Euodias: Well, Syntyche, how is everything at your house?
Syntyche: Oh, not ideal. Its been hard, having Lydia and the children move back home.
Euodias: I told you when Lydia married that Canaanite that it would never work.
Syntych: I remember your warning, Euodias. But then, I warned you that your son Jebu would never make a living selling sandals.
Euodias: Well, he did better than your son, Zorab, trying to be a tent maker.
Syntyche: You know perfectly well that his artistic hands were too frail to handle that heavy canvas.
Euodias: But not too frail to pick figs from my trees.
Syntyche: He picked up a few of your precious figs that had fallen in our yard!
Euodias: Your yard, my grandfather’s skull cap! Ill have you know…
Discussion: How can we best cope with discord between faithful church members?
Activity: Try to compliment at least three people at church each Sunday.
Thoughts: Paul had a special affection for the church he founded at Philippi. The first two chapters are filled with his love for the Philippians.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.…”
“…I have you in my heart.…”
“…how greatly I long after you all….”
By chapter three, Paul is less doting and more admonitory. He warms the Philippians against false teachers, who have convinced the Philippians that they are practically perfect – a concept the Philippians were delighted to accept.
Even I, Paul writes, am not perfect. But, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Discussion: What does Paul mean by “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gains”?
Activity: Find your own favorite verse in Philippians and memorize it.
Thoughts: Minerva never said no to any request. She was always cheerful – unfailingly kind – completely willing.
Of course, I’ll bake 8 dozen cupcakes for coffee hour! I have this great recipe for carrot cake!”
But there were no cupcakes. “My oven wouldn’t light.”
“I’d love to work at the rummage sale! I’ll come every day!”
But Minerva never came. “I found out I’m allergic to used clothes.”
“Of course, we’ll greet on Sunday morning! I just love to meet new people.
But Minerva and her family were not at church on Sunday morning. “the road between our house and the church was closed for repairs.”
“I’d love to be secretary for the administrative board! I can use shorthand I learned in high school!”
But Minerva never came to the meetings. “Oh, I can’t go anywhere on Tuesday nights. Abner bowls, and sometimes Abner, Jr. has a history test on Wednesday.”
Discussion: Would it be better for Minerva simply to say no? Why or why not?
Activity: Write the thank-you note to Uncle Zebulon for your April birthday present.
Micah: When did you start working here in the vineyard?
Haggai: Oh, about an hour ago.
Zephaniah: I’ve been working here since noon.
Habakkuk: You’ve been here since noon, but how many grapes have you picked?
Hosea: The owner should pay us according to how many bags we fill.
Obadiah: Oh, good idea! Maybe he’ll hire you to manage his vineyard.
Malachi: Here come the owner and his steward now.
Zechariah: Quitting time, guys.
(The laborers are paid.)
Amos: I got $10.
Nahum: You didn’t start working until three o’clock this afternoon!
Micah: I started at nine this morning, and I just got $10.
Jonah: Catch me working for that joker again!
Discussion: What do you think of the vineyard owner’s pay scale?
Activity: Think about the owner’s statement: “Is your eye evil, because I am good?”
Thoughts: Predictably, Pharaoh regretted letting the Israelites leave Egypt. He stormed at his servants, “Why did we (!) let Israel go from serving us?.”
So Pharaoh and his army, with 600 chariots, pursued the Israelites and caught up with them on the banks of the Red sea.
“Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt?” The Israelites raged at Moses. “Why have you brought us out into the wilderness to die?”
Moses assured them, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
And with the miraculous parting of the waters, all the Israelites passed safely between the walls of the parted Red Sea. When the Egyptians pursued the Israelites, the waters roared over them. Not a single Egyptian survived.
I remember reading that, during the filming of The Ten Commandments, Cecil DeMille used thousands of boxes of red jello to create the walls of water. God didn’t need any red jello.
Discussion Do we accept the parting of the Red Sea as a miracle, or do we search for scientific exploration?
Activity: Send a donation for flood relief. Make checks payable to Troy First marked Advance #901670.
Thoughts: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
One of my earliest memories is hearing my father quote this verse. Usually, the occasion was Thursday night prayer meeting. Prayer meeting met 52 weeks a year, soldiering on through sweltering (not air-conditioned) nights and frigid winter nights when we kept our coats on. Prayer meeting attendance was small and predictable: the minister and his wife, two widows, two elderly (at least in their 50’s) couples, and the five of us – two reverent adults and three sullen children. Homework, basketball games, favorite radio programs – nothing prevailed against prayer meeting. We were there.
Now my eyes fill with tears when I remember my slight, careworn father reminding all of us that even though we were few in numbers, Jesus was there in the midst of us. He was the reason why we were there, the shining promise of his saving love, the blessing of his eternal promise that “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Discussion What church events have the highest attendance? Why?
Activity: When you sign the attendance book on Sunday morning, remember the Unseen Presence sitting beside you who does not sign His name.
People in our home town seemed determined not to pronounce our last name correctly. Perhaps its nine letters looked threatening. I remember hearing my father explain patiently, over and over –
“It’s phonetic – you pronounce it exactly the way it’s spelled. Chen – o – weth.”
“Oh,” the listener would not. “Chinnyworth.”
My father would permit himself a brief frown. “Think of it this way. ‘Chen’ rhymes with ‘when’ – then ‘o’ – then ‘weth’ rhymes with ‘Seth’.”
“Okay, I got it. Chinnyworth.”
So I grew up, known as Wilson Chinnyworth’s little girl Susan. In college I was known as Susie. And now, for many years, I have been a sedate and matronly Sue or Mrs. Olesen. This six-letter last name has continued to baffle my relatives, after nearly 60 years. They continue to experiment with Olsen, Oleson, or Olson. Apparently, two e’s are too much to expect.
Do you suppose the people in Nazareth had trouble pronouncing Jesus? Did he have a nickname? Did his brothers and sisters call him the Aramaic equivalent of Bro? Did Mary have a pet name for her precious first born?
Discussion: What do you like best to be called?
Activity: Learn the name of someone in our church whom you have not yet met. This person will be pleased, and our church family will seem warmer and more welcoming.
Thoughts: Jesus told his disciples to take a ship to the other side of the lake. He wanted – he needed to be alone. So he went up into a mountain to pray and rest. He was understandably tired of begging, clamoring, clutching people.
But his time alone did not last long. The disciples’ ship had sailed only to the middle of the lake before a storm came. The frightened disciples were even more terrified when they saw what they thought was a spirit walking toward them on the water.
Knowing is disciples’ danger and fear, Jesus came to them, reassuring them, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Discussion: Why did Peter sink when he tried to walk on water?
Activity: Think of someone who needs to know that he/she is not alone. We can’t walk on water, but we can call, write a note, pay a visit.
Remember in prayer this week Sheryl Dukes, Vivian Hansard, Betty Kalvoda, Eunice Kraase, Steve Olsavsky, Mildred & Dick Parker
Thoughts: Explanations have been proposed to explain this miracle of feeding at least 20,000 people.
1. Some people left and went home for supper.
2. Some people declined the food, so that others could eat.
3. Some people were gluten-intolerant, and some people didn’t like fish.
4. Some people had brought their own food so, when the disciples offered the
bread and fish, they got out their own supplies and shared them.
Why not believe that the Son of God could feed the multitude?
Discussion: Why are some people eager to disprove Jesus’ miracles?
Activity: Choose one worthy charity and send a check.
Remember in prayer this week Vivian Hansard, Millie and Dick Parker, and Tina and Mike Stefanski.
This Wednesday night at 6:15, our church softball team is playing a game that will propel them into the playoffs. Be there to cheer them at Good Shepherd Lutheran School.
Paving the Way through Faith continues to reimburse our Capital Improvement Fund. We are up to $7,000 of the $30,000 needed.
Christmas in July was a big success with $400 donated. Please contact the office with your cash donation amount to receive credit on your statement, and also to verify the amount of our offering which is designated for Christmas in July.
We welcome Nina Mendiola to our office staff this week. Donna will be training her. Stop by to say “hi!” Her church email address is email@example.com. Please send all Tidings to her by August 21.
Concerns from Sunday, July 30:
Martin & Carolyn Jones – Prayers for a family friend who has had two strokes and can not walk.
Rick & Linda Wright – Prayers for the Shier family. Marilyn Shier, Wright’s dear friend, died unexpectedly Thursday.
Pete & Jill Woods – Excited to announce the engagement of our daughter Emily to Tyler Drabek.
Thoughts: Jesus told a parable about a field planted with good seed. An enemy of the field’s owner planted weeds with the good seed. The owner’s servants asked if they should destroy the weeds so the good plants could thrive.
“No, let them grow together,” the owner said. “At harvest time, gather the weeds first and burn them. Then gather the wheat into my barn.”
This seems straightforward. But when the multitude had left, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable.
Sometimes, when the disciples asked Jesus for an explanation, Jesus was impatient. We can almost hear his tired sigh, see him shake his head, hear him mutter.” How could I have made it any clearer!”
But this time Jesus responded immediately with a detailed explanation of the parable. He ended with a beautiful promise:
“Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.”
Discussion: Why is this a lesser known parable?
Activity: In this record of the Pilgrims’ first few years in the New World, William Bradford wrote that “… one small candle may light a thousand ….” This week, what could your small candle light?
Remember in prayer this week Vivian Hansard, Dick and Mildred Parker and Mike and Tina Stefanski.
This Sunday in the Christian Life Center you may sign up to give blood on August 18th.
Concerns from Sunday, July 16:
Lynne Meek and George and Jane Berquist – Prayers for family and friends of Beth Nitos, a close family member, who died Saturday morning.
Megal Corera – Prayers for my safe trip to Sri Lanka on the 22nd to see my siblings and not contact Dengue and for a safe return back home on August 10th.
Joyce Bauman – Dick and Mildred Parker – Just because…..
Dick Parker – Prayers for my procedure tomorrow and continued healing for Millie. Thanks for prayers!
Jayne Saeger & Tina Stefanski – The prayers and love and caring from all of you are the support that is sustaining us in this difficult journey. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Tim Teagan – For a friend starting treatment for colon cancer and safe travel mercies for the Rumels.
Jovi Julian – We give our thanks to God for all His blessings – for my son John Julian being chosen Troy Police Officer of the Year!
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UNITED METHODIST SPECIAL SUNDAYS:
These are the days that our worldwide United Methodist churches take offerings for special projects for our worldwide church.