Sunday, August 22, 2010

That I May Have a Harvest Among You

It was a somewhat unusual service this morning. Saturday night word went out via the prayer chain that Pastor Brad was on his way to the hospital, most likely appendix related. Those of us who gathered at the Breakfast Roundtable learned that Pastor was heading into surgery. By the end of our discussion on the question, "Do I believe God's best blessings are before us or behind us?" we learned that Brad's surgery was already complete, went well and he was in recovery.

Chuck Vanderscheuren stepped into Brad's shoes to lead the service. Darlene was also out today and Ed Newman filled in on piano. Chuck greeted us, and began with announcements which included the following:
1. The Harvest Festival at Twig Town Hall is coming soon. There will be a whole host of activities on September 12 from 8:00 a.m. till 2:30 with a worship service sandwiched in the middle. Hot air balloon rides will begin early, but there will be plenty more, including food, games, art, and a treasure hunt.
2. Volunteers are still needed for the rummage sale.
3. JoAnn Winship talked about Christ formation in our Christian education program and additional programs that are being discussed by our leadership team. There may still be a need for teachers and assistants.

As an introit Ed played Majesty in Spanish on the piano, pronounced Majastad. Chuck led the congregation in a number of hymns, which was followed by an offering and a time of prayer.

That I May Have a Harvest Among You

Chuck began by talking about how sometimes we feel helpless, perhaps like a car spinning on an icy road out of control. He shared a humorous letter written by Eric Borndal from camp to his parents when he was very young. The food and accommodations were so awful he thought he was going to die. Chuck remembered the first day of kindergarten being that way for some kids who cried because they had to leave their parents and come to school.

With this we began a short study of Romans 1:1-17.

Paul begins his letter to the Romans with a little information about himself. This is a letter to the church of Rome, a church which he has never seen, a church which he was not involved in founding, like many of the others he wrote letters to. In the opening he makes reference to his new birth, and his status, "a bondservant of the Jesus Christ."

Chuck described what a bondservant is. In ancient times when a slave has completed his service and is released, he could stay on as a permanent servant/slave to the master. The man would place his ear on the master's door and have it pierced, making him legal property of the master.

Paul was also an apostle, a calling not a job one obtains through ambitious maneuvering. He notes that he has been set aside for the Gospel.
After going through Paul's resume, Chuck asked what our spiritual resume would look like.

Beginning in verse 8, Paul shares his sentiments toward the church in Rome, how he is grateful for them and longs to see them. Paul's aim in coming to Rome was mutual encouragement as they each shared their gifts.

In verse 16 Paul declares that through preaching the Gospel, the power of God is unleashed, and in the God's salvation the character of God is revealed.

This letter was written at a time when Paul was dreaming about the possibilities of the Gospel when he comes soon to Rome. When was the last time you dreamed about seeing God's power released here? The best is yet to come.

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