Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous and Church-Going

Jeremiah 2:4-13, Hebrews 13:1-8 and Luke 14:7-14

You may note the reference to the long running TV series in the sermon title. Although, that show on the “rich and famous” is long gone, there is no lack of current programming to remind us that some are rich and famous and most of the world is not!

The first century church was not so much a movement of poor and marginalized Jews but an awakening to God’s call upon ALL people to see what was happening in the life of the carpenter rabbi from Nazareth. He ate with sinners but also dined in the homes of the moneyed religious. He could be found “mixing” with everyone under the sun!

In the passage from Luke, Jesus makes it clear that a change in the ways “social classes” should relate was to be a mark of being a disciple of Jesus! The social walls were to come tumbling down. Again there are echoes of the prophets such as Jeremiah in this new announcement of the very present Kingdom of God.

Social, ethnic, religious, and economic barriers still separate people, but the church is always aspiring to overcome that which divides us because of human failures in loving and sharing as God would have us to love and share.

Jesus is the real “standard” for measuring who is “rich” and “famous.” Hebrews celebrates what has happened in Jesus Christ and sets out to remind us of the incredible change now brought forth in our relating to God and neighbor, and even how we see ourselves in light of the New Creation, a New Covenant, and a New “Me and You!”

Pull up a chair at the table and make welcome everyone and without partiality! And think about where you will sit!

Pastor Barry

Jeremiah, Jesus, Jerusalem

Jeremiah 1:4-10, Hebrews 12:18-29 and Luke 13:10-17

Jerry Lee Lewis is known for “A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!” Our texts all seem to have moments when people listening and seeing SHOULD be shaking! To their core!

Jeremiah, quite the “youngster,” is being called to be a prophet and such a call is overwhelming him: “Alas….I can’t speak….I am too young!” God insists and reassures the lad!

Jesus heals on the Sabbath and the synagogue ruler gets upset, then gets scolded, and the people are rejoicing! I can imagine the “shaking” of the routine of synagogue worship that day.

And the Hebrews text uses the words “terrifying,” “tremble,” and a “voice that shook the earth.” And the word “shaken” no less than 5 times. These 11 verses cry out for a visual rendition before our very eyes!

Powerful descriptions of the life of faith together. And somehow all “the company of heaven” (Hebrews 12:23) is with us in our living into these words and stories and experiences!

If we are even the least bit moved “shaken” as we worship and hear the scriptures read, we are the better for it! And this August week ahead will be filled with confidence in what God wants for us the Beloved and for those yet to join in being called, healed, and reassured all will be well!

Join the “assembly” (Hebrews 12:23) this Sunday in worship.


Pastor Barry

Perspective for Today

Sometimes, amid the demands of daily life, we lose perspective. Life seems out of balance, and the pressures of everyday living seem overwhelming. What’s needed is a fresh perspective, a restored sense of balance . . . and God.

If a temporary loss of perspective has left you worried, exhausted, or both, it’s time to readjust your thought patterns. Negative thoughts are habit-forming; thankfully, so are positive ones. With practice, you can form the habit of focusing on God’s priorities and your possibilities. When you do, you’ll soon discover that you will spend less time fretting about your challenges and more time praising God for His gifts.

When you call upon the Lord and prayerfully seek His will, He will give you wisdom and perspective. When you make God’s priorities your priorities, He will direct your steps and calm your fears. Pray for a sense of balance and perspective today and every day hereafter, and remember: your thoughts are intensely powerful things, so handle them with care.

Earthly fears are no fears at all. Answer the big questions of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective. – Max Lucado

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

Today’s Prayer
Dear Lord, when the pace of my life becomes frantic, slow me down and give me perspective. Give me the wisdom to realize that the problems of today are only temporary but that Your love is eternal. When I become discouraged, keep me steady and sure, so that I might do Your will here on earth and then live with You forever in heaven. Amen


Chaplain Rob

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.


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.


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