Jacob Gets His Comeuppance

The stories of Jacob and his complicated, messed up family seem endlessly fascinating. It’s almost like a modern family TV sit-com…..if only it was a lot funnier! And we also look in the mirror often and we may well see a version of Jacob staring back at us!

This week (see last week’s sermon) Jacob is tricked and his response is clearly not “God is in this place and I did not know it!!” And I doubt he could have said to himself, Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Of course, Jacob didn’t have the New Testament! And Jacob HAS laid the groundwork for trickery by using it on his father Isaac and brother Esau. “What goes around comes around….or something like that.” Jacob still gets what he desires but definitely the hard way. And his remaining life story won’t get much easier either as we continue to read to his end.

We are all somewhere in our unfinished story. If things are going well, “great,” if not so much, we are “anxious or miserable.” Or somewhere in between. The range of human emotions contains a lot of different feelings and thoughts!

Nevertheless, we get wise counsel in Scripture, wiser than anywhere else. After all, it does show us The Big Picture and how much faith (“trust”) is at the center of that Picture. (“I trust this movie has a happy ending?”).

If you are like me and Jacob, you too need reminding from time to time: there is more to my life story….and God’s Story!

Let’s listen in this coming Sunday! See you soon!

Pastor Barry

Perchance To Dream, To Reap, To Be Saved In Hope

In all my teen years as a Boy Scout, and all the camping out that included, I can’t ever remember using a stone as a pillow! Jacob does in the Genesis passage! How could he have slept?! Comfortably?!

He indeed slept enough to have a vivid dream of a stairway to heaven. With angels descending and ascending. And God coming before him with a promise! He awoke and made a point to really remember THAT place!

Paul speaks of a different way of using the word “dream.” More like hoping for what comes next. And Paul says we are “saved in hope” (Romans 8:24). We are people who dream for a wonderful future, and keep the hope alive. And this according to God who repeatedly makes this promise throughout the Bible.

Jesus again makes this point about the future and living in hope when he talks about sowing, harvesting, wheat and thistles.

To this good End we should not lose hope! And in this “dreaming” our present life can be exciting and fruitful, adventuresome and engaging with God. We can even now have great dreams even if the “hard rocks” (hard knocks?) of life make it difficult at times to rest peacefully.

Don’t you just love reading and resting and “camping out” in scripture!

Put on your Scout hat this Sunday and head for church!

Until then….sleep well!

Pastor Barry

If You Would Just Listen!

We tend to believe that if we speak the truth about something to someone….and they really listened….why, then they would “see the light” and do what they should do! THAT tends NOT to be the way it usually happens. Something gets in the way of the “light” or the “truth” as we believe we have so clearly demonstrated. And thus…the frustration of parents, teachers, coaches, and…..preachers.

Our scripture this Sunday is all about that which “gets in the way.” Esau’s issue is hunger and a disrespect for a birthright! Paul’s issue is the “flesh” better translated “self-centeredness” (CEB). And Jesus mentions “birds, rocky soil, and thorns” which get in the way of hearing and seeing and doing! (Jesus “translates” these later on in Matthew 13. A big help by the way).

So, it’s always something interfering between us and God, or if you like, between you and me and the people around us who won’t listen (!!). Maybe it will help to name them! Rick Warren of The Purpose Driven Life book said that he needed to repeat the “basics” about every nine months. People tend to forget and drift away from the foundations. In our case this Sunday we are to be reminded of that which comes between us and God. Foundational information!

Listen up! (I’m talking to me too!).

See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Who Doesn’t Need Help!

The group The Beatles ruled the music charts for much of the late Sixties. Their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is now 50 years old! Some of us grew up with the Beatles and know several songs from heart. They even had a song entitled “Help” and had a movie released entitled HELP. And they famously sang a song “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.”

You may get my drift! The texts today are about the NEED for help. Divine help. People in need. Paul, in Romans 7 cries out that he is a “wretched man” and who will rescue him! Jesus in Matthew 11 knows people labor hard in both body and spirit and that they will find “rest for their souls” in Him.

We all need help at points throughout our life’s journey. As self-sufficient as we strive to be we will learn that self-sufficiency is rarely accomplished. It can work…for a while…. but it can’t work forever! We are interdependent and we all need a Savior beyond ourselves.

Thanks be to God who helps!

Let us come together Sunday to worship the One who is our helper.


Brother Barry