This week’s memory verse: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience — Colossians 3:12

  • 10/15 – Nehemiah 9:21
  • 10/16 – Psalm 104:1-2
  • 10/17 – 1 Peter 3:3-4
  • 10/18 – Romans 8:5
  • 10/19 – Matthew 6:25
  • 10/20 – Ephesians 4:22-24
  • 10/21 – Isaiah 61:10

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may dress myself in the garments of salvation, prepared and ready for your Kingdom banquet.

Let’s get
dressed.

But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’

John Wooden was a basketball player and later head basketball coach at the University of California at Los Angeles. He won ten national championships His teams won a record 88 consecutive games. He had his choice of players. The players UCLA recruited were the best of the best, having been part of winning successful teams. When these star players showed up for the first day of practice, Coach Wooden sat them down and very patiently taught them how to put on their socks and shoes. He got down to basics, telling them that if they get their socks on wrong, with a crease or fold in the wrong place, it would harm the team. He taught them to double tie their shoes so that they could play on, not leaving their team without their presence.

As Christians, we need to get down to basics, and Jesus reminds us of that today. We have to take time to remind ourselves of basic Christian responsibilities, to prepare ourselves so we show up well presented at the King’s feast. Let’s cover a few of the ways we should prepare ourselves.

In the early Church, some believers thought that one of the gifts of the Spirit, the ability to speak in tongues, was particularly special. They often flaunted that ability and saw it as a point of pride. St. Paul was quick to correct them. He criticized them because their everyday words were ruining the unity that Christians ought to have. He said: “Some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you. Your meetings do more harm than good.” It came down to this – they couldn’t control their own tongues. They used the words they knew from birth to gossip, slander, and to create disunity. What did the Spirit gift of speaking in tongues matter if they could not control their own tongue? No Spirit gift is more important than the Christian love and the respect they were to show for each other. We all are tempted especially when there are stresses, and we try to figure it all out. We continue to face the challenges the early Church faced. Getting ready, preparing for the King’s feast, includes our dressing our thoughts and words in love.

Several years ago, someone close to me contracted cancer. He ended up losing one of his lungs. It reminds me of the end of 2011, we were on our last lung in this parish. We had little to nothing to sustain this parish but for a few months to a year. I had asked one thing only – that we make a great act of faith and put our trust and belief in God, that He would provide. We did, and we did it together. It happened, God moved many hearts and caused miracles to happen. We did no extra fundraisers. Yet our coffers were filled and we invested in many things – spending more than we had in years we ended up with more in the jar. The oil did not run out, the jar of flour was filled. The man who ended up losing a lung met that challenge with perseverance, joy, and faith. So too we who are preparing for the King’s feast. We are called to act with faith above all else, to wear and show trust in God and His provision. A grain of faith dresses us for the King’s sumptuous feast.

Like the Acts Church, we are all learning to dress. We are all in the process of getting ready so that we may be welcomed at the King’s feast. Those members of the Acts Church did not always agree. Like those at the feast, they were rich and poor, people of every background and color, yet they overcame by sacrifice, in communal worship, fellowship, joy even in challenges. Setting aside all we arrive ready for the King.

This week’s memory verse: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named — Ephesians 3:14-15

  • 10/8 – 1 Timothy 5:8
  • 10/9 – Acts 2:42
  • 10/10 – Acts 2:44
  • 10/11 – Acts 2:46-47
  • 10/12 – Acts 4:31
  • 10/13 – Acts 4:32
  • 10/14 – Acts 4:34-35

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may fully participate and find all joy in Your family.

It is about
understanding.

And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 

Gaining understanding, seeing what God is doing and what our relationship is toward Him are the things Jesus fought for His entire life. He wanted us to see family as more than a functional organization that does stuff together, but as the model of the kingdom. Family is designed to be a peek into what the eternal kingdom will look like.

Jesus and his parents had been at the festival for at least seven days. They spent their time growing in relationship to their community (the model of church), to each other (the domestic church) and most of all, toward God (their eternal Father source of family). They were living out church.

We know how it is when we get caught up in something great. We don’t want to leave. So it was for Jesus. In the Temple precincts, Jesus had it all. He has the fullness of family all in one place. He didn’t want to leave. He was having an excellent time. He wants us to feel and live this way too – right now.

Jesus wants to share the fullness of family relationship with us. He wants us to gain insight, to understand and see beyond the ordinary and look to the extraordinary greatness of life that is the Christian family – the family centered on and living in Him. He wants us to revel in the family of God and to never want to leave.

God is all about family. He designed us and the world around us to mirror family life in heaven. “Let us make man in our image.” He wants us to be moved to such an extent that we want family. He wants us to stay, not just with Him, but with each other in family. He ministered to and built family to provide a life example – this is how it is supposed to be.

Jesus taught His disciples to refer to His Father as their Father. He asked the crowds – who is my mother, brothers, and sisters? It is those who understand and live in family relationship with Him and His Father. He wants us to remain, to stay in family love.

God’s family is built upon all the things Jesus taught – the example He gave us – one of dedication, worship, sacrifice, and love. God wants us to understand His great desire – that we are family and are to live that way.

As we once again renew and take up life as the kingdom family, let us remember the example of the Acts Church – people living as one – living, sacrificing, praying, and worshiping – really getting it, never wanting to leave.

This week’s memory verse: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” — Matthew 16:26

  • 10/1 – Matthew 6:19-21
  • 10/2 – Luke 12:33-34
  • 10/3 – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
  • 10/4 – Joel 2:19
  • 10/5 – 2 Corinthians 9:6
  • 10/6 – Isaiah 25:6
  • 10/7 – 1 John 3:17

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may invest myself fully in You and your way.

Investing it
all.

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself

Pretty much everyone knows who Warren Buffet is. He is the billionaire investor with the golden touch. He has been quoted many times, and certainly people seek his advice. Mr. Buffet, how do I succeed? One of his oft quoted rules is: “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No.1.” Another of his rules is to focus on achieving high returns (making a lot of money) with very little risk. Avoid risk to get rich.

We have also heard anecdotes about that person who invested his or her last few dollars and because of making a good choice, or by being incredibly lucky, they became rich.

That is two ends of the spectrum. In one case, the rich get richer by conservatism, being very careful, minimizing risk. In the other case, we have those with little to nothing putting it all in and finding success.

St. Paul presents us with something completely different today. In the revelation He received, Paul was overcome by the awesomeness of what God did. God, who had it all, all power, all eternity, Who wants for nothing, invested it all. He gave it all away – for us.

Paul asks us to be of the same mind as Jesus. He asks us to put our whole selves in. To invest ourselves in the life of Christ – community and worship.

Paul goes on to give us the greatest Christological hymn ever written. He illustrates for us: This is who Jesus is, This is what Jesus is all about. Paul shows us, in this hymn, that Jesus literally stripped Himself down to nothingness in order to take on our humanity. He ended up stripped, on a cross, in abject poverty, having lost everything and to the point of despair feeling utterly abandoned by His Father. He dies this way to save us and because of this sacrifice, His name is to be adored.

Indeed, God invested it all, His whole being, for us. Paul then says: Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.

This is the essence of the Christian life. It calls us to invest fully. Like Jesus’ discussion today, it is not where we are, what we have done, where we have come from – but whether we believe, whether we put our all on the line.

When we invest it all in God – offering Him our faith, our daily lives, our dedication to His way, and our worship and dedication to the communal life, we grow truly rich. we preserve our lives for everlasting joy and really live.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Walking through my backyard I listened to the leaves from our Ash tree crunch under my feet. This season of marvelous color, scents, great foods, and treats like apple pie and cider always brings to mind transition. It is a time of obvious change. Fall occurs every year and, because of our experiences, perhaps we are programmed to see everything as changeable. Maybe we were brought up to even think that God’s love could be turned on and off depending on how we acted. Everything is temporary or provisional. Nothing is solid. As we reflect on the change around us, we should also pause to consider that this sense of change is not a universal constant. There is at least One who is immutable, unchangeable, and permanent. Yes, God is universal and permanent, He is immutable – which means unchangeable. But it is more than that. God’s nature in and of itself extends beyond Himself – because of Jesus it includes us who have confessed our sins and have placed our faith in Him. In that act, we are pulled into God’s permanence. Because He is unchangeable we enter into permanence. As St. Paul told the Romans, we are transformed. In Him we have a solid rock to cling to no matter the challenge. By connecting to God, by accepting His Son’s revelation, we enter an eternity of permanence.

Join us in October as we celebrate the Christian Family and get busy with our Fall activities including our Craft Fair (October 7th) and our Spaghetti Dinner (October 21st). Check out all we have invested in including our new kids corner.

You may view and download a copy of our October 2017 Newsletter right here.

Let Me tell you
about My Father.

When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.

All of Jesus’ coming, His life, His worship and prayer, His healings, His poverty, His message, and His life, death, and resurrection are about one thing – Jesus showing us the Father. Jesus plainly told us: Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. After hearing Jesus’ words today, how do we better get the Father?

The late workers were amazed by generosity. The early workers felt ‘cheated,’ as if something due them was taken away. But it really wasn’t specifically about any of that. Rather, Jesus uses all His parables and allusions to more fully describe His Father. He walks about the cities and countryside living a very particular way – to show us the life of the Father. He calls us to understand, to comprehend, to allow our hearts to be touched by the reality of the Father. He says – let Me show you My Dad. Get to know Him. He is amazing.

Again, this parable is not specifically about workers feeling cheated, nor a generous landowner with no business sense. It isn’t really about getting more than we deserve for our work. It is not, in any special way, about people who come to the faith in their youth versus those who come late in life, or toward the end of time.

This parable is about revelation. It is a look into the life of God – something formerly beyond understanding, and now revealed. In every word of this parable, Jesus is saying – let Me show you My Dad. I love him so much. I want you to know what He is like because He is so amazing.

Like the workers, we face a bit of a problem. Our understanding is often blocked because we let our minds get in the way of falling into the love of God. We let minor parts of parables become the reason for the parable, and we miss the revelation. We should ask ourselves, ‘What do I know about the Father that I didn’t know before?’

What we now know is that the Father’s love is so all encompassing, so magnificent, that in complete trust we can fall into Him no matter where we are in our lives, no matter what happened the day before, or a few minutes ago. We may have run head on into the Father’s love in our life and were changed by it. We may be experiencing it today for the first time, or the first time in a long time. We may still be waiting for that revelation. No matter, Jesus opened the opportunity for us – to know the Father and to fall into His love.