September 2020

9.23.20 Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning. I pray that you are getting out to enjoy the last few warm days. The sunshine felt so good yesterday. 84 degrees on the first day of fall is pretty nice. I invite you to a nature walking worship service tonight at 6 if you can make it. We’ll be walking through the prayer path just east of our memorial garden. It won’t be a long walk. Just slow and meditative with readings, songs, and prayers.

Using a common Jewish technique, Paul interprets one passage of scripture in light of others.

Romans 10:5-13

5 Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say?

“The word is near you,

on your lips and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I love this sentence: “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The promise of life does not require human effort, but rather, faith in the Messiah whom God has sent.

I pray that we all give more than lip service to Christ and believe deep in our hearts that the resurrection is true.

Paul also writes that “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” That is a good reminder to us in this divisive political scene. The same Lord is Lord of all political stripes. Let’s treat one another like we believe that!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.23.20 Wednesday2020-09-23T06:48:20-05:00

9.22.20 Tuesday

Good Tuesday morning. Come join us at Fellowship Cafe. 9-noon. Coffee pot will be on!

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.” Psalm 96: 11-12 I think the trees are singing for joy with all of their majestic colors. When the sun shines brightly, I can see some oranges, reds and yellows.

Romans 10:1-4

10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

In Paul’s view, Israel was ignorant in failing to submit to God’s righteousness, which was the righteousness offered through the faith of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the completion of the goal, not the end as in termination. Remember, Paul is writing to Christians in Rome.

I like his idea of zeal for God. Let’s keep our zeal alive!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.22.20 Tuesday2020-09-22T06:51:38-05:00


Good Monday morning. Monday again already! It looks like another beautiful week. The leaves sure blew around yesterday in that wind, though. As we prepare to reopen our church building, let’s be reminded that the church was never closed. Great ministry took place in our parking lot, in our community and in our homes. God is way too big to be contained to a building. On the other hand, I, along with many members are super excited to be back in our beautiful sanctuary this coming Sunday. I hope you will join us if you are in the area.

Romans 9:27-33

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us,

we would have fared like Sodom

and been made like Gomorrah.”

30 What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31 but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32 Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall,

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Israel’s rejection and the adoption of Gentile peoples by God were both predicted by Isaiah. So, instead of stumbling at it, we would have expected it. Paul writes to remind us not to stumble on works, but to stay strong in faith. That rock is Jesus Christ. We must put our faith in Christ alone, then do good things because we want to, not because we think we have to or that our works will save us. Christ alone!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue


9.19.20 Saturday

Good Saturday morning. Here’s a little lesson for you Gentiles. Rosh Hashanah began last night. Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year” in Hebrew, is a two-day celebration that marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days each autumn.

The New Year inaugurates 10 days of repentance, also known as Days of Awe. They lead into Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which this year is on Sunday, September 27. That’s followed by Sukkot, of the Feast of Tabernacles, commemorating how God protected the Israelites as they wandered the desert in search of the Promised Land.

Rosh Hashanah began Friday at sundown, customarily with the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn, a sound traditionally meant to wake up people from their slumber, or perhaps in this year’s case, quarantine.

Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is about acknowledging where we might have fallen short in the previous year and how to repair ourselves and the world in the coming year. Whether or not you’re Jewish, there’s value in the spiritual and emotional exercise of honestly contemplating your actions this year, and what you want most out of your life.

One major theme of Rosh Hashanah is the tradition of tashlich in which people symbolically cast off their sins, often by throwing morsels of bread into a flowing body of water.

Here’s a prayer from the Rabbi Rachel Barenblat:

“I’m ready to let go of my mistakes. Help me release myself from the ways I’ve missed the mark, lift my troubles off my shoulders. Help me to know that last year is over, washed away like crumbs in a current. Open my heart to blessing and gratitude. Renew my soul as the dew renews the grasses.”

(Information taken from 9.19.20)

Blessings on your day and on your new year!

Pastor Sue

9.19.20 Saturday2020-09-19T06:31:46-05:00

9.18.20 Friday

Good Friday morning. Your council and Reopening Task Force are working hard for you. Last night’s meeting was productive with a lot of talk about how they will all help to reopen safely on September 27th. Pray that all goes well. Do your part. Stay home if you are sick or have a fever. Wear a mask and maintain 6′ social distance between family units. We can do this safely with everyone’s cooperation. I hope you are as excited as I am!

I like Paul’s image of the clay and the potter in our next section.

Romans 9:19-26

19 You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; 23 and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”

26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they shall be called children of the living God.”

Think of your self as molded for a special purpose by God, the potter. Picture God looking at a lump of clay and then deciding that the world needed one of a kind. You. After finishing the product, God looks at you and says, “beloved!” Wow! That’s powerful imagery there!

Blessings on your day and your weekend,

Pastor Sue

9.18.20 Friday2020-09-18T06:46:15-05:00

9.17.20 Thursday

Good Thursday morning. WELCA today at 1. I hope to see you there. All women are members of WELCA. Come visit with your sisters in Christ.
We are all children of the promise, according to Paul.
Romans 9:6-18

6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7 and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11 Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written,

“I have loved Jacob,
but I have hated Esau.”
14 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

Everything depends on God. Therefore, we should depend on God for everything! God has a plan for you. Are you feeling it? Sometimes it takes a long time to cook! Look how long I had to wait before becoming a minister. I dreamed of this for decades. God must have thought I wasn’t ready until I was in my 60’s. Very funny, Lord! Persist!

Blessings on your day,
Pastor Sue

9.17.20 Thursday2020-09-17T10:14:58-05:00

9.16.20 Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning.

In Paul’s time the greatest stumbling block to the general acceptance of the Gospel of Christ was Jewish unbelief. Many Jews had become Christians, but the nation as a whole did not believe and was outwardly antagonistic. The Jewish rulers had crucified Christ and persecuted the church at every opportunity. Jewish unbelievers made Paul’s life miserable every where he went.

The next three chapters of Romans contain Paul’s answer to the question: If Jesus was really the Messiah promised in the prophetic writings of the Jewish scripture, how did it happen that God’s own nation rejected Him?

Romans 9:1-5

9 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5 to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

This passage indicates Paul’s profound sadness for his fellow Jews. He expressed that he would rather give up his own soul if it meant Israel would be saved. We all know he doesn’t, so stay tuned.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.16.20 Wednesday2020-09-16T06:54:49-05:00

9.15.20 Tuesday

Good Tuesday morning. I’ve been preparing Sunday’s sermon on fairness and the stories keep buzzing around in my head. Life is unfair. As children we get upset if someone gets more candy or a new bike. As adults we have to cope with bigger issues of unfairness. Work promotions are sometimes unfair; pay cuts are unfair; the rich get richer…..You get the picture. It is so unfair when a child gets a horrible disease; it is so unfair when a loved ones dies in a car accident or on the operating table. It’s so unfair when a football star or a movie star makes millions of dollars while a single mother stresses about feeding her child. It seems unfair that the west coast is burning up while the gulf coast is drowning in water.

Want some good news?

Romans 8: 31-39

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;

we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[One of the most magnificent passages in the entire bible]

Praise God! Life isn’t fair, but God is beyond all fairness. His love for us through Christ is overwhelmingly generous. It puts our pitiful claims to fairness to shame. Nothing can separate us from that love! There’s great news for your day!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.15.20 Tuesday2020-09-15T07:23:09-05:00

9.14.20 Monday

Good Monday morning. What a beautiful service of 1st Communion we had yesterday at our parking lot worship. Even though it was outside and the hornets were mad after the wine, it was holy and wonderful. Even with a foggy, chilly start, it turned out to be a beautiful fall day.

Paul gives us language for when we are suffering in this next group of verses. It is one that most of us have heard many, many times. “the spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

Romans 8: 26-30

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God…” We have announced that we will be back in our church building and beautiful sanctuary on Sunday, Sept. 27th. This has been a rough 6 1/2 months, but we have stuck together, have held meaningful worship services, have continued the work of the church to which God called us, and have remained strong in the faith. I am grateful for these past 6 months for the amount of bible study, prayer time, and research I have been able to do. I am grateful for our amazing staff, Jen and Shawna that have stepped up beyond all expectations. I am grateful for our council and executive team that have kept the boat afloat. This closure has given us time to rethink some of our ministries and grow some new plans. We have had an outreach through FaceBook like never before. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.14.20 Monday2020-09-14T06:14:49-05:00


Good Friday morning. I am writing later this morning as I had important work to do! Last night the council voted to open the church for worship beginning September 27th. Praise God! I am very happy and excited to be back in our sanctuary to worship. Parking lot broadcast and FaceBook services will continue so everyone will have a choice. Lots more information will be coming soon.

Paul’s words are very pertinent to today’s news!

Romans 8:18-25

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We have had patience, but getting back into our sanctuary is an answer to prayer.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

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