Sep 17 2014

Uniting Grace: Salvation in Three Tenses

We often speak of salvation as if it is only an event in the past.  A robust, Biblical look at salvation reveals something much more wonderful, though.  Tom Oden points this out in his massive systematic theology Classic Christianity: “There are three tenses in the vocabulary of salvation: We have been saved from the penalty […]

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Sep 17 2014

Pastor Patrick - Never On A Sunday: The One Year: Hearing His Voice Devotional – A Review

The One Year Hearing His Voice DevotionalbyChris TiegreenA ReviewThe One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional is a nicely done devotional aimed at a general audience seeking to learn more about God on a daily basis.  The book occasionally follows the…

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Sep 17 2014

Nikos: Dave’s Deep Thoughts – Don’t Read This During Lunch

Here’s Pastor Dave McDowell’s weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

Summertime in America,

It’s all about baseball, hot dogs and……..oh  no, not that…….

The cars were coming up the highway by the hundreds.

If you happen to be in north central Pennsylvania in late August,

you can’t help but notice the migration

of thousands of fans to the Little League World Series.

I was in the vicinity that day, coming from a prison visit.

While heading home, I realized that I needed

to get something to eat for lunch.

The only food option around was a convenience store.

It was an older style store of which the exterior walls were glass.

As I entered, I found a hot dog rotisserie.

The smell of frankfurters cooking quickly lured me.

The rotisserie was next to the wall,

so I had a full view of the parking lot.

While I pulled out two buns,

I saw a van pull up in the parking lot.

Out sprang an all-American family,

no doubt headed for the little league game.

The son had a baseball glove

and the daughter was wearing a baseball cap.

The father was escorting his daughter towards the store

for what appeared to be a bathroom stop.

Instead of coming in,

the father and the daughter came up to the wall of the store,

just feet away from me on the opposite side of the glassed wall.

It seemed somewhat odd but I smiled

and continued to choose over the best looking hot dogs.

The father smiled back nervously.

I thought it odd that they chose to stand at the outside wall

gazing so carefully at me while I was preparing my lunch.

I am not quite sure about specifics of hot dog rotisserie etiquette,

but it seems that there should be a buffer space

similar to that of an ATM machine,

even when separated by a pane of glass.

It was somewhere between the application

of the mustard and the ketchup that I realized what was going on…..

The all-American girl was sick and was losing her cookies

into the parking lot waste can……

two feet away from me.

Now some things just don’t go together…….

Upchucking  and hot dog preparation is another.

Only a thin layer of glass

separated my condiments from utter vileness.

The father now realized that I was preparing my lunch,

as his little girl was losing hers.

There are many sacred and high holy moments in any man’s day.

Preparing a meat sandwich is one of them.

Having invaded my inner sanctum of meat preparation,the father feebly offered an “I’m so sorry” gesture through the window pane.      

I must admit that I have a strong stomach,

but nothing says “let’s skip lunch”

like an unobstructed frontal view of regurgitation.

But as the champion of sacred moments that I am,

I pressed on.

As I reached for the relish packets,

Little Miss Shortstop lost it again.

The resemblance of the relish to the projectile

was more than I could bear.

Game over.

I bagged my hot dogs,

headed to the cashier,

and paid for a lunch that would never be eaten.

As I left the store,

the father now offered a verbal “I’m so sorry,”

while his little princess continued to expectorate.

Sometimes, a kind deed is just as important as a word.

I offered him my napkins,

knowing that the hot dogs were of no good to anyone.

“I hope she feels better” I said.

And with that,

I departed knowing that I would never again

view hot dogs the same way.

As a Christian,

I should and need to be moved

when the lovely things of my world

are confronted by the unlovely realities of other’s worlds.

Each day, I return home to a comfortable residence,

while many in the world live in sub-standard or no housing.

I receive hearty and delicious meals several times a day,

knowing that children throughout the world go to bed hungry.

I have excellent medical resources at my disposal when I feel ill

while many in the world die prematurely from preventable diseases.

I live in a land that is relatively safe

while others dwell in war torn countries.

How do we as  people of faith reconcile all of that?

It starts with an abiding sense of gratitude.

But it needs to go further.

Gratitude should prompt us to action.

None of us can end world hunger,

or cure all diseases,

or build suitable housing for all of the world.

But we can make a difference in at least one person’s life.

What if the Body of Christ all rose and did so?

No one needs to see vomit while preparing their lunch.

But seeing can and should lead us to compassionate and healing works.

Jesus told us as much…..

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,

and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

It’s interesting to note that Jesus predicates this on His return to the Father.

It’s because it is then that He sends the Holy Spirit to empower us.

We are without excuse.

And sometimes we need to see the unlovely immediately in our faces

to move us to service.

It’s not always pretty.

Just remember to bring extra napkins…………

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Sep 17 2014

Soul Rain ... Kelli Sorg: Holy Conferencing #nccumc #weare3dm

Another good blog post from this week.

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Sep 17 2014

Rev. Brent L. White: United Methodists affirm “sola scriptura”

One of my favorite bloggers, an evangelical theologian from New Zealand named Dr. Glenn Peoples, recently left (or so I gather) a non-liturgical Reformed church in order to become an Anglican. Is this, as some critics have wondered, a step toward “crossing the Tiber” to Roman Catholicism? No, he says emphatically. And surely one doctrine that would prevent […]

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Sep 17 2014

Rev. Brent L. White: Sermon 09-07-14: “Bible Heroes, Part 5: Gideon”

The people of Israel were committing idolatry at the beginning of today’s scripture. It’s not that they stopped believing in the one true God, Yahweh, but that they were adding other gods to the mix—in case Yahweh wasn’t enough for them. Are we so different from them? We may not bend our knee and worship idols […]

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