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Settling Disputes

By Rev. Scott Andrews

Angry painting being held up.

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So, when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:21-26

“The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the greatest sermons preached by perhaps one of the best preachers around!” A seminary professor once said this – tongue in cheek of course – to a class I was a part of. Of course, it is the great sermon of Jesus. Of course, Jesus is the great preacher of the New Testament. And yet, we all need to spend more time in this section of Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 5:1-7:27). Over the next few months, I’m going to use selections of this sermon for my monthly Vine article.

Pulpit with Bible on it.

We have all been in arguments before. Whether they were with family, friends, co-workers, classmates, or neighbors, we have all experienced the pain and emotional turmoil of conflicting with someone else. We may have even experienced a sense of “internal conflict”. No matter which type or with whom we have experienced conflict, these disputes destroy and distract.

As Jesus continues preaching the Sermon on the Mount, he begins a series of comments that begin with the phrase “you have heard that it was said”. There are six times that this phrase is used. Each of them is an entry into a discussion on the commandments. They are not attempting to change the commandments, but to help us find a deeper meaning to each of the commandments.

This particular attempt is to help us move beyond the taking matters into our own hands. We have all, as I state before, had disputes with others that have unnerved us. Some of us may have even felt “our blood boil” in anger toward the person we are in dispute with. Jesus is cautioning us to rethink our anger. He says, “If you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement”. He cautions us even further to not insult each other also. He further explains that we can’t even enter worship if we feel this way. Instead, he tells us to settle things quickly.

There are some who will say that this philosophy is “Pollyannaish”. And that may be true. But what good does anger do us. If anything, anger only robs us of a full connection with God and with one another. “It’s a slow poison we drink hoping the other person dies,” as some have said. My suggestion is to follow the words of Christ. Find settlements to your disputes. Let go of the anger. Live in the fellowship of Christ.

In Christ,

Pastor Scott

Salt of the Earth

By Rev. Scott Andrews

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.” – Matthew 5:13

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“Light Shining out of Darkness” by Rev. Scott H. Andrews

Poet William Cowper (1731-1800) began his poem “Light Shining out of Darkness” with these words: 

God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, he plants his footprints on the sea
and rides upon the storm. 

I too believe, and have experienced the fact, that “God works in mysterious ways”. I believe that most of you reading this would agree. I also believe that God worked his “mysterious ways’ through the passing of a friend of mine. 

As I remember the light she shared with us, I have to tell you that I learned not only from her presence, but Yvonne’s passing. 

At this time of year, 11 years ago, a “recovery friend” of mine passed away. “Yvonne T.” was 72 years old when she passed on to glory. She had also celebrated 39 years of sobriety. Yvonne and I hadn’t known each other all that long (three years). However, as with many friendships within my 12 Step program, Yvonne and I became friends quickly. She wanted to know about me and how long I had been sober. She wanted to know about how I had “worked the program”. She was at our 6:00 AM meeting almost every morning. When she was there, she always greeted everyone the same . . . with a smile and a hug. Her presence shined God’s light into our lives. As I remember the light she shared with us, I have to tell you that I learned not only from her presence, but Yvonne’s passing. 

She even had us post a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order on our bulletin board.

Yvonne had been fighting cancer for a while. She finally reached a point in her treatment that the doctors told her that “it wasn’t working”. For a short while, many of us knew that her passing was coming. Yvonne had talked to several of us about the day when she would eventually no longer be able to be with us at our meetings. She even had us post a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order on our bulletin board. She wanted us to know that she was ready to go. I believe that God was working through Yvonne to show those of us around her that we don’t need to fear death. Yes, Yvonne had her moments when she questioned God about what was happening. However, she, with great strength of character and dignity, lived the last months of her life ready to make the final transition. 

Yvonne firmly believed that “one day at a time”was more then just a cliché. For 39 years, she lived “one day at a time”. Yvonne believed that all we need God gives us for this day. Yvonne simply took one day at a time, one step at a time, and one moment at a time. She allowed us to see what this meant to her, and how we could do the same. I believe that God was working through Yvonne to teach us that eternity belongs to him, and that we have but a few moments that we call life. Moments he gives to us to live and love and hope and shine. 

Yvonne’s light never stopped shining.

Yvonne’s light never stopped shining. When members of our 12 Step group would come to visit her, she would smile and say to her family “look my people are here”. God’s light shined through Yvonne with every visit, every hug, every tear, every laugh, every smile, every kiss, and every moment we were given with her. Even in her final days in hospice, Yvonne didn’t stop shining for us. I believe God was teaching all of us that no matter what we face in life our light can still shine into the lives of others . . . that darkness need not overcome us. 

I thank you Yvonne for allowing God to work through you for our benefit.

I thank God for his “mysterious ways”. Through my friend Yvonne’s passing God reminded me of the importance of trusting him in all things, taking one day at a time, and letting his light shine through me. I thank you Yvonne for allowing God to work through you for our benefit. I thank you God for working through Yvonne to share your light. 

In His Name, Scott 

Holidays for the Pantry

Thanksgiving at the Pantry is a special time. The families really look forward to the Thanksgiving bags and the congregation is always amazingly generous in filling them. Shopping lists are available at church and the church office. We ask that you put items in a sturdy re-usable bag and attach the list to the outside of the bag. Bags need to be brought back to church by Sunday, November 11th which gives us a few days to sort and organize before we hand them out on Friday, November 16th. We expect 160 -170 families to come on that day.

Our friends at the LDS Church are again planning to do the bags at Christmas, so we can put all our energy into making up special Thanksgiving bags. It’s a special time for us to count our blessings and to share with others.

We had our Pantry Team luncheon on October 10th and 41 panty helpers came. It’s was wonderful to see all the different food pantry volunteer groups get together. While the Friday workers know there are shoppers bringing in staples during the week, and our shoppers know there are Albertson’s bread and Fresh Rescue pick-up teams, it always surprises everyone to see how many people are involved in this ministry! It truly “takes a village.”

Happy Thanksgiving, The Pantry Team

The Longest Night Service

Longest Night Service

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Christmas Eve Services

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Join us for Our 2 Christmas Eve Services.

5:00pm – Geared more for young families 

7:30pm – Traditional 

BUILDING A CARING COMMUNITY

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Pastor Tom

We must build a caring community.

Our United Methodist Book of Discipline, the manual which defines our denomination’s structure and functioning, declares that, as members of the Church—the body of Christ—we are “bound in sacred covenant to shoulder the burdens, share the risks, and celebrate the joys of fellow members.” ¶ 219 If you stop and think about it, that’s pretty profound. It means that, when we commit ourselves to church membership, we take on a nurturing, caregiving responsibility for one another. So it’s not about you—or me—it’s about us! it’s about our looking out for one another, doing for one another, being there for one another. We must build a caring community.

Click to see the United Methodist Church Book of discipline

…how often people seem to “fall through the cracks.”

As I observe our life together in this congregation, I do know that a lot of that happens. As I carry on my visitation ministry, I hear many touching stories about mutual burden-bearing and compassionate caring. I am also sadly aware, however, of how often people seem to “fall through the cracks.” An illness or hospitalization occurs, an individual or family is dealing with loss or grief, some other difficulty intrudes—and no one outside the immediate family circle knows about it, prays about it, or does anything to be helpful. I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again—if you have a need for prayer, for a caring presence, for help of any sort, please reach out. Call the church office; Pastor Scott; me; Eula Anyiwo or Rich Steadman, who head up our Care Ministry team; call Ann Reese, who assigns our Stephen Ministers. Call and let us know how we, as a church family, can “be there” for you.

They are not going to reach out for help… this means that they will stop coming to worship.

But here’s the other side of the equation. The reality is that some folks, for whatever reason, are just not going to do that. They are not going to call; or are not going to reach out for help; they are not going to let us know that something is going on. What that frequently means is that they also stop coming to worship. Of course, there are many reasons why people might stop attending worship; but, no matter the reason, we need to be paying attention. In a church of our size, it takes all of us to keep track of one another—particularly when it comes to worship attendance. The church office does track our attendance as we record it on the tear-off section of the bulletin; but not everyone uses that—and it only indicates that we were present, not that we were not present.

We all need to be doing is looking around, paying attention

So what we all need to be doing is looking around, paying attention, and taking responsibility for noting when people in our circle of acquaintance start missing. Maybe it’s someone who usually sits in the area of the sanctuary where you do; or it’s someone in a fellowship or service group with you; or it’s someone you’re used to seeing at coffee fellowship. If you have not seen them for two or three weeks, give them a call. If, for some reason, you are reticent to do that, let me know and I will give them a call.

 

There will, of course, be times when people move away or, for some other reason, simply choose to leave our fellowship. But let’s not let anyone drop off our radar unnoticed!

For more info on Caring Ministry visit us Here.

 

Pastor Tom

 

Looking Up

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That’s when I begin to realize how high up this picture was taken. I couldn’t help but try looking up.

A friend of mine recently posted a link to the NASA website which included the picture connected to this article. It is a “selfie” taken by astronaut Ricky Arnold during a space walk to do work on the International space station. While I admire the clarity of the picture and the beauty of our planet reflected in Mr. Arnold’s helmet visor, there’s only one thought going through my head . . . not for all the money in the world. Nope. Nada. Nyet. Look closely and you will see the cold, dark space that surrounds our planet and this astronaut. That’s when I begin to realize how high up this picture was taken. I couldn’t help but try looking up.

He was then lifted up.

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