The Daily: Tuesday August 19, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 130 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 44:1-34 (NRSV, The Message); Romans 11:13-29  (NRSV, The Message)

Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root. If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit. Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in. Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to crow over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you.     Romans 11:16-18 (The Message)

I guess there has always been “in” groups and “out” groups. Paul, usually having to chide the Jewish believers to accept the Gentile believers, here is reminding the Gentile believers not to forget what their roots are – or who their roots are. Why is it that when a group gains acceptance that they often find a way to exclude another?

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
    who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
    and that’s why you’re worshiped.    Psalm 130:3-4 (The Message)

Oh, to be like God, always forgiving, keeping no record of wrongdoings. This is what we breathe – Lord, teach us to share it.

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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The Daily: Monday August 18, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 130 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 43:1-34 (NRSV, The Message); Acts 15:1-21  (NRSV, The Message)

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
   and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
   more than those who watch for the morning,
   more than those who watch for the morning.     Psalm 130:5-6 (NRSV)

I love the Psalms that have been paired with the Genesis reading for the past week. As we engage the story of Joseph, often finding himself in the depths, we hear the songs of others in the depths. “As the watchmen waits for the dawn, so I long for you God.” David Baroni has written a beautiful song based on this passage from Psalm 130.

I do wonder sometimes what Joseph was up to in putting his brothers through these hurtles. Was he trying to get some kind of revenge? Was he testing them to make sure that he could trust them?

So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?” Acts 15:10-11 (The Message)

Peterson’s paraphrase is powerful here “Why are you trying to out-god God?” How often do I engage in the same behavior as these first Christians – look down my nose at one who doesn’t follow my rules or behave in the way a “good Christian” should behave. Thank God it is all about God’s compassion and grace. And thank God all this hasn’t been left up to me!

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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Guest Preacher Rashelle Rogers

The Daily: Thursday August 14, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 133 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 41:14-36 (NRSV, The Message); Revelation 15:1-4  (NRSV, The Message)

How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.         Psalm 133 (The Message)

 

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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The Daily: WednesdayAugust 13, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 28 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 40:1-23 (NRSV, The Message); Matthew 8:23-27  (NRSV, The Message)

 But the head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought; he forgot all about him.   Genesis 40:23 (The Message)

As I read the part of the story this morning where Joseph interprets the dreams of his fellow prisoners, it magnifies a question that the Joseph story brings up with me. How much depends on God and how much depends on us? How much of our destiny is already planned and how much can we effect it?

With these dreams, for example, it would seem the fate of the cupbearer and baker were already set. In the life of Joseph, it seems that God’s hand is guiding circumstances. However, Joseph still had a huge part to play through his faithfulness and integrity (as we discussed Sunday).

I suppose that is how St. Augustine came up with the thought that one should “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” Even when we are in the prison, feeling forgotten.

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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Lessons in Living from the Life of Joseph

You can find the sermon notes here, and the order of worship here.

The Daily: Tuesday August 12, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 28 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 39:1-23 (NRSV, The Message); Romans 9:14-29  (NRSV, The Message)

Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands.  Genesis 39:1-3 (NRSV)

 

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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The Daily: Monday August 11, 2014

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 28 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 37:29-36 (NRSV, The Message); 2 Peter 2:4-10  (NRSV, The Message)

Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son for many days. All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, ‘No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.’ Thus his father bewailed him.  Genesis 37:34-35 (NRSV)

Don’t turn a deaf ear
     when I call you, God.
If all I get from you is
     deafening silence,
I’d be better off
     in the Black Hole.
I’m letting you know what I need,
     calling out for help
And lifting my arms
     toward your inner sanctum.    Psalm 28:1-2 (The Message)
Todays section of story is Joseph’s father receiving the news (untrue) that his son was killed. Two things come to my heart as I read these passages this morning.

First, when we seek to do harm, when we lash out in anger, we always inflict more pain than we think we will in the heat of the moment. I wonder if Joseph’s brothers thought of the pain they would cause their father.

Second, I am so thankful that there is somewhere to turn when I am in the pit. I am so grateful for a God who hears, who understands, who has experienced (in Jesus) the pain of rejection.  “I’m letting you know what I need, calling out for help…”

What has been your experience in calling out to God for help?

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford, Sophie Brandt, Scott Button.

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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Lessons in Living from the Life of Joseph

Wrestled, Named, Called, and Blessed

 

You can see this week’s bulletin here.