When life is rough, PRAY. When life is great, PRAY.
Pastor Cliff titled his message “Wonderful Words of Life” with the Gospel lesson from Luke 18:1-8. In Sunday’s reading, Jesus teaches us about prayer.
For the folks, during Luke’s time, life was hard, very hard, with dangerous, persecution and martyrs. Jesus has just said, you will long for the day of the 2nd coming, but you won’t see it. Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. It teaches us about the “character” of God. But, the parable raises this question: is the purpose of prayer ONLY to bring our hearts in line with God’s will. Is the purpose of prayer to change God’s mind? Is prayer about changing us or changing God?
Pastor Cliff told us about some folks that he was privileged to pray with in Runge, Texas. When he was there, Karnes County was one of the poorest counties in Texas. The volunteer mayor there was also the Lay Leader. At that time, of the 1,000 folks that called Runge home, only 200 made enough to pay taxes - 80% poverty, poor, very poor monetarily. That particular Methodist church had African Americans, Hispanics and whites, all driven by the culture and the poverty and their history. You see, the lay leader’s great grandparents were slaves. It seems when everybody is poor, none of the labels or divisions matter; none of that matters when you are “kicked out”, poor, and dying.
Sometime in the fall of 2001, the church caught on fire after a heater was turned on to warm up the building after the first cold spell of the season. When the fire was out, they had no church. They rescued the altar cross, a Bible, and a few other items.
When Pastor Cliff first met them they were worshipping in a dark funeral home chapel. He wondered if it might be depressing for them to worship in the same place where they gathered for funerals, but they felt it was a blessing. See, on Sunday mornings, someone brought the cross, someone brought the altar candles, someone brought the altar Bible. They felt it was a blessing because while the place started out as a funeral chapel, after everyone had arrived and praised God, it became a church.
Luckily they were insured. With $500,000 in the bank they were on their way to finalizing plans to rebuild when “human nature” took over and the former harmony disappeared. The congregation dwindled down to 10 members.
As the remaining congregation moved forward, they continued to pray and listen to God. These members were in their 90’s, but they had heart and faith and knew there was a reason that all the events had happened. They worshipped God, they studied the bible, they undertook more “missions” than ever before. They put their head’s down, kept their faith in God; they were a humble and obedient church.
They also wondered what would have happened if the fire had not happened to them. Would all the good works they had done in the mean time never happened? Through this horrible loss of their church, they had been able to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit moving through them into the good works they had done for their community.
How can we live in way that is “faithful to God”? Humility, obedience, servant-hood and prayer. That’s how the faithful walk it.
Our sincere condolences go to Ruby Toeppich after the passing of her son, Paul. He carried on a long and painful fight against cancer. He was Ruby’s love and he will be missed by everyone. We love you, Ruby, and care for you greatly.
Empty “Shoeboxes for Mexico” can be picked up at the back of the church. There are a few items that good people have left that will give you a start with your shopping. Start filling your boxes today.
We had a great workday on Saturday, The church is clean for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The 2014 Congregation Picture will be excellent. Sorry you missed it.
The Young Life Banquet is Saturday, October 26th at 6 pm in the Mason Community Center. RSVP was required by October 11th at firstname.lastname@example.org. but you can still try to get a seat.
Help our young people collect ‘lost’ coins. You never know what you might find if you look down and watch where you are going. Leave your ”lost but now found” coins on the church alter. Thanks
Trinity Cunningham and Jimmie Hitzfelder will have a wonderful birthday on October 29th. Hope you got what you wanted.
Next Sunday right after worship, there will be a short “dinner and movie” – pictures from Mission de Candelilla in Mexico and Kingdom Kamp. Everyone is invited.