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getting out the WORD - reformation sunday
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 02 November 2017 10:29

the PRAYER...
Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel, and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

John 8:31-36

the DEVOTION...
Four "gospels." Three look at Jesus, pretty much, from the same vantage point: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And then, there's John! The gospel that marches to its own drummer! Reading through this week's passage, the word that jumps out is the word 'truth.' A word used once in Matthew, three times each in Mark and Luke, and twenty-one - count 'em - twenty-one times in John! Of course, our first instinct is to read it like it came from a Superman comic. "Truth, justice, and the American way!" Hard and fast. Chapter and verse. Written in stone. No compromise. No concessions.

But for John, truth is more human, more humane, than that. Truth for John has a warmth, a breath, a heartbeat. In fact, just five-and-a-half chapters from now, Jesus will say, "I am the truth!" Truth is Jesus! And the same goes for Reformation. Reform isn't formula or fact. Or philosophy or ideal. Reform - right from the start - has always been person! Jesus! Given! Shed! For all!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 19th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:33

the PRAYER...
Lord of the feast, you have prepared a table before all peoples and poured out your life with abundance. Call us again to your banquet. Strengthen us by what is honorable, just, and pure, and transform us into a people of righteousness and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless."

Matthew 22:1-14

the DEVOTION...
Twenty-seven books... Two hundred sixty chapters... Seven thousand nine hundred fifty-six verses... That, by the numbers, is the new testament. Truth is, for even the most fundamentalist among us, not all books or chapters or verses are created equal. We pick some. We ignore others. Still others, we read, now and again, think about them for a moment or two, and then move on. Some parts, we stake our lives on. Some we cross-stitch and hang on the wall. Isaiah 25:1-9 ! Psalm 23 ! Philippians 4:1-9 ! And then, there's Matthew...

Compared to those other readings, the parable of the wedding banquet and the parable of the wedding garment are not the north star of our believing. Not even a part of the constellation. Love! Mercy! Promise! Hope! That, for us, is faith! That's how god changes us, transforms us! Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable... whatever is love... that's our real bible!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 18th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:38

the PRAYER...
Beloved God, from you come all things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.

Matthew 21:33-46

the DEVOTION...
The church has been around for a long time. Two thousand years, so far! And in all that time, there has never been one moment we got it right! Don't get me wrong. We do our best! We try our hardest! But in the end, when everything's done and said, we're never more than just people! Plain! Ordinary! Everyday! So if god is all that concerned with whether or not we "produce fruit," then all god will ever be doing is taking the kingdom from one and giving it to another... and taking the kingdom from that one and giving it to another... and taking the kingdom from that one and giving it to still another... on and on and on... over and over and over... again and again and again...

Bottom line, no one is fruitful! We might have our moments. But one time or another, we're going to fall short. And and miss the mark. After all, we're just people! No worse, no better than billions of others. Fortunately, god's not as harsh as Matthew would like us believe. Gentle! Kind! Not insisting on god's own way! Truth is, once god gives, god never takes away! God is here! With us! For us! When we fall, god picks us up! When we tire, god carries us. When we wander off, god finds us. So when we don't "produce the fruits" and someone better comes along - but that's the funny part - no one ever does!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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