

2 Kings 18:19-25; 19:1-7 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2018:19-25;%2019:1-7&version=MSG

 

Luke 18:18-30 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2018:18-30%20&version=MSG

 

Why Does it Matter? 091113

 

There’s an ongoing and difficult paradox within Christianity, I think. I feel an ongoing paradox between the large, macro political realm of life, which the Bible records and speaks of a great deal, and the individual, small everyday life I lead and which most of us lead. What is the subject matter of our life with God? Is it the great big picture that involves nations, ideals, causes or is the small, everyday life I lead and most of us lead in the US. We are able to scratch out a daily living, our daily bread, and we feel, or at least, I feel that God is with me.

But then today is the memorial of September 1, 2001. I do not really understand who was fighting who, and why anyone felt it necessary to kill so many civilians. But all those innocents were somehow caught between the big, political, international affairs world, and their lives as ordinary workers in ordinary jobs. They were caught in the world between the large world and the small world.

I don’t have an opinion or a conclusion about this. I don’t know or see exactly how God fits in these two worlds at once, and I’d like to understand.

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 101

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

101 1-8 My theme song is God’s love and justice,
and I’m singing it right to you, God.
I’m finding my way down the road of right living,
but how long before you show up?
I’m doing the very best I can,
and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look
at corrupting people and degrading things.
I reject made-in-Canaan gods,
stay clear of contamination.
The crooked in heart keep their distance;
I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.
I put a gag on the gossip
who bad-mouths his neighbor;
I can’t stand
arrogance.
But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people—
they’re the ones I want working with me;
Men and women on the straight and narrow—
these are the ones I want at my side.
But no one who traffics in lies
gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars.
I’ve rounded up all the wicked like cattle
and herded them right out of the country.
I purged God’s city
of all who make a business of evil.

2 Kings 18:19-25

The Message (MSG)

19-22 The third officer, the Rabshakeh, was spokesman. He said, “Tell Hezekiah: A message from The Great King, the king of Assyria: You’re living in a world of make-believe, of pious fantasy. Do you think that mere words are any substitute for military strategy and troops? Now that you’ve revolted against me, who can you expect to help you? You thought Egypt would, but Egypt’s nothing but a paper tiger—one puff of wind and she collapses; Pharaoh king of Egypt is nothing but bluff and bluster. Or are you going to tell me, ‘We rely on God’? But Hezekiah has just eliminated most of the people’s access to God by getting rid of all the local God-shrines, ordering everyone in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at the Jerusalem altar only.’

23-24 “So be reasonable. Make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you think you can provide riders for them. You can’t do it? Well, then, how do you think you’re going to turn back even one raw buck private from my master’s troops? How long are you going to hold on to that figment of your imagination, these hoped-for Egyptian chariots and horses?

25 “Do you think I’ve come up here to destroy this country without the express approval of God? The fact is that God expressly ordered me, ‘Attack and destroy this country!’”

Luke 18:18-30

The Message (MSG)

The Rich Official

18 One day one of the local officials asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?”

19-20 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.”

21 He said, “I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.”

22 When Jesus heard that, he said, “Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.

24-25 Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.”

26 “Then who has any chance at all?” the others asked.

27 “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

28 Peter tried to regain some initiative: “We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?”

29-30 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”

Living on Tomato Basil Soup 81913

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm (Photo credit: mira66)

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm (Photo credit: mira66)


This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

 

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2032&version=MSG

 

Jeremiah 23:30-40 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2023:30-40&version=MSG

 

1 John 4:1-6 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%204:1-6&version=MSG

 

 

 

Living on Tomato Basil Soup 81913

 

 

 

Because of a recent complaint followed by another problem, I’ve had to eat little more then tomato basil soup for eight weeks. I realize how little it takes to eat, in order to stay well, and I really wish I could share.

 

 

 

I also realize how much I really enjoy tomato basil soup. The tomatoes take only a few square feet to raise, and the basil is kept in a 12” square foot pot.

 

Today’s scripture, from Jeremiah and from 1 John both speak of listening to false prophets and to false doctrines. I beginning to wonder if the real work of disciples of Christ is live simply, humbly, quietly and share. This does not require a new wardrobe, new makeup or an online application. There isn’t a weekly meeting you get to go to share food or loving talk, which is important—the real work of disciples may simply be to help the weaker, the younger and the older, the helpless.

 

With this definition of Christian love, there is no fame, or wealth, or position or status sought. In fact, the good things we do that are never known are the important things to do.

 

Christians globally believe the widest variety of things, in a radical extreme of directions. But as a whole, all those differences may not make a whole lot of difference.

 

Christians have to be known only for their love for one another, or Christians will cease to be as a global religion and church. Christ will have lived and died in vain.

 

Pray for peace,

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

Pray with us!

 

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

 

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

 

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 32

 

The Message (MSG)

 

A David Psalm

 

32 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.

 

2 Count yourself lucky—
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.

 

3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.

 

4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.

 

5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”

 

Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.

 

6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.

 

7 God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

 

8 Let me give you some good advice;
I’m looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:

 

9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track.”

 

10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.

 

11 Celebrate God.
Sing together—everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

 

Jeremiah 23:30-40

 

The Message (MSG)

 

30-31 “I’ve had it with the ‘prophets’ who get all their sermons secondhand from each other. Yes, I’ve had it with them. They make up stuff and then pretend it’s a real sermon.

 

32 “Oh yes, I’ve had it with the prophets who preach the lies they dream up, spreading them all over the country, ruining the lives of my people with their cheap and reckless lies.

 

“I never sent these prophets, never authorized a single one of them. They do nothing for this people—nothing!” God’s Decree.

 

33 “And anyone, including prophets and priests, who asks, ‘What’s God got to say about all this, what’s troubling him?’ tell him, ‘You, you’re the trouble, and I’m getting rid of you.’” God’s Decree.

 

34 “And if anyone, including prophets and priests, goes around saying glibly ‘God’s Message! God’s Message!’ I’ll punish him and his family.

 

35-36 “Instead of claiming to know what God says, ask questions of one another, such as ‘How do we understand God in this?’ But don’t go around pretending to know it all, saying ‘God told me this . . . God told me that. . . .’ I don’t want to hear it anymore. Only the person I authorize speaks for me. Otherwise, my Message gets twisted, the Message of the living God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 

37-38 “You can ask the prophets, ‘How did God answer you? What did he tell you?’ But don’t pretend that you know all the answers yourselves and talk like you know it all. I’m telling you: Quit the ‘God told me this . . . God told me that . . .’ kind of talk.

 

39-40 “Are you paying attention? You’d better, because I’m about to take you in hand and throw you to the ground, you and this entire city that I gave to your ancestors. I’ve had it with the lot of you. You’re never going to live this down. You’re going down in history as a disgrace.”

 

1 John 4:1-6

 

The Message (MSG)

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

 

4 My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

 

2-3 Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought!

 

4-6 My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world’s language and the world eats it up. But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception.

 

 

To God We Say ‘Yes, Yes, Yes’

Dog Days of Summer (film)

Dog Days of Summer (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wishbone's Dog Days of the West

Wishbone’s Dog Days of the West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sirius in Canis major constellation

Sirius in Canis major constellation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 49:1-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2049:1-12&version=MSG

 

Proverbs 23:1-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2023:1-11&version=MSG

 

Romans 11:33-36 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011:33-36&version=MSG

 

To God We Say ‘Yes, Yes, Yes

 

Spirituality in general, and Christianity go so easy when we just say ‘Yes’ to God. I wonder how much misery, loneliness and darkness humanity suffers simply for not saying ‘Yes’ to God.

 

Jesus made it so easy for us, not by becoming a substitute for our sins, but by walking a path to God. Jesus had to pray and fast for forty days to connect to God, but we, as disciples of Christ have a paved path to walk to God. And it seems that just saying yes to God every day is that path.

 

In the middle US it is the part of summer called the Dog Days. It is called this because, according to history, the Dog Days of summer were associated with the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) and its brightest star, Sirius. In Missouri is it usually stifling hot, so you can’t breathe, and also humid, so you can’t breathe. People stay inside a majority of the time, and excursions outside are mostly brief.

 

As a result, the Dog Days are isolating and boring. It’s too uncomfortable to go anywhere, and staying inside and at home becomes boring. Yet beyond the quiet, too much quiet of Dog Days we still have the opportunity to say ‘Yes’ to God. Before the approach of fall, when a new season work begins for many people, we have this quiet to meditate, pray and say yes every chance we get.

 

Psalm 49:12 says: 12 We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.
Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.

 

Take it easy in the heat, or if you’re south of the equator, beware of the cold. Each will soon pass.

 

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

 

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 49:1-12

The Message (MSG)

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah

49 1-2 Listen, everyone, listen—
earth-dwellers, don’t miss this.
All you haves
and have-nots,
All together now: listen.

3-4 I set plainspoken wisdom before you,
my heart-seasoned understandings of life.
I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise,
I solve life’s riddle with the help of a harp.

5-6 So why should I fear in bad times,
hemmed in by enemy malice,
Shoved around by bullies,
demeaned by the arrogant rich?

7-9 Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue,
pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
The cost of rescue is beyond our means,
and even then it doesn’t guarantee
Life forever, or insurance
against the Black Hole.

10-11 Anyone can see that the brightest and best die,
wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
They leave all their prowess behind,
move into their new home, The Coffin,
The cemetery their permanent address.
And to think they named counties after themselves!

12 We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.
Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.

Proverbs 23:1-11

The Message (MSG)

Restrain Yourself

6

23 1-3 When you go out to dinner with an influential person,
mind your manners:
Don’t gobble your food,
don’t talk with your mouth full.
And don’t stuff yourself;
bridle your appetite.

7

4-5 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
wealth sprouts wings
and flies off into the wild blue yonder.

8

6-8 Don’t accept a meal from a tightwad;
don’t expect anything special.
He’ll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
he’ll say, “Eat! Drink!” but won’t mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
when you realize the meal’s a sham.

9

9 Don’t bother talking sense to fools;
they’ll only poke fun at your words.

10

10-11 Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them.

Romans 11:33-36

The Message (MSG)

33-36 Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.

Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

The Simple Joy 072813

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Genesis 18:20-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%20Genesis%2018:20-32&version=MSG

Psalm 138 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20138&version=MSG

Colossians 2:6-1-19 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians%202:6-19&version=MSG

Luke 11:1-13

 

The Simple Joy 072813

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the time to sit and intently read book after book of studies, reflections and discussions of Jesus, the New Testament, the church and our life together as disciples. I’ve read from, in fact I tried to read from, as many different religious viewpoints as I could.

I’ve come away from reading so much with a deep confusion about Christianity, but a clearer walk with Jesus. I realize that I have few hard chiseled ideas or opinions about any of the contrasting approaches to Jesus and Christianity. In fact, I don’t think I could recommend or criticize any particular view about Christianity. From Evangelism, Fundamentals, to Gnosticism and mystic Chrisitanity I don’t think I’m qualified to recommend one view over another . But in a meta-analysis of all together, it seems there is a God, and Jesus beyond the variations humankind sometimes focuses upon. How many times have you met another Christian, and in friendly conversation two disciples will focus upon how their beliefs differ, rather than find the common simple joy we share.

Over all, this leads one to consider a particular doctrine as less important, as less profound and meaningful than it was previously thought. When we recall the history of our church, we could count the thousands that suffered and died as a result of minor doctrinal differences. For instance I may or may not believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three-in-one, or not. But I will not be found killing someone over a difference over this doctrine, or any other. Doctrine is a collection of beliefs and ideas, and they bear discussion, but not violence.

Pray for peace. Read the Bible every day.

Pastor Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

 

Genesis 18:20-32

Psalm 138

Colossians 2:6-15 [16-19]

Luke 11:1-13

 

Genesis 18:20-32

The Message (MSG)

20-21 God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.”

22 The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.

23-25 Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad? What if there are fifty decent people left in the city; will you lump the good with the bad and get rid of the lot? Wouldn’t you spare the city for the sake of those fifty innocents? I can’t believe you’d do that, kill off the good and the bad alike as if there were no difference between them. Doesn’t the Judge of all the Earth judge with justice?”

26 God said, “If I find fifty decent people in the city of Sodom, I’ll spare the place just for them.”

27-28 Abraham came back, “Do I, a mere mortal made from a handful of dirt, dare open my mouth again to my Master? What if the fifty fall short by five—would you destroy the city because of those missing five?”

He said, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty-five.”

29 Abraham spoke up again, “What if you only find forty?”

“Neither will I destroy it if for forty.”

30 He said, “Master, don’t be irritated with me, but what if only thirty are found?”

“No, I won’t do it if I find thirty.”

31 He pushed on, “I know I’m trying your patience, Master, but how about for twenty?”

“I won’t destroy it for twenty.”

32 He wouldn’t quit, “Don’t get angry, Master—this is the last time. What if you only come up with ten?”

“For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”

Psalm 138

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

138 1-3 Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!”
Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
and say it again: “Thank you!”
Thank you for your love,
thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
you made my life large with strength.

4-6 When they hear what you have to say, God,
all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.”
They’ll sing of what you’ve done:
“How great the glory of God!”
And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below;
no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

7-8 When I walk into the thick of trouble,
keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
strike my foes,
With your other hand
save me.
Finish what you started in me, God.
Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

Colossians 2:6-19

The Message (MSG)

From the Shadows to the Substance

6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

8-10 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

11-15 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

16-17 So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

18-19 Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

Luke 11:1-13

The Message (MSG)

Ask for What You Need

11 One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

2-4 So he said, “When you pray, say,

Father,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

5-6 Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’

7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’

8 “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.

9 “Here’s what I’m saying:

Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.

10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”

 

Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

Saint George Preca has been likened as a successor to Saint Paul’s evangelical work on the island of Malta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone Touched Me 061213

ICONS Risen Christ

ICONS Risen Christ (Photo credit: Fergal Mac Eoinin)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 68:1-10, 19-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2068:1-10,%2019-20&version=MSG

 

Jeremiah 8:14-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%208:14-22%09&version=MSG

 

Luke 8:40-56 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%208:40-56&version=MSG

 

Someone Touched Me 061213

 

Today’s verses from Luke tell an interesting story, or rather two stories wrapped around one another. The first, larger story is of Jesus being asked to heal the dying, and then the dead 12 year old daughter of a village leader. But while he is walking through the crowd to see the dying girl, someone touches the hem of Jesus’ robes. It is a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years without ceasing.

 

Maybe it’s a coincidence that the dying girl is 12 years old, and that the woman had suffered for 12 years also. But I think somehow and for some reason the use of the number 12 was for a purpose. I’m not sure what that purpose was, but maybe the story is easier to recall and be retold if the number 12 is repeated.

 

Also, note that Jesus realized someone had touched him because he felt the ‘energy draining out of him’.

 

I don’t know if you thought of it in these terms, but people who regret being a parent talk of the children bleeding them empty, and draining the life blood right out of them. A child, particularly a troublesome or selfish child can live so as to drain you, financially, emotionally and spiritually.

 

Maybe Jesus is saying a drained parent has no choice but to let the child ‘die’ and be born again. That’s the only way to still love a child, and yet the only way to ‘stop the bleeding’.

 

I won’t go so far as to say that this is a miracle story, or only a metaphor, because I don’t really know. But Jesus’ life has a way of being metaphorical, even when it’s true. His life, in a way, was one big metaphor that represents my and your life with God. Those metaphors are as real as anything. I know they are real because of the real effects they have had on my life, and on others. Maybe the early christ-followers knew they’d have a difficult time relating the real truth of Jesus. How do you relate the truth of a woman who has been drained of life by the actual or metaphorical death of a child? And, similarly, how would an early christian tell the story of Jesus saving a dying or dead child, and of bringing them back to life, when the death was a cultural fact (but maybe not an actual fact) and the coming back to life was a description of re-instilling life in a culturally dead child. (If you haven’t noticed such culturally dead children, look into the eyes of children living in violence, poverty and drug-filled families and neighborhoods. Aren’t they dead, and don’t we wish we could raise them from the dead.

 

I know referring to anything in the Bible as a metaphor is cause for condemnation at the hands of some churchgoers. But in the case, the metaphor of Jesus raising the dead and ‘stopping the bleeding’ may be a more miraculous event than if the miracles were seen only literally.

 

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 68:1-10

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

68 1-4 Up with God!
Down with his enemies!
Adversaries, run for the hills!
Gone like a puff of smoke,
like a blob of wax in the fire—
one look at God and the wicked vanish.
When the righteous see God in action
they’ll laugh, they’ll sing,
they’ll laugh and sing for joy.
Sing hymns to God;
all heaven, sing out;
clear the way for the coming of Cloud-Rider.
Enjoy God,
cheer when you see him!

5-6 Father of orphans,
champion of widows,
is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,
leads prisoners to freedom,
but leaves rebels to rot in hell.

7-10 God, when you took the lead with your people,
when you marched out into the wild,
Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat;
God was on the march.
Even Sinai trembled at the sight of God on the move,
at the sight of Israel’s God.
You pour out rain in buckets, O God;
thorn and cactus become an oasis
For your people to camp in and enjoy.
You set them up in business;
they went from rags to riches.

Jeremiah 8:14-22

The Message (MSG)

14-16 So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
Let’s get organized.
Let’s go to the big city
and at least die fighting.
We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum:
We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t—
damned because of our sin against him.
We hoped things would turn out for the best,
but it didn’t happen that way.
We were waiting around for healing—
and terror showed up!
From Dan at the northern borders
we hear the hooves of horses,
Horses galloping, horses neighing.
The ground shudders and quakes.
They’re going to swallow up the whole country.
Towns and people alike—fodder for war.

17 “‘What’s more, I’m dispatching
poisonous snakes among you,
Snakes that can’t be charmed,
snakes that will bite you and kill you.’”
God’s Decree!

Advancing from One Evil to the Next

18-22 I drown in grief.
I’m heartsick.
Oh, listen! Please listen! It’s the cry of my dear people
reverberating through the country.
Is God no longer in Zion?
Has the King gone away?
Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods,
their silly, imported no-gods before me?
The crops are in, the summer is over,
but for us nothing’s changed.
We’re still waiting to be rescued.
For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken.
I weep, seized by grief.
Are there no healing ointments in Gilead?
Isn’t there a doctor in the house?
So why can’t something be done
to heal and save my dear, dear people?

Luke 8:40-56

The Message (MSG)

His Touch

40-42 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.

43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

49 While he was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher.”

50-51 Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s parents.

52-53 Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die; she’s sleeping.” They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.

54-56 Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.” She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”

 

Sagrada Familia (They cast lots for my robe)

Sagrada Familia (They cast lots for my robe) (Photo credit: Fergal Mac Eoinin)

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