Pastor Brad welcomed us warmly and stated that his only announcement was that we would be our semi-annual meeting
Brad had us stand as he read the Gospel text for today's message, the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus as recorded in Mark 10:46-52. Then Brad and Darlene shared a song as an intro to a period of worship.
The congregation joined in a pair of songs and the youth sang a special song, "I Am Yours and You Are Mine." The congregation joined in again with "Open the Eyes of My Heart."
A ten-year-old named Grace played "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" during the offering, which stirred a strong response from the congregation afterwards.
Brooke then invited our youth to come forward and get recognition. This summer they went to Hancock and selected their favorite fabrics, which were then sewn into pillow cases for pillows to be placed in the church youth room. We dedicated the new youth room and the youth in our church family.
Brad began by noting that this man, a blind beggar, was a man going through a difficult season. And so many of us here today are likewise going through a difficult season. It could be your work, or marriage, or finances or physical suffering or depression... So many ways hardship can hit us.
But here is the story of Bartimaeus. It begins with Bartimaeus sitting by the side of the road as a large crowd goes by. These are not perfect conditions for reaching out to Jesus. The crowd could have been in the thousands, though we don't really know. What we do know is that the beggar was needy and it was indeed a crowd.
Brad stated that no matter the circumstances, the time to call out is always right now. Conditions are never perfect and will not become more perfect later.
Third, he played to an audience of one. He wasn't concerned with what others thought of him. The people around him rebuked him, but he shouted all the more. Don't worry what others think when calling out to God.
Sometimes when we're trusting or hoping or praying there are people who suck the faith out of you, people who tell us not to hope, that your prayers are useless.
Bartimaeus was alone, isolated, and others were saying just shut up. But he didn't listen to them.
Faith is sometimes embarrassing. Noah built a boat... and the neighbors made fun of him. But his trust was in God, and God had said to build an ark. He obeyed, and he was rewarded for his faith, along with his family.
God is alive, and He is active. And Jesus responds. Despite all the noise and chaos of the mob, Jesus hears the cry of this single blind beggar.
In verse 50 Bartimaeus throws his cloak aside to go to Jesus, and Brad suggests that the gospel writer did not put this detail in for no reason. Brad then asked what we have to throw aside. Is it pride? Bitterness? Whatever it is needs to be cast off.
In verse 51 Jesus asks what the man wanted. The blind man was honest and direct. "I want to see."
Jesus replied, "Your faith has healed you." And immediately he received his sight, whereupon he also began to follow Jesus.
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After the service we had a semi-annual meeting to address church business and approve the budget.