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getting out the WORD - the 10th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 13:18

the PRAYER...
O God our defender, storms rage around and within us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us in the faith of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.

Matthew 14:22-33

the DEVOTION...
Nowadays, we refer to it, simply, as Pilgrim's Progress. But when the book first came out, the title was a bit longer: The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come! A Christian allegory, written in 1678, in England, by the Puritan, John Bunyan, it tells the story of every believer's journey from the city of destruction, up the hill of difficulty, through the valley of humiliation, across the plain of ease, at last, into the celestial city! And in its nearly 110,000 words, Jesus - and the cross - is hardly mentioned! It's not god's journey that Bunyan describes; it's only the pilgrim's progress!

In this week's gospel, however, there's only one trip that matters. And that's the one Jesus takes! Down the mountain! Across the sea! To the disciples in the boat! (Of course, that's just one part of a larger journey: out of heaven, up golgotha, onto the cross, into the tomb and back out, again!) Anyway, it's windy. Waves are battering the boat. But everything's fine... until Peter goes the way of Bunyan's pilgrim! "Lord, if it's you, command me to come to you!" Out of the boat! Into the sea! Toward Jesus! And what happens? He sinks! Sinks like the "rock" he is! Fortunately for Peter, Jesus, though, never stops coming. He reaches out, catches hold of Peter, and puts him back into the boat... where he belongs!

You see, faith isn't making our way to Jesus. It's staying put, knowing - without a doubt - come hell or high water, Jesus is on his way to us!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 9th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:50

the PRAYER...
Glorious God, your generosity waters the world with goodness, and you cover creation with abundance. Awaken in us a hunger for the food that satisfies both body and spirit, and with this food fill all the starving world; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Jesus said to [the disciples], "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."

Matthew 14:13-21

the DEVOTION...
If nothing else, we Americans are a "can do" people! Shoulder-to-the-wheel! Nose-to-the-grindstone! Anything-is-possible! We take real pride in our independence, our resourcefulness, our self-sufficiency. Land of opportunity - that's what we call it - if only you make the effort! That's what we expect from ourselves; that's what we expect of our neighbors!

This week, Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd are together in a not-so-deserted place. The day's just about over and the disciples come and tell Jesus to send the crowd away... SO THAT THEY MAY BUY FOOD FOR THEMSELVES! Sounds pretty American! No hand outs! No free meals! Let them fend for themselves just like god intends! But then, in one verse, Jesus undoes it all. "They need not go away; you give them something to eat!" Compassion! Charity! Love! It's not up to "them"; it's up to the disciples! It's up to us!

Faith isn't what we do for ourselves, it's what god does for us! And believing isn't what we do for god; it's what we do - because of god - for the people around us! "You," says Jesus, "you give them something!"

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 8th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 12:10

the PRAYER...
Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth...

Matthew 13:31-33 , Matthew 13:44-52

the DEVOTION...
From all the billboards and bumper stickers, you'd think it's a done deal! "Eternity is Hell without Jesus," they say! "Heaven or Hell - it's your choice!" And so, like a moth, every time I read this passage, I'm drawn to the fire and to the weeping and the gnashing! But it's kind of funny. It's all, pretty much, unique to Matthew and Matthew alone...

Right from the start, Matthew's "gospel" is full of separations! Fruitful trees from unfruitful! Grain from chaff! Always two groups; an eternal either/or. Wheat and weeds! Good fish, bad fish! Sheep, goats! Matthew draws a line in the sand. And when he does, he draws it straight and he draws it deep.

So sometimes, every now and then, it's good, after reading a passage, just to sit back, relax, and remember... The truth-whole-truth-and-nothing-but isn't about the outer darkness! Or unquenchable fire. It's about Jesus! Sun-rising-on-evil-and-good Jesus! Rain-falling-on-righteous-and-not Jesus! Gift! Unearned! Undeserved! When you get right down to it, the bible doesn't say a whole lot about heaven OR hell! But it speaks volumes about god's love... in, with, and under Jesus! So help us god!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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