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Wednesday Words, July 18, 2017

July 18, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

I confess that I enjoy watching HGTV, especially, the home makeover shows. I suppose I like to watch them even more because we are in a new house and are looking for new ideas. My problem is that I know when I like something but I don’t always know exactly how to put it all together. I appreciate the people who have that gift.

In this week’s Summer Read of 2 Samuel 7:1-29, we learn that there will be no “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for God. Well, not yet. David feels a little awkward since he is living in a beautiful home made of fine cedar wood, but God’s Ark is just roughing it in a tent. David suggests to the prophet Nathan that maybe they should build a temple for God. But that night, God’s voice speaks to Nathan and tells him that God actually doesn’t have a problem with living in a tent. God reminds Nathan that a temple is not what he has asked for throughout the years. God tells Nathan to tell David that God is in David’s corner, protecting him, and helping him do everything he’s doing. God is blessing David. There will be a time when God will want a temple to be built, but this will happen after David is dead. One of David’s children’s will build the temple. David continues with words of gratitude for God. He is humbled by all that God has done, and hopes that people learn from God’s example. David ends his prayer by asking God for a blessing, so that his house will last forever.

May we all take time this week to thank God for what God has done for us and take time to see and enjoy the blessings in our lives, especially, in our homes. Amen.

Wednesday Words, July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

Everyone loves a good story!

The intertwining of ups and downs, success and failure, victory and defeat make for an interesting and engaging story. The authors of first and second Samuel knew how to keep their readers on the edge of their seats.

David is the main character in the book of Second Samuel, but there are other key people: Saul and Nathan. Saul is dead, but his supporters remain loyal to him and cause trouble for David. Nathan is a prophet to David. A definition of a prophet is a person who is "regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God." In a few weeks in our Summer Read we will read about the powerful and unique parable told by Nathan that judges David's affair with Bathasheba.

David becomes God’s most faithful king, but then he rebels and as a result there is a slow destruction of his family and of his kingdom. The story of David takes its reader on a journey of intrigue and interest that could compete with the best modern-day books turned into movies.

For those of you who have not started our Summer Read or have gotten behind in your readings, here’s a summary of what has happened so far in 2 Samuel:

2 Samuel 1 – A man came and told David that Saul and Jonathan were dead. David sang a song of honor and grief for his enemy and friend.

2 Samuel 2 – David was made king of Judah. Abner made Ish-bosheth King of Israel. There men fought and Abner killed Joab’s brother Asabel.

2 Samuel 3 – Abner argued with Ish-bosheth and offered to support David. David asked for his wife Michal. Joab killed Abner and David Mourned.

2 Samuel 4 – Ish-bosheth lost heart. His captains Rechab and Baanah killed him and took his head to David. David commanded that they be killed.

2 Samuel 5: David was anointed king over Israel. He took Jerusalem and the Lord was with him. The Philistines gathered but David defeated them.

2 Samuel 6: David brought the ark from Judah. Uzzah touched it and was struck down. As the ark came into the city David danced before the Lord.

Come and join us!  Pick up the Good Book – The Bible and explore God’s word with us.

Blessings to you as you discover and engage in the Bible. I hope and pray that reading the Bible during the week becomes a practice of yours and that you are comforted, inspired, and challenged by the scriptures. May God’s peace be with you we walk together in faith. Amen.

Pr. Cathy

 

 


Wednesday Words, June 27, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

How’s the Summer Read going for you?

Our staff continues to have congregation members, young and seasoned, come up to us and say that they have never read the Bible before and our Summer Read has helped them to get started. Wonderful!

We have made a year plan to seasonally read through books of the Bible, so there will be many opportunities for you to get started and keep going. Throughout the year we will alternate reading books in the Old Testament and the New Testament. This is an opportunity for our congregation to engage in the scriptures and read through several books of the Bible. I hope you join us!

Our creative staff has many ideas to enhance and engage in the readings. This Friday Bethany Gola, our Ministry Assistant, will be leading a group on Bible Art Journaling. From the description of the class: “This one-hour class will give you the tools and jumpstart to doodle and draw opening room for deeper connection with the greatest creator.”  No experience necessary just an open mind to read, think, pray with a visual twist- last day to rsvp is today. 

For those of you who have not gotten started on reading, no worries. This week we end the book of 1 Samuel and begin the book of 2 Samuel, so maybe this week 2 Samuel is a place for you to begin your journey in the Bible.  Here's what's happening in Samuel. . .

In last week’s reading we hear about David beating Goliath and defeating the Philistines. This week we learn about the friendship that is developed between David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son. We also hear about the huge tension between Saul and David. Saul tries to kill David on several occasions out of much jealousy of David. Battles continue with the Philistines and in the end of our readings this week David is in deep grief over the death of Saul and Jonathan. He grieves over the man who tried to kill him. You will read a poem written by David that reflects his grief and brokenness after the tragic events that happen. The poem can be related to grief we have experienced in our own lives over the loss of a close friend or relative, those who have died in war, or great leaders. It could also be related to communities that have experienced great loss.

Our Summer Read this week includes a celebration of friendship, the challenge of power, and the importance of leadership. David at the end of our reading this week reflects his uncertainties, the loss of his best friend, and the loss of his greatest enemy.  God who calls us to be followers also calls us to friendship, even in the midst of uncertainties in life. After reflecting on the readings this week, my hope is that the church is a place where friendships can form, where death can be faced realistically, and where our grief over loss can be safely expressed. Amen.

Wednesday Words, June 20, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

How big was Goliath?

He was between 7 and 10 feet tall. He was a very big man and from his words we know he was a mean man. His spear weighed about 19 pounds. The javelins used in the Olympics today weigh 1 ½ pounds.

In this week’s summer read, we hear about the story of David and Goliath. Goliath, a Philistine, is a big and powerful man. You can imagine his voice being deep and loud. David, a shepherd boy from Bethlehem, takes on this terrifying man with five smooth stones and a slingshot.

I’ll bet that that 99.9% of those who read the story about David and Goliath identify with David. We enjoy seeing movies and hearing stories about the underdog. But, here’s the thing, we want our movies to be about David and in contrast many of us work to be like Goliath. We applaud the effort that David made with five simple stones to beat Goliath, but many of us spend time collecting much more to take on the challenges of life. Look at our homes, our cars, and our extra things to help us to feel safe and secure.

David is small and seems to be ill-equipped, but David is full of faith, confidence, and hope. After David defeats Goliath the people are amazed, and he is affirmed as king. But the story doesn’t stop there. Eventually, we will read about the gradual and terrible irony that begins to happen. In many ways, David starts to become Goliath. He became a bully, a merciless military leader, and a greedy king. In many ways, he became a big and powerful fighter like Goliath.

When many in the world seem to admire and fear Goliath, and others are like Saul, saying, “Here’s all this armor; you’d better put it on; you need this to survive,” how do you stay true to yourself and what you believe in?

God made you the way you are because God wanted someone like you. David knows there’s no point in putting on Saul’s armor, because David knows there’s no use trying to be like Saul. David knows his own weaknesses, and he knows his own strengths. He gets his power through his faith in God and trusting who God has made him.  

David lost sight of that power, later on. Most of us do, for a season. And when we lose sight of that power, that can be a moment when we’re drawn to Goliath. In the end Goliath’s problem is not that he’s too strong but that he’s too weak. The more we try to become Goliath, the weaker we become. It shows we’ve lost sight of where true power comes.

As you take on the challenges of life, may you trust in the person God made you and find strength in knowing Christ is with you. Amen.

Wednesday Words, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Words

June 13, 2018

Pastor Paul Cannon

Crazy Quotes from our Summer Reading

‘On this condition I will make a treaty with you, namely that I gouge out everyone’s right eye,

and thus put disgrace upon all Israel.’

- Nahash the Ammonite

1 Samuel 11:2

I shouldn’t think this is cool … but I kinda do.  Nahash, King of the Ammonite’s (a rival tribe to Israel), has a particular punishment for those who crossed him: he gouged out their right eye.  1 Samuel tells that he did this to every last Israelite who was on the wrong side of the Jordan River.

Cruel? Certainly.

Gruesome? Absolutely. 

Cool?  Well, let me put it this way – if I had seen this in an episode of the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, I would be talking about it at the (proverbial) water cooler the next day. 

So … the Bible is … cool?  You’re probably more familiar with the child friendly version of the Bible you grew up with in Sunday School.  It’s Noah’s Ark and his fluffy animals, Jesus carrying a sheep over his shoulders, or at its most violent, David hitting Goliath in the forehead with his slingshot.  I don’t think they ever got to the eye gouging part in first grade (probably for the better).

The Bible is filled with stories like these (and so much more).  It offers stories of humanity, not as a perfect, happy-clappy, watered-down version of itself, but as it really is.  Sometimes it’s cruel. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s tragic.  Sometimes it’s uplifting.

The Bible contains the full spectrum of life, and in the middle of this mess of humanity, is God.  Through it all, God remains faithful to his people despite their sin and despite their unfaithfulness.  God never backs down. God never shies away from it.

Pretty cool … right?

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