Sunday, August 17, 2008


Another beautiful weekend here in the Northland with the church extra full this morning as a result of the Armstrong family reunion.

Sept 6: A bonfire and pot luck dinner will include games at the Borndal’s home, 4214 Midway Road. A good time for fellowship as we kick off the Fall schedule.
Sept 14: Hymn Sing at the Newman’s, also pot luck. Stay tuned for details.
An Adventure Club Meeting will be held at 6:00 Aug. 24. Adventure Club was the wonderful Wednesday evening program for late pre-schoolers to sixth graders. The meeting will be to help start the planning process for an early October launch.

The service opened with a medley by the quartet this morning, “I Love to Tell the Story” and “Marvelous Grace of Our Loving Lord.” That Glory Bound Train was one of the many other songs they gave us today. Hearts were especially touched by “I Thanks God for the Lighthouse” with Ken’s heartfelt solo, “If it wasn’t for the lighthouse, where would this ship be?” … a truth that touches all of us.

Today’s readings: Genesis 45:1-15 and Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

Pastor Shannon began with a recap of the series he has been preaching this summer, What Does It Really Mean To Love?

Based on the fruit of the Spirit, the first sermon was about having no strings attached. The next about patience, and taking a long time to get hot. Thermometers and backpacks were used to illustrate. Kindness was last week’s theme. And each is tied to examples from the life of David, a man after God’s own heart.

This week we’re looking at gentleness, and learning how to handle other people with care.

Brad told a story about recently shouting at some kids who were throwing rocks. His tone was probably harsh and could have accomplished the same with less of an edge. This led into the message.

The Greek word for gentleness that Paul used was “praus”, which mean to approach with calm, It conveys the notion of thoughtfulness and being considerate. In other words, think before you speak.

We are not always sensitive to how we come across. In speaking we need to be sensitive to our tone of voice.

He also pointed out the need to be considerate of others’ situations before we speak. We are not talking into a vacuum. Sometimes people are hurting, and we barge ahead without consideration.

The word is also used in reference to a medication. Here, Brad read for us a list of side effects for a high blood pressure medication. Our words will have a more helpful impact if they do not also carry negative side effects.

Brad also pointed out that gentleness likewise applies to leaders. Leadership does not have to mean “Type A” personalities that steamroll everyone. Jesus was a great lead, and likewise gentle. “A bruised reed He will not break” wrote Isaiah of the Messiah. God chooses to be gentle with us.

The definition, then, for gentleness is, “Thoughtful, calm and considerate in my dealings with others.”

I Samuel 25 is the story of David’s dealings with Nabal. After Samuel died and David was still on the run from Saul with his 600 mighty men, he sends emissaries to Nabal, a wealthy man who happened also to be surly, rude, ill-humored and cruel. The man, whose name incidentally means “Fool,” treated David’s men harshly and refused to allow them to have anything to eat. His remarks were insulting and David’s men reported everything back to David.

David’s response was to send two thirds of his fighting men to slaughter Nabal and all of his men servants.

Fortunately, Nabal had a wise and beautiful wife who interceded on Nabal’s behalf. Abigail’s appeal did not fall on deaf ears. He ended up thanking her for keeping him from acting rashly, and he thanked God for having taken this risk to make appeal on behalf of her husband.

When Abigail told her husband everything that had happened, including the near calamity and how he had been spared, his heart gave out. Ten days later he died.

Nabal is an example of how not to treat people. Gentleness means handling people with care. Gentleness is also an outward expression of the inward changes in our hearts when God gets hold of us on the inside.

David, despite his momentary lapse (intending to teach Nabal a lesson by slaughtering him), was open to hearing what Abigail had to say. The result was an opportunity to honor God.

Other concepts we draw from the story that Brad brought forward include:

1) Admit what you did to cause a situation and ask for forgiveness. Nabal did not. David did this many times.

2) Identify with the other person’s struggle.

3) Be an approachable person.

In the end, there was a payoff. David got food for his men, was prevented from doing wrong, and like many fairy tales, got the girl. For after Nabal died, his wife went to be David’s wife. She showed herself to be a great woman in her having taken quick action on her undeserving husband’s behalf. Many lives were spared and God was ultimately honored.

Gentleness is a virtue.

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