September 25, 2018

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This months Website is 

sponsored by

Betty Yuly

in Memory of her sons

Curt & Burt


If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

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Sunday School

Please join us for Sunday school & Adult Bible study starting September 9 at 9:30 am.

Last week's Sermon

September 23, 2018

Mark 9:30-37, James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a, & Proverbs 31:10-31

“School’s in session”

A young man is on the playground basketball court shooting baskets.  He is pretty hot in his shooting as he is making his baskets from just about any where he shoots on the court and he is letting everyone who listen know just how good he is.  Another young man is watching noticing that the young man with the ball is getting pretty cocky.  The young man watching decides that he will attempt to take the young man with the ball down a few pegs so he challenges him to a game of one on one.  The young man with the ball looks at his challenger to size him and replies, “So you think you’re pretty good do ya?  Sure, I’ll take you on.  But you’d better watch and learn because school’s in session.” 

All four of our scripture readings today, which includes the Psalm reading remind us that “school is in session.”  Psalm 1 begins, ‘Happy or another translation would say “blessed.”’  Blessed are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of the scoffers; but their delight is in the law or instruction of the Lord and on his law or instruction they meditate day and night.” 

The psalmist sets up two choices or two life paths to take …following the ways of the wicked or following the instructions of the Lord.  The path of the wicked leads to death.  The path which follows the instruction of the Lord leads to life.  It is pretty blunt.  Here are the choices …death or life, …following the wicked or following the instruction of the Lord.  You choose.  School is in session.  Observe …study …listen, and learn. 

Our Proverbs reading for today is not quite as clear.  At first glance it seems that the writings of Proverbs end with these peculiar instructions on what a godly wife should look like.  But when you put this scripture reading in the context of the whole book of Proverbs it puts a little different spin on it.  The first nine chapters speak of the difference between wisdom and folly and pits the two against each other.  In the Hebrew language both “wisdom” and “folly” are feminine nouns.  The Hebrew word used in Proverbs for child or children is masculine to be literally translated “son” or “sons.”  The first nine chapters sets up the metaphor that the son

has to choose between two women as to which one to court …wisdom or folly. 

With this understanding Proverbs concludes with emphasizing the benefits of making the right choice for a life companion.  Choosing the right life companion is more precious than jewels.  Make the right choice and your life will be blessed, organized, prosperous, and full of honor.  For a life partner, choose wisely.  Choose wisdom.  Observe …study …listen …and learn. 

James adds that you demonstrate wisdom by living your life in gentleness doing good works.  Faith is good.  But faith is meant to be lived out.  A wise person lives out their life in purity, peace, gentleness, with mercy and grace.  Again, James lays out two ways of living …following the ways self-centeredness personified as the devil or following the ways of God.  One way, self-centeredness leads you away from God.  Following God of course will lead you to God.  There is an old saying.  If you do not feel close to God, guess who moved.  Wisdom chooses to follow God.  Observe …study …listen …and learn. 

Our final lesson comes from the Master Teacher.  For the second time Jesus tells his disciples of his death and resurrection.  If you remember the last time Jesus told his disciples that prediction they did not quite understand so Peter told Jesus to quit talking like that.  After Peter scolded his master, Jesus turns around and scolds Peter.  This second time Jesus tells his disciples of his death and resurrection they still do not understand, but they are not going to make the same mistake and get scolded again, so they remain silent.  Well, they remained silent for a while and then they started arguing about who was the greatest.  When Jesus asks them what they were arguing about they clam up again.  Like a bunch of guilty children, they plead the fifth with their silence.

Jesus uses their silence as an opportunity for a teaching moment by taking his disciples aside to talk to them.  Kind of like when I was in school and the teacher took me out of the classroom to have a little chat with me …not that that ever happened.  It was Jesus’ way of basically saying “school’s in session.”  “If you want to be first then you need to put yourself last.  If you want to elevate yourself then you need to lower yourself to servanthood.” 

Some people learn by hearing and some people learn by seeing so Jesus gives them a visual example.  He takes a child and puts it in the midst of the disciples.  He says, “Look at this child.  Most of you would not give this child the time of day.  This child is nothing in society but a liability.  This child does not work or volunteer so this child contributes nothing to society.  This child is not educated so you cannot hold an intelligent conversation or debate with this child to expand your own learning.  This child is a nobody in the eyes of society.  When it comes to the social ladder in society this child is barely on the bottom rung.  This child might be nothing to you, but this child is precious in the eyes of God.  This child is just as important to God as the most important person that you know in society.  Welcome this child.  God has. 

One thing about trash talking to someone else is that you had better be good enough to back up your words.  Jesus was more than good.  Jesus was perfect.  Jesus did not just teach the wisdom of God’s welcome; Jesus lived it by welcoming the children, the widows, the lame, the sick, the forgotten.  Jesus did not just teach the wisdom of servanthood; Jesus lived it by washing the feet of his disciples.  Jesus did not just teach the wisdom of good works; Jesus lived it in service to others through feeding the hungry and healing the sick.  Jesus did not just teach the wisdom of God’s instruction; Jesus lived faithfully.  Jesus did not just teach the wisdom of the obedience of following God; Jesus lived it to the cross and it cost him his life.  Observe …study …listen …learn. 

Children of God, school is in session.  School is in session each and every day when it comes to matters of faith.  There are no holidays off or summer vacations.  If we are going to choose wisdom, specifically God’s wisdom, then we have to know what God’s wisdom is all about.  If we are going to follow God’s instruction then it just makes sense that we have to know what God’s instructions are.  If we are going to choose God’s wisdom as a life long companion than we need to know characteristics of God’s wisdom.  If we are going to follow God then we need to know where God is leading us.  If we are going to follow Jesus’ teachings then we need to know the lessons Jesus taught.  We need to study and listen to the teachings of Jesus and the lessons of God in order that we might know …that we might have knowledge of God’s wisdom. 

Wisdom is knowledge verified through experience.  For example: Your mom tells you, “Do not touch the flame because it is hot and you will burn yourself.”  You think, I have to find out for myself.  You touch the flame.  You burn yourself.  You have just learned two pieces of wisdom.  One, you have learned that fire is hot and you can burn yourself.  A wise person would not stick his finger in a fire.  You also learned that sometimes moms know what they are talking about.  A wise child will listen to their mother.  That piece of wisdom comes and goes with some of us. 

God’s teachings say that love is a better way of living in relationship with others than hate.  We live in hate.  People get hurt.  People die.  Poverty grows.  Society suffers.  We live in love.  People prosper.  Society benefits.  Experience says that God’s teachings are right.  God’s wisdom is live in love and respect.  Second piece of wisdom is, listen to God …which we do not do very well.  Self-centeredness keeps trying to talk over God’s wisdom.  Living God’s wisdom is the only way that this world will survive and the only way we will know the peace of God’s grace. 

School’s in session.  Observe …study …listen …learn.  If we are going to talk God’s wisdom, God’s instructions, and Jesus’ teaching, then we had better be able to back it up with the way we live our lives.  Amen.