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.
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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.