Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ephesians 5:1-14, Thursday Night Worship - March 19, 2020

Our Thursday night service on March 19th began our first Live-Streamed services without anyone in the congregation.  We like so very many others have gone to this arrangement in answer to the 'social-distancing' required concerning the 'Covid-19' outbreak.  These make for some awkward and demanding times for us ministers as well as you as congregants.

Together we will get through these times... as they say, 'this too shall pass'...

The video below is of the entire service; the sermon reading begins at the 9:00 minute mark in the recording.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Ephesians 5:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Renounce Pagan Ways
3 But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be associated with them. 8 For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
    Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

John 4:5-42, "The Woman By The Well" - Sunday Sermon - March 15, 2020

Photo by Roy Karlen
On Sunday, March 15th, I preached over the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.  This is a story that we have all heard over and over again but it is a story that is worthy of revisiting regularly as well.  It reminds us that Jesus was not afraid of approaching even those who society shuns.  Christ calls us to love even those who are relegated to the realm of being unlovable or even unapproachable by society.

I also preached to the ever-increasing concern that we have with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19).  We are all becoming evermore focused upon this coming threat and must be prepared for the long-haul. 

On Monday we decided to cancel worship services until April 5th and thus my next videos will be just me preaching to an empty sanctuary and broadcasting to the Internet.

In this time apart we all need to cleave to God and feel His strength and power surrounding and protecting us.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Prayer for A Pandemic
By Cameron Wiggins Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between
preserving their health or making their rent

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children
when their schools close
remember those that have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country,
let us choose love during this time when we
cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbor.

Photo by Roy Karlen

John 4:5-42 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[a] 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you[b] say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he,[c] the one who is speaking to you.”

27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[d] can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving[e] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

a) John 4:9 Other ancient authorities lack this sentence
b) John 4:20 The Greek word for you here and in verses 21 and 22 is plural
c) John 4:26 Gk I am
d) John 4:29 Or the Christ

e) John 4:36 Or 35 . . . the fields are already ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is receiving

Photo by Christian Begemann

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Matthew 17:1-9, The Transfiguartion, sermon given March 8, 2020

On Sunday, March 8th, I preached over the "Transfiguration" and focused upon the fear involved in the story.  In this time we are becoming far too familiar with fear.

I discuss a the impact of "Covid 19" in our world.  At this time the sermon is a bit dated in the information about the virus, as this virus and the knowledge and news about it is evolving each and every day.

Please forgive me for being so slow in getting this up and running but it's been a crazy time.

Be a blessing to someone today!

God bless,

Matthew 17:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Transfiguration
17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I[a] will make three dwellings[b] here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Matthew 17:4 Other ancient authorities read we
Matthew 17:4 Or tents
Matthew 17:5 Or my beloved Son

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Romans 4:1-17, Thursday Night Worship, March 5th, 2020

Last Thursday night we looked at the verses found in the letter to the churches in Rome, Romans 4:1-17.  The ability to link to Abraham was a very important consideration to ancient Jews... if you look at Luke's Gospel he takes us all the way back to Adam in Jesus' genealogy, but Matthew (the most Jewish of the Gospels) is content to just link Jesus to Abraham.  This link to Abraham was all the was needed... Jesus is not only of the house of David but a child of Abraham.

Paul's message is that we all are blessed through Abraham and let us not forget the verses that speak of creating children of Abraham from the very stones themselves.

Please take a listen, it wasn't a long sermon by any means.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Romans 4:1-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Example of Abraham
4 What then are we to say was gained by[a] Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. 6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.”

9 Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.

God’s Promise Realized through Faith
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Romans 4:1 Other ancient authorities read say about

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Matthew 6:24-34, Sunday, March 1st, 2020, a "Worrisome" sermon

I'll be honest, this wasn't a sermon I was particularly happy with while preaching it.  I did, however, receive a great deal of feedback from the congregation and several told me that this was their favorite sermon that I had given (not sure what to make of that?) and so I went back and listened to it myself.  In listening to it I found it to be a much better message than it felt like it to me while preaching.

Many people told me that it was what they needed to hear and whether or not I'm happy with a sermon isn't really the issue.  What is important is that the message is meaningful and needed by those listening.

So... if your life is racked with worry... take a listen...

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Grace,

Matthew 6:24-34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Serving Two Masters
24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.[a]

Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[b] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[c] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[d] and his[e] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

a) Matthew 6:24 Gk mammon
b) Matthew 6:25 Other ancient authorities lack or what you will drink
c) Matthew 6:27 Or add one cubit to your height
d) Matthew 6:33 Other ancient authorities lack of God
e) Matthew 6:33 Or its

Thursday Night Service - February 27, 2020 - 1st Corinthians 4:1-5 - Slaves for Christ

I'm trying to get caught up on the blog so here is the sermon from Thursday night's worship on February 27th.  That night we looked at the short bit of scripture found in 1st Corinthians 4:1-5.

In these few verses, we learn twice that we are called to be slaves to Christ.  The word translated in the NRSV as servants means a 'Galley Slave', and the word translated as steward means a slave who is in charge of the finances and order of the household.

Please take a listen and see what you think.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Ministry of the Apostles

4 Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.