Bulletin 2 by Pastor Katy Stenta

Drive in Worship September 20th 2020
Announcements
Call to Worship
Give thanks to the Lord and Call on the name of God
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord Rejoice

Spirit 319
Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,
Blow through the wilderness, calling and free
Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, Stir me from placidness,
Wind, Wind on the sea

  1. You move the waters,You called to the deep
    Then You coaxed up the mountains
    From the valleys of sleep And over the eons
    You called to each thing, Awake from your slumbers
    And rise on your wings
  2. You swept through the desert, You stung with the sand
    And You gifted your people, With a law and a land
    And when they were blinded with their idols and lies,
    Then You spoke through Your prophets
    To open their eyes
  3. You call from tomorrow, You break ancient schemes,
    From the bondage of sorrow. The captives dream dreams
    Our women see visions, Our men clear their eyes.
    With bold new decisions, Your people arise.

Genesis 37:20-28, 50:15-21
(1 finger)’Here comes this dreamer. 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’
(2 fingers)’but when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, ‘Let us not take his life.’
(3 fingers) Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father.
(4 fingers) Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh. And his brothers agreed.
(5 fingers) When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
(Pastor Katy) Joseph was enslaved, abused by his owner’s wife and eventually imprisoned. There he told the prisoners who would be punished and set free according to their dreams. Eventually the Pharaoh heard and freed him, listening to the dreams of Pharaoh Joseph foretold a drought, so that only Egypt was ready for it. For this reason, Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt for food.
(6 fingers) Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’
(7 fingers) So they approached* Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17“Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’
(8 fingers) Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
(9 fingers) Then his brothers also wept,* fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’
(10 fingers) But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Children’s Sermon

Sermon “God with All of Us” Pastor Katy Stenta

God, only you would bring a feuding family together and find a way to bless and reunite them. As we live with suspicion and in a divided nation, we pray that you teach us how to be gracious and forgiving. We pray that we don’t refuse to help one another out of prejudices or hate, and we pray that you order all things for good. We pray this using the prayer your son taught us. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and Power and the Glory Forever. Amen.

O God of Every Nation 289

  1. O God of every nation, of every race and land
    Redeem the whole the creation with Your almighty hand
    Where hate and fear divide us And bitter threats are hurled
    In love and mercy guide us And heal our strife torn world
  2. From search for wealth and power and scorn of truth and right
    From trust in bombs that shower destruction through the night
    From pride of race and station and blindness to Your way
    Deliver every nation, Eternal God we pray.
  3. Keep bright in us the the vision of days when war shall cease
    When hatred and division, Give way to love and peace
    Till dawns the morning glorious When peace on earth shall reign
    And Christ shall rule victorious O’er all the world’s domain

Bulletin 1 by Rev. Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl, God of the Rainbow Coat Prayer, More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Bulletin 1 with Sermon

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Prelude Arise, Your Light is Come
https://youtu.be/pDLOLH6LhaI?list=TLPQMTMwOTIwMjDl93yM-R7ESA

Opening Prayer (1)
Light-giving God, We lumber together in hope as Your church to lift Your Light. Let us lift not the light of our congratulation of ourselves, not the light of belief in our own superiority, not the light of our belief in our own narrow presuppositions, not even the light of our own church.
 
Let us lift the light from You, the light of the power You make known to us
in the truth of our powerlessness, learning to be at ease with You.
 
Let this be the light we lift as a beacon in the darkness we know best.
As we lift that light, may we too be lifted to know
the true power that lies among us
waiting to rise as a beacon of our true hope. Amen.

Call to Worship (from 1 John 1) (2)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you:
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true.
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
Let us worship and live together in the light.

Hymn: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otm_o8ZQpXA

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above.Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away;Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise.Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest!Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in love are Thine;Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the joy divine.

Call to Confession 1 John 3:9
9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Prayer of Confession
O God, at times our actions contradict the fact that we are your people, revealing that we are more interested in ourselves than in others. Forgive us, Lord.
Our words themselves can increase the distance between “us” and “them,” forgetting we are all made in your image.
Forgive us, Lord.
In our church, we can care too much for getting our own way and not enough for hearing and supporting one another.
Forgive us, Lord.
At home, we can show our worst selves, especially in these times of stress and too much togetherness.
Forgive us, Lord.
In private, we can forget that you love us and that we can trust you with our darkest thoughts and deepest hurts.
Forgive us, Lord.

(Silent Confession)

Assurance of Forgiveness 1 John 2:1-24
If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven
(Silent Confession)
Gloria Patri: (Blue #579) Glory Be to the Father https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUBxpypSblw Sharing of the Peace: The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.
Prayers of the People/Lord’s Prayer (traditional)
Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries 9/27 Jane

Hymn of Dedication Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVc5TrnEwhQ
1 Jesus, Thy boundless love to me, no thought can reach, no tongue declare;
O knit my thankful heart to Thee, and reign without a rival there.
Thine wholly, Thine alone, I’d live Myself to thee entirely give
2 O grant that nothing in my soul
may dwell, but Thy pure love alone!
O may Thy love possess me whole, my Joy, my Treasure, and my Crown.
All coldness from my heart remove; may ev’ry act, word, thought, be love.
3 O love, how gracious is thy way!
All fear before thy presence flies;
care, anguish, sorrow, melt away, where’er thy healing beams arise.
O Jesus, nothing may I see, nothing desire or seek, but Thee.

In a world of give and take, in a culture of mend and break,
give us minds, hearts, hands, and wallets for sacrificial care,
to satisfy hunger and thirst everywhere. These gifts, our prayers
and our very selves we offer in the name of Love himself, Jesus the Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Prayer for Illumination Be Thou My Vision
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLr1XrX3a1E
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

First Reading: Genesis 37 selected verses4
Second Reading Genesis 50:15-214

Message About That Forgiveness Thing

Confession of Faith Adapted from the Second Helvetic Confession
True repentance is conversion to God. True repentance is a sincere turning to God and to all good. True repentance is an earnest turning away from the devil and all evil. True repentance is a sheer gift of God. True repentance is not a work of our strength. Now that sinful woman who washed the feet of the Lord with her tears showed true repentance. And Peter who wept bitterly and bewailed his denial of the Lord showed true repentance. The mind of the penitent who seriously who laments the sins committed shows true repentance. Moreover, the prodigal son showed true repentance when he said “ ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants” The tax collector in the Gospel, and not the Pharisee, showed true repentance when compared with the Pharisee, showed true repentance when he said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” And the truly repentant are accepted by God into grace. For the apostle John says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” Thanks be to God.
*Closing Hymn Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
https://youtu.be/jsqHOt29_48?t=36
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts, Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of all,From the best bliss that earth imparts, We turn unfilled to heed thy call.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;Thou savest those that on Thee call;To them that seek Thee Thou art good,To them that find Thee all in all.
Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,Wherever our changeful lot is cast;Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.
O Jesus, ever with us stay,Make all our moments calm and bright;Chase the dark night of sin away,Shed over the world Thy holy light.
*Charge and Benediction

Postlude Be Thou My Vision Glad
https://youtu.be/nPLcOlg0PWo

Old Testament Reading Genesis 37iii selected verses Dan Smaczny
3 Now Jacob loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a coat of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
5 Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
17 Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father.
26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers agreed. 28 When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes. 30 He returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy is gone; and I, where can I turn?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They had the coat of many colors taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned.
Second Reading Genesis 50:15-21 Rev. Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl

(3) And the brothers seeing that Joseph’s father was dead, are saying “Suppose Joseph is holding a grudge against all of us and will reverse all the evil we visited upon him against all of us.” So they demanded a messenger to go to Joseph to say “Your father commanded before he died saying ‘Please forgive your brothers and their sins for they did evil to you and now I pray, please forgive the transgressions of the servants of the God of your father’”

And Joseph was weeping when they spoke to him.
And his brothers falling on their faces before him said, “Behold, we are servants to you.”

And Joseph replied, “Don’t fear me, am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant it for evil but God devised it for good. God brings to pass this day the good to keep many people alive. Now, therefore, fear you not;
I will nourish you and your little ones.” And Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Sermon: Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl

As we have noted in the past, we are following the series of scriptures suggested by the narrative lectionary instead of what is called the Common Lectionary. In my years of preaching, I often wondered why the Joseph story, that we typically get taught in Sunday school, is not included for preaching in the Common Lectionary… especially since I use the Joseph story often when I doing therapy, especially when am treating abuse survivors.
Joseph is kind of the ultimate abuse story. Joseph is not only abused physically and emotionally, but that abuse is all the more horrible because it is at the hands of the family that is supposed to love and protect him. It is the breaking of trust by those who are supposed to be the most trustworthy, the folks who are supposed to “have is back.” Joseph goes on to be sexually abused by Potiphar’s wife and then gets blamed even though he was the victim and he gets imprisoned by the Pharaoh, but none of these terrible experiences destroy is trust as much as the betrayal by the ones who were suppose to love him. Did you notice the parallel when the brothers got 20 pieces of silver for betraying Joseph and when Judas got 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus? So one expects Joseph to never trust anyone again, especially his brothers.
So chapter 50 comes as something of a surprise, at least to me, when Joseph’s father has died and is buried and the brothers must face Joseph after all the dust has settled. You probably remember that Joseph more than put his life back together and was in charge of all the food that Egypt needed and that his brothers and their families needed in a time of famine. Joseph was being asked to be compassionate to the ones who abuse and betrayed him.
If we carefully read the Hebrew when the brothers return following the funeral of their father, we notice some very telling details. The inevitable confrontation between Joseph and his brothers is the climax to the story and the brothers just know they are really in for it now. Joseph has the power. Joseph has the food they desperately need. And Joseph knows full well how terribly they treated him. Their only concern is the revenge Joseph could now take on them without their father around to protect them.
Many commentators for this scripture jump to the conclusion that this is an excellent example of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thankfully, at least one commentator agreed with my reading of the text. The brothers were cowards afraid because the one they harmed so grievously now had power to harm them. The did NOT say they were sorry for their behavior. They did not even take responsibility for their behavior. They did not identify themselves as sons of Joseph’s father but kept leaning on the wishes of “Joseph’s father,” as if they weren’t even part of the family. Joseph was supposed to forgive them, not because they confessed their sin and repented of their behavior but because of some command that they say “Joseph’s father” made when “Joseph’s father died.”
Barb said I should tell the story about her mother whose words seldom took responsibility for her actions when things went wrong. She might say “someone” forgot to do a thing, vaguely noting the offense but not the offender. She also typically refused to acknowledge what is called agency, that is when a person causes something to happen and takes responsibility. She would say “the glass broke” or “the milk spilled” as if it happened without any person involved. I really don’t remember her saying “I broke this” or “I did that.” Since things apparently “just happened” without anyone being responsible, she never had to apologize!
Joseph’s brothers act as if things “just happened” to Joseph, they don’t accept responsibility even though they fear Joseph’s revenge.
So the brothers press Joseph to forgive them not because they are sorry, not because they apologized, not because they repented of their actions, but because “Joseph’s father” not their father but “Joseph’s father” said Joseph should forgive them. Repenting from our behavior means we
acknowledge that we are responsible for what we have done
apologize and ask for forgiveness (not just say you ought to forgive without me being sorry)
repent from our bad behavior. Repent is a Hebrew word meaning to turn away from one thing and turn toward another… to turn away from bad behavior and turn toward good behavior from then on.
And Joseph’s response is startling! Well, it is not so startling that he begins by weeping. The hurt caused by his brothers was so deep and they stirred up the memory of all that hurt without taking responsibility and without repenting and without even asking for forgiveness themselves. Who wouldn’t weep if we demanded an abused person to just go ahead and forgive someone who doesn’t even try to apologize?
But then Joseph responds: Don’t be afraid. You meant it for evil but God used it for good. He then asks: Do you think I am taking God’s place? Joseph likely could not forgive his brothers. Why not? Let’s think about the call to confession today used from 1 John.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
God is perfectly willing, in fact God is aching to forgive our sins…IF… we confess our sins. Full confession of sin means acknowledging and taking responsibility for what we have done, being sorry for what we have done, and turning from bad behavior toward good behavior. I wonder sometimes if God gets impatient with us or if God is just sad and yearning as God waits for us to fully confess so that at last God’s forgiveness can occur.
The brothers did NOT confess their sins against Joseph. If God does not forgive without full confession, why would we expect Joseph to forgive? He probably ached for his brothers to accept responsibility, ask forgiveness and repent of their behavior. Perhaps even like God, Joseph longed to forgive and be reconciled with his brothers.
But before we get too shocked by this lack of forgiveness, lets also look at Joseph’s behavior toward his brothers in the absence of forgiveness. Despite the deep hurt, Joseph nourished his brothers and their little ones. Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
When someone hurts us, even if the hurt is not at the level of abuse, we want them to change, to apologize, to make things right with us. And it can be so unnerving if they won’t even take responsibility for their actions. But like Joseph, our response should not be a response of revenge. And our response should not be some fake effort to forgive when they have not done their part to make forgiveness possible. But like Joseph, perhaps our response could be to show the love and compassion… the grace… the thing they don’t deserve even if they don’t do a full confession. Like Joseph we could feed their needs and the needs of their family anyway. Like Joseph we could comfort them and speak kindly to them. Because the grace Joseph shared, the grace we might share, is tiny compared to the grace God shares with us in our own sinfulness…every single day.
God is faithful and just and so full of grace… may we be likewise. Amen.

And the brothers seeing that Joseph’s father was dead, are saying “Suppose Joseph is holding a grudge against all of us and will reverse all the evil we visited upon him against all of us.” So they demanded a messenger to go to Joseph to say “Your father commanded before he died saying ‘Please forgive your brothers and their sins for they did evil to you and now I pray, please forgive the transgressions of the servants of the God of your father’”

And Joseph was weeping when they spoke to him.
And his brothers falling on their faces before him said, “Behold, we are servants to you.”

And Joseph replied, “Don’t fear me, am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant it for evil but God devised it for good. God brings to pass this day the good to keep many people alive. Now, therefore, fear you not;
I will nourish you and your little ones.” And Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

As we have noted in the past, we are following the series of scriptures suggested by the narrative lectionary instead of what is called the Common Lectionary. In my years of preaching, I often wondered why the Joseph story, that we typically get taught in Sunday school, is not included for preaching in the Common Lectionary… especially since I use the Joseph story often when I doing therapy, especially when am treating abuse survivors.
Joseph is kind of the ultimate abuse story. Joseph is not only abused physically and emotionally, but that abuse is all the more horrible because it is at the hands of the family that is supposed to love and protect him. It is the breaking of trust by those who are supposed to be the most trustworthy, the folks who are supposed to “have is back.” Joseph goes on to be sexually abused by Potiphar’s wife and then gets blamed even though he was the victim and he gets imprisoned by the Pharaoh, but none of these terrible experiences destroy is trust as much as the betrayal by the ones who were suppose to love him. Did you notice the parallel when the brothers got 20 pieces of silver for betraying Joseph and when Judas got 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus? So one expects Joseph to never trust anyone again, especially his brothers.
So chapter 50 comes as something of a surprise, at least to me, when Joseph’s father has died and is buried and the brothers must face Joseph after all the dust has settled. You probably remember that Joseph more than put his life back together and was in charge of all the food that Egypt needed and that his brothers and their families needed in a time of famine. Joseph was being asked to be compassionate to the ones who abuse and betrayed him.
If we carefully read the Hebrew when the brothers return following the funeral of their father, we notice some very telling details. The inevitable confrontation between Joseph and his brothers is the climax to the story and the brothers just know they are really in for it now. Joseph has the power. Joseph has the food they desperately need. And Joseph knows full well how terribly they treated him. Their only concern is the revenge Joseph could now take on them without their father around to protect them.
Many commentators for this scripture jump to the conclusion that this is an excellent example of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thankfully, at least one commentator agreed with my reading of the text. The brothers were cowards afraid because the one they harmed so grievously now had power to harm them. The did NOT say they were sorry for their behavior. They did not even take responsibility for their behavior. They did not identify themselves as sons of Joseph’s father but kept leaning on the wishes of “Joseph’s father,” as if they weren’t even part of the family. Joseph was supposed to forgive them, not because they confessed their sin and repented of their behavior but because of some command that they say “Joseph’s father” made when “Joseph’s father died.”
Barb said I should tell the story about her mother whose words seldom took responsibility for her actions when things went wrong. She might say “someone” forgot to do a thing, vaguely noting the offense but not the offender. She also typically refused to acknowledge what is called agency, that is when a person causes something to happen and takes responsibility. She would say “the glass broke” or “the milk spilled” as if it happened without any person involved. I really don’t remember her saying “I broke this” or “I did that.” Since things apparently “just happened” without anyone being responsible, she never had to apologize!
Joseph’s brothers act as if things “just happened” to Joseph, they don’t accept responsibility even though they fear Joseph’s revenge.
So the brothers press Joseph to forgive them not because they are sorry, not because they apologized, not because they repented of their actions, but because “Joseph’s father” not their father but “Joseph’s father” said Joseph should forgive them. Repenting from our behavior means we
acknowledge that we are responsible for what we have done
apologize and ask for forgiveness (not just say you ought to forgive without me being sorry)
repent from our bad behavior. Repent is a Hebrew word meaning to turn away from one thing and turn toward another… to turn away from bad behavior and turn toward good behavior from then on.
And Joseph’s response is startling! Well, it is not so startling that he begins by weeping. The hurt caused by his brothers was so deep and they stirred up the memory of all that hurt without taking responsibility and without repenting and without even asking for forgiveness themselves. Who wouldn’t weep if we demanded an abused person to just go ahead and forgive someone who doesn’t even try to apologize?
But then Joseph responds: Don’t be afraid. You meant it for evil but God used it for good. He then asks: Do you think I am taking God’s place? Joseph likely could not forgive his brothers. Why not? Let’s think about the call to confession today used from 1 John.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
God is perfectly willing, in fact God is aching to forgive our sins…IF… we confess our sins. Full confession of sin means acknowledging and taking responsibility for what we have done, being sorry for what we have done, and turning from bad behavior toward good behavior. I wonder sometimes if God gets impatient with us or if God is just sad and yearning as God waits for us to fully confess so that at last God’s forgiveness can occur.
The brothers did NOT confess their sins against Joseph. If God does not forgive without full confession, why would we expect Joseph to forgive? He probably ached for his brothers to accept responsibility, ask forgiveness and repent of their behavior. Perhaps even like God, Joseph longed to forgive and be reconciled with his brothers.
But before we get too shocked by this lack of forgiveness, lets also look at Joseph’s behavior toward his brothers in the absence of forgiveness. Despite the deep hurt, Joseph nourished his brothers and their little ones. Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
When someone hurts us, even if the hurt is not at the level of abuse, we want them to change, to apologize, to make things right with us. And it can be so unnerving if they won’t even take responsibility for their actions. But like Joseph, our response should not be a response of revenge. And our response should not be some fake effort to forgive when they have not done their part to make forgiveness possible. But like Joseph, perhaps our response could be to show the love and compassion… the grace… the thing they don’t deserve even if they don’t do a full confession. Like Joseph we could feed their needs and the needs of their family anyway. Like Joseph we could comfort them and speak kindly to them. Because the grace Joseph shared, the grace we might share, is tiny compared to the grace God shares with us in our own sinfulness…every single day.
God is faithful and just and so full of grace… may we be likewise. Amen.

(1) Excerpted from a prayer by Dr. Susan M. (Elli) Elliott. Source: http://ellielliott.webs.com/sermonsprayers.htm

(2) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

(3) Translation by Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl using the Hebrew Interlinear Bible

Bulletin 2 by Pastor Katy Stenta, God of the Rainbow Coat Prayer, More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Seeds Resource for NL: Jesus Heals and Teaches

Jesus Heals and Teaches

Image result for jesus heals the paralytic

Mark 2:1-22

Psalm 103:6-14

 

Call to Worship 

Bless the Lord, O my soul

Let all that is within me, bless his holy name

Bless the Lord all the angels that do his bidding and heed his word 

Bless the Lord all of his work, bless the Lord O my soul. 

 

Call to Worship

The Lord blesses and forgives

Bless God’s Holy Name

The Lord heals and comforts

Bless God’s Holy Name

Mighty is the God who loves us

Bless God’s Holy Name

 

Call to Worship

Those who wandered in darkness have seen the Light

God is good

Though we are dust God’s steadfast love is forever

All the Time, God is good.

Prayer of Confession: Lord we confess we are but dust, like dandelions in the field, we flourish and then quickly wither away. Because of this, we have trouble understanding that your love is forever. We live in fear of the day you stop living, hearing or acting. Remind us that your righteousness will extend to our children’s, children’s children we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: Lord, we know so many humans who are suffering. We see how quickly life passes and we are afraid to act, afraid that we are too minuscule to matter. Remind us that love is everlasting, remind us that you are good all the time, remind us that we are but the seeds and that whatever we plant will be increased tenfold and a hundredfold past our time. Give us the courage to plant these seeds of healing we pray.

Assurance of Pardon: Grass withers and seasons change, but God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting; know the truth In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Assurance of Pardon: God does not deal with us according to our sins but according to his love, which is mightier the the sun and longer than that seasons. Know the truth. Christ loves and forgives us. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord help us to spread healing wherever we go, planting the seeds of love and giving the words of hope, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Open us up to the Love of Jesus Christ, so that we can feel the hope of our ancestors and the energy of our children, continue to weave us together as a community so we no longer see our aches and pains, but our collective strength, we pray.

Communion Prayer: God, you created the world into being. Giving Adam and Eve gardens and animals and each other to take care of. When we faltered, and tried to climb mountains and build ladders to reach you, you stooped to earth in the form of Jesus Christ. Teaching us through love and healing and listening Jesus took the time to show us the value of grace and forgiveness. And when he ascended into heaven, he gave us this meal to celebrate our forgiveness, as many times as we need it. We ask you to send your Holy Spirit upon these elements so we might truly consume the bits of the Jesus Christ we need so that we can practice grace in the world. We pray this together. Amen.

Hymns:  Great is Thy Faithfulness, Taize: Bless the Lord My soul, There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place, There is A Balm in Gilead, We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight, Take My Life

With Children: Practice Anointing with Oil/Praying for those who are sick, Make cards for those who are ill, Put band aids on a world map and pray for places in need (Venezuela, Syria, Australia, Iran are appropriate this week in my context), Talk about forgiveness and how that is a different kind of healing/go over the Lord’s Prayer, Go over the Apostles’ Creed Talk about the Christmas story: review you are in the middle of Jesus Life. Play Doctor, Give Forgiveness to one another: symbolize it with cool band aids.

Note: Be cautious of Ableist language and assumptions: Be sure to point out that God loves everyone exactly as they are and it’s more important to be a good person–be sure to emphasize that there is no such thing as a perfect body.

Other Weeks of Seeds of Prayer Narrative Lectionary Resources available here

What is true #christian #forgiveness in an #abuse situation?

These notes are from my Albany area’s Christian Response to Sexual Abuse–all typos are my own… and make sense of what Justice is in a more mature way than demanding forgiveness in (any kind) of power abuse situation. I’ve had a colleague use this material for financial abuse as well.

Also, as one colleague noted, each person experiences abuse differently and heals differently, this is one way to think about the complex process that is healing. But here are some deeper theological thoughts than “we should just forgive the abuser and show grace” in difficult situations

The Elements of Justice-Making
Truth-telling: giving voice to the reality of the abuses (from the victim’s point of view)
Acknowledging the Violation: hear, name and condemn the wrong doing (by the governing body of the victim)
Compassion : Listen and suffer with the victim (Consider having an advocate for the victim)
Protecting the vulnerable: Take steps to prevent further abuse to the victim and others (removal from position, how can they have it at this time?)
Accountability: Confront the abuser of trust, and impose discipline (negative consequences) this step makes repentance possible
Restitution : Make symbolic/real restoration of what was lost; give a tangible means to acknowledge the wrongfulness of the abuse and the harm done and to bring about healing. The restitution must be freely given and of significant value to show repentance wanting to make right.
Vindication: set the victim free from the suffering caused by the abuse when justice has been done.

THERE CAN BE NO HEALING WITHOUT JUSTICE-MAKING
FORGIVENESS, REPENTANCE & RECONCILIATION
If your Sibling wrongs you, reprove him/her, if he/she repents forgive them. Even if one wrongs you seven times and comes back to you seven times saying, “I Am sorry” you are to forgive him/her. Luke 17:1-4
Forgiveness within a relationship is not a matter of forgetting the experience, nor is it a matter of saying that the behavior was acceptable. When a person whom one has trusted takes advantage of his/her position, it is usually a traumatic experience, not one that is easily forgotten. In the bounds of sacred trust, that behavior is unethical.
For the victim, forgiveness is not unconditional we are not God. (We can believe  and try to put into practice God’s universal ability to forgive)
The preconditions for forgiveness are
The Victim(s) must have experienced sufficient justice
The Victim(s) must be empowered through God’s grace
The Victim(s) must have experienced sufficient healing to be able to let go of the anger and pain
Without these conditions, forgiveness will not be authentic—it will be an attempt to or an effort to forgive. The victim must experience sufficient justice, grace & healing to be able t let go of his/her anger at the abuser.

For the abuser: Repentance= not merely confession, apology or intention not to repeat an offense
Repentance means to turn around to change one’s behavior and/or one’s life so that one will never repeat the offense. As the scripture passage makes clear, the victim(s) obligation to forgive is dependent upon the abuser’s repentance.
True Repentance : Signs
The abuser takes steps necessary for justice-making to make amends for the abuse: (see above)
The abuser identifies the beliefs & attitudes that lie behind the abusive behavior and finds ethical ways of rejecting those beliefs & attitudes
The abuser becomes aware of the needs that lie behind the abusive behavior and finds ethical ways of meeting those needs
The abuser identifies the conditions that allowed the abuse to happen, and changes the conditions to prevent future abuse
RECONCILIATION is restoring of the right relationship between the abuser and his/her church. IT involves restoring the trust that was violated and restoring the broken relationship on new terms.

(Note: my instinct is that since our God is a justice-making God, Forgiveness for God is universal, but I have not been able to fully think out this theology yet)

#Forgiveness and #Debt

Matthew 18:21-35

Genesis 50: 15-21

It would happen that the week I’m preaching on forgiveness (thank you God & lectionary), a bully from Jr. High would ask to friend me. (He used to tell me to shut up whenever I spoke…for like a whole entire year)

Any other week I’d say yes or no and move on

But am I a holy person or not (the answer is no, no holier than anyone else…in fact when someone comes to tell me I’m a holy person, usually its to complain about me, so I def. do not lay claim to that title)

When I posted about it on FB, the discussion turned into a “Should I friend them” discussion..harkening on the very Jr. High School Experiences I didn’t like to begin with…and were actually off point.

Here’s the deal, I’m generally not bitter about Jr. High (anymore) I went to my pastoral psych eval and realized that even though I was “over it” I was still bitter so I worked hard to reframe my bitterness (Didn’t I marry someone I met in Jr. High, so it wasn’t all bad, besides my experiences laid the groundwork for my empathy and ministry that I do today). Is that my moment to say: “Do not fear. Am I not in the place of God”

But…I wanted–something more…

Debts…I feel like this person…owed me something. The listening that is last week’s lectionary…or acknowledgement of who I am, or best yet a real and sincere apology.

What happened to the whole “all we owe each other is love” thing that I so felt and preached on last week..

Debts…

Forgiveness is about feeling a debt, which really I DON’T want to be a debtholder….I owe so many debts to so many people which I have no clue whether  I will ever pay them off…and ….I hate them…(the debts that is, not the people)

I love that my children will never starve, but I never want people to feel the horrible crushing thing that is debt in my life…I don’t want people to feel like they are less of a person because they have to think about what they owe on a regular basis…

the forgiveness of debts…the debts part of forgiveness is clearer now than ever

so…forgiveness it is….

Narrative Lectionary: John 13:1-17

John 13:1-17

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.

Jesus washes feet. If you have ever washed a baby or an older person–you are aware there is a kind of beautiful intimacy to those washings. There is a trust and a love that makes something that should be gross.

Of course, its embarrassing, so Peter says no, and Jesus says “well if you want to be a part of what I do, you have to let me wash your feet”

So then Peter says “Wash everything then!”

And Jesus says “Nah! feet are enough”

And then Jesus goes on to say that he knows that they aren’t clean ie he knows that Peter is going to deny him, he knows that Judas is going to betray him, he knows they are only human and they will get dirty again. They will all get dirty again.

Its like when you wash a child, and know they are going to get dirty again. Or (even worse) when my husband got out of the shower only to be thrown up upon. Ugh!

But it is still beautiful and intimate to take care of those we love. And Jesus promises to take care of us, even are grossest parts, even knowing that we are broken and that we will get dirty again. Jesus demonstrates that the way to

We like to concentrate on Jesus miracles, but really Jesus superpowers are love and forgiveness….remember before Jesus ONLY God could forgive you (you had to still apologize to the human participate, but ultimately only Jesus forgives). So Jesus, empowers us! Telling us to do to one another what he does. He encourages us to love eachother, to forgive each other and to wash each others’ feet. This is why we confess our sins together and then assure eachother of pardon. We are the body of Christ, we are the ones who are going to be the intimate group, who washes each other feet. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Young Families in Church…continued…..

A lot of young people don’t go to church (I know your shocked, your really, really shocked).

Here is my vast knowledge about church

1. Its a good community…its a good way to have intergenerational interaction, its a good way to ask hard questions (at the good churches anyway)

2. Church Shopping is tough: churches are desperate (which isn’t that attractive) and its hard to church shop when you feel unsettled, and lets face it, with the way the economy is, most people are fairly unsettled, especially the young people. I have been at the same job for 4ish years…that is VERY unusual for a person my age. If you don’t have a steady job or don’t know if your going to have to move (again) within the same year, its hard to make time to church shop.

In theories churches should be helping with this process (how about get to know your town guides? New to the neighborhood events that aren’t creepy? My church does a playgroup that allows a little bit with this)

3. Churches need to advertise themselves as a pace of transition (ie we are a stable place to come while your transitioning)…too much to Churches self-advertise or give the impression that this is where to go when you start to sort out your beliefs or your all set on where you are in life. This is OPPOSITE of what church should be, church should be a place to be crazy, screwed up and confused, a place to support people who are figuring it out…….Maybe churches should be more like college and less like a government.

4. Young Families Basic Needs: tend to include activities at a time of day they can actually manage, Sunday School that is enjoyable, Family friendly events, Adequate Rooms for children, Babysitting for events that are not suitable for children, changing tables, cribs, and preferably a space in the Worship area for kids to worship during church (try getting that one done, its almost impossible)…want to welcome families? Go out of your way to give them a real space to be….

5. Try to focus more on the Sabbath piece of church. Every single person I know is stressed and overwhelmed, if church could be a place of sanctuary, rest and sabbath we might actually communicate our message better.

6. That whole forgiveness of debts thing: do that. We preach forgiveness of debts, practically everyone I know is WAY in debt, yet we do nothing to practice what we preach….um….yeah….

7. Engage, engage, engage, find as many opportunities as possible to serve the community, to experience the community and to get to know the community (this is that piece of advice every single leader of churches gives)

8. Do NOT talk about young people as the “future”; first off, they are already people, not just future people (get my drift?), secondly this gross genera9lizing of who the young are is not appreciated

9. Try not to be judgmental: To be human is to be judgmental, its how we separate the “us” from the “them” its a defense mechanism, its natural, and its sad….we don’t need to judge other people, that’s God’s job. Plus! loving is our goal, good news is our job, and judging people adds to their problems. I used to have someone call me up at night and tell me what I needed to worry about…guess what…that is the opposite of helping…

10. Have Faith: Preach Good News, practice joy, dwell in the spirit, worry not about today or tomorrow, consider the birds, consider the lilies of the fields, they toil not, but God takes care of them…

WHy Church is not about Belief in JESUS!!!!

Every time we talk about belief in the Bible, the word is actually faith.

WAHOO! LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN: religion is about belief, whereas it should be (and spirituality really is about) faith.

For a handy chart with some scripture click here

Here is the deal

Beliefs are the limit of human capabilities, they allow us to stretch. Knowledge takes us only so far, beliefs are what we can do beyond knowledge

Faith is letting go to what we know or even believe, and letting the fullness of God to enter our lives. It is beginning to understand that God is beyond our ken, and there is something we live in

Belief is individual, its something you say to define who you are. These is why beliefs are so hard to change, because they are about who you are, and you have reasons for the beliefs you hold. A person (like your spouse or sibling) has a set of beliefs oftentimes they are not e–zzzzactllllyyyy the same as what you believe. Beliefs are a part of who you are. This is why people (and groups, like Presbyterians) have a set of beliefs.

Faith is communal, its about what holds people together. Its often more about the gaps and differences rather than similarities. Faith is what allows you to not know everything, its about practicing the give and take of beliefs. If you don’t have the energy or the wherewithal to believe or trust in something, you can come to a group where others can do what you can’t. When people ask Why do you go to church? Can’t I just believe what I want to at home? I completely agree…one can be spiritual, disciplined and have beliefs on one’s own. And these beliefs are important. BUT, faith is a community that allows for a deeper exploration that isn’t only about what we believe.

Beliefs are tenants that we hang onto. The structures by which we understand the world. As much as they are about who we are, they also are about how we relate to the world and what is important to us. They are the structure on which we hang our hats (philosophers are GREAT at this). Beliefs are something to hang onto.

Faith is a seed–its a small beginning of who we are that we allow to grow. Although it starts out with who we are, its more flexible, not defining our world but instead is something we can come home to (Chart), somewhere to live in the world of different beliefs. Faith holds onto us when we are lost, its what comes and looks for us when we can’t find our way back–Prodigal son, lost coin, lost sheep.

There is nothing wrong with beliefs, I think they are great…they help us to define our world and to express who we are….there are places for beliefs in Christianity–they tend to be during the time of confession, when we say who we are, what we believe first together as a particular church and then silently as individuals. Beliefs are wonderful.

Faith is different that belief though, and in all the places (except in 1st Timothy) what we define as belief is actually faith: epistw (pronounced epistu) .

(Probably because the disciples continue to say they have unfaith, which isn’t a word for us but disbelief is….ah, the logistics of language LOL). Many, many times the disciples and followers of Christ confess that they do not have enough faith…they ask for Christ to help it to grow.

Belief is about telling our own story—telling who we are and why we are that way and what we believe

Faith  is about a way of life, a way of faith, hope and trust in the Lord that is beyond us without God’s help. Faith is something we CAN’T hang onto by ourselves, its too big for us to understand. Its like when Peter walks across water, one minute he has faith–the fullness of God in him, and then it becomes too much and he has to let go and thus starts to sink. These moments are flashes, pieces where we connect via community and God to the fullness of life.

Ex:

Luke 17:3b-6

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

Note, the problem isn’t that the disciples don’t believe in forgiveness, no doubt they do. They just don’t necessarily have the capabilities to do that much forgiveness all the time, so they need more faith (more trust/hope/love from God) in order to be able to live a life of faith.

In Conclusion: Spiritual but not Religious …the church is doing it backwards Christians such as Peter Rollins, Jay Bakker and Jim Palmer deal with the problem of belief and doubt. They say that doubt isn’t counter to belief, its a part of it. I would dig deeper as say that both belief and doubt are a part of the richer, communal and God-intiated (and gift of) faith. (Faith Hope and Love, hence why LOVE is the most important, its about how you live things out, not what you believe)

The Church shouldn’t be a place of tenants and beliefs, it should be a community of questions and faith. The church should be a place for unbelievers to gather (the drunks, the prostitutes and the lepers should be taxi-ed in!)

•Ever notice that Jesus doesn’t go around touted his beliefs. Instead he ask people what they believe (or don’t believe) and then meets them there! (up a tree, by a well, at a stoning, on a cross)…The disciples certainly don’t always retain their trust in God. But, Christ doesn’t ask what people’s beliefs are before them, instead he works to increase their faith. And when people ask Jesus questions, he doesn’t tell them what they should believe, instead he asks them a question in return.

Essentially this scenario takes place over and over, the penultimate being the interchange with Pilate (Katy’s interpretation of events to follow)

Pilate: Who are you?

Jesus: Who do you believe I am?

Pilate: Are you the King of the Jews?

Jesus: So you say…

Pilate: You are the savior?

Jesus: If you think so….

Pilate: Just answer me, are you the King or aren’t you?

Jesus: You say I am, and all these people say I am, I don’t claim to be the King of the Jews, however, I will say this. Even if everyone stopped calling me the King, then the very rocks would say that’s who I am…just saying………

Note: not putting beliefs on others, just a discussion about where the community of faith was….that should be how the church exists!!!!!!

This is the call of the church, we are called not to a set of beliefs (that’s law people) but the gift of faith (YAY for saved by grace not works)……

I don’t know what I believe…but I do have a little faith!

For God so loved the world that whoever has (even a little) faith into him shall never die, but have eternal life

Abundent Grace: A Parenting Parable

John 21:1-19 is about Jesus’s Abudent Grace–You might think that its about Peter’s need to be forgiven 3 times, but I see it as ever so much bigger.

Jesus is abundent, so much so, he equals and exceeds our need for forgiveness…this is where love gets scary folks, because God know every single sin, and is equal and greater than those sins–God loves us so that all our empty spots–all our places of sin are filled in–so much so that they in fact overflow with God’s Love

Brennan Manning says it like this….

Parenting says this: My three boys take one bath (there’s a trinity joke somewhere in there, but really its just easier to run one bath). They are all in preschool and can all still fit, and mostly they love it. One day my eldest, Franklin, was scooping all of the toys to him–telling me he wanted to play with all of them. I then pointed out that he can’t play with the toys, because he is hanging on too tightly, and his hands are too full, and that he must share the toys to be able to play with them (this was a moment of parenting brilliance).

That’s how God’s love is–think about the fact that the disciples caught 153 fish (ps great scholarly debates exist about this number, until a scholar drily observed that maybe its says 153 because there was an eyewitness who actually saw the fish, and that is the actual–as opposed to being a symbolic–number)

Anyway, they catch all these fish and what are they to do? They can’t eat them all before they rot (pre-fridge and pre-salt), so they have to share the wealth…just like the manna, just like the toys…that is the abundance of Christ’s love–it is so abundent it fills even the most ordinary corners of our lives (fishing is a daily thing in Galilee). Although we may be like the disciples and be unable to see Jesus from the boat (or the bathtub), he will keep appearing, and keep loving us, inviting us to be nourished and then to “feed my sheep” or Share the toys so we can be in relationship with and nourish one another….

How’s that for use or lose it parable of the talents?

PS: Note the nets did not break this time (which is a whole other sermon) I think this is because the disciples have a little more where-with-all to catch some of Christ’s love, it doesn’t all pass through this time, some of it gets caught, harvested and used.

 

John 21:1-19

 

21After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

 

God Can’t work thru…

The next time you think that God doesn’t work through a president, an annoying person or a bad situation, remember all that God has worked through.

Noah drank

Rahab was not virtous

Saul persecuted

Christ was born in a manger

If you can’t see God in the picture, it is because you are too caught up in your human bubble–rest assured, God is there, and God will do amazing things you never even thought of