A Lifetime of Learning
As the kids head back to school this week for a new year of growing and learning, I am reminded of two dear saints of the church named Winnie and Ann that I had the honor of getting to know in my first church about ten years ago now. They were both in their eighties and had been lifetime members of that little congregation. Each week, we met for a Bible study with a few of the other ladies and then we shared lunch together. During lunch, they would often regale me with stories of their years growing up in the church. It was a great arrangement - I brought the study, and they brought the food and the stories. They were a fun group, and we laughed quite often as we learned together. After about a year of studying together, we were sitting together eating and sharing stories as we so often did. Then Winnie got a serious look on her face. "I really like these times we spend together. I am still learning so much about the Bible. It's still a mystery to me, but I feel like I understand it so much better than I did even just a few years ago." Ann chimed in, "Me too! You know, Jim, we're old, but we're still learning. You have to promise us that you will never stop learning. You're never too old to learn something new." What wise words and genuine witnesses from these saintly women! They have stuck with me over these years. When I get comfortable with what I know and slack off in my study, I remember the promise Winnie and Ann made me make. Our kids are back to school, but for many of us our school years lie far behind us. That does not let us off the hook, though. We're never too old or too far out of school to learn something new. May this season of new beginnings in school inspire us to recommit ourselves to learning and growing!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
We are almost midway through our journey with Jesus as we witness the people who met him along the way. By hearing their stories, we reflect on what happens when we meet Jesus in our own journeys.
Sermon Snippet: Pouring Out (Luke 7:36-50)
Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to his home for a special dinner, and a woman, a known sinner from the community, came to honor Jesus. So grateful was she for Jesus that she wept at this feet, washing them with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair. Simon was upset that Jesus would accept such a woman that he judged unworthy. Jesus taught Simon that this woman loved him because she had been forgiven much but Simon showed him less hospitality because he (or so he thought) had been forgiven less. Because he did not think he needed grace for his own sin, Simon was less honoring of Jesus and more judging of this woman who poured out her very self for Jesus. We in the church are in danger of forgetting our own need for grace, taking Jesus' forgiveness for granted, and judging those we deem unworthy of Jesus. We hold our weekly party for Jesus as our guest of honor, but we forget to honor him as we should by sharing his grace rather judging one another. When we meet Jesus and pour out ourselves - sin and all - as a gift to Jesus like the woman in this story, Jesus accepts us and pours grace upon us. When we meet one another and pour out ourselves - sin and grace and all - as a gift to one another, we meet Jesus again and he pours our grace upon each of us all the more.
This Week's Challenge
Who is someone in your life that you judge a lot? What is one way that you can show them grace in the place of judgment this week?
A young girl, the daughter of a prominent leader of the community, lies dying at home. Jesus rushes through the crowd to try to save her life. Suddenly he stops - someone from the crowd has reached out to touch his clothes and been healed. With a young girl's life hanging in the balance, Jesus pauses long enough to discover the woman who has reached out to him so that we might learn from her. Join us this Sunday in "Reaching Out" to Jesus, our help and our deliverer!
August 30 - "Reaching Out" - Luke 8:40-54
September 6 - "Convicted" - Luke 18:18-25
September 13 - "Reconciled" - Luke 19:1-10
Amazing Proverbs Race
This Sunday afternoon promises to be an awesome time as we celebrate our Amazing Proverbs Race! Teams of 3 or 4 youth will race through the village to show off their knowledge of the Book of Proverbs, face challenging contests including Paintball and Poses, and reach the finish before the others. Prizes of movie gift cards or Kline's ice cream await those who are wise enough to win our Amazing Proverbs Race! The race is open to all youth (6th-12th graders) regardless of whether you have read Proverbs or not, so invite friends to join your team. In fact, you just might learn something new and have fun along the way. You can pre-register your team with Dinah this week or register on Sunday at noon.
Weekly Prayer Time
Beginning September 3, join us on Thursdays at 10:30 am for a time of reflection and prayer. We will gather in Pastor Jim's office to share Scripture, a brief devotional, and prayer for our church, our community and its needs, and any requests you may bring with you. If you cannot join us but have a special request for prayer, please let Pastor Jim know. We hope to see you there!
Last Call for Recipes!
Recipes for the cookbook must be in by this Sunday August 30th. We will not be accepting any after that date. As of today 600 recipes have been submitted. This is going to be a great cookbook. You do not want to miss being in this cookbook! Give us at least one recipe so your family will be represented. All the proceeds of this book will go toward the restoration of the beautiful windows we have in our church. Submit recipes in the box outside the sanctuary at the church, or give them to Sue, Joyce, Connie, or Liz. Thank you for your help!
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Sunday, August 30
9:30 am - Worship: "Meeting Jesus - Reaching Out"
11 am - Sunday School
12 - 3 pm - Amazing Proverbs Race
6 - 7:30 pm - High School Confirmation Bible Study
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!