This is my sermon for this coming Sunday. Tell me what you think!

Date preached: 5/25/08, Sebewaing

RCL After Epiphany 8A

Text: Matthew 6:24-34

Subject: Why is God telling us not worry?

Complement: Because we have Him to trust in the lean times.

Exegetical Idea: If they serve God, He will provide for the Israelites – They need not worry.

Homiletic Idea: If we serve God, He will provide for us so we needn’t worry either.

Purpose: Hearers will ask God to be their Lord and provide their needs.

Type: Deductive, Expository

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

That poem, by Robert Frost, has always been a favorite of mine. The yellow wood reminds me of northern Michigan where I lived when I was young. And the constant decision of which way to go both on a walk and in my life has been beautifully detailed in this poem by Robert Frost. I always imagine myself gazing at the two roads deciding if I will take the less traveled, maybe even more difficult way or the easier way that most take. I have always likened them to the narrow and wide paths that we choose between in our life. I have chosen the narrow path to God rather than the wide path to wealth, power and destruction.

That is what our passage of scripture speaks of this week, too.

“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God AND wealth.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

Here, Jesus breaks down our choices into two paths. There is the path serving God and the path serving wealth. (more…)

Today I read chapter 4 in Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild. She wrote about rejoicing in your God-given gifts; especially the difficult ones. If most people wrote that, it would not be as powerful as when she, a blind woman, writes it. If she can rejoice in her God-given difficult gift, then I should be able to rejoice in mine, too. Here are some of my favorite parts of this chapter.

The only difference between becoming bitter and becoming better is the letter I. Approaching our difficulties from the standpoint of what I want, what I have lost, or what I think is fair will embitter us. Bitter eyes can perceive only the injustice and the sorrow in our situation. Grateful eyes, however, will always see the grace of God, regardless of how difficult our circumstances might be. Grateful eyes allow us to see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). (more…)

This morning I started reading two different books. They are: Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild and In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I started by reading the introduction and chapter 1 of Lessons I Learned in the Dark. Then I read some of In the Name of Jesus. Later I returned to Lessons I Learned and then went back to In the Name of Jesus again. I really don’t know why I did it that way, but I was amazed at the common theme between both books.

In her book, Jennifer Rothschild tells how she was diagnosed as being legally blind at the age of 15 due to a degenerative disorder. She had to learn to trust God or despair. The subtitle to her book is Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight. She tells of her journey with God. She did trust God and became a wonderful Christian woman because of it. She had to learn to walk with God through her darkness.

Lately I have been wondering where my place in the ministry is. I have some hopes and dreams, but I don’t know if they will ever happen. I’m a very practical person and if they aren’t going to happen, I really don’t want to dream them. I don’t see the point. I know many people would disagree with me; even my husband. I am at the place where I know I am called to something, but I am not sure what. I don’t really know my short or long-term destinations. I need to trust God and walk with Him. I need to not concern myself with where I am going, but just focus on who I am going with. With all the talk of women in ministry at General Council this past week, I’ve been wondering where my place is and how far I can get. (more…)

My daughter Princess drew me a picture! While I was on the phone with my mom, on Sunday when she told me about my grandma, Princess was starting to whine and yell right next to me. Chris stopped her and told her to let me talk and explained why I was sad. Then Princess decided to draw me this picture.

*As a disclaimer, I should add that all her drawings of people look like this. She draws the ribs! She drew this on the back of another picture. That is why the background looks strange. But, this is my grandma. Isn’t it sweet? I love my Princess!

Sunday night I was reading Psalms looking for something comforting. I found Psalm 5.

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the Lord abhors.

But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies–
make straight your way before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Some of it is scary, kinda of, but I really liked the the first and last two stanzas. I was crying out to God because of my fear that my grandma didn’t make it to heaven and God comforted me and surrounded me with His favor. And I believe brought my grandma into His protection. I do feel assured of her destination now. I believe she did make it to heaven. And I know that no matter what, God is in control and is a just God. I must trust Him. And I must continue trying constantly to become more holy and obedient. I must further His Kingdom while I am here on Earth. I pray that I fulfill the goals He has for me and that I will be assured of the rest of my family’s fate before they die.