Voices: Generous Far Beyond Fairness

At our meeting in Kansas City, I heard one of the best “explanations” yet of the parable of the workers in the vineyard.

“In one of Jesus’s wildest parables, he compares the kingdom to laborers picked up to work at all hours of the day (Matt. 20:1–16). The ones who work an hour are given a day’s wage. The ones who work all day expect ten times as much, but they also get the same amount. The employer is fair to them. He’s just exceedingly generous to the ones who worked less. In other words, God is fair at the end of all things. And God is generous far beyond fairness. When God takes stock of all things, God will be generous far beyond what we were able to muster workwise.”

— Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell and Jason Byassee [1]

“God is fair at the end of all things. And God is generous far beyond fairness.” That is good news. Let us set fear aside and simply do our best.

[1] Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell and Jason Byassee, Faithful and Fractured: Responding to the Clergy Health Crisis (Grand Rapids Michigan: Baker Publishing Group, 2018), 133, Kindle.

We’re Back

Jenny and I are happy to be back from the Orders and Fellowship Meeting in Kansas City. We’re gearing up for this Sunday (January 20, 2018) when I’ll be preaching about how Jesus turns water into wine in our everyday lives (my text is John 2:1-12). We hope to see you there.

Voices: Better Things Ahead

In light of the grief this church is currently experiencing both individually and collectively, I wanted to share the following quote from C. S. Lewis in a letter he wrote to a woman facing death in 1963.

“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” — C. S. Lewis [1]

One of the great sure and certain hopes of Christianity is that those we have lost to death have gone on to better things.

[1] C. S. Lewis to Mary. June 17, 1963. In Letters to an American Lady (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1967) 117.

Voices: Stand Near the Fire

“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone.” — C. S. Lewis [1]

[1] C. S. Lewis, “Good Infection,” in Mere Christianity (1952)

Heavy Burdens and Hard Battles

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Many of you are hurting. Many of you are carrying heavy burdens. Many of you are fighting hard battles. Remember that God loves you. Remember that Jenny and I love you. Remember to love yourselves and one another. In God’s grace there is strength for any struggle and forgiveness for any failure.

Blessings, John

P.S. If you’re wondering whether or not I’m writing to you, then I am.

Children/Youth Sunday School Update

This weekend is the One Event for the Youth of the Great Plains Conference. Wendy will be taking a group over, and for that reason, there will be no Sunday School for children or youth this coming Sunday (January 6, 2018). Classes will resume the Sunday following with the children on the third floor and the youth in the youth room.

Little Free Pantry Collection This Sunday

This coming Sunday (January 6, 2019) is the first Sunday of the month, the Sunday we collect items for the little free pantry. Here are a few needs if you want to contribute: canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned soup, and canned meat; cereal, breakfast, and granola bars; macaroni and cheese, ramen, spaghetti (and sauce); peanut butter and jelly, crackers (especially saltine crackers—they’re good for putting peanut butter and jelly on); add water only pancake mix and syrup; and fruit snacks.

A few final encouragements: ask yourself if you would eat what you are bringing and remember that the Little Free Pantry is, well, little.

Intentions Not Resolutions

I recently heard someone on a podcast say that they are making New Year’s intentions, not New Year’s resolutions. This seems like a good idea to me. If you make a resolution to read the Bible every day, you may just give it up for the rest of the year once you miss a day. If you make an intention to read the Bible every day, then that’s something you can miss one day and then pick up the next. I don’t know why the difference in phrasing makes a difference to me, but it does, and I’m passing it on in case the same applies to you.