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May 29, 2024:  Tuesday Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 10:17-22

May the lovingkindness of Jesus Christ fill your life each day, and through you, be offered to everyone you meet.

I hope that you had a wonderful holiday weekend, that your travels were safe, and that your homecoming was to rest and recuperate. On Memorial Day we took the boys to Tubac for lunch, and we were hopeful of being able to go to the state park there to tour the museum. If you haven't been to it, it is a must for understanding the history of our state, and its indigenous peoples.  Regrettably, it was not open on the holiday. We will try again another time.

Our reading from Mark 10 today is one which reveals to us the hope of God for each of our lives. Jesus reveals it through his comments to a rich young man. Obviously, from the way in which the young man rushed to Jesus' side, he was concerned for his own salvation, even though in the text we discover that he has been diligent about keeping the commandments to their letter. Evidently doing a better job than we tend to do in our lives, or perhaps you can make exactly the same claim to keeping the body of the commandments which addresses the ways in which we are called to live our lives in relationships with other people.  When he comes up to Jesus, rushing to Him, we find that the young man is in an extremely emotional state. Out of His concern for the young man, Jesus slows him down, asking the obvious questions about his faith. We are told that Jesus loves this young man. Christ already knows how he has been in his life, but in the exuberance of this moment with this wandering prophet, the young man really needs to calm down so that he can understand that there is even more to his journey than the respectability that he has already accomplished. For Jesus, the great teaching about loving others as you love yourself springs to life in this passage. The young man has done all of his keeping of the commandments for himself, and his concern about eternal life. But keeping the commandments is intended to be for others. It is the expression of the Love of God that enters the lives of others that this young man, and us, as well, that is really critical. It basically comes down to living sacrificially for others.  He had never considered this because his concern was for himself, not for others. And, when he is confronted about his wealth, he is unprepared to make that kind of sacrifice in his life. Now we need to understand that Jesus is requiring more of him that he is willing to do. What the young man cannot understand is that if he is doing all that Christ asks, he will never need to be worried about himself in his relationship with the LORD. This is why it is so important for us to steward God's provision in our lives, so that others may come to know His love. I know that we all fall short in this way in our relationship with Christ. Christ knows the generosity of our hearts. That is why it is so important to give sacrificially for world hunger, disaster relief, buying chicks and pigs and goats and cows to support the lives of people who need to be lifted up with resources to have a more fulfilling life, or to offer our help in times of need.  Recently in our home we experienced that same kind of sacrifice as members provided meals for us for several weeks as Melody got back on her feet after surgery. What an experience of Love! When we do these added acts of giving of our time, our talents, and our resources, we stop focusing on ourselves, and instead we move to show Christ's love, knowing it in our own lives already. Jesus did not focus on himself, his journey to the cross was for others, and that includes you and me. He has set the example of what our Father's hopes are for us in His creation. We are living our lives in such a way, that others may know Christ' love. We already have the greatest gift, Salvation. Our drive-in life is to be certain that others know the Christ of God through our generosity for our neighbors who may not know the love of Christ, and His Salvation.

With Love in Christ, Pastor Kim

May 23, 2024:  Thursday Bible Study on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah 4:7-23

May the Grace of God fill your life today!

Just a reminder – in yesterday's Bible Study, I said that this Sunday was Gospel Music Sunday and Carry-in meal. It is NOT. June 2 is Gospel Music Sunday, and the carry-in meal is on that day too with an Asian theme.

In this part of Nehemiah, we come face to face with the enmity which existed between those who had earlier settled and established themselves after the exiles were taken away - so many years before Nehemiah, or even Ezra. There were plenty of troublemakers in that community who did not want any success or the presence of the Judahites who had returned from exile and were now rebuilding the breached sections of the wall, and the gates. It really does sound like Nehemiah is a great leader as the people doing the building are faced now with the danger of being attacked by their enemies. However, the issue here is not that Nehemiah has a plan for readiness to do battle with the enemies of the rebuilding and for the people who were doing it. Their enemies were murderous, and of all of the possibilities of what we might learn from this passage, things like readiness, tenacity for the rebuilding and difficulties of trying to settle down and protect their old homeland. They also had to become ready-to-battle-warriors for the well-being of their community and temple. I think that a more important point in this passage is not what the people were willing to do under Nehemiah's leadership, but what God would do for this faithful group of His people, and how they would be guided by God each step of the way to victory.  One of our problems is that we focus on making Scripture answer our questions rather than looking for God's agenda.

Nehemiah knows that God has a desire to support His people. The rebuilding is extremely difficult because the refuse of the destroyed wall is in the way, and it must be moved if the wall and gates are to be repaired and rebuilt. So not only is Nehemiah faced with enemies outside of Jerusalem, but he is also faced with the builders getting frustrated and tired of having to move all of the damaged materials. Nehemiah looks to God, His call to Nehemiah to serve, and the safety that he has already realized through faith. Remember that Nehemiah was a treasured servant of Artaxerxes, and God even moved Artaxerxes to trust Nehemiah to do as he had promised. God's agenda here is to continue to use Nehemiah to shape the rebuilding. So, Nehemiah does three things to hopefully avoid a full-scale battle with already established enemies who literally surround Jerusalem and the temple on every side. And they really don't want the Judahites to become powerful and favorites of Artaxerxes. 

  1. HE PRAYS! All too often in our lives we just depend on God to be there to meet our need. God always wants to hear from us through our prayers. They are the greatest sign of our faith.

  2. HE EQUIPS THE PEOPLE WITH WEAPONS FOR DEFENSE, AND WITH TOOLS FOR CONINUING THE REBUILD AND REPAIR. We do this every Sunday as we gather for worship. This is the place where we find our faith shared by others, we regroup for the week ahead, and we find 0ur faith strengthened by the undergirding which comes to us through the strong faith of our brothers and sisters in the church.

  3. NEHEMIAH GATHERS EVERYONE TOGETHER IN THE OPEN AS A SHOW OF STRENGTH AND COMMITMENT. When we are faced with evil in our world, or troubles in our lives, we need to always be surrounded by people of faith whose courage and strength becomes ours. We know God's promise, and His hope, through the life we share in common in the Church. There is a Thanksgiving song that we should repeat more often. "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing!"  God brings the defense of His Spirit for us. Holy Spirit, Sustainer of Life, guide us every day to understand God's agenda for our lives, and, how together we can grow in our faith, and in our proclaiming of His Love for all people.

God Bless You and Protect You.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

May 22, 2024:  Tuesday (Wednesday) Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 10:13-16

Thank you, dear friends who are doing the study of Mark.

My good news is that after my visit to the would clinic yesterday afternoon, my right leg is completely healed, now to get the left one in the same state. Dr. treating me believes that the other two wounds will be healed within the next several weeks. The other good news is that my blood pressure is now back into the normal range. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Please do join us for Holy Trinity worship this week and remember the free movie afternoon this Saturday at 2PM in the sanctuary. We also have Gospel Music Sunday and the Asian themed carry in which we will share after Sunday service.

Today in Mark 10 we have a very interesting short passage about the place and faith model of children. In all of the hectic times which are currently surrounding Jesus as He prepares to enter Jerusalem, Jesus finds time for welcoming the smallest children of the community. These children are probably four years or less, and it is likely that their mothers brought them so that they might receive a blessing from this great teacher and healer.  On the other hand, the disciples wanted the children and their mothers sent away. This was not the time for this kind of stuff to be taking place! After all, Jesus has already told them that He will lose His life in a short time.  The disciples must have been very anxious about the news that Jesus had been sharing with them. In His normal fashion Jesus teaches an object lesson spontaneously. As you and I know, the little ones who we teach at church, are ready to hear and absorb the wonderful stories in the Bible. The Veggie Tales show helps us to understand the ways in which children learn, accept, and trust in the Word of God, and the truths that it reveals. Council President, Gail, often brings Oliver to church, and we are all caught up in the joy of that voice speaking out saying the truths that you and I should know in our hearts but are certainly mostly unwilling to be so exuberant about. Not Oliver. He is happy to be in the midst of the people of God, and he certainly feels at home with us as adults. Oliver trusts us to care for him with the tender love of Jesus Christ, and though his life may change as he grows in years, you and I have had the privilege of sharing our faith with him, laughing with him, and rejoicing and welcoming in the Spirit to our lives.   Jesus is very clear here. Accepting Him and God's Word through faith, happens best when we take it all in with a simple heart with him. Yes, I know, that doesn't always happen, does it?  When we don't over think the Grace of the Holy Trinity, we too can be like children, living our faith with joy, and according to Jesus, we ought to always be so loving, warm, hospitable, compassionate, merciful, and forgiving, accepting of God's Truth, and filled with the joy of our Savior every day. Not only do children receive a blessing through Christ, but they are also a blessing in our midst, setting an example for how we should all come to Christ. Just as a quick aside: children know how to be selfish, difficult, and angry too.

But Jesus says come to me just like these littlest ones do. And, though our faith is to be lived in our lives like that child-like faith, we are also called to grow in our understanding, and in the promise of life with the Savior. We all expect our children to grow too, don't we? It was good to share this with you this morning.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

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