How Could We? Nov. 19, 2017

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Psalm 65:1-4 (RSV)

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

65 Praise is due to thee,
    O God, in Zion;
and to thee shall vows be performed,
    O thou who hearest prayer!
To thee shall all flesh come
    on account of sins.
When our transgressions prevail over us,
    thou dost forgive them.
Blessed is he whom thou dost choose and bring near,
    to dwell in thy courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house,
    thy holy temple!

Luke 17:11-19 (RSV)

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samar′ia and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

We Know Who We Serve 11/12/17

photo credit: Bobbi Jones Jones/License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 43:3-5 (RSV)

Oh send out thy light and thy truth;
    let them lead me,
let them bring me to thy holy hill
    and to thy dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise thee with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God.

Matthew 22:15-22 (RSV)

The Question about Paying Taxes

15 Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero′di-ans, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For all the Saints

Photo credit: George Hodan/License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 34:1-8 (RSV)

Praise for Deliverance from Trouble

A Psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
    so your[a] faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

Revelation 7:9-17 (RSV)

The Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 Therefore are they before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night within his temple;
    and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
    the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water;
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Free, Indeed” Romans 3:19-28, John 8:31-36 Oct 29,2017

 photo credit: Lilla Frerichs License: CC0 Public Domain

 

Psalm 46:1-7 (RSV)

God’s Defense of His City and People

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
    God will help her right early.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

 

Romans 3:19-28 (RSV)

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Righteousness through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.

 

John 8:31-36(RSV)

True Disciples

31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

“God’s Party” Matthew 22:1-14 October 22, 2017

Photo credit : Emilie Hendryx    License: CC0 Public Domain

 

Psalm 106:1-5 (RSV)

A Confession of Israel’s Sins

106 Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures for ever!
Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord,
    or show forth all his praise?
Blessed are they who observe justice,
    who do righteousness at all times!

Remember me, O Lord, when thou showest favor to thy people;
    help me when thou deliverest them;
that I may see the prosperity of thy chosen ones,
    that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation,
    that I may glory with thy heritage.

 

Matthew 22:1-14 (RSV)

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Rejoice in the Lord” Philippians 4:1,4-9 October 15, 2017

 

Photo credit: Marina Shemesh “protect love”   License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 23 (RSV)

 

The Divine Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
    he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
    thy rod and thy staff,
    they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    for ever.

 

Philippians 4:1, 4-9 (RSV)

Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.;

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Blessing of the Animals 10-8-17

On October 4,2017, The Church recognized Saint Francis of Assisi Feast day. In our church we  had a simple “Blessing of the Animals”. This year 5 dogs were blessed in person and many others were prayed for in their absence. Animals are mentioned in scripture many times but we first see them in Genesis with the creation story and in the story of Noah and the flood.

Genesis 9:9-10 (RSV)

    9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. {1}

 

 

“The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea.
They share in the fortunes of human existence
   and have a part in human life.
God, who confers gifts on all living things,
   has often used the service of animals
      or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation.
Animals were saved from the flood
   and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.         (GENESIS 9:9–10)” {2}

Animals, many times, play such an important part in our lives. Most even love us unconditionally and have such innocence in the trust that they place in their people. Animals are a gift from God and a gift that we are bound to respect and love back.

   Many blessings, Michelle

{1}Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

{2}Credit:  https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/a-service-for-the-blessing-of-animals

“Pressing On” Philippians 3:4-14 / Oct 8, 2017

 

photo credit: Scott Meltzer      License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 19:7-10 (RSV)

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.

 

Philippians 3:4-14 (RSV)

Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

“Things Left Undone” Matthew 21:23-32 10/01/17

photo credit :George Hodan   License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 78:1-4 (RSV)

God’s Goodness and Israel’s Ingratitude

A Maskil of Asaph.

78 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders which he has wrought.

 

Matthew 21:23-32 (RSV)

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. 30 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Newsletter October 2017

Newsletter, October, 2017

Dear Church Family,

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, with those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I have always been what one might call a “news-a-holic.” I just never can get enough of what is happening in the world around us—locally, nationally, or globally. But in these recent days—this month in particular—I sit down and wonder—how much worse can it get? I mean, really—Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose’; the fires in the Northwest and Canada; the earthquake in Mexico City; the threats and rhetoric of conflict, even war, that seem to fill the air even as I write.

I watch the TV, I read on my computer, I look at the newspaper—and I know you do the same—and I wonder where this is all taking us. If I told you I had the answer, I would be lying. But I have learned over these 61 years that it does me no good to sit around and wonder why all of this is happening, and seemingly happening all at once.

But then, I realize our job, as Christians, the ones who profess to be followers of the One who fed and healed and comforted and prayed, is to be the folks who do the same, not sit around and whine and point fingers and say, “Why me?” or “Why us?”

There is no shortage of opportunities for ministry. Our mission and our task is to look for those opportunities for ministry, and instead of “being in the church,” let’s seek out “the least of these,” and then let’s go “be the church.” And maybe our main opportunity for ministry is to pray for those affected, for those with big decisions to make. Let’s do not fail to do what needs to be done as we seek to minister to others.

October is “Toilet Paper Month.” We are collecting packages of toilet paper to take to FISH (Faith in Sharing House), our local food bank. Toilet paper is a big need among those in need.

Our Fall Study is in full swing, dealing with prayer. Each lesson is independent of the others, so feel free to join us at any or all of the remaining sessions. We meet on Tuesdays from 7-8 PM in the fellowship hall. Our study concludes October 24.

Our kids will be having their major fall fundraiser, the 5th Annual Enchilada Casserole Fundraiser, on Sunday, October 22, raising funds for camp and other activities throughout the year. You will be able to eat after church in the fellowship hall, or you will be able to take it home. If you would like to eat later, the kids will be serving in the evening, also.

Our church has purchased an automatic external defibrillator (AED). The machine will be mounted in the fellowship hall. On October 22 at 9 AM in the fellowship hall, our own Rusty Powers, fire chief for the City of Plainview, will be leading a training session for CPR and use of the AED. There is no cost for this training, unless one needs a certification card. The church will cover that cost for members ($5).

First Christian Church congratulates The Rev. Dr. Doug Skinner in celebrating 20 years of ministry at Northway Christian Church in Dallas. Several of us were fortunate to hear Doug at the Disciples of Christ Gospel Weekend event at First Christian Church-Lubbock in September. Doug and Mary Lynn served FCC-Plainview in the early-mid 1980s, and is fondly remembered by those that were here during his tenure.

And we welcome the Rev. Dr. Andy Mangum, who will begin his tenure as Regional Minister on November 1. Andy has previously served as senior minister of First Christian Church-Arlington. Andy will do a great job for folks in the Christian Church in the Southwest.

Sarah and I are indeed grateful for all that you do for us. We look forward to having you over to the parsonage in the near future. If you know of new ministry opportunities, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Blessings,

Richard+