Last week, the Food Bank deliveries started off rather slow. Only 9 families were served by 4 p.m. But I want to thank our regular Art helpers that worked. And especially James, who showed up after school, learned the system and did a great job. We also had a group from 1st UMC that provided some special gifts. Thanks for all of the help. It helps to know you care.
If you are making cookies for the KAIROS Prison Ministry visit, please freeze them and keep them until Wednesday April 30th. If you prefer, you can drop them off in the fellowship hall on Sunday April 27th. Package them and leave them in the church freezer. We need a lot of cookies – thousands of dozens. We also ask for your prayers. Pray that those whom God selects to attend the Kairos and hear the good news, that they will be able to repent, and believe. Heart change comes before behavior change.
Jack Sterling Jordan made his appearance at 4 a.m. Saturday morning weighing in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces. Proud parents are Stuart and Julia Jordan. Stuart was home for the occasion and will not ever have to return to Afghanistan. God is good! Great grandfather Sterling is a happy man along with the rest of the Jordan family.
Pray for those who continue to work on the Art Church ramp, a Mason nursing home, and community jobs.
Continue to pray for Etta Marie Mutschink and Dick and Dorris Ann Pierson. Special prayers are needed for Kim Hinckley after her surgery on last Monday; she was able to come home Monday night.
Kenneth and Virginia Durst will be celebrating their wedding anniversary on April 23rd. Lois Koock’s birthday is Apr. 23rd. Dale Hall’s birthday is Apr. 26th. We are going to have some great parties!
Mason Community Health Fair, Wednesday, April 30th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at St Paul Lutheran Church. Lots of free screenings including skin cancer, depression, blood sugars, BMI, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. This is a great opportunity to help a neighbor get screened.
The Good News Reading for Easter Sunday was from John 20:1-18. The following message are the words of Pastor Krcha.
Easter didn’t turn out like everybody thought. You and I went to Easter morning services expecting to hear that Jesus has been resurrected. Almost none of the early disciples expected Easter to turn out like it did. They were getting ready for a funeral. Peter thought the idea of a crucified Messiah was crazy. So crazy - we all know - that Peter denied Jesus, despite Peter’s sworn loyalty to follow Jesus.
God is in a relationship with God’s people through a covenant. Peter understood covenant. Peter was a card carrying orthodox Jew. The notion that God’s promises to Israel, could include Gentiles, was a crazy idea for Peter too. I want to feel ‘certain’ that Peter knew about Rahab and Ruth. I want to believe that Peter knew that God sent Jonah to Nineveh to save the gentiles. But somehow, despite Peter’s knowledge of the Law and the prophets, despite Peter seeing Jesus go to the Samaritan woman at the well, despite Peter hearing and worshipping with Jesus and hearing Jesus change the Passover meal and making the NEW COVENANT. Despite Peter witnessing the resurrection of Jesus, despite the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Despite all that, Peter couldn’t seem to get over the idea of gentiles joining his church.
Did you know God used angels to carry the message of Easter to folks Peter didn’t think belonged in the new covenant? First, God sends an angel to Cornelius, a card carrying Roman citizen and centurion - to tell Cornelius to send three men to go and get Peter. Then God sends a vision to Peter to kill and eat “unclean animals”. God sends Peter a vision that is completely contrary to what Peter “knows”. Apparently Peter had some of that stiff necked DNA, because the vision had to be sent to Peter three times. Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, “Three men have come looking for you.”
In Acts chapter ten verse 20 we read: Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. The Holy Spirit said to Peter: “Don’t worry, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?” They said, “We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so that he can hear your message.” So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. (Act 10:19-23) Further on, Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. So I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent for me.” And Cornelius replied, “Four days ago I was praying in my house about this same time, three o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes was standing in front of me. He told me, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been noticed by God! Now send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter.’ (Act 10:28-32)
Cornelius said to Peter: “Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.”
Then Peter preached: “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation God accepts those who worship him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel: that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. (Act 10:33-36)
Peter continues to preach: You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John the Baptist began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. And they put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after Jesus rose from the dead.
And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all-- the living and the dead. Jesus is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name. Now something interesting happens. Maybe different from our experience or understanding. Before they took up an offering, and before a prayer of confession, and without an altar call, and EVEN before the preacher finished His sermon! Guess what happens: Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Act 10:37-48)
What do you think? Maybe Peter was preaching to himself. Maybe this is why we need to hear the scriptures so often, because we are like Peter. Despite it being “plain as day”, right in front of us, we limit God’s grace. We like to pray and give thanks that God loves us despite our sins, just as we are. However, we like to judge others who are not like us, and ask God to change them so they can be loved like we are. Lord, love me just as I am, but will you please do something about those weirdos. What is the new covenant Jesus was talking about? How about this description God gave to Paul: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. (Galatians 3: 26-29) Happy Easter. You’re in the New Covenant. The time promised by God has arrived. The Kingdom has drawn near. Start spreading the news.