September, 2017

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“Unfair?” Matthew 20:1-16 Sept.24, 2017

photo credit: Jean Beaufort    License: CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 103:1-5 (RSV)

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

A Psalm of David.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Matthew 20:1-16(RSV)

The Laborers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”


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.

Works Under Construction , Matthew 18:21-35 9/17/17

photo credit: alex grichenko

Matthew 18:21-35 (RSV)


21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; 25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; 33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”


Psalm 103:8-12 (RSV)

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor requite us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

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.

“Let it Go” Matthew 18:15-20 Sept. 10, 2017

Photo credit: Michelle Swim

Psalm 119:33-35 (RSV)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep thy law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of thy commandments,
    for I delight in it.

Matthew 18:15-20 (RSV)

Reproving Another Who Sins

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

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.


Telling the Truth Matthew 16:21-28 Sept. 3, 2107

photo credit: Michelle Swim

Psalm 26:1-3 (RSV)

Plea for Justice and Declaration of Righteousness

A Psalm of David.

26 Vindicate me, O Lord,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
    test my heart and my mind.
For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in faithfulness to thee.


Matthew 16:21-28 (RSV)

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

The Cross and Self-Denial

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

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 September 2017

Newsletter, September, 2017

Oh, my goodness!

The summer is gone. No one told me that, as we get older, the days go by a lot faster. It’s fall. School is starting, and things are starting to perk up around the church.

The vast majority of us has been out of school for a long time, or at least, some time, but it seems that when school starts, everybody seems to get back in focus, most vacation time slows down, and we get back to a routine that seems to point us toward holiday seasons and the next vacation times.

Our first big opportunity of the fall is to spend a weekend with the Reverend Dr. Doug Skinner. Doug was the pastor of FCC-Plainview when I was in seminary in the 1980s, and is a good friend of many in this congregation. Doug will be in Lubbock for a program at FCC-Lubbock September 8 and 9. He will be preaching Friday evening and teaching Saturday morning. There is no charge for this event. Even if you have never met Doug, you will want to hear this great man of God teach and preach.

Our Fall Study Series begins September 19, and will continue for six weeks. We will begin on September 19, and will conclude on October 24. We always begin at 7:00 PM, and are usually out by 8:00 PM, or a little after. Our study this fall will be about prayer. I encourage you to come and join us.

Our Dine & Devote group continues to meet every Wednesday at 6:00 PM at a local restaurant. Dine & Devote is a great opportunity for fellowship, and concludes with a brief devotional. We always have room for more folks to join in for this mid-week gathering.

The Senior Adult Ministry—SAM—meets every 4th Tuesday at 11:45 AM at a designated place for food and fellowship. But don’t let the name of the group fool you—we have folks of all ages join us for this monthly opportunity.

On another note,s I am writing this article, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey are still devastating the people of southeast Texas. The storms and rain will end this week, but the losses will continue from flooding for days to come, and it will take a long time to clean up from this horrible storm.

I would imagine that all of us have family members, friends, friends of family, and family of friends who are being affected by Harvey, and at the time of this writing, it’s not over yet. We may be limited by what we can do physically for these folks in the way of the storm, but we can certainly lift them up in prayer day by day. Also, our church’s relief effort, the week of Compassion fund, is already on this situation, and is a good offering to use for getting help to needed areas. Week of Compassion sends 100% of monies donated to these types of catastrophes.

Finally, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest, our regional church, has extended a call to the Reverend Andy Mangum, senior minister of First Christian Church in Arlington, to become the new Regional Minister. I know Andy, and am looking forward to working with him when he comes on board November.

Sarah and I are almost completely settled in the parsonage. We thank you for all you have done for us. We look forward to having you in our home.

Blessings and peace,