Ruth 3, In the heat of the night


Poem based on Confession of Peter Matthew 16:13-19

There comes a time
when we must make a stand
when we must be who we are
and why
A time
when for one brief moment
all else ceases to be important
and that something more in life
that is at stake
takes center stage
At those times
Those moments
life swings through gentle arcs
to some other point
to some other time
and life goes on
except for that point
around which all of life swings
all of life lives
that time spoken to by Peter
For us all
Who do you say I am
Who in all that is
do you say I am
Who in all of time
do you say I am
Peter answered
The center point shifted
Life became somehow new
You are the Christ

The Son of the living God

Opening Litany based on Psalm 138

Worship Leader: I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will praise you before all the little gods of this world to let them know that You O Lord are the center of my life.

Congregation: I will worship you and praise your name O Lord for all your unfailing love and faithfulness. 

Worship Leader: When I called upon the name of the Lord, I felt peace, an answer, and emboldened in my walk with God.

Congregation: May all the powers of this world praise you O Lord and may we all join is singing of the greatness of the Lord.   

Worship Leader: Even in the mightiness of the Lord, the Lord looks kindly upon the lowly, but takes notice of the proud from afar.

Congregation: Though I walk at times in the midst of trouble, the Lord looks kindly upon me.  The Lords presence protects me from the things of this world that would do me harm.

Worship Leader: Your love O Lord endures forever and you will not forsake the work of your hands.

Congregation: I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will praise you before all the little gods of this world to let them know that You O Lord are the center of my life.


Monday August 25th, Isaiah 51:  5 My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. When we think of God’s justice we tend to think of bringing someone else to justice rather than bringing justice to someone else.  The first is often just thinly veiled revenge and usually turns around and bites us in the behind.  The second calls us to action and sacrifice.  It usually turns around and blessed us, our children, and our children’s children from the most unexpected places.  Our tendency to go for the first option rather than the second shows our lack of trust in God and God’s ways.  God’s justice will come into this world and into our lives.  We need to decide if we want to be a part of it or not.  Our current public conversation seems to be based on scarcity and the concern that others will take it from us.  The angels come and announce, Fear Not, and announce the Gospel and call us to live it.  Living the Gospel means living for and working for God’s Justice, and promoting policies that are in line with God’s Justice.  God’s is concerned with bringing justice to us.  God’s method in bringing us to justice is called grace.  


Tuesday August 26th, Romans 12:  4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So much for the American spirit of rugged individualism.  Part of the problem faced by America today is the move toward the pseudo-individualism.  We hold up the façade of making it on our own, and damn those who dare ask for my tax money or government handouts while turning a blind eye to our own interdependence.  We drive on our roads to work in a big corporation that gets government contracts or tax breaks to produce a product that is helped to be safe and saleable by government regulation.  All the while we are looking down our noses at someone just wanting some food for their children.  It is not someone else that cuts us off from the body of Christ, but rather own actions and desires and pseudo-individualism.  Paul points out in some rather graphic ways just what happens when we do fool ourselves into the notion of rugged individualism, we not only die, we send out a bit of a stench in the rotting process.  A so called self-made man just stinks no matter which direction the wind blows.  

first bite

Wednesday August 27th, Romans 12:  6-8 If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Doing the kingdom work is simple.  God gives you the tools, the talents, the time and calls you to simply use them for the kingdom.  Sometimes we think that somehow We need to teach God how to do it better.  Humanity has had trouble with that since the first bite.  God smiles when God hears us do the “me do it” routine the same way we smile when the young ones in our midst do it.  It is when we forget to smile and laugh at ourselves for our tendency toward the grandiose control that we get a bit dangerous.  There are too many serious Christians in this world who are neither serious nor Christian.  

I am

Thursday: August 28th, Matthew 16:  13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"  Caesarea Philippi was in the midst of a very pluralistic society, culturally and religiously.  When you state your beliefs here, you are not necessarily surrounded by like-minded friends and family.  The movement from what others say to what we say is the movement from living in your head to living in your heart.  Most of us live in our heads most of the time.  It is safer and requires less commitment.  But then, sometimes we are blessed with the gift of falling in love. At that point a little window open up in our heart.  From that time on we live at least part of the time in our hearts, we say things like “I do” and “You are the Christ.”  These are the statements and times that change lives.  These three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.  Another way to look at it is, Amo Ergo Sum …. I Love, therefore I am.

who do You say

Friday August 29th, Matthew 16:  16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God."  For Peter to say to Jesus, “You are the Christ” is not only moving from head to heart, it is also saying that Caesar, the empire, the state, and all who represent power in this world are not the Christ, and therefore not in charge.  During Peters day, saying that Jesus is the Christ was an act of sedition. Peter is laying it on the line.  To say Jesus is the Christ with your heart as well as your head means you take the teachings of Jesus seriously.  Love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, care for the least, lost and lonely, seek justice, don’t be obsessed with power, give of yourself, seek first the kingdom.  Who do You say Jesus is with your head?????  Who do You say Jesus is with your heart?????  Who do You say Jesus is with your actions?????

lock or unlock?

Saturday August 30th, Matthew 16:  17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."  Peter received the Keys to the Kingdom and with it the responsibility to use them wisely.  We too, through our baptism into Christ, have received the Keys to the Kingdom and with it the responsibility to use them wisely.  When called to use them, remember, if you forgive the sins on any, they are forgiven the same as if Christ himself forgave them.  Whatever you bind, or hold onto, or refuse to forgive, you are still holding onto.  It’s not a matter of the other receiving forgiveness or not, it is a matter of whether or not we participate in the joyful experience of forgiving.  Whenever you use the keys to lock or unlock the door, Christ is on the other side.  


10w for August 17th, Unwashed Healing, P10 .

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 17th, Unwashed Healing, P10 . You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "The Healing Hand of Jesus by the Jay Beech Band from the CD Everyone Who is Thirsty, Come, used with permission http://www.baytonemusic.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=BTM

10w for August 17th, With a little help from my friends, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 17th, With a little help from my friends, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "Let Justice Roll by Dakota Road from the CD "All Are Welcome", used with permission, http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Ruth 2, With a little help from my friends.

With a little help from my friends. Pastor Dan continues is conversation with Ruth along with John and Moses. Ruth talks about what it was like for her to be a stranger in a strange land.


Dollar Store Children's Sermons

My friend John Stevens has a wonderful web site called Dollar Store Children's Sermons.  I will try to post these often, but if I forget, please bookmark http://dskidsermons.com/ for some excellent children's sermons.  

Poem based on Matthew 15:21-28

She looked up and said Daddy

I love you
and I knew there was depth that was unsurpassed
She loved
not out of need
not our of want
but out of the depth of her life
Oh to have love like that
deep total faith
and adoration
The woman knew that
even with the expected words of the time
She knew that love and adoration
and faith
She knew this Jesus was the one
the Holy one
who could being life
in the midst of death
and Jesus looked at her
breaking through
theology and tradition
and said
to this child of God
marginalized by our own insecurities
You of great Faith
Go in the Peace
You bring to this World

Opening Litany based on Psalm 67

Pastor: May God be gracious to us and bless us, and may the face of our God shine us so that the ways of the Lord may be known on all the earth, the salvation of the Lord known among all nations. 

Congregation: May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

Pastor: May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.

Congregation: May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

Pastor: The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.

Congregation: May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

Pastor: May God bless us still in the months and years ahead, so that all the ends of the earth will live in awe of the Lord God Almighty.

Congregation: May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

kingdom talk

Sunday August 17th, Isaiah 56: 1 This is what the LORD says: "Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.  Maintain Justice and do what is right.  These are Great God words to live by, as individuals and as a nation.  All too often however they are used only on the other among us, or the other apart from, us.   They are seldom used for introspection.  Any good therapists will remind you that one can only control one’s own actions, not the actions of the other.  The words do not pertain to the other, but always pertain to the self, whether that self be individual or corporate.  It is not a call for someone else to maintain justice, it is a call for us to announce, proclaim, show, demonstrate and live in such a way that others see that the kingdom is near and that salvation is close at hand.  We are not saved by what we do, but not doing what we should be doing, like practicing justice in our lives, sure can lead us down the wrong path.  Each and every day, ask yourself, how am I showing that the Kingdom is near?  Each and every week ask your church, how are we showing that the Kingdom of God is near?  Every Sunday in the Lord prayer we call upon our Lord; God in Heaven, Holy is your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done here and now as it is in Heaven.   What we call for when we call for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven is for God’s justice to be done on earth, through us, as it is in Heaven.   We have called for the kingdom to be near, now we are called to be the kingdom in action through the children of God.  


Monday August 18th, Isaiah 56: 8 the Sovereign LORD declares— he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."  Who are the others that are being gathered, and by what means are they being gathered?  Many Christians consider themselves as the others who are being gathered through Christ.  But is that the end of God’s mercy and justice and gathering in this world?  Is it not possible that others, many others, even all others, will be gathered through that same grace that gathers you into the community of Christ followers?  Is God’s grace limited by our definitions, assumptions and ego’s and our personal identity as the children of God?  Is not the Lord who declares that I will gather still others, none other than the Sovereign Lord who created all creation and called it good?  In a smackdown between the Sovereign Lord and some joker who has a bad haircut and a TV or radio show, I go for the Sovereign Lord who declares, I Will gather still others.  In the meantime, I will live as if “still others” includes all others in this creation called good.  


Tuesday August 19th, Romans 11:  1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. The promise has been made to Abraham and to all the children of Abraham, I will be your God, and you, plural, will be my people.  It is not a rejection by the sovereign Lord, it is acceptance, it is Grace.  Grace for Paul, Grace for you and me, Grace for the Israelites and Arabs in the Gaza and elsewhere, the easterners and westerners, the northerners and the southerners, the proclaimers and deniers, the good, the bad and the ugly, the gay the straight, all saved by grace.  Not rejected, just a bigger family than you could ever have imagined.  God did not reject his family.  God loved his family, the people of this earth who were created in the image of God and called from the very beginning of time, good. 

tastes bad

Wednesday August 20th, Matthew 15: 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'  We can at least control to some degree what goes into someone’s mouth.  There are food standards and controls that do a pretty good job most of the time.  We can have our rituals and traditions, which can be rich in meaning and history, which can help us connect to the love of God, which can convey comfort and grace and forgiveness.  But in the end of the day, they are all only tools.  We cannot control what comes out of our mouths, let alone someone elses.  In the long list Paul gives of what comes out, we tend to focus on the sex.  As we focus on sex, we can pick out individuals guilty of one perceived evil or another, and feel comfortable with our scapegoats.  The focus on sex is a way society avoids dealing with the more weighty issues of justice and mercy.  It is what comes out of a person’s mouth that makes them unclean.  It is the rhetoric that degrades individuals or groups that makes them unclean.  It is the laws passed to support the very rich at the expense of just about everyone else that makes you unclean.  Often it is the concern for making everything clean in your point of view, the very thing of religious fundamentalism, that makes you unclean.  


Thursday August 21st, Matthew 15: 17 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' “19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'  The laws of what was clean and what was unclean governed all aspects of life.  That may seem silly to us now, but we tend to do the same thing only more subtly. We eat bacon and ham because those prohibitions were from another era in the Old Testament, but claim the same set of laws as proof that God condemns homosexuality.  Many on the political right claim allegiance to their Christian faith while supporting congressional budgets and local policies that will wreak havoc on the least, lost and lonely, which Christ reminds us is the same as doing it onto him.  The disciples were not long from learning from the outsider, the Canaanite woman, that what was unclean was their quick willingness to condemn her as unclean.  

not yet.... not yet

Friday August 22nd, Matthew 15: 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."  We are dealing with record runs of red salmon this year.  It seems as if everyone is gone fishing on the weekends.  Today’s gospel is sort of a fishing story.  Have you ever gone fishing?  Jesus has just finished “the Kingdom is like” discourse where the mustard, leaven and net are equated with the kingdom in that they are common, unclean, and get into our lives.  Jesus just finished demonstrating the Kingdom in the feeding of the 5000 where a little goes a long way when there is sharing and people are not worried about what is clean and unclean.  Jesus just rescued Peter from sinking like a rock when he tried to play god and walk on water, teaching him it is not about playing god, but about being there for one another.  Now in today’s gospel we have this outsider woman, this Canaanite woman, this unclean woman who is not of the faith or the family or the tribe, and she comes crying.  You can just read Jesus’ mind, not yet, not yet, don’t pull up yet.  The disciples ask to have her sent away, she is annoying, she is other, she is unclean.  Jesus responds with a justification for injustice and judgmental cruelty by narrowly interpreting his mission as only to the lost sheep of Israel.  Jesus sweetens the pot by referring to her as a dog, a dirty, disgusting, not one of us, dog.  In Jesus mind however he continues with, not yet, not yet………… let the bait sit there a little bit longer…… let the disciples grab the bait and swallow it…. not yet!!!!!!  (continued on August 23rd )

fish on!

Saturday August 23rd, Matthew 15: 25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. 26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."  27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  Not yet!!!!  Jesus Makes the bait a bit more attractive, it is not right that you, a dog, a bitch, should get anything from the kingdom, it is only for those who are clean.  The disciples are saying in their heads, Yahhhh! Jesus you tell her, now you are finally getting it right.  Who does she think she is, this foreigner, this pagan, this dog………  Her response, even the dogs get the crumbs, even the undeserving is saved by grace is exactly what the kingdom is all about.  NOW!!!!!!          Pull up Now!!!!!….. And Jesus sets the hook. The disciples are caught in their own narrow kingdom view.  As Jesus reels them in, he emphasizes the point.  Woman, you have great faith.  In contrast to Peters little faith doubting statement, IF, then let me walk on the water like the gods do.  This dirty dog, this unclean, common, foreign, pagan, woman, gets the kingdom.  Great is her faith, healed is her daughter, and a little sorer and wiser are the disciples.  The Kingdom is like…….   


10w for August 10th, Baptismal Walk, P9.

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 10th, Baptismal Walk, P9.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "Child of the Water" by Dakota Road from the CD "All Are Welcome", used with permission.  Purchase this and others music at http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

10w for August 10th, Love & Loyalty, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 10th, Love & Loyalty, NL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "Dream God’s Dream" by Bryan Sirchio from the CD "J-Walking; Songs for Justice Workers", used with permission. http://www.sirchio.com/index.php?page=cds&viewas=list


Ruth 1, Love & Loyalty


Opening Litany for book of Ruth, Narrative lectionary

Worship Leader: When life seems to be turned against us and we find ourselves in despair, know that the Lord has given you the gift of the people of God.

People Gathered: Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.

Worship Leader: When life has turned against you and you feel like a stranger in a strange land, know that the Lord has given you the gift of the people of God.

People Gathered: If you are thirsty, come and drink.  If you are hungry come and eat. When you feel alone, come and know you are surrounded by the people of God.

Worship Leader: When you are afraid and you know not where to turn, know that the Lord has given you the gift of the people of God.

People Gathered: May you have a full reward from the Lord under whose wings you have come for refuge!”  And may you know that you too are a child of God.

Worship Leader: When you are worried what tomorrow may bring, know that the Lord has given you the gift of the people of God.

People Gathered: May you know that you are welcome in the family of God in the midst of despair, isolation, fear and want and may you be known as restorers of life and nourishers of souls.

Poem based on Matthew 14:22-33

Lord help me to see
help me to have faith
to see the wonders you have for me
to be with me as I walk in this faith
be with me and give me strength
that I might not fall
and fear
when the troubles of life
surround and dash me
from all sides
give me the faith to know
in my very heart
that in you
All will be Well,
All will be Healed
All will be Peace
in the midst of the seas
be with me Lord
show me your hand that has never left me
help me to open my eyes to your grace
and help me stand
and walk on the path you have set before me
to reach the other side
and find there
the Kingdom waiting

opening litany based on Psalm 85

Pastor: You O LORD have shown favor to the land and restored the children of God.

Congregation: You have forgiven our greed and all our sins and set aside your wrath and anger.  Restore us again O God our Savior. 

Pastor: Will you hang onto your anger O Lord from generation to generation?  Will you not revive us again so that we may rejoice in you?

Congregation: Show us your unfailing love O Lord and grant us your salvation.  Call us again into your fold and open our hearts to your word in the coming year.  

Pastor: The Lord promises peace to all people, so do not turn to folly.

Congregation: Surely the salvation of the Lord is near to all who walk in the ways of the Lord so that the glory of the Lord may dwell in the land.

Pastor: Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 

Congregation: The LORD will indeed give what is good and the land will yield its harvest. The Lord’s righteousness sweeps into the land and prepares the way for the coming of the Lord. 

pity party

Sunday August 10th, 1 Kings 19 : "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 Elijah replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" When we run from the path the Lord has set before us, we are always called back unto that path.  We don’t always hear the call.  Sometimes we are too busy with our own noise to hear it.  Sometimes our noise comes in the form of a boast, sometimes a defense, and sometimes a pity party.  Elijah was having a pity party, and if one ever deserved a pity party, Elijah would fit the bill.  But God had other ideas in mind for Elijah, and God has other ideas in mind for us in this world.  Look at all I have done is all too often the cry, but it is not enough.  Look at what God has done and is calling us to do is more of the driving statement for the children of God.  It is also important that God does not always or often appear in the big and the mighty way.  God does not come to Elijah in the adrenalin pumping storms just as God does not always come to us in adrenalin pumping worship highs.  It is often the still small voice, and it is that voice that always sends us out into the world, away from our own pity party and into the lives of others.

work to do

Monday August 11th, 1 Kings 19:  14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus.  No matter how much the world seems to hate us from our point of view, God always sends us back out into it to do the work of the kingdom.  Walking in the ways of God are seldom the same as walking in the mountain tops experiences of our lives. Walking in the ways of the Lord are not religious highs any more than they are drug highs, for in the end the both simply end up as addictive behaviors that is more about self than other.  Having Jesus is not the latest designer drug, it is work, and the work is out there in the world from which we have often retreated.  The work of the Kingdom is often back to our roots, because who knows them better than we do.  God knows the danger we face.  God will be with us in the midst of that danger, pulling us up when we sink.  That does not mean we are invincible like some superhero come to save God’s reputation.  Instead, God is more interested in saving the lives of those God has created and called good which society has condemned and called bad.  They might not be people you like, but we are called to get over it and get into God.   I am reminded of Alice.  At 92 she would often lament the passing of her dear husband who 20 years after his passing, she loved deeply and thought about every day.  She would often break into tears and wonder why God would not answer her prayers to simply take her so she could be with her dear friend and husband.  She would go on and on for several minutes like this, tears streaming down her face.  Then, she would break, look up, wipe her tears and say, “but God hasn’t taken me yet so I guess there is still work for me to do, so let’s get at it!!”  Both the Gospel and reality were alive in her statement.  

out there

Tuesday August 12th, Romans 10:  5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,"  It is not through personal “Me an God” (Mean God) that you find God, it is not through the road of a righteous high that you find God, it is not through a road of ascetic deprivation that you find God.  These approaches are about you.  Ways that are about you are by nature self-absorbed and not God-adored.  Ones walk with God is about recognizing the Kingdom is near, God is with you.  The Kingdom is in your heart and in your mouth, and the Kingdom is in the heart and mouth of those on the other side of life and the other side of the world.  The kingdom is never about God and I, it is always about God and the universal we.  God and I is about ignoring one of the central tasks of being a child of God, to bring the good news to others in word and in deed.  Until you bring the Gospel out there, you never quite find it in here.  


Wednesday August 13th, Romans 10: 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  If you trust God you will not be put to shame for your self-absorption, instead, you will be refined and sent out into the world where you will find the Kingdom is already here with you.  For the Kingdom is not about a me, it is always about an us.  The Kingdom is the recognition that God has created all that is and has called it good, and that includes your own heart and soul as well as the heart and soul of every other bloke you find out there on your journey.  Our job as the children of God is to help others find the good and the God within, the Kingdom within, and in the process open our eyes to the Kingdom within us.   When you find the kingdom in others, it is then you will know there is no East or West, no North or South, no Slave or Free, no Gentile or Jew, no Black or White, no Gay or Straight, no Red or Blue, no……………for all are one in Christ Jesus.  

spirit driving

Thursday August 14th, Matthew 14:  22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  In Matthew 4 we hear: 1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." In Mark’s version, the spirit doesn’t lead Jesus out into the desert, but rather drives Jesus out in the desert to be tempted.  Here, in Matthew, Jesus drives the disciples out into the chaos of the world, exemplified by the sea, to be tempted.  The temptation is not being tempted by the ungodly, but being tempted to avoid those whom they view as ungodly.  Go to the other side, go to the gentile side, and see if God is not there also.  In Matthews’s time the church was struggling with the chaos of defining who was and who was not in the church.  Matthew tells this story to let them know that the Kingdom is in the chaos of out there, not in the safety of in here.  Where is the Kingdom Chaos in our day?  Is the church safely tied up to shore or out in the world announcing in word and deed that the Kingdom is near?  This section in Matthew began with, “the Kingdom is like…..the unclean mustard, the unclean leaven, the unclean pearl, the unclean net and the unclean crowds gathered to hear the word and eat.  Now the disciples are being sent into the unclean world on “the other side”.  What do you call unclean?  Look again, it just might be the Kingdom calling and the spirit driving you and your church out into the world to truly find the kingdom!!

mini-me god

Friday August 15th, Matthew 14: 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. In a first century understanding, it was only the gods could defy the rules of nature.  Adam and Eve were tempted and ate of the tree of knowledge to become like gods and as a result only found they were naked and out of the garden.  Gilgamesh traveled to Apsu the underground ocean to pluck the tree of life and become like a god, only to find the serpent had taken it.  The tempter said to Jesus, If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread and eat.  Peter says to Jesus, If it is You tell me to come to you, allow me to defy the laws of this world, and walk on water like a god.  Jesus gives him his shot and then is there to pick him up when he falls.  If we want to go that way, the way of being a mini-me-god Jesus also gives us our shot.  Just make sure you are wearing your asbestos lined survival suit, the chaos is deep and the fire is hot.   

on with it

Saturday August 16th, Matthew 14:  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Reality check, Peter, even as dynamic a child of god as you are, you are not a god.  There are two possible ways to look at this, either Peter is greater than you or I and can at least take a few steps on water, or, even when we get too big for our britches and think we are gods and can defy the laws of nature, God comes along and saves us.  The first one is only an attempt to prove once again that if only you had enough faith, you could beat the game and become some sort of minor mini-me-god.  The second way is simply a reminder that even when we are most foolish, God does not abandon us.  Mostly what God has to save us from, is ourselves.  What Peter finds is that when he climbs back in the boat headed for the other side, when he goes about the task God has set before him to bring the good news to the people out there, the chaos calms.  What is the task God has set before you?  How are you avoiding it by trying to play god?  You can often tell when someone is trying to play god, when righteousness has slipped across the line into self-righteousness when they try to be too religious.  


10w for August 3rd, I Was Hungry, 8th Pentecost.

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 3rd, I Was Hungry, 8th Pentecost. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "Round the Table" by Dakota Road from the CD Boundless Love  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

10w for August 3rd, Love One Another, 1st John 4.

The following is a 10 minute worship for August 3rd, Love One Another, 1st John 4. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is "Show the Way" by Ed Kilbourne from the CD "the Greatful Ed" https://www.edkilbourne.com/store.html


Poem for 8th Sunday after Pentecost Matthew 14:13-21

I was filled with hunger
longing for something to fill
the ache in my stomach
and longing hear every word
from the mouth of my Savior
I longed to be filled
and healed
to know the truth
and feel it in my should
and in my stomach
Take this bread and eat
as the loaves were passed
This is my body
as the people gathered
and shared Christ’s love through a loaf of bread
This is my body
Enough for the whole world
and the more shared
the more abundant was the love
and life
help me Lord to turn to my neighbor
and say
The Body of Christ

Given for You

Opening Litany based on Psalm 145:8-21

Pastor: The LORD is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love.

Congregation: The LORD is good to all and has compassion on all creation and creatures.

Pastor: All of creation Praises You O Lord and the people of faith extol you and tell of your glory day in and day out in what they say and in what they do so that all will know the wonders of the Lord.  

Congregation: Your love and your kingdom is forever and ever, your loving rule for all generations.

Pastor: Who can you trust but the Lord who upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down?

Congregation: The eyes of all look to the Lord and the Lord supplies enough and desires for all to have enough food at the proper time, for the Lord’s open hand desires that every living thing have enough to live and flourish. 

Pastor: The Lord is righteous and faithful, near to all who truthfully call upon the name of the Lord

Congregation: The Lord works to fulfill the desires of all the children of God.  The Lord hears the cries of the despised and saves them from all who would destroy them.

Pastor: My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.

Congregation: Let every creature praise the holy name of the Lord forever and ever. Amen!

Come all who are thirsty

Sunday August 3rd Isaiah 55:  1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. This is the invitation to the Land of the Lord.  What if!!?!!! What if that was the way the world worked?  What if the children of God, all who claim that, no matter what name they use for God, worked toward this vision?  What if the children of the world had at least the minimum for life? What if the children coming across the southern borders were treated as the children of God?  What if the children in Gaza didn’t have to die because of the hard heartedness of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders?  What if!!?!? Reality Check!!!! 1 in 10 children in this world dies before age 5 in developing nations - hunger being a primary cause. (1 in 165/ U.S.)  That reality is not God's reality nor is it God's calling, however; it is the result of the world as we have made it.  But, What if we were to put as much energy, ambition, imagination and money into following God's plan as we do into the antithesis of God's plan, war.  The US spends as much on military as does the rest of the world.  What if?!?!?  What if a quarter of what is spent on military was spend seeing to it that all had enough to eat and live, would we not then have more than enough military to fit our needs? Most of the deaths of children in this world are a result of the greed of those who sell the weapons to the nations who then find a need to use them.  The U.S. is one of the largest supplier of weapons.  Come all who are thirsty is the call of the God we claim to serve. 

what we think of you

Monday August 4th  Isaiah 55:  2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. How much of your income, your time, and your labor, goes to what does not satisfy?  Seek ye first the kingdom of God, we do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Well reality check!!!!  There are many things we do that we might not enjoy, but that contribute to the quality of life.  I am washing clothes as I write this.  But it would not take a rocket scientist to do a time and income flow chart for our lives to determine what we value most by what we spend the most time and money on.  Sadly, it is not kingdom life.  A seminary professor challenged us to use this offertory prayer: After all we say and do, this is what we think of you.”   I have only used it once, there was a little nervous laughter.  How does your time management and cash flow stack up against your priorities, God’s priorities for you?  After all you say and do, what do your actions say about God?

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