"Where Is Your Place?"

We all like to know our “place”—where we stand, especially in relation to—maybe even in comparison to—others. Jesus has some insight about that for us.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for October 14, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

 

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"All Who Set Their Hearts to Seek God"

It is World Communion Sunday again—and why can’t we manage to get together as churches from different denominations to celebrate our unity?  What if “proper practice” is interpreted differently?  We probably shouldn’t be surprised that these realities today are also experienced by the people in Bible times, and that God has a gracious answer for them.  And therefore does for us.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for October 7, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday as we indeed celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion on World Communion Sunday.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Not To Make a Distinction"

We keep finding ways of determining who is “in” and who is “out’.  And yet sometimes we realize that we might have it wrong, and that we need to consider a different way of looking at it.  Peter gets this in this passage from Acts 11—and challenges US about our own sense of permanent guidelines.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for September 23, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, as we specifically welcome our preschool families.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Uz and Them"

In Adam Hamilton's book "Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn't Say" we discover that we are usually able to find ways of making the Bible reinforce our own perspective, by ignoring THE OTHER THING that the Bible says.  This Sunday we’ll look at two sets of two passages that contradict each other—or perhaps better stated, correct each other.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for September 16, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Bread: 4. True Food"

How does Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" discuss what Jesus asks of us in John chapter 6, when he says " my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink" and that we should eat and drink of them--"for the life of the world"?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for September 9, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Bread: 3. Never Be Hungry Again"

There are those who are convinced that ALL politicians are crooks.  The outpouring of positive feelings about John McCain upon his recent death would seem to challenge that, however.  I haven’t done an exhaustive search, but I haven’t heard anyone who has spoken or written about him use the term “crook”—or even to suggest that.  Is it possible to see with different eyes, eyes not clouded by those usual expectations?

Is it possible for the people in this passage from John 6 to see Jesus with different eyes, with different expectations? How about us?  Can WE see Jesus with different eyes? Can WE see Jesus with different expectations?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for September 2, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                      Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Bread: 2. Food That Endures"

How often do we miss the point when we look in the wrong place for the wrong thing?  This Sunday we'll consider this as we look at the crowd seeking Jesus in John chapter 6.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for August 26, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Bread: 1. Not Enough/More Than Enough"

This Sunday begins a four-part series titled “Bread” from John chapter 6.  It begins with Jesus feeding 5000 people with five loaves of bread (and two fish).  It continues with Jesus “riffing” on the idea of himself as bread from heaven, bread of life, bread that always satisfies.  It even considers Jesus himself as “manna” like God sent to the Hebrew children wandering in the wilderness. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for August 19, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"You Have This!"

The Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, will preach from Matthew 14;22-33 this Sunday, August 12, 20187, with her sermon titled "You Have This!" Come on out as we continue with our 10 AM summer worship hours. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for August 12, 2018 for a brief bio of Rev. Alyce Weaver-Dunn.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"What Would Jesus Do?"

"What would Jesus do?" was asked in a sermon by legendary preacher Charles Spurgeon in 1891, referring to a book by Thomas a Kempis from the 1400s.  It became a popular question--accompanied by reminder bracelets/wristbands marketed a hundred or so years later. It is clearly a simple question, but as our passage from Mark 6 shows us, not always a simple, unchanging answer.  It depends an enormous amount on the context.   

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for August 5, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, as we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"The Horns of a Dilemma"

When looking at a story in the Scriptures, it is interesting to consider what it must have been like from the perspective of one of the characters in the story—and how that translates to how WE would respond if it were us.  In this story, where we find out how John the Baptist died, we have a number of characters in the sordid tale.  And I would be surprised if any of us look at the story from the perspective of King Herod.  So we will—and look at the “pressure from both sides” that he was caught in.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for July 29, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Deeds of Power vs. Unbelief"

Jesus was crucified, so that is one thing that it would seem didn’t work out for him.  But since he was God in human form, did he ever have any difficulties with healing those he wanted to heal?  The answer may surprise you—and this passage gives a clue to that.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for July 22, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

"Daughter"

The passage from Mark 5:21-34 is an interruption.  A big, important thing that Jesus is in the middle of gets stopped for another thing—and there is some question if it is a good enough reason.  How good a reason does it need to be?  Does it matter who is involved in deciding that?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for July 15, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Being Made Well, At the Point of Death"

It is a cause for celebration when someone recovers from a challenging and potentially life-ending illness.  “God is good” we might say.  But what about when someone doesn’t—someone we wish would just as much as we might wish for the person who DID recover?  What is up with that—that some recover, and some don’t?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for July 8, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

"Being In the Other Boat"

“When the storms of life are raging, stand by me!”  we will sing Sunday in worship.  Life has plenty of storms, and we pray that Jesus is with us as we go through them.  But what about when it feels like we have nothing, and no one, to hold onto?  What if it seems like, rather than Jesus being in the boat with us, that we are in another boat?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for June 24, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM as we also honor five high school and college graduates.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"The Great Reverser"

From the website of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he is the James A. Kelso Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, comes this "story bio" of the Rev. Dr. Steven Tuell, who will be our guest preacher this Sunday.  And please make it a point to investigate his blog, "The Bible Guy".  It will be worth your while!

Follow this link to the bio for Dr. Tuell. See you in worship at 10 AM.

 

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sticking to the Point and Missing the Point”

The phrase "You can't see the forest for the trees" is, it seems to me, intentionally ambiguous.  But that phrase gets at the difference in viewpoint that Jesus so often seemed to have with the religious leaders.  And, I would suggest, that we sometimes have among ourselves.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for June 3, 2018 for further thoughts on this connection. See you in worship at 10 AM.  We will celebrate Holy Communion, receive new members, and follow up with a picnic!

                                      Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"All In The Family"

The sermon title "All In The Family" is taken from the groundbreaking TV show of the 1970s starring Carroll O'Connor and Rob Reiner as the two characters most conflicted with each other.  A man and his wife, their adult daughter and her husband all live in the same house, and the generational difference in political and social perspective of the father and son-in-law in particular was the crux of the show's plotlines.  There was genuine disdain, and animosity, and frustration, and arguing, and unspoken (occasionally it wasn't spoken out loud) disagreement.  And yet, in some bizarre way, they managed, when it really mattered, to "have each other's back". 

That seems to be some of what is happening in the passage from Mark 3:20-35.  Or is it?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for June 10, 2018 for further thoughts on this connection. See you in worship at 10 AM.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Dwelling In the Kingdom of God”

So what connects the celebration in the Christian Year of Trinity Sunday with the celebration in the patriotic calendars of the USA of Memorial Day?  To my mind, "Community".

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for May 27, 2018 for further thoughts on this connection. See you in worship at 9:15 AM (Modern) and 11 AM (Traditional).  Remember that starting next Sunday, June 3 we will hold one worship service at 10 am (for the summer months).

                                      Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“The Spirit Descends and the Spirit Intercedes”

Sometimes something beyond us comes upon us.  It's like people say when "the one" suddenly appears in your life--"it was bigger than both of us".  The Holy Spirit does that at Pentecost, and "the church" started, and nothing has been the same since. 

            We'll explore that on Sunday. 

            Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for May 6, 2018. See you in worship at 9:15 AM (Modern) and 11 AM (Traditional).  We will celebrate the Baptism of Hazel Rose Sedei at 9:15.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce