The PATH to Prayer
This week I want to turn our attention back to the PATH to prayer - "Praise, Admit, Thank, Help." So far, we have covered what it means to praise God and admit our sins, and now we consider what it means to thank God.
Thanking God is probably the most straightforward and easiest aspects of our prayers, and yet it is one we often overlook in our rush to seek God's help. Why should we thank God? Everyone likes to be honestly thanked for what they have done for others. It is not about building up ego but about connecting two people. Saying our thanks lets God know what we feel and helps us to grow closer to God. When we thank God, it also helps us to remember how blessed we actually are and focus on the good God has done in our lives. How is thanksgiving different from praise? Giving thanks is about what God has done for us, while praise is about how we feel about who God is. What kinds of things should we thank God for? Anything we are truly grateful for in our lives!
Take time to give thanks to God for all the many blessings of your life this week!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Twisting the Truth
The season of Lent is a time to focus on growing in our relationship with God. One of the things that holds us back in this relationship is sin that separates us from God. Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at the story of Adam, Eve, and their family to see how sin affected them and how God made room for salvation even in the midst of sin.
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Twisting the Truth (Genesis 3:1-6)
The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a familiar one - almost too familiar. We know it so well that we may think we know everything about it. What was the fruit? An apple, of course! What was the sin they committed? Pride comes before the fall! If we look carefully at the Scripture, however, we do not find that these details are actually there. It is a part of the tradition that has become "almost Bible" - so well-known and accepted that we forget that it is not actually in the story itself. Likewise, we know about the serpent - that crafty creature that lies to Eve. We focus so much on the lie that we forget the serpent actually starts off with a simple question: "Did God really say you could not eat the fruit from any tree?" It is a certainly misleading question, implying that God is depriving Eve, but it is not lie in and of itself. It is a question - a true/false question. The problem arises with Eve's answer - not a simple yes or no but a reminder of God's command not to eat the one forbidden fruit. But Eve includes an additional detail that she is not even allowed to touch it. Whether we see this as an exaggeration or a full lie, it reveals the slippery slope that Eve is on. The serpent pushes her over the edge by telling her that she will not surely die but will be more like God. What is remarkable about this statement is that it is not an outright lie. Eve does not immediately die although death may have entered her life through sin, and she does gain the wisdom to be more like God. There is at least a measure of truth in what the serpent said, even if it is twisted. If the serpent had plainly lied, then perhaps Adam and Eve would have stood a better chance. By twisting the truth up with their fears of missing out on something good and not being like God and with their desires to taste the wonderful fruit and to be wiser, the serpent tempts them with what appears to be right and true. What makes temptation so dangerous is not that it lies to us but that it twists the truth with our fears and desires. It becomes an almost impossible task then to separate what is true from what is false. To avoid temptation then, we need to pray for the Spirit of truth to guide and we need to rely on spiritual friends to help us more clearly see the truth.
Communion Servers Needed
Have you ever wanted to help serve communion in our worship service? Are you worried that you do not know what to do? We are looking for folks to help with communion over the coming months. If you are interested, please let Pastor Jim know. He is planning to offer a brief training to teach you how to serve - day and time to be determined.
Living in Community
Thank you to our local VDOT work crew, especially Jeff,
for repairing a drain pipe and digging out the ditch beside our parking lot!
If you find God filling your life with blessings at any time during the week,
remember to drop one of the palm leaves in our Blessings Jar in worship on Sunday!
This Week at Port Church
Monday, March 6
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's
Tuesday, March 7
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's
Wednesday, March 8
6:00 - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, March 9
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, March 12
9:30 am - Worship - "From Garden to Garden: Hiding in the Bushes"
11:00 am - Sunday School
6:30 pm - Financial Peace University
March 17 - Paint Night
April 23 - Youth Sunday
June 26-30 - Vacation Bible School
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!