“Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation they practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God”
Pierre Petrilla will celebrate a birthday on Feb. 14th and Michael Murphy will have a birthday celebration on Feb. 15th. Kimberly Petrilla will have her birthday party on Feb. 16th and Amber Sanders will be one year older on Feb. 19th.
Volunteers are needed to help the County Ministerial Alliance during the “Youth Lockin” this Saturday starting at 6 p.m. This will be a fun, safe, and Christ centered time for the kids. It will wrap it up with a community wide worship service at Heritage Park on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. See Pastor Cliff if you can help.
There is a prayer workshop at Junction UMC on Saturday March 1st. More later.
Next Sunday we have a Valentine’s Day Family Fellowship Meal right after the service. The men are furnishing the meat and sides and the women are surprising us with the desserts.
The ramp plans look great. Trustees, get it done.
Pastor Cliff’s sermon for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany was titled “as if”. The Old Testament lesson was Isaiah 59:1-11 and the Gospel reading was Matthew 5:12-20.
The following are the words of Pastor Cliff:
Jesus said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you, unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”
Jesus says: not one letter, not one jot or tittle will pass from the law. (Matthew 5) And Jesus says, follow all the law and teach the laws of God. And do the laws of God. As was his teaching pattern in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses some hyperbole, an exaggeration to get everyone’s attention. Jesus said: unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, no one could even come close to being more obedient than the Pharisees.
But their obedience had hardened their hearts. What we do, and “why” we do it matters to God. You realize that there are no secrets from God. God is not mocked, nor is God fooled. We cannot earn our way into heaven. It can’t be done even if you tried because our salvation is a free gift from God. It is unmerited, undeserved. I believe we are invited to respond to that love. By being in covenant with God, and with others around us. That’s discipleship. Salvation is free. Discipleship is the way. God sent Brother Martin Luther about five hundred years ago to remind us that we are saved by faith alone. Brother Martin taught; “we are saved by faith, not by works, but if, we have no works, there is something “wrong” with our faith.” And Luther went on to say: Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and you continue to do them without ceasing. God saved you by his grace when you believed. You can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We also know this to be true: Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. (James 2:26)
These are irreducible truths. You are saved by grace. Faith without works is dead. Salvation is free. Discipleship costs your all. (Luke 14). The only way to hold these two truths at the same time is love. Love in our hearts brings glory to God. Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. (Romans 13:10) Our salvation is love from God. Our discipleship is our love to God.
In Christ, we experience our wholeness, we are a new creation. As you have received God’s grace, go and dare to reach out to others, to help others reconcile and make new.