Greetings, everyone –

 

I gotta tell ya, there was a ton of potential preaching points in last Sunday’s texts! It’s tough for a preacher to choose what to focus on when there is so much value all in one place.

 

My imagination was sparked a bit by the idea of “rest” in the gospel text. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” And, to be honest, my first thought is, “Really? Because I’ve been weary and felt burdened for quite some time now…when is the ‘rest’ part?”  Do you ever have feelings like that?

 

Sometimes we get led into thinking that when Jesus says something like that, well, then all we have to do is accept him and all our troubles go away. We may hear something like “Just give it all to Jesus and you’ll find peace.” And honestly sometimes it happens just that way. And more times than we’d like, we still end up worrying and wearying.

 

I got to thinking about the times when I’d actually found some rest or peace in a difficult time or situation. It was intriguing to realize that most of those times involved the “Body of Christ,” the physical and tangible presence of someone being the hands and feet of Christ at the moment. We keep saying that is how Jesus is present for us and yet we keep looking upward for some magical manifestation when, in fact, Jesus is sitting right next to us in our neighbor.

 

What if…I know, you’re thinking “here he goes again with his wacky ‘what ifs’”…our worship is a time of rest and peace for people?  Jesus says “Come to me” and where better do we do it than worship? I mean, we actually literally come to him, in the pew, through the Word, at the Table. We have the opportunity to surround people who are hurting, who have “come to him,” with words and actions that speak comfort and compassion. When the demands of employment, parenting, social circles, health issues, family crises, etc. practically overwhelm us, where do we find a moment of peace and rest? Is it here? If not, could it be? Is it possible that when Jesus says this, that he intends for it to be us who bring the “rest” in his name?

 

Think on this for a moment. When you walk in the doors of Central Lutheran, does it feel like a place of physical and/or spiritual rest? If “God’s Work” in this passage is to provide rest for weary souls, are “Our Hands” helping it happen?

 

NEW MINISTRY PROJECT

Got some old, gently used cotton sheets lying around? Would you like to put them to good use? Many parts of the world still use cloth bandages in their medical care. How do we change bedsheets into bandages? Glad you asked! Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d’Alene has a bandage rolling ministry and they told the story of their work at the Synod Assembly. I was so taken with the ministry that I asked one of their members to make some bandage rollers for Central. He agreed and just dropped them off last week. The good folks doing this work at LCM have invited us to join them on Saturday, July 22nd between 12:30-2 to “watch and learn” and do! They have lots of sheets and strips and are excited to have partners in this ministry in the area. Those interested in going from Central can meet here at noon and we will take the van over together. Contact Pr. Dave if you plan on going.

 

BE KIND IN THIS HEAT

So I was reading an article about climate change and all the various consequences that one can imagine happening as a result. In addition to the speculated environmental and economic impacts, the author suggested that the growing warmth of the planet could spark more violence. This is not difficult for me to imagine. With the prolonged heat comes frustration, irritation, and impatience. We don’t have to experience massive climate change to see this…just give us a couple weeks of above average temperatures! So as summer hits full stride and the very hot days continue, be gentle with yourself and those around you. Recognize how the heat may be affecting you and adapt your behavior appropriately. Admit to those around you that you’re feeling cranky and do your best to mitigate it. And remember that these hot days, at least, will pass and soon enough we’ll be complaining again about the cold. ????

 

COMMUNITY BBQs GOING WELL

If  you haven’t come to join us yet, next week would be a great week to do it. Sign up at clspokane.ivolunteer.com/wedbbq_03 or just show up with (or without) food to share. You’re welcome to come either way!

 

CHANGE IN VAN SCHEDULE

For some time now, we have been pleased to be able to provide van rides to worship every week. However, we now find ourselves in a position where that is no longer reasonably possible. So beginning in August, van service for worship will only be available on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.  It was a difficult decision for the council to make and we apologize for the inconvenience it will cause for some of you.

 

THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL

 

Van Driver: No driver available. Please be prepared to find a ride if we don’t have someone available by Sunday. If you live in any of the following areas and could give someone a ride to church, call the office: Airway Heights, West Central, Rockwood Blvd, Chief Garry Park (off Mission).

 

Special Music: Carolyn Alm and Melissa Drumm

 

People’s Choice Hymn: “Shine, Jesus, Shine” - #671

 

Coffee Hour: CLC Council birthday recognitions

 

In Worship: God’s word is like the rain that waters the earth and brings forth vegetation. It is also like the sower who scatters seed indiscriminately. Our lives are like seeds sown in the earth. Even from what appears to be little, dormant, or dead, God promises a harvest. At the Lord’s table we are fed with the bread of life, that we may bear fruit in the world.

 

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 55:10-13

The growth of the word to accomplish God’s purpose

Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-13

Your paths overflow with plenty. (Ps. 65:11)

Romans 8:1-11

Live according to the Spirit

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

The parable of the sower and the seed

 

Life in Every Direction

We can identify death in every direction. We see war, hunger, addiction, poverty, a dying planet, and broken hearts. This is not a new story. The children of Israel surely saw death in every direction, wandering in the desert and at least occasionally wondering about their next meal. Paul looks at his own life and, at first, sees nothing beyond spiritual death. He reminds us that death is not just physical, but also spiritual. Then, in the parable of the sower, three-fourths of the seeds die and three-fourths of the sections of the field are inhospitable to flourishing life. Sometimes, life isn’t even given a chance. We might look at the world and ourselves and only see the places that are absent and inhospitable to God’s love.

 

Today’s texts all go a step further, however, to articulate or reveal God bringing forth life where there is only death and God’s absence in every direction. First, God renews the covenant with the children of Israel. After their own failures and disobedience, God restores a relationship with the children of Israel and gives them “the best of all the land in Egypt” (Gen. 45:20) and “provisions for the journey” (Gen. 45:21). Paul reflects on God growing new branches where old tree branches had fallen away. The parable of the sower elicits reflection, repentance, and, ultimately, new life from its readers and hearers in considering the sort of spiritual life they practice. Are we hospitable or inhospitable to God’s word? This parable is a vivid reminder of all God has overcome—rocks, scorching sun, thorns, and snatching—to bring life to the world. God brings forth life in places where people see only death.

 

“STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS”

A strategic partnership is one in which all parties involved benefit in one way or another. More and more congregations are seeking ways to build meaningful partnerships with other congregations or agencies that share their mission. The benefits include sharing of mutual costs, greater energy for individual ministries, and expanded outreach in the community. The council at Central is inviting the councils of Messiah Lutheran and Bethlehem Lutheran to begin a conversation to see if there are any “strategic partnership” possibilities between the three of us. If and when such conversation takes place, we’ll share what we hear with you. The ELCA’s motto is “we are church together.” In the years ahead, that may need to become more than just a motto but the reality of ministry in our community. Why not start talking now about how we can support one another and our unique neighbourhood ministries?

 

WHERE IS YOUR HEART?

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Your treasure is the thing that is most important to you. Maybe it’s your job, investments, a new house, or a new car, your spouse or children. Regardless of your particular passion, your treasure is what you think about, what you go after, what you want to attain. It’s where your heart is.

As Christian stewards, God wants us to treasure Him and hold our time, talents, and treasure with open hands. If you are unwilling to part with earthly goods your treasure isn’t God. When God is your treasure, God will receive from you a generous amount of all that you possess.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I give you praise and thanks for who you are and all that you do for me. Help me always to remember that all things belong to you. Help me to see that you are my treasure because without you I am lost and hopeless. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.

Blessing on your stewardship journey!

 

See you in worship!

Peace,

Pastor Dave

 

 
© 2017 Central Lutheran Church
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community