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Showing posts from September, 2015

Don't Grab Those Bootstraps - Ephesians 2:1-10

I’ve heard it, “pick yourself up by your bootstraps,” but I have also heard it come across as “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”  It pretty much means the same.  It means that you should improve your situation by fixing it yourself.  That’s all well and good if you are like me and wear boots with bootstraps.  However, what is a person supposed to do that wears clogs or tennis shoes, high-heels or flip-flops, or operates in my preferred mode, barefoot? So maybe we should seek out some advice that is a little more comprehensive?  Maybe something Biblical? How about this?  “God helps those who helps themselves.”  Can anyone tell me where this particular statement about God appears in God’s Word?  If you said, “Nowhere,” you are right.  This often quoted statement, attributed to God, and mistaken as Biblical, is of uncertain origin.  Some suggest it is from Benjamin Franklin and some trace its origins as far back as ancient Greece and Aesop’s Fables.  I have heard faithful Christians q…

Meaningful Work - 1st Corinthians 15:58

How many of you remember the movie The Karate Kid from 1984 as young Daniel sought karate lessons from Mr. Miyagi?  As the lessons began, Daniel found himself being given the seemingly meaningless tasks of waxing Mr. Miyagi’s cars, irritated even more by the fact that Mr. Miyagi was very particular about how he was to go about the waxing.  Later, his karate lessons moved from waxing cars with the “wax on/wax off” directions to the painting of the fence with its own particular set of directions. Last week, we talked about “Holy Work,” remembering Paul’s call that “whatever you do, in word or deed,” that we are to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  We discovered that anything we do, from preaching, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, and setting up for a Fellowship Meal, to working in a textile mill, painting a picture, cooking dinner, or ironing can be holy work, if we are focused on the will of God, and remembering to …

Holy Work - Colossians 3:17

Let me tell you the stories of two hard-working folks. The first is that of a young pastor who has just accepted his first appointment.  He spends time each week visiting among the congregation, trying to get to know the membership and the church’s history. He spends hours each week preparing for Bible Study and seeking God’s direction in the crafting of each Sunday’s sermon.  The pastor spends time sitting with families in the hospital, and the shut-ins in the nursing home.  He becomes involved in various groups within the community that seek to touch the lives of the of those who struggle from day to day. The second is a florist within the same congregation. She sits quietly in the pews each week. On Monday morning she opens up her business. She prepares each arrangement carefully, as if each were a work of art that would be on display, conscious of the hearts and lives each delivery would affect. With her sales complete, she looks through her inventory and selects the most beautiful …

Blessed to be a Blessing - Genesis 12:1-3

Brea McIver is a young twelve year old girl who lives in Whitsett.  Young Ms. McIver’s story made the newspaper for the third consecutive year.  Four years ago, when she was preparing to turn nine years old, she made a startling statement to her mother.  She told her mother that instead of birthday presents for herself, she wanted to receive items and money that could be donated to the Pet Adoption Center of Burlington.  When asked why, her response was, “‘I have everything and these animals have nothing’….”[i]  In a time when we see, or at least think, all of the children are self-centered, self-focused, and just want more and more, we see a young girl, unprompted by an adult, dispel that image.  She didn’t worry about whether she deserved birthday presents or had a right to ask for birthday presents.  Brea differs from so many of us.  Many of us consider the blessings we have to be all about us.  Many of us wouldn’t think about having all the folks that would give us gifts, bring gi…