Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Thursday, October 26, 2017

November Newsletter Article 2017

Pastor's Pondering

Well, November is fast approaching, and once again the beginning of the hectic Holiday Season. It seems that no sooner than has November begun than we're rushing right into Christmas and then a New Year.  It's such a wonderful and hectic time of the year, and thank God for it all!

Just an update on some October projects, the 'Baked Steak Dinner' on October 19th was a great success and a huge thank you to everyone who pitched in and helped. Special thanks to Kim Anderson and my wife Gail for cooking and preparing the meal, it was delicious and everyone loved it very much!  The annual Hay Rack Ride on the 15th was a great outing once again and thank you to Nick & Rita Burley for providing the rack and pulling us out into the woods, and thank you to Clyde for setting up the bonfire for us. The 'Catch' training program has been well attended and the last meeting will be on October 31st.  On October 30th, Clyde and Donna Westcott, and Gail and I will be handing out treats in the Square for the “Trunk or Treat” event, if anyone else wants to dress up in costume and join us please feel free to do so the hours are from 5-7 pm.

Preparations are well underway for the upcoming God's Portion Sale on November 18th.  If you haven't been to the Sale for a couple of years, or if you've never been to this fun event, please make plans to attend.  It's an important part of our annual fund-raising efforts as well as a great lot of FUN!  Bring your items to be donated whenever you wish, the Church will be open on the 17th from 8 am on and we'll be here that afternoon setting up.  Set up is scheduled for 5 pm on Friday the 17th, all are welcome to come and help.  Thank you all in advance! Items to donate can be baked items, home crafts, gift certificates, or you name it!

On the 19th we have a very, very busy day in store.  That is the day of our Thanksgiving dinner which takes place immediately after the worship service. After the dinner, we'll move back into the sanctuary and have our annual 'Hanging of the Greens' also known as, decorating for the Advent and Christmas Season. This is always a fun and festive time and it's great to see everyone working around the Sanctuary decking it all out in Christmas spirit.

The Men's group will be meeting on Saturday, November 11th up at Sweet Things.  The meeting is at 7 am and please make plans to join us for a time of fellowship and ministry planning. The men will be helping Joyce & James Choate move on November 4th, if you'd like to help out with this project give me a call or talk to Joyce about how you can pitch in.

Sunday, December 3rd is the beginning of the 2017 Advent season and we will be doing a study in the Sunday Night Group (the Adult Sunday School will continue to work through the Gospel of John) I am in the process of developing the study so please stay tuned for more details to be announced in worship. If you've never attended the Sunday Night Group, please think about dropping in. We meet each Sunday at 6 pm in Fellowship Hall, after a light meal we go into a time of prayers & praise, sing a few songs together, and then spend time in a Bible Study, maybe watching a video or some other study. It's an informal gathering and a great time of fellowship, the type of study varies a bit, right now we're completing a study of the letter to the Galatians then transition into the Advent Study starting in December.

I have made contact with a Church in the Hurricane affected areas in Texas. Bill Spangler-Dunning put me in contact with the Regional Minister for Texas and she, in turn, put me in contact with the First Christian Church in Pasadena, TX. For those interested, their website is https://fccopasadena.wordpress.com/  There will be more information coming on this mission project so stay tuned for new developments and announcements from the pulpit.

On November 4th, the Hendricks family will be hosting Bessie Hendricks 110th birthday celebration here at the Church. Come on up from 2 to 4 pm and wish Bessie the very best! It will be great to have Bessie back in the Church building and we're all looking forward to the celebration.

Romans 15:13 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

May you all have a wonderful November and remember to...

Be a blessing to someone today!
Pastor Roy

Monday, October 23, 2017

Matthew 22:15-22, Give Yourself Back to God

The text for this past Sunday's sermon is found in the Gospel of Matthew in the 22nd Chapter, verses 15-22, and covers one of the more quoted statements of Jesus "Give to Caesar the things that are the Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s".

The end focus of the sermon was the Greek word Ἀπόδοτε or Apodote translated here as "give" or sometimes translated in these verses as "render" or "pay to"; the definition of the word Ἀπόδοτε or Apodote is actually better stated as "I give back", "restore", "return", or "sell".  To change the reading to "Return to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and return to God the things that are God's", give us an entirely different take on this verse.

We are to give back to Caesar that which by the definition of Roman Law is already his, the denarius that bears his image and the inscription "Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus", claiming at least in part deification for Tiberius Caesar the current Roman Emperor (Caesar Augustus was considered a god by the Cult of the Emperor). Under Roman Law, the Emperor owned all of the currency in circulation. This coin, bearing the graven image of the Emperor had no place in the Temple, to begin with, and much has been made of this in endless sermons and commentaries. 

The denarius bore the image of Caesar but what bears the image of God? We find the answer to this question in these verses in Genesis:
Genesis 1:26-27  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

We bear the image of God, we are God's... to return to God what is God's means that we return ourselves to God. Give to Caesar his defiled coin but give yourself to God.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In God's grace,

Matthew 22:15-22  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Question about Paying Taxes

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Philippians 4:1-13 "Our Strength In Christ"

This past Sunday, the sermon covered the verses found in the book of Philippians Chapter 4, verses 1 through 13. I chose to go through the verses a verse or so at a time and to expound upon them as such. In as such, the primary focus of the sermon was the final verse, verse 13 (I can do all things through him who strengthens me.) Undoubtedly, the strongest point made is that it is not our strength either of body or will that allows us to prevail, but rather the strength of Christ that we receive through our faith in Him. It is also important to remember that the impetus here is not that we always win, but rather that we can prevail whether winning or losing... Paul tells us this in the verse immediately preceding verse 13.

No matter what comes to us in this world in which we live, we can and will prevail sustained by the strength which we find in Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Strength,

Philippians 4:1-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,[b] help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice[c] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.[d] 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved,[e] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[f] these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoice[g] in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it.[h] 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


a) Philippians 4:1 Gk my brothers
b) Philippians 4:3 Or loyal Syzygus
c) Philippians 4:4 Or Farewell
d) Philippians 4:4 Or Farewell
e) Philippians 4:8 Gk brothers
f) Philippians 4:8 Gk take account of
g) Philippians 4:10 Gk I rejoiced
h) Philippians 4:10 Gk lacks to show it

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Matthew 21:33-46 The Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

This week I tackled the difficult verses found in Matthew 21:33-46. It was a considerably different sermon for me, compared to my general focus in preaching. This is a sermon touching on judgment. As much as we'd like to stay constantly focused on grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation, there is undoubtedly an emphasis on judgment in scripture and in the preaching of Jesus himself.

I did also point out that these verses have to do with the sins of the leadership, and that any refocusing of these verses into our own time must remember that Jesus is warning the leadership... folks like myself and those higher up in the chain of command in our various denominations. The warning that Christ is voicing as a prophet here is against the collaboration of the Jewish Leaders with the Roman Empire. Today, we see the entire block of the Mainline Protestant Denominations lined up in support and honestly indirect at best, and most assured actual direct collaboration with one particular political party. There's no difference here than what the Jewish Leaders were doing with the Romans. Our leaders should fully expect on judgment day to be called to task for this collaboration.

As a moderate, I see the collaboration of other denominations with the opposing political party, this is no better... and I called them out in the sermon as well.

Let us strive to remove ourselves from politics, to see a third way through these times. If you find yourself always in the camp of one political party, I present to you that you are being guided by political concepts and NOT theological concepts... no matter how hard you work to rationalize and legitimize your standing.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Matthew 21:33-46  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The stone that the builders rejected

    has become the cornerstone;[a]
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.[b] 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”[c]

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.


a) Matthew 21:42 Or keystone
b) Matthew 21:43 Gk the fruits of it
c) Matthew 21:44 Other ancient authorities lack verse 44

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Matthew 21:23-32, The Authority of Jesus and the Parable of the Two Sons - October 1, 2017

This past Sunday's sermon was, by my estimation, a bit rambling.  I do apologize, I was a little weary on Sunday morning as I had traveled to Omaha on Friday and then to Saint Paul, MN on Saturday. Both trips were to haul vehicles back to Lake City. On Friday, I trailered back to Lake City the old Cougar that I purchased a few weeks back. Due to the length of the car and the size of the trailer, there was no good way to balance the load and I ended up trailering her with more weight to the back of the trailer than I'd recommend. That made the trailer a bit finicky to tow and we ended up driving all the way at around 50 mph or less. Needless to say, it was a long drive home and in the dark to boot.

She's a beautiful old car with low miles and has spent all of her life thus far in and around Oakland, California. I had the car delivered to Omaha, as it was much less expensive than having it hauled all the way here. The old girl is currently down at Scott Gorden's garage having some steering issues examined (which is why I didn't just drive it here as I'd planned to do originally). Hopefully, he'll get whatever is going on worked out and I'll be able to drive her soon.

But, back to my rambling message on Sunday.  The sermon this week was over the verses found in the Gospel of Matthew 21:23-32. The passage covers the questioning of Jesus' authority by the leaders and then the beginning of His response to them. The sermon this coming week will continue on with this exchange between Jesus and the leaders.

The parable of the "Two Sons" speaks to us today, asking us when do we do better... when we immediately answer Jesus' call and then drop the ball... or when we argue with God and then relent and go and do His bidding... or is there a better way?  Well, of course, there is... we are called to respond and to carry through. Of course, we all know that there have been, and will be again, times when we emulate both brothers. Let us by preparation and prayer be ready to react properly the next time our God asks us to be His hands and feet to this wanting world.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Grace,

Matthew 21:23-32  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father[a] went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

a) Matthew 21:30 Greek He