"Epiphanies: If Your Eye . . ."

Did Jesus have crazy ideas?  Did Jesus have crazy "suggestions" about how we are to live, and what we are to do? 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 17, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, when we will celebrate the Baptism of Tristin Asher Brown.

                                                                            Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: See Your Good Works"

In the passage from the Sermon on the Mount for this coming Sunday, Jesus risks inflating the egos of the people he's talking to.  He tells them that they are the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world".  It would be easy to get all egotistical if someone tells you that--imagine if JESUS tells you that!  So how do we believe that, but not get self-centered about it?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 10, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, when we will welcome three new members.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: See God"

The Sermon on the Mount has been around for a couple of thousand years, and we still struggle to implement what Jesus teaches in it.  The ethos he presents in Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes, is so counter-intuitive to how we live, and how we've been taught to live.  What a challenge to us as to how we follow Jesus!

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 3, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will celebrate Holy Communion.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: Come And See"

Since the weather caused us to cancel worship last Sunday, the planned order of worship, Scriptures, and sermon will happen this coming Sunday.  Please follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 20, 2019 for thoughts on the sermon.  And please follow the link for January 27, 2019 for further thoughts on the Special Offering we will receive for Human Relations Sunday (which was to have been last Sunday).

Human Relations Sunday falls right before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which raises a key point about human relations, and about how we need to understand and approach human relations. Two quotes leap to mind: "Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public"   (Cornel West) and "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)--both of which affirm that human relations is not about everybody "behaving" but about everybody having value. 

See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will receive a special offering for Human Relations Day.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: He Saw the Spirit"

This is the season of Epiphany in the life of the church, where we are supposed to "see" stuff.  This Sunday we recall Jesus being baptized by John (the Baptist), and in the story it says "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him". What does that mean for us?  And what are we seeing--or failing to see?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 13, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 7. The Wise Men"

We wrap up the "Characters of Christmas" series this Sunday with the "wise men from the East"--who are different from all of the other "Characters of Christmas" in a whole lot of ways. Ways we need to think about in how we interact with others.  

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 6, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will celebrate Holy Communion and the Baptism of Harrison Robert Miskiel.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Characters of Christmas 4. Joseph”

Our "Characters of Christmas" for the next two Sundays, with Christmas Eve in between, are the three that comprise "the Holy Family".  Each has a story that is important for Christmas, obviously, and important for our own journey to and from Christmas.   

​Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for December23-30, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AMon Sundays, and 5 PM and 7:30 PM on Christmas Eve.

​                                       Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 3. Elizabeth"

Elizabeth's story reminds us that it's not all about "me"--even the wonderful gifts given to me are for more than me.

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

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 2. Zechariah"

We all have that extended family that we are reminded of as Christmas approaches, and who play a part in our own experience of Christmas.  Jesus, too, had such a family, and they play a part in that first Christmas.  Zechariah, the father of Jesus' relative John the Baptist, is one of those characters connected to the Christmas Story. 

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

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Hanging of the Greens"

Each holiday has its symbols.  For example, a Jack-o-Lantern—carved pumpkin—is used at Halloween, and likewise Christmas is replete with symbols, first and foremost a tree covered with ornaments called—not mysteriously—a Christmas tree.  In the church, the time of preparation for Christmas, known as Advent, has symbols too.

This Sunday is the “Hanging of the Greens” when we not only decorate for Advent and Christmas, but also dedicate those symbols and remind ourselves what they mean and why we use them. WE begin with breakfast, starting at 8:30 AM, then together decorate the Sanctuary and Welcome Center. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 25, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 11 AM (note changed time!) this Sunday. We will celebrate Holy Communion.  

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 1. Kings"

We are at that weird time of the year when it’s no longer Thanksgiving, but not yet December—and in the “church calendar” it’s the end of a year and not yet the start of a new one.  So in looking at Christ the King, we’ll also look at the various kings associated with the Christmas story.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 25, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday. And Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                          Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Enriched in Every Way"

When we live trusting in God, good stuff can happen.  People for generations can attest to this.  We will look at that Sunday, as we continue in our Stewardship series, and give thanks.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 18, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"An Attitude of Gratitude"

Ebenezer Scrooge’s motivation in Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” was to hang on to everything he had, which might seem like a good plan.  But it made him miserable, and it made everybody in his orbit miserable. Is there an alternative to miserliness that is better?  Is there a better attitude to live life with?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 4, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Knowing Where We’re Looking"

Ever mow a yard?  Ever do it by mowing forward while looking backward?  If you did, how did it turn out?  Some things in life require looking ahead of where we are to where we’re going.  Jesus actually talked about that—and did it, too.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 4, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday as we celebrate Holy Communion.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Blessed To Be A Blessing"

Stewardship is about using what we have responsibly--and what our stewardship looks like is guided by the understanding that all we have is a gift from God in the first place.  Therefore when we "count our blessings" we need to recognize why we have those blessings in the first place.  We'll look at that this Sunday.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for October 28, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"It’s All About Love" 1 Corinthians 13

This Sunday is Laity Sunday, and we are blessed to have our Conference Lay Leader, Sharon Gregory, as our preacher.  Sharon will pull from that classic chapter on love—which we’ve probably all heard at weddings—1 Corinthians 13—to preach a sermon titled “It’s All About Love”. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for October 21, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday

 

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"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