All posts by blogmaster

Gone To Meddlin?

Isaiah 5:1-7, Hebrews 11:29-12:2 and Luke 12:49-59

There is the old sermon story about the preacher who goes on about the sins of the congregation. They respond “preach it!” Until….the preacher gets too close to their own sins, whereas, the member in the amen corner says to the preacher, “Now you’ve gone to meddlin!”

Well, that’s what prophets do. And this Sunday we hear both Isaiah and Jesus weigh in on the current (and future) state of the “world.” The message is immediately for those closest, those who are disciples and earnest to follow Prophet and Teacher. But, the messages are stern, demanding, eye opening! Yet, for the most part, Jesus’ followers, especially the Twelve, hear the message and still stay with their Master. They know him as the caring Master and trust him in spite of the indicting words.

If we know someone loves us down deep, we can usually accept harsh warnings about our behavior. It’s not meant to be abusive but more a “wake up call!”

If you are in a community that consistently hears the full sweep of scripture read, taught, and preached we too can bear up under the stern words when we know the ultimate message is love for us. If we only occasionally attend to scripture, we may well only hear “doom and gloom,” “meddlin’ so to speak!

It’s the full orb of faith we encounter by ongoing life in the church. It’s the fullness of the whole Faith that takes a lifetime in church relationships to enjoy what all God has in store for all Creation including us who stumble along eager for both discipline in Christ and joyous freedom in Christ!

Rejoice and be glad in whatever God’s message is for us!

Join together in worship this Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Students, Teachers, Examples: Who….Us?

Isaiah 1:15-20, Hebrews 11:1-3 and Luke 12:32-40

In a week in which the school season begins again, vacations come to a close and the nation grieves over mass shootings our Lectionary texts find ways to still speak to our many concerns.

We will look at reasons Isaiah says Judah has “hands full of blood” a nation sinful and “laden with iniquity.” We will be reminded of the ultimate value of faith in all times as the writer of Hebrews so poetically declares: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Why trusting God in both good and bad times is the most meaningful way to live one’s life.

And we will try to “unpack” a bit more of Jesus’ message on possessions. In Luke 12:33 he says “Sell your possessions” which seems to go a step farther than last Sunday’s “hold in your hands lightly what you do possess.” We will look at the context of this verse and see how it goes along with Jesus’ words “Do not fear little flock” and that God wants to give us the Kingdom of God!

This is a lot to “chew on and digest” but since school is starting up again let’s be eager students of our Scriptures. Remember…..we are examples and teachers to others one way or another! All are to be lifelong learners!

See you in worship!

Pastor Barry

Defusing The Anger Trap

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:11–12

Would you like to hear one of life’s great paradoxes? The more we learn to be satisfied with what we have and stop comparing our financial score card and trophies with those around us, the better we feel about ourselves. In other words, the biblical discipline of learning and practicing contentment shows the myth of “I-Am-What-I-Earn” to be a lie.

Learning to be satisfied is a good indication that we’ve learned that God is God, and that His fatherly care and infinite wisdom can be trusted. Finding contentment is truly the spice of life and the entrance to a truly abundant life.

Furthermore, those who learn to be satisfied and thankful for what they’ve been given will have more time and energy for the kinds of friendships and relationships that will meet their basic needs and honor God.

If you think about it, you’ll find that your attitude toward money and possessions either fuels or cools your anger. If you have trouble living within your means, you really have two options: you can push harder to make more, or you can promote an atmosphere of contentment for what you have, and in so doing, relieve the pressure on yourself.

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty. – Socrates

May we all find contentment today.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

I Can See Clearly Now

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. – John 12:46

You’re walking through an unfamiliar building when the lights suddenly go out. You blink, but you can’t see a thing. You don’t dare walk farther for fear of stumbling or knocking something over. So you stand frozen, unsure of what to do.

Now imagine that the lights come on again. Suddenly you can see clearly. What a relief!

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).

Part of Jesus’ purpose in coming into this world was to help us see God clearly. He is the light that banishes the darkness. So to follow him is to live in the light.

One of the indicators that we are still living to some degree in the darkness is that we can’t find our way. We can’t see the issues clearly.

But when we surrender our will to seek God’s will, it’s like someone turned on the lights. We may not see the end of the path, but we can at least see what path to take.

Ask Yourself
Where in your life does it feel like you’re still in the dark?

What do you need to surrender to Jesus in order to bring light to that situation?

Ask God
Dear Jesus, please shine your light on any dark places within me. Search me and help me know myself better. Give me the courage to take my entire life back—every part of it.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

What Shall We Store Up?

Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21

Jesus bluntly says in the Luke passage that our life is more than possessions. He doesn’t call for no possessions just a “light hold” on them! And the contrast between the wealth of Solomon (probable writer of Ecclesiastes) and the most minimal description of anything Jesus owned or possessed is profound.

A “light hold” on what we have is the message for Sunday. And Paul drives this point home by saying “our life is hidden in Christ.” We look to Jesus, therefore, to find our attitude toward possessions, people, and things of concern in this world. And since we are finite humans…..we do it quite imperfectly! Yet…..a life of faith and relationship with things AND the Eternal is always before us.

Ecclesiastes frequently emphasizes the enjoyment of the world but it is “passing away,” all is “vanity,” all we do and have is limited. Ultimately our eternal satisfaction is in God, immortal, invisible, all-wise.

We can enjoy “things,” revel in experiences, cherish memories, treasure others, aspire to do great works, but an eternal Christ centered perspective gives them their ultimate relative worth.

So, as we celebrate Summer fun, enjoy things, and relish time with others we do it as people made for more than the gifts of earth and time. Enjoy, hold things lightly, and give thanks to God!

Blessings as the Summer of 2019 draws to a close! On to the wonder (and gift) of Fall!

Pastor Barry

I Forgot To Say Please ??!

Psalm 85, Colossians 2:6-15 and Luke 11:1-13

The Luke text is about as basic a Bible passage as you could ask for! Here you find portions of what we call The Lord’s Prayer and then a clear call to earnestly ask God for “good things” such as daily needs and…..the Holy Spirit! Ask, seek, knock! A brief summary of Prayer 101(!).

I vividly remember a question of our son Ben who, of course, was in church from day one. He certainly overheard talk about prayer, and was taught to pray, and did pray. He was about age 4 when he caught us off guard with the question, “Why doesn’t God give me what I want?” I don’t think it was close to Christmas when it becomes confusing to church kids when they hear about God AND Santa Claus!

I don’t quite remember what we said but, regardless, it is just as much an adult question at times, especially during times of trouble, affliction, and stress. “God! I am asking!

Prayer is at the heart of faith-filled living. It is at the center of a personal and communal relationship with Jesus. It is both joyful and at times a painful struggle. It involves mountain top experiences and low times in the valley.

As the Psalmist cries out and ultimately affirms, “Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?” (85:6) and “Also, the Lord will provide what is good…”(85:12b).

Sunday in worship we praise, rejoice, confess and certainly continue to ASK! We will join the Psalmist and Luke and Paul in earnest prayer!

Blessings!

Pastor Barry

From Our Gideon Friends

As you read this, recall what part of the Bible you have already read today! Or did you use verses in your prayers this morning or tonight? Did you think of any scripture as you heard the news of the day or Interacted with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors?

We are a people shaped by the Bible whether or not we read or hear from it every day. It is part and parcel of our nation, our history. The Bible is the primary source from which we learn of God and God’s people and God’s Creation.

So, this Sunday in worship our friends from Gideons International will once again share their stories of their efforts to make the scriptures available to all. Gideon Bibles are in hospitals, hotels, handed out in public, and sent around the world in many languages.

This Sunday we celebrate God’s revelation in human words inspired to point to Jesus Christ. Bring your personal Bible from home and follow along as Psalms, Luke, and Colossians proclaim God’s message for us. And look for someone to receive a “gift” as we close our time together in worship!

See you soon! Blessings for the week!

Pastor Barry

His Strength in Your Weakness

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9

I haven’t always had an easy road in life. As many of you know I have had a number of struggles and made mistakes in my past.

But I can look back on my past today and instead of moaning about it, I can say, “I went through that, and now I can comfort others and God can use my story to help others.” It has become a tool to help others.

I wouldn’t want to go through that again, of course. Nor would I want anyone else to go through the same thing. But I’m thankful that God can take my past and use it for His glory today. I’m thankful that He can take that hardship and use it for His glory. He can do the same for you.

Maybe at this time in your life, you’re going through some hard times, and you’re wondering why. God will use it. It’s hard to believe now. But just remember that it won’t last forever.

As 1 Peter 1:6–7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Trials don’t last forever.

I’m reminded of a sign posted at the end of an airport runway that reads, “Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying.”

You can take that same statement and apply it to the Christian life. Keep moving. Don’t give up. Don’t abandon hope. You are going to get through that valley in your life.

There will be an even greater mountaintop beyond it, with great lessons you have learned as God demonstrated His strength in your weakness.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

I Am God’s Masterpiece

What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:4-5

All of us long to feel like we matter, like we have value. But so many of us struggle with feelings of being unworthy. That’s one reason we spend so much time trying to make people like and respect us. We think that helping others or winning success will fill in the holes in our sense of self. But life doesn’t work that way. We’ll never get an accurate picture of our own worth through another person’s eyes. For that, we need to see ourselves through God’s eyes.

David addresses this issue in today’s reading: He basically asks God, “Why are we important to you?” And he finds his answer in the way we humans were created. God made us only a little lower than himself and crowned us with glory and honor.

That’s where true self-worth comes from. It’s an internal realization that God, whose “majestic name fills the earth” (Psalm 8:1), gives each of us glory and honor just for being who we are—his beloved creation.

Ask Yourself
Where do you tend to find your sense of your own value? Do you tend to rely on outside sources (such as other people) or on internal attitudes?

All through today, personalize and ponder the words of David: “God has crowned me with glory and honor!”

Ask God
Creator God who made me, forgive me for disrespecting your creation. Help me adjust my attitude and my behaviors to reflect how much you value me.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Worship July 14

Psalm 103:1-18, II Timothy 1:1-7 and Luke 18:15-17

Our message will be from Jordin Davis, Project Transformation Intern.

Jordin is our guest speaker this Sunday sharing what she and 15 more college summer interns have offered to children in the Lavergne and Woodbury communities. And keep in mind even more Interns were working in other churches and communities in and around Middle Tennessee. And our own MTSU Wesley Foundation housed them and provided community for these 16 young adults in service to others.

Children keeping up or improving upon their age specific reading skills, children hearing Bible stories, children playing and doing arts and crafts, volunteers from many churches: this is Project Transformation and Locks Memorial and Kedron have been partners with all involved! For ten weeks!

Jordin will tell us what she has learned as well and where she is heading in her vocation. And our churches will spend this Sunday celebrating children, families, and their friends. The scripture texts include the life and blessing of children; parents and grandparents are mentioned; and we are reminded of how close to the Kingdom of God are children!

So, come to support Jordin and her intern colleagues and to praise God for the outreach of the church to all ages!

Blessings on all!

Pastor Barry