Sermon - "An Upside Down Christmas"
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sermon - "An Upside Down Christmas"
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Nearly 33 million people live with HIV.
Last year alone, more than 2.5 million people were infected.
6,000 people die every day because of AIDS.
. . . another person dies every 15 seconds.
Source: AIDS Epidemic Update, UNAIDS, December 2006
Two-thirds of all people living with HIV are in Africa.
Two-thirds of all new HIV infections are in Africa.
Three-quarters of all AIDS-related deaths are in Africa... in a place that's home to just over one-tenth of the world's population.
Source: AIDS Epidemic Update, UNAIDS, December 2007
Approximately 2.5 million children worldwide have HIV.
Right now, there are more than 15 million children who have lost one or both parents because of AIDS.
Every day, another 6,000 children are orphaned due to AIDS.
. . . and most of these children live in Africa.
Sources: AIDS Epidemic Update, UNAIDS, December 2006; Africa's Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations, UNICEF, August 2006; UNAIDS, 2002.
By 2010, more than 20 million children will be orphaned due to AIDS.
By 2020, AIDS could kill up to 12 percent of Africa's workforce - as many as 58 million people.
. . . this crisis will not go away by itself.
Sources: UNICEF, August 2006; International Labour Organization, November 2006
770,000 children in Africa received values-based HIV-prevention training in 2006 alone.
615,000 orphaned and vulnerable children received care and assistance.
11,000 church leaders were mobilized to respond to the AIDS crisis.
. . . World Vision has been on the front lines of the AIDS crisis in Africa since 1990.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sermon - "A Blue Christmas"
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here are the highlights from today's discussion covering unit #2, "What Do I Do with the Bible?"
Chapter 6 - We were reminded how the Bible contains a "grand narrative" or a larger story as the author of the book puts it. We need to always remember this big picture whenever we read the bible to help us discern how to interpret the bible.
Psalm 119 uses a lot of personal pronouns such as "I delight in your decrees..." "I will walk about in freedom..." showing us that the bible invites us to be in a relationship with God through the words in this ancient book.
When we read a particular book in the Bible, we need to keep in mind the other books as well. r example, the Book of Deuteronomy has a theology of obedience and blessings whereas the Book of Job shows that obedience doesn't always lead to blessings. We need to keep the tensions of various theologies in mind when reading the Bible.
Chapter 7 - To read the bible effectively, we need to be good listeners when we read the bible. Love and listening are connected.
Chapter 8 - The bible is meant to help us live out our faith. It's not just about information but about helping us to live transformed lives to in turn, bring transformation to the world through God's Holy Spirit.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Chapter 3 - McKnight gives a summary of the three major sections of the Bible to help us read it as a grand narrative:
Beginning (Genesis 1-11)
Middle (Genesis 12 through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)
End (Matthew 25, Romans 8, & Revelation 21-22)The problem is that we often take short-cuts in reading the bible as a grand narrative. Here are the short-cuts:
1. We see the bible as morsels of law (the Bible becomes a giant encyclopedia)
2. We see the bible as morsels of blessings and promises. (see the many verse a day calendars. What verses are on those daily calendars? Positive and cheery verses. But what about the verses of judgment and God's wrath? We conveniently screen those out!
3. We see the bible as an inkblot. We project our images of Jesus/God into the Bible. ie - if I'm a Republican I tend to fashion Jesus into a "conservative" Jesus.
4. We see the bible as a great big puzzle. The thinking is that once we complete the puzzle, we don't need to read it anymore. Big mistake!
5. We see the bible from the perspective of Maestros. If the Apostle Paul is our favorite biblical author, we make him the dominating perspective for the rest of the bible.
Chapter 4 - Since the Bible is a grand narrative, we always need to be aware of the context of a particular passage of scripture. The 7 important words of biblical interpretation is, "that was then and this is now." Since the bible was written several centuries ago, we need to be aware of the historical time period in which it was written.
The bible is filled with "wiki" stories. Like wikipedia in which people keep adding information to a topic on the internet, the bible is an adding on of stories to the grand narrative. I know that wikipedia has the problem of incorrect information being added and that's where this illustration breaks down. The point is that the biblical authors added their stories to the Story in order to tell God's story of salvation history.
Chapter 5 - The bible can be broken down into these parts of the plot:
Creating Eikons (the word for humans as God's image bearers) - Genesis 1-2
Cracked Eikons - Genesis 3-11
Covenant Community - Genesis 12 - end of OT
Christ, the Perfect Eikon - Matthew - Revelation 20
Consummation - Revelation 21-22
The problem today is that people are so concerned and worked up over the creationism vs. evolution debate, that we miss the whole point of the creation story in Genesis 1 & 2 in which God created humans to be image bearers and good stewards of God's good creation.
Next Thursday - We focus on chapters 6 through 8.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Features - 26th Sunday After Pentecost; Veterans’ Sunday (Veterans will be recognized at all 3 worship services. A band will play for the 11:00 service); & Coins for Missions Sunday (Coins placed in the offering will help support St. Paul UMC Outreach Center in Dayton, FISH Food Pantry, the Caring Place Meal Ministry in Xenia, & IHN which provides temporary housing for families in need)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
As we prepare for tomorrow's annual Church Conference meeting in which we will review our membership roll, the encouraging news is that in 2008, we have already received 15 new members (this doesn't count the new members joining on November 16.) But since we have experienced several deaths this year, we presently have a net loss of membership.
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.