Last week I said that there is good doubt and bad doubt, but the same cannot be said for despair. There is nothing good about despair. To fall into despair is a life draining Hell of hopelessness. “Where there is despair, let me sow hope,” St Francis invites us to pray, for hope is the very opposite of despair. Hope gives strength, and courage, and the power to go on. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:13)
This Sunday we will look at two more of Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom from Matthew chapter 13. How is the Kingdom of Heaven like a grain of mustard seed? How is it like leaven? The answer may surprise you!
To listen to thoughts on stewardship and the upcoming election by Alan Clement followed by Pastor Ernie’s message How God’s Kingdom Grows, from Sunday, October 30,Click Here
This coming Sunday, October 16th at 10 a.m., instead of our usual worship service in the sanctuary, we will meet in the Celebration Center to pack 10,000 plus meals for Stop Hunger Now. All are welcome to participate in this meaningful worship event. I have seen what a difference this food makes in the lives of children and their families on my many visits to the island of LaGonave in Haiti. A nutritious school lunch makes learning possible for these children and it is a delight to see! Blessings, Ernie
On World Communion Sunday, Christians from around the world gather in worship to partake of the elements of bread and wine in remembrance and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is also the time to bear witness to the unity of Christians everywhere as we seek to live out Christ’s command to work for justice and peace in a world that is deeply divided by conflict and war. As we gather on this Lord’s Day, let us remember and pray for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 165 partner communions and other organizations worldwide who will be receiving Communion together with us. My message, “The Power of a Vision” (click here to listen), reflects on two of the great passages of Scripture: Micah 4:1-4 and Revelation 22:1-5. I hope you will make a special effort to gather together to celebrate World Communion.
The concluding chapter of Philip Gulley’s book states that “If the Church Were Christian. . . This life would be more important than the afterlife.” Is Christianity primarily about “pie in the sky when we die” or is it about living an abundant life now? Didn’t Jesus teach us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”? We will explore this issue by looking at the concept of “eternal life” as taught by Jesus in the Gospel of John, and the familiar phrase from Psalm 118, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
Last week our topic was the value of questioning. The take away was that people need to be free to question, and doubt, and explore their faith, for the sake of a coming to a deeper, more mature, faith. This Sunday’s question takes this questioning out of the realm of the head, down into our bodies – into our actions, our feelings, our decisions and our life style choices. Philip Gulley asks it this way: What would it mean if the church valued personal exploration over communal uniformity?The issue for this Sunday is how much difference in lifestyle is acceptable in the community of faith. On the positive side how much we do welcome difference. On the negative, how much difference we can tolerate! There are no easy answers here, but once again, we need to allow Jesus to be our guide.
What would it mean if the church valued questions as much as answers? This is our question for this Sunday, along with a corollary question, Is doubt the opposite of faith? Think about this: What if we will be blessed in and by our willingness to question?
LIVING BY THE VALUES OF JESUS is the theme of my current sermon series. In this series we are exploring what we and the church would be like if we took more seriously the values of Jesus. The idea for the series comes from a book by Philip Gulley titled, If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus. The question for this Sunday’s sermon is: What would it mean if the church valued reconciliation over judgment?Let’s all think about that. Our scripture texts will be Luke 17:11-19 and Matthew 5:21-26
This Sunday we will reflect on the power of human speech to hurt and to heal using James 3:1-12 as our text. What we need is more wise speech. Taming the Tongueisn’t easy, but hardly any other task is more important. (click on the sermon title, “Taming the Tongue “ to listen to Pastor Ernie’s message)