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Sheepish Thoughts

Sheepish Thoughts
by: Caroline Crocker, PhD

 
 
Richard and I spent the past couple of months in Israel and England. The two places do not have a lot of similarities, but there is one: sheep. The hills of Judea are covered in sheep. So are the hills of England. Some are dirty and bedraggled; some are fluffy and white. They come in many breeds and colors. But they are all sheep. Kind of like people: we come in a lot of varieties, but we are all people.
 

During our time away, I’ve been spending time reading books, listening to wise teachers, learning about the care and habits of sheep, and thinking about my life as a middle-aged ewe in the care of the Good Shepherd. In particular, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 23 from the point of view of a sheep.


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Blessed are Those Who Are the Kingdom

Blessed are Those Who Are the Kingdom
by: Caroline Crocker, PhD, based on notes from teachings by Rev. David Pileggi

 

Imagine you are sitting on this hillside by Lake Tiberias (we know it as the Sea of Galilee). The sun is warm but the breeze from the lake keeps you from feeling too hot. You are seated with your friends, up close to the Master, Jesus. Many others are seated behind you, also wanting to hear Him.  He is audible because the volcanic rock is a great sound reflector, but Jesus is talking to you.


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The Message of the Kingdom

The Message of the Kingdom
by Rev. Cathie P. Young
 
 

This past Sunday in our February sermon series on the Kingdom of God, we asked the question, “What is the message of the Kingdom?” First we established that as blood bring life to the body, so communication brings life to the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom message, though certainly communicated through the actions of our lives, is inherently verbal. Jesus preached the Kingdom. (Luke 4:43) Paul proclaimed the Kingdom. (Acts 28:31) We are called to share the message of the Kingdom by communicating it in words with others.


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More than Coffee

More than Coffee
by: Caroline Crocker, PhD
 
 
Yesterday Richard and I had coffee with Aaron Eime at Christ Church, Jerusalem. We wanted to find out more about the ministry here, but in passing, we had a discussion that has come to typify our time here. Aaron was explaining why he is so passionate about teaching the specifically Jewish roots of the Christian faith, as is the mission here. He paused briefly and asked us if we know why Jesus, the Messiah, should choose turning water into wine as his first miracle (Jn 2:1-11). As Aaron said, “Jesus would’ve made a bigger splash by starting with raising someone from the dead. But, He didn’t do that.”

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Kingdom Reflections

Kingdom Reflections
by Pastor Todd Meyer

 
 

On Sunday we thought about the foundational question ‘What is the Kingdom of God?’ The simplified answer: THE AUTHORITY AND REIGN OF GOD.

1. Each of us have been given the same authority that Christ had in the Father (John 14:12).

 

2. We often misplace our affections and try to find our identity and authority in something other than Him. Like Zacchaeus, who at first found his identity and authority in his position and riches (Luke 19), we must fully surrender our identity in order to be identified with Him. Also like Zacchaeus, Jesus is inviting himself into your house. Will you let him in?


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Called to Discipleship

Called to Discipleship
 
by Pastor Todd Meyer
 
 

This Sunday is week 4 in our “Light of the World, Light IN the World” January sermon series and we will be looking at a pivotal moment in the life of the disciples:  the moment they left everything (Matt 4: 12-23).  Last week Rev. Cathie spoke from John 1 and the invitation of Jesus to the disciples to “come and see”.  This week Jesus is asking his disciples, and us, to go a big step further: “come and die”. 


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Look, Come, See

 
Look, Come, See
 
by Rev. Cathie P. Young
 
 

Do you recall how Jesus first encountered those who came to be His disciples?  Maybe you remember the well-known story about Jesus walking on the shoreline and calling the fishermen to leave their nets and come be fishers of men. This Sunday, we look at another story found in John’s Gospel that presents a different kind of encounter with soon-to-be disciples.  Here two seekers followed Jesus from a distance and when He saw them, He asked, “What are you looking for?”

This question “What are you looking for?” is filled with depth and meaning. It makes us search our own hearts as we remember when we first encountered Christ. What were we looking for? And it makes us think of the new and younger generation we seek to bring into St. James. What are they looking for?

Equally important is Jesus’ statement to those two young seekers, “Come and see.” What did you see at St. James when you first came that drew you in to come closer to Jesus Christ? What will a new generation see when they come?  Will what they see draw them closer to Christ?

Join us this Sunday at 7:30, 9 or 11 am as we continue January’s preaching series, “Light of the World; Light IN the Word”. I will be preaching from John 1:29-42. Please take time to read it and be sure to bring your Bible to church this Sunday! See you then.

 
 
 


New Things

“New Things”
 
by Pastor Todd Meyer
 
Have you ever been overwhelmed by a task? My guess is we have all been overwhelmed even by the small tasks we must do like clean the garage, cook for a party you are hosting, or get that stubborn virus off your computer! And there are those larger tasks which can almost cripple us if we think too hard about them: Care for an ailing parent, encourage a child not living up to their potential, start, or end, a career.
 
One of the largest tasks all of us have is to bring Jesus to a world who is desperate without him. Here is the good news: We do not need to be overwhelmed!

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What’s In a Name?

What’s in a Name?
 
by Rev. Cathie P. Young
 
 
 
This Sunday marks the feast of the Holy Name which is recognized on January 1, the eighth day of Christmas.  On December 25 we celebrated Christ’s birth, the Word made flesh, and this Sunday, we remember the name given to Him “by the angel before He was conceived.”  The naming of the Christ child was a very human important moment.

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The Reformation and Pain

The Reformation and Pain

By Caroline Crocker, PhD

 

Have you ever been in pain, whether emotional or physical? If you live on planet Earth, chances are you have been—or will be—at some time. We don’t enjoy pain and would do anything to protect our loved ones from it, but it happens. Pain is a part of life.

 

Nonetheless, we will try almost anything to avoid or minimize pain. In the USA we spend $16.4B/yr on painkillers. This doesn’t even take into account the $34B/yr spent by the many who are seeking relief with non-traditional alternatives such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or chiropractic therapy. Pilgrims in the 16th century would attempt to cure toothaches with a stolen sliver of wood from Luther’s deathbed; we haven’t changed much. We are also not too excited about emotional pain, so we spend $10B/yr on anti-depressants and billions more on seeing therapists. Now we are even legalizing assisted suicide, so people can avoid the intolerable pain of dying or seeing a loved one suffer.

 


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When Sugarplums Fly…to Mumbai

When Sugarplums Fly…to Mumbai
By Ruth Ellen Johnson
 
 
 
 
 
 
It’s hard to let go of things: your to-do list, your checkbook, your past, your youth. But for a parent, it’s gut-wrenching to let go of your kids. And yet we must. From the day they are born, we should be making our job obsolete. Not in loving them but in releasing them. We must start their engines, let them rev then take-off. And crash. And repair. And taxi. Again and again, till one day….they soar.

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It’s All in the Details

It’s All About the Details
By Caroline Crocker, PhD
 
 
 
Details, details! I am married to a detail person. When my husband gets home, we have a cup of tea (he is very British) and share our day. That is, I talk and he listens. He may ask for clarification: who I spoke with (first and last name), where I went (store name at least), when I am planning to go again (date and time), and what we are having for dinner (proper and specific names only please).

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