Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Wednesday, September 24th —
Dorcus-Ruth Circle will meet today at Louise Arter's home.
Meeting time is 1:30 P.M.
ABC Parish AD Council
and Finance Meeting at Casey UMC.
Finance Meeting will convene at 6:45 P.M. and
AD Council Meeting at 7:30.
Have you read the book "The Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation"? The following *FORMS are to be completed by the associated individuals. They are a great exercise to determine how our little congregation is doing.
*Click on each form and it will expand to letter size. Then they may be printed out.

Thursday, September 25th — Menlo U.M.W. Guest Day will begin at 2 P.M. at Menlo U.M.C.
Friday, September 26th — Naomi will be out of the office today.
Orders of Elders Meeting at 10 A.M. in Des Moines.

Saturday, September 27th — Guthrie Center U.M.C. District Annual Meeting will begin at 8:30 A.M. in Guthrie Center U.M.C.

Saturday evening at 6:00 P.M. is the Lundy - Paup Wedding in Adair.
September 28, 2008 — Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost -- Green is the color for the long season after Pentecost — nearly half of the year. Our Scripture readings for today are:

Exodus 17:1-7
This is the wilderness, the desert, a wild place. This is not a "settled" place with homes and families all around. Things don't always work smoothly, and things can become dangerous. It is not a sign of neurosis to wonder if folks might die out here. The people became anxious and fearful when the water supply began to run low. They began to quarrel with Moses at Rephidim when the water ran out.

Fear tends to limit resourcefulness and halt creativity. We all know that the only way to solve a problem is to quiet our fears and anxieties, and think. Adaptability, and openness to a Word beyond ourselves are the most valuable characteristics for leaders and people in such unpredictable situations. Here is Moses, once again, required as leader to seek God's assistance. The Lord tells Moses to strike the rock at Horeb with his rod. Moses names the place Massah and Meribah., which mean "challenge" and "quarrel/revolt".
Exodus 17:1-7 (Amplified Bible) (AMP)
1 ALL THE congregation of the Israelites moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and encamped at Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 Therefore, the people contended with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said to them, Why do you find fault with me? Why do you tempt the Lord and try His patience?
3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?

4 So Moses cried to the Lord, What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said to Moses, Pass on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you smote the river Nile, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Mount Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 He called the place Massah and Meribah because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 (UMH 799)
1 GIVE EAR, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable (in instruction by numerous examples); I will utter dark sayings of old [that hide important truth]--

3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed.

12 Marvelous things did He in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided].

13 He divided the Red Sea and caused them to pass through it, and He made the waters stand like a heap.

14 In the daytime also He led them with a pillar of cloud and all the night with a light of fire.

Philippians 2:1-13
Paul urges the Philippians to have in them the mind that was in Christ Jesus. He "sings them their song" (or one that might be theirs) and urges the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. "Be concerned about the same thing, have the same love, soul-sharers, concerning yourselves around one thing." Don't get distracted by yourselves and your own ego-needs (as some therapists might put it). Look out for one another, for the community, with Christ's mind as your mind, individually and collectively. Philippi was a Roman colony and a major "retirement village" for veterans of the Roman army. Issues of authority, respect, and social rank were prominent in the local culture -- then as, no doubt, now where you are. Everyone in a Roman colony understood crucifixion to be the most shameful form of execution in the empire. This is the hymn. See UMH 168, "At the Name of Jesus"

Philippians 2:1-13 (Amplified Bible) (AMP)
1 SO by whatever appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever strengthening and consoling and encouraging our relationship in Him affords, by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the Holy Spirit we share, and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy,

2 Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.

3 Do nothing from factional motives through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves.

4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not merely his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.

5 Let this same attitude and purpose and humble mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: Let Him be your example in humility

6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God, possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God, God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

7 But stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity, so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself still further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!

9 Therefore because He stooped so low God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,

10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 And every tongue, frankly and openly, confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed my suggestions, so now, not only with the enthusiasm you would show in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out, cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling, self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ.

13 Not in your own strength for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you energizing and creating in you the power and desire, both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Matthew 21:23-32

"The Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem, but perhaps by those who witnessed these events something more like an act of vandalism or at least a serious "disturbance of the peace" on a massive scale. As Matthew describes it, he entered the temple, "and drove out all who were buying and selling in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves" (21:12, NRSV). This would have affected hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, and it would have effectively shut down the sacrificial operations of the temple for several hours, if not for the rest of that day. The only way to purchase items for sacrifice was to exchange money at the temple from these money changers in the court of the Gentiles and then purchase the desired items from the appropriate merchant with temple currency. No money changers, no temple currency. No temple currency, no sacrifices to buy. No sacrifices to buy, and for most people during a pilgrimage season (such as this Passover season), then few if any sacrifices at all. The only thing, it would seem, that prevented Jesus from being arrested on the spot was that there were so many supporters of his there shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David" that the religious officials were not sure they'd be able to have him arrested without provoking a riot.The chief priests and elders ask Jesus by what authority he acts; but Jesus asks them a question they refuse to answer. He then tells the parable of the father who asks each of his two sons to go work in the vineyard. One says, "no," but decides to go; the other says "yes," but does not go.

So their question the next day when Jesus returned to the temple was no mere academic examination of his credentials. This man had shut down the temple the day before. They wanted to know how he thought he could get away with this and then dare to show his face at the temple again and resume teaching there. They wanted answers, and they wanted Jesus to be forced to answer as publicly as he had acted the day before.

They wanted an explanation they could attack. Jesus answered with a question that put them on the spot. They wanted Jesus to declare his reasons. He asked them to declare their commitments. Their refusal revealed that their ultimate commitment was to their own power and authority, not to truth or to the kingdom of God Jesus was declaring and teaching. Jesus, of course, knew his authority was from God, but if these religious leaders would not acknowledge God's authority at work when they saw it, as in John the Baptizer, then Jesus had no reason to say another word to them.

At least, not on their terms. Because Jesus did say another word, indeed several other words, in the parables that follow. We hear just the first of these this week -- the parable of the two sons.

Like his previous question, this parable ends with a question asking them to declare their commitments. Who does the father's will? The son who said he would do it but didn't, or the one who, despite what he may have said, actually went ahead and did it? This they answered, not seeing the trap. The tax collectors and sinners are ahead of you, then, he tells them. They clearly saw God at work in John the Baptizer, believed his message, and changed their lives. Even when you (religious leaders) saw that happen, you changed nothing. Implication: The tax collectors and sinners are doing the father's will. You're just saying you will.

Today's reading is movement confronting institution. The institution does what institutions typically do: defend what they hold to be most valuable, including their power to name and defend what that is on their own terms. Tax collectors and prostitutes changing their lives because of the ministry of an entrepreneurial rabbi who repurposed and radicalized washing rituals while declaring judgment to come simply did not fit the kinds of purposes the institutions of synagogue or temple were out to address.
Matthew 21:23-32 (Amplified Bible) (AMP)
23 And when He entered the sacred enclosure of the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching and said, By what power of authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this power of authority?

24 Jesus answered them, I also will ask you a question, and if you give Me the answer, then I also will tell you by what power of authority I do these things.

25 The baptism of John--from where was it? From heaven or from men? And they reasoned and argued with one another, If we say, From heaven, He will ask us, Why then did you not believe him?

26 But if we say, From men--we are afraid of and must reckon with the multitude, for they all regard John as a prophet.

27 So they answered Jesus, We do not know. And He said to them, Neither will I tell you by what power of authority I do these things.

28 What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He came to the first and said, Son, go and work today in the vineyard.

29 And he answered, I will not; but afterward he changed his mind and went.

30 Then the man came to the second and said the same thing. And he replied, I will go, sir; but he did not go.

31 Which of the two did the will of the father? They replied, The first one. Jesus said to them, Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the harlots will get into the kingdom of heaven before you.

32 For John came to you walking in the way of an upright man in right standing with God, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots did believe him; and you, even when you saw that, did not afterward change your minds and believe him [adhere to, trust in, and rely on what he told you].
Sunday, September 28th — Highland United Methodist Church, near Fontanelle, is holding their Open House from 2 P.M. until 4 P.M. today. This is a great chance to say goodbye to another rural church.
Guthrie County's Bowman Chapel is having a Roast Beef Dinner, Bake Sale and Silent Auction today from 11 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.
Monday, September 29TH —
This is Pastor Lynn's and Naomi's scheduled day off.
Quilting Group meets at Casey U.M.C. this afternoon.
Casey U.M.C. Disciple Study will meet from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Tuesday, September 30th — Prayer Shawl Ministry - Adair UMC at 3 PM
Adair U.M.C. Disciple Study
will meet from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 AM.
Adair Office Hours today are 11 A.M. until noon and 1 P.M. until 4 P.M.
Casey Office Hours today are 9 A.M. until noon

Wednesday, October 1st —
Adair U.M.W. is holding a Guest Day Salad Supper
starting at 6:30 P.M.
Thursday, October 2nd —
Casey U.M.W. is holding a Guest Day Program at 2 P.M. Men and women are invited to hear Rev. Dr. Larry Somner speak about Bidwell-Riverside.

The tree leaves are uncommonly green for the end of September, but soon they will decide to let go and go back to nourish the earth.
Thank you for the effort you have put forth to support your church. You are a necessary entity in this equation.
God bless and keep you,
Pastor Lynn

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