Monday, November 21, 2022

Memory Verses for 2023

January - John 1:14

February - John 1:29-30 NKJV

March - John 3:36

April - John 4:23

May - John 4:24

June - John 5:24

July - John 6:35

August - John 7:37-38

September - John 8:31-32 NKJV

October - John 10:10

Novembeer - John 11:25-26

December - Genesis 50:20

Looking to 2024 (order TBD)

Psalm 19:1

Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Liturgists for 2023

 This is the draft liturgist list for CY 2023.  It is based on previous service and responses to my recent queries.  Please review and reply if you know now that date is not supportable or if someone was missed.



1              Ethan Delp

8              Rick Reeves

15           Kathy Stegall

22           Kenzie Delp

29           Desarae Simmons


5              Garrett Stegall

12           Danny Rush

19           Rick Reeves

26           Lynn Ferrari


5              Sharman Spence

12           Lori Schneberger

19           Kendra Walker

26           Luke Schneberger


2              Lynn Ferrari

9              Danny Rush

16           Kenzie Delp

23           Lori Schneberger

30           Elementary Youth


7              Laci Stegall

14           Kathy Stegall

21           Rodney Chilton

28           Gerald Stegall


4              Danny Rush

11           Faith Schneberger

18           Libby Spence

25           Avery Simmons


2              Dylan Walker

9              Gage Stegall

16           Emma Stegall

23           Gerald Stegall

30           Kathy Stegall


6              Garrett Stegall

13           Elders

20           Lynn Ferrari

27           Desarae Simmons


3              Rick Reeves

10           Larry Walker

17           Kylie Denbo

24           Kaitlyn Denbo


1              Dakota Walker

8              Candace Bond

15           Kristy Denbo

22           Ethan Delp

29           Rick Reeves



5              Gage Stegall

12           Dylan Walker

19           Libby Spence

26           Lynn Ferrari


3              Ethan Delp

10           Garrett Stegall

17           Kathy Stegall

24           Young Adult Sunday School Class

31           Rodney Chilton

Friday, October 7, 2022

Adam to Noah and Sons

 Read Genesis 5

 We begin with the only authoritative genealogy that will continue beyond the flood that would come. Before the genealogy, we get a reminder that God created, and he created mankind to be special.

We are of the earth like the other animals, but we are also of God.  God breathed life into us.

This is the written account of Adam’s family line.

When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.

This is the fourth creation account in Genesis.  It is not as substantial as the first two.  It is more like the third, which is incidental to what followed.

There is a fifth account.  You know it.  Some of you know it by memory.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

But this fifth chapter of Genesis takes us all the way to Noah.  When we get to Noah, we will see a re-baselining of God’s creation.  But we are not there yet.

It is important that today we can follow the bloodline of Adam to Noah, and then to Abraham, and then to Abraham’s seed that we know as Christ.  From Christ going forward, it is his blood alone that is important to us.  Understanding how God’s plan was fulfilled in the human bloodline to Christ is important, but being washed in the blood of the Lamb is what leads us to right standing with God.

Again, we are in the fifth chapter of Genesis, but our understanding of the New Testament helps us understand the beginning of the story.  It is our finite nature and our earthly mind that thinks we only understand the new by the old.  God is not bound in linear time and his inspired word gives us the full biblical witness.

The bloodline of Adam was first told through Cain, who killed his brother Abel.  We do not see the continuation of this lineage.  It will end with the flood.  What we do see is the continuation of Adam’s bloodline through Seth’s descendants.

Within this lineage is one very interesting exception to death entering the world through Adam and Eve.  Enoch lived 365 years, enjoyed faithful fellowship with the Lord, and had a son named Methuselah—who lived a very long time, but Enoch did not experience death.  God took him from the earth without stopping at death.

So, what should we take from this chapter? 

·       Bloodlines are important, all the way up to Christ. From our full biblical witness, we know that it is the blood of Christ that moves us forward.

·       Biblical authors, inspired by God, preserved the stories of the bloodlines that would endure to the seed that would come through Abraham’s line. Adam and Eve would have other children, but they are not included in the story we have here.

·       Sin was already wreaking havoc on the world, but there were those who were still faithful.  They may only be a small remnant, but there were those who found favor with God on the earth. Enoch was the example in this chapter.  Noah in those to come.

·       People lived a long time.  God would limit that in the next chapter.

From the beginning, God spoke creation into existence, then took what was formless and gave form to it.  God brought order out of chaos.  These first chapters deal with a lot of chaos, but God will bring order.  The line of Adam that goes through Abraham is the thread that will continue to put order in the world.

God will preserve a remnant of his creation. The evil that was prospering will be put away.  God’s relationship with mankind will continue.

The full biblical witness tells us that evil will again tempt God’s people, but God will continue to make a way for his faithful.

So as this chapter prepares for what is to come, let us consider where we have been.

God created.

God created good.

God gave form to the formless.

God created humankind special.  We are of God and like the other creatures—we are of the world.  We are unique among everything in creation.

Sin had manifested itself in disobedience to God. God gave consequences.

Humankind made offerings to God.  God was pleased with one of these offerings.

Man has manifested anger and again given sin a foothold.

Sin continued in Cain killing Abel. God gave consequences for this action but did not disown Cain.

Humankind had language, literature, tools, abodes, and grew crops and raised herds.

These were not mere cavemen who grunted and waved clubs.  From the beginning humankind was special.

Sin continued.

Adam was blessed with a lineage that would continue through Seth and eventually bring us the Christ.

Adam had other children but the story of God’s relationship with humankind will continue through Seth’s line.

Enoch marked the exception to death entering the world through Adam and Even.  All of these people—except Enoch—who lived a long time, eventually died.

It has not yet rained on the earth.

We are introduced to a man named Noah. He had kids when he 500. He was the father of three sons.

After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

We should realize that we have the Old Testament to better understand the New Testament; however, we who see the full biblical witness know that the converse is also true. We have the New Testament to help us understand the Old Testament and better understand a God who is not confined to linear time as we are.

Our full biblical witness will tell us that the story that gets us to Jesus and salvation and the fulness of life and life eternal, and it comes through a selected line and there will be adversity along the way.  Trials and tribulations will continue into our time.  Sin continues into our time. Some of us may or may not know what we call the Great Tribulation, but all will know some tribulation in our lives.

Many hope to be taken directly to heaven as was Enoch and those who will be living at the time of Christ’s return.  We all hope that the Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Church in Philadelphia—that we read about near the end of the age—share much in common, being saved from an hour of trial.

But we also hope to bear witness to the one true God and his Son that we know as Christ Jesus, our Lord and our Savior and our hope.  We hope to live a life full of testimonies of how we have overcome all the obstacles and stumbling blocks set before us without becoming a stumbling block ourselves.

We want to be known as followers of Christ Jesus by our love.  If that means that the world hates us, then so be it.  We know whom we serve, whom we follow, and whom we trust.

The line from Adam to Christ does not walk along the Primrose path, but it is a line that we will follow to our Savior.  Genesis won’t get us all the way there, but we will understand the early part of this story that tells of God’s relationship to the crown of his creation.

A flood is coming, but we will see those who are rescued from the destruction continue the story.


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Daily 7

 Good Morning! Today we begin with the Marine Corps Daily 7. These are 4-count exercises.  I will count the cadence.  You will count the repititions.  Your first exercise is:

Side straddle Hop

Push Ups

Mountain Climbers

Bend and Thrust

And other exercises that have changed over the years, generally to make sure all muscle groups were targeted.  They will surely change again as the fitness gurus learn more, but this routine of seven exercises most always preceded whatever fitness training was to follow—the obstacle course, the confidence course, a 5-mile run, or a formation run in boots with rifles.

It was the traditional start to just about every workout.  What if we as Christians did something similar?  What if we had a daily seven?  What if there were 7 things that we did every day.  Maybe they wouldn’t always precede the rest of the day, but we would consciously make sure they made it into every day.

What would be our daily 7?  You could come up with your own, but here’s a place to start.  They might change as we grow as believers, but this would be good for the first year.

Proclaim the Good News (John 3:16-17)

Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33)

Study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

Be a light unto the world Matthew (5:14-15)

Be known as Christ’s disciples by your love (John 13:34-35)

Enjoy fellowship with God and each other (1 John 1:3)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The birth of Cain, Abel, and Theology

 Read Genesis 4

Bob Seger has a song called Night Moves.  You can guess what it’s about.  In the song, there is one line that goes like this.

Working on Mysteries without any clues.  Working on our night moves.

What’s a Bob Seger song got to do with Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the Garden?  These first two people that we learn about, learned how to work on mysteries without any clues.  These two people made another person.

Eve noted it was with God’s help. They named the kid Cain.  I wonder if they knew they were having a baby or if Adam just thought that Eve was putting on a few pounds and knew not to say anything. 

Did they even know to start picking out names before the kid was born?  Adam had some naming experience.  He named all the animals and even gave his wife a name.  In any case, the kid was named Cain.

Sometime later, Eve gave birth to a second son and they named him Abel.

We don’t get to see the terrible twos, losing teeth, or even the preteen antics of these two boys. We see them as men—likely young men.  Cain was a farmer and Abel worked the flocks.

Cain brought an offering—a minchah (מִנְחָה)—of the fruits of the field.  Abel brought fatty portions from his flocks.  Why Abel butchered animals when it seemed that Adam and Eve were vegetarians goes unanswered.  Perhaps that prohibition was only for life in the garden.

In any case, God was pleased with Abel’s offering but not with Cain’s. Why?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they had been told, “Don’t eat from that tree.”  They had a specific prohibition.  They had a Thou Shat Not!

We don’t see anything that precedes the offerings of the two brothers.  These were offerings, likely not sacrifices to atone for sins.  They were gifts, tributes, and presents.

One was acceptable.  One was not.  And so, begins the course of theological discourse.

Some say that Cain’s gift was too small.  That it was a token offering.  That’s possible but not directly supported.

Some say that for an offering to be acceptable, there must be the shedding of blood.  We are told that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood, but the text does not say the offering—sacrifice if you will—was for atonement. Anyway, we will later see grain offerings prescribed when we get to the Law that came through Moses.

Some say that Cain’s attitude was not right.  We see his reaction to God not finding favor in his gift, but we do not see what preceded the gift.  If we give someone something that we think is wonderful and they don’t like it, we don’t always have the best attitude when our gift is rejected.

No one can argue that Cain’s reaction was contrary to the ways of God, but we don’t really know why his gift was not acceptable.

If we search our full biblical witness, we find a single verse in Hebrews that offers some light.  This epistle tells us that Abel’s offering was given in faith.  We are not told that Cain’s gift was bad, just that Abel’s was better. We had to venture a long way to find this answer and would have loved to have received this explanation or at least some explanation in the text of Genesis, but we are told in Hebrews that Abel acted in faith.

So, what prompted Cain to make an offering? Did he feel that he had to make one?  Was this an obligation or duty that Cain perceived?  Was Cain not giving cheerfully?

The Lord loves a cheerful giverDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. Let each person give as he has decided in his heart.

We don’t see the reason that Cain’s offering was not acceptable to the Lord in the text of Genesis.  Perhaps the story of why it was not was passed on orally for centuries only to be recorded in the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews.

What we do see is Cain’s reaction to not finding favor with God through his offering.  It wasn’t pretty.  Cain killed his brother.  The term murder seems appropriate but the word used in Genesis is not the same word used in the Commandments.  It seems that this action was planned, but that is our presumption—our inference; however, we don’t see scriptural evidence of malice aforethoughtmens rea in legal terms.

Before the killing or murder of Abel, God asked Cain, why are you angry?  Why are you down and out?  If you just do what is right, everything will be good.

Adam and Eve had a single prohibitive command.  Don’t eat from that tree. They disobeyed and there were consequences. 

We don’t see any instructions for Cain or Abel about making offerings.  How did they know what would please God and what would not?

What if they didn’t know?  What if they just brought what they thought they should bring?

One offering was acceptable and one was not. The Lord looked with favor on Abel’s offering but not on Cain's.  The scripture does not say that the Lord was angry with Cain.  His offering just fell short of what God expected.

Now think about this. What if, Cain had a teachable spirit?  What if, Cain decided to make his offering more like his brother’s? What if, Cain had tried again to please God?

Look at your life as a child, including as a young man or woman.  Did your parents prescribe everything that you were to do or not to do?

It might have seemed like it at the time, but it is more likely than not that you learned much from experience.  Trial and error has been a learning tool for a long, long time.

The story is that Thomas Edison had 1000-3000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb.  This probably wasn’t even to invent the lightbulb but to find a filament that would not burn out too quickly.  Regardless of where you stand on Edison’s invention or refinement of the lightbulb, and who got proper credit, there was a lot of trial and error.

What if Cain, instead of deciding to be angry at God or angry at his brother, decided to try once again to please God with an offering? What if he gave it, one more try? Or two or three or a thousand more?

What if Cain’s heart was set on pleasing God and he kept on trying? But that is not the story we find in this chapter.

Cain invited his brother to go for a walk.  It would be Abel’s last walk.  Cain killed his brother. We like to say he used a rock but that does not come from scripture.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet might suggest Cain used a jawbone or this could just be a literary analogy of the first murder citing it was Cain’s jawbone.

We don’t really know what weapon Cain used.  We do get a glimpse of his heart.  When God questioned Cain, the world’s first killer or murderer seemed to have no remorse.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

First Cain lied and then he gave God a little attitude.  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The term murder implies that Cain invited his brother on a walk for the purpose of killing him.  We infer from the rest of the story that might be the case.

In any case, Cain got booted out of his home and went to a land called Nod.  That begs the question: “Who named this place?”

Cain took a wife and had kids.  Again, it begs the question: “Where did his wife come from?”  Did Adam have a sister wife or a side chick in Nod and had some kids over there?  Where would she have come from?

Cain is destined to be a wanderer, but he finds a place to settle down and a wife. 

This brings us to the question of how much we take literally in the creation accounts. We are told that God created humankind, male and female alike, but we are not told that he created two and only two humans.

Are Adam and Eve representative of the entire creation?  God put a whole bunch of stars into the universe at the same time.  Perhaps, he populated the earth with many humans at the same time and the story of humanity is told through Adam and Eve.

If you believe that Adam and Eve were the only two humans that God created, then Cain’s wife becomes a source of cognitive dissonance.  Remember that the creation accounts are faith statements.  God created.  God created everything good.  God created life according to its kind.  God gave commands to multiply.

Genesis—especially the creation accounts—are not science books and not a complete genealogy of every human. We do get some genealogy, but it is of those through whom the story of God’s relationship with humankind will be told.

Through this initial genealogy, we see humankind introduced to tents, tools, and music.  Ranchers join the farmers in this new world.

We also see Adam and Eve becoming great, great grandparents. One of their offspring—Lamech took two wives.  God commanded all creatures to multiply, but he told humankind to fill the earth.  Perhaps, Lamech thought he could speed up the process. 

I think that I might be getting a Nobel prize for brilliance this year.  It takes one woman nine months to have a baby, but if you took nine women and got them pregnant, on average, they would have one baby a month.  I have not yet heard from the committee concerning my Nobel Prize, but the year is not over.

In any case, Lamech doubled his efforts to populate the world.

Next, we have a confession by Lamech that he killed someone who wounded him. The term is not murder. It’s the same term as when Cain killed Abel and not the term used in the prohibitive command used in Exodus 20.  We don’t know who he killed.

The whole account is presented as a short poem.  It’s one that seems to mix a confession with a boast.  Lamech could have killed this young man in combat or it could have been a misunderstanding gone bad. 

It would be almost three thousand years before the Law given through Moses would establish sanctuary cities for those in Lamech’s situation, but Lamech seemed unconcerned about needing a place of refuge before the matter could be adjudged.  He had confessed but thought if God would avenge the murderer Cain, he would surely stand up for Lamech even more.

If you watch enough Law and Order, you know that the detectives seldom get the full story on the first go-round. Motives and circumstances change after every commercial. If you made it this far in the chapter, you probably have more questions than answers.

There is one more aspect that I mentioned only briefly.  This part of the story was presented poetically.  I doubt the scribes in Babylon thought that they would spice up the reading with some literary flair.  They likely recorded a poem that had been passed down for centuries.

Why is this of any significance?  Adam and Eve and their descendants were not cavemen.  They didn’t grunt and wave clubs to communicate.  They had tents and tools and practiced animal husbandry.  Add to that, they had a dose of poetry.  Language and literature tell us that there was an element of intelligence, maturity, and even sophistication in early humankind.

The story shifts abruptly back to Adam and Eve and we are told they had another kid.  These two are great, great, great, great, great grandparents but they are having another kid.  Imagine being 50 or 100 years old and finding out that this newborn kid is your uncle.

OBTW, the kid’s name was Seth. There will be more about Seth’s children and their children in the next chapter.

The chapter ends with the statement that people began to call on the name of the Lord. If everyone had remained in the garden, that would have been a no-brainer. But there were people to the east of the garden—in the land of Nod and surely in places all around, but they began to call upon the name of the Lord.

The story is told through a specific genealogy, but people at large began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Where have we come in this chapter?

Cain killed his brother.

Cain is exiled but not destroyed.

Cain takes a wife and has children.

His children have children.

Those children have children.

We see tents and herds and tools and music introduced to the world.

We see plural marriage.

We see the man with two wives killing a younger man.  Draw your own conclusions.

We see people calling upon the name of the Lord.

We see many aspects of the beginning of this story of God’s creation.  We probably have more questions than answers. People have multiplied, killed each other, and called upon the name of the Lord. Humankind continued to sin and some of it began to seek the Lord.  For those of you who have been through Genesis a few times, you know that there will be more sinning than seeking in what is to come.

In the next chapter, you will get a lot of names and years and then more names and more years and then more names and more years and finally, we will get to Noah.  While you are making your charts and family trees in next week’s reading, think on this from chapter 4.

What if we had a teachable spirit?

What if we had a teachable spirit?  What if when we fell short, we tried to do better?

What if we didn’t get angry with God or with our brother or our sister?  What if we just tried again to please God?

Do you remember the counsel from James?  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because human anger can not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

What if we really did have a teachable spirit?  Could we avoid so much sin by just taking the yoke of our Master and learning from him?

Before Cain killed his brother, God gave him counsel.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

If you don’t give up, if you don’t let anger get a foothold, if you will just do what is right, everything will be just right in your relationship with God.  But if you don’t, sin is ready to take control of your heart.

What if we took God’s counsel and just learned from him instead of getting angry at God or the situation or our brothers and sisters?  What if we just tried one more time to please God?  What if it took two times or two thousand times before we gave into our frustration and anger, and surrendered to sin?

Why must we give in so quickly?

Imagine coaching a team and every time someone didn’t get something right, they became angry at you or other players.  They tried to get back at you or they hurt those players who did the drill correctly.

We expect players to be coachable.  Why are we as Christians not more teachable?

Yes, there is killing, probably murder, in this chapter, but God encouraged Cain to make another effort.  God did not disqualify Cain from anything because of his offering.  God essentially said, “Why don’t you give it another try?”

Why don’t we give it another try when we choose to be angry at God or at each other?  Why not take one more shot at pleasing God?  Maybe it will take a dozen or a hundred or a thousand tries to get it right, but why choose to be angry at God and each other instead of continuing to do our best to please God.

Read the next chapter, but think about being slow to anger and quick to trying again to please God.


Don't give sin a foothold

 Read Genesis 4

Let’s start after the offerings.  Abel’s brought him favor.  Cain’s was less.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Let’s focus on this part: “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

We are charged to be masters over sin.  Paul wrote :

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

From the beginning, humankind had to deal with sin and we are charged to be masters over sin.  Sin is present and powerful but we are to be more powerful.

It sounds like we are to be stronger than sin.  It sounds like this is all on us.  It sounds like we had better use our own understanding if we want to rule over sin.

But God told Cain to just do what is right.  Just do what God expects of us.  We are of the earth.  We are of God.  We struggle, but we can trust the Lord and do what he tells us to do.

Sometimes we have to figure out what pleases God, but we should not get angry and let sin take over when we don’t get it right on the first attempt.

We must be alert, on our guard, and ready at all times because sin lurks nearby waiting for its opportunity.  The more we do things God’s way, the fewer opportunities sin has to make its move.

Sin uses terrorist tactics.  It wants to attack the least defended target that gives it the highest payoff.  If we are focused on doing things God’s way, we are not a prime target.  The Devil and evil would love to bring us down, but when we live to please the Lord, our defenses are strong. Evil wants to bring us down because we are bringing light and love to the world, but our defenses are sound when we remain in the Lord.

Our downfall comes when we think, “I’ve got this.”  When we forget that we are incomplete without God.  When we try to do anything or everything without yielding to the Spirit that lives within us.

Our human nature wants us to be masters of our lives.  That sounds like a good thing.  It sounds like many earthly religions, but we have one Master and it is the Lord.

We are to be masters over our money, our resources, and other things that are part of our lives, but Jesus is our Master. The Spirit is our Counselor and Helper.  We don’t do anything on our own without risking giving sin a foothold in our hubris.

God told Cain to give it another try, but Cain was angry and discouraged.  Cain gave sin a foothold. This might have been a different story if Cain invited his brother to go for a walk and talk about what it was to please the Lord.

We are told to seek God and his kingdom and his righteousness before all things.  Do we always do this? That’s a rhetorical question.  I don’t know anyone who is batting 100%.

It seems that we make exceptions to what God has commanded.  It seems that we all have reasons or excuses as to why God’s way doesn’t work. All of us have something that we consider unique.  We think our situation is different. We know that our case has to be the exception to the rule.

 It seems that we are sometimes quick to anger, despite the counsel to the contrary. Our own understanding leads us to anger and gives sin a foothold.

Sometimes we wonder why we are not at peace when we don’t do things God’s way.  Why won’t God get in step with what I know that I need—with my desires.

God knows your desires and needs and struggles and he knows what is best for you, even when you think otherwise.  Yes, it’s more trust in the Lord over our own understanding, and it won’t be the last time you get that.

There were consequences for Cain, but God did not disown him. There are consequences for us, but God does not disown us.

But there are blessings and peace when we just do our best to please God and set our selfishness and anger aside when we don’t hit the target the first time.

When we let anger take hold, we give sin a foothold.  When we give sin a foothold, we are on the defensive. 

Marines are taught to kill with pistols, knives, entrenching tools, and anything in arm’s reach, as well as with their bare hands.  They are also trained to hit a man-sized target at 500 yards.  While they are ready to fight hand-to-hand, destroying your enemy at 500 yards is much preferred.

You usually get more medals for hand-to-hand combat, but your battles are better won at 500 yards. Your battles are better won where the enemy never has a chance to get a foothold.

Don’t give sin a foothold.  Don’t let it in close.  Let the Lord fight for you.  Trust him. Obey him. Have faith in him. Keep trying to please him, even when you don’t get it right the first time.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Report of the F4 Meeting of 20 July 2022

 F4 Meeting Report

20 July 2022

Tom Opened with prayer.  In attendance were Laci Stegall, Amanda Rush, Kendra Walker, Des Simmons, Sharman Spence, Lynn Ferrari, and Tom Spence.  Kathy Stegall joined by phone.

Most were confident that we have been on a good course and just need to make some minor adjustments and keep recruiting help.

Times were confirmed:  6:00 – 7:30 pm.  No building access (or use of equipment/restrooms) except for workers & their children prior to 5:45 pm.  Kathy may be outside for some oversight but we do not want to encourage early arrivals.

Confirm Classes & Classrooms

Nursery – Children of Workers only

Others— Lynn will lead a 3rd grade only class (Leaving Kathy with 4th and 5th).

All age groups.  Women will join men for the fall semester

We currently have teachers for all ages/grades T-1 and above to include music

Cell/Smart Phone policy.  After the prayer, we ask that all phones be put away until authorized by the table parents.  Older children will be asked to engage in conversation until after they get their food.

Table Parents will moderate their tables.  They will have some scripted activities, but the goal is to migrate to genuine person-to-person conversations.  Conversation starters will be provided for each meal. Each table parent is asked to warm up with the following.

·         Table Mantra

·         Memory Verse

Among those who we may want to ask to be table parents are Mike and Fran Kiser.  Katy Horne could also assist someone.

·         Parents come in for positive transfer of children (ages?) (walkers?)

We do not need the police with lights flashing for departure of the children, but want make them aware of when we release the children and how we cross the highway.

Amanda always needs help in the kitchen.  Anyone who can come early is appreciated.

Instead of a Clean Up Coordinator, we will have a clean up checklist for each teacher so that each class will know what to do when it is their turn. The assigned clean up crew may take up to 10 minutes of class time if needed.

AC settings (everything to off at the end of the evening until November)

The schedule was changed to include a Fall Break and change Ash Wednesday back to worship but with no sermon. All worship Wednesdays will be preceded by 10 minutes in the classroom.  See separate page for the new schedule.

Next Steps

·         Laci will contact the Police Chief

·         Tom will produce a Clean Up Check List

·         Kendra will bring conversation starter cards

·         Lynn will confirm with Kathy about breaking out 3rd grade and advise all

·         Kathy will pursue a crosswalk near the traffic light

·         All are asked to review the thoughts in the moving towards a mission statement handout

Tom closed the meeting with Prayer

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Paul's Letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians

 This post is for your review if you have accompanied us through Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, or it can be the beginning of your own study.  In any case here are the links to the scriptures and to the messages that accompany it.  Enjoy your journey.



No Other Gospel

Rat Poop Cookies


I am Crucified with Christ.  Christ Lives in Me!

Sharpening One Another


So Easily Fooled?

The Righteous will Live by Faith!


When the fullness of time had come

Don’t buy the Snake Oil


The Fruit of the Spirit is…

You were Running a Good Race


Let us not grow weary

May I Never Boast except…



In Him

A Prayer for the Church in Ephesus and for Us


By Grace through Faith

One in the Spirit


Leading those governed by rules to the richness of love

What’s in a Name?


Speaking the Truth in Love



Hit the Target. Please God!

Make the Most of Every Opportunity


Parents and Children

Put on the Full Armor of God



A Work in Progress

To Live is Christ. To Die is Gain


To the Glory of God

Work out your Salvation


Don’t go native—Press On

Glory Days


Don’t Worry. Be Joyful!

You better THINK



The Image of the Invisible God

Redeemed and Reconciled


Do Not Be Deceived

Don’t let man’s rules get in the way of God’s love


Do it all in the Name of the Lord

Working for the Lord


Seasoned with Salt

One Master


Galatians – Ephesians – Philippians – Colossians 10,000-foot flyover

Go Eat PopCorn - A Review from 10,000 Feet

 You have completed our trek through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.  Most of what you will get in this review should familiar.  We won’t hit every point.  This is a 10,000-foot flyover.

We begin with the Galatians.

There is no other gospel.  It’s Christ and Christ alone.  There is no Jesus Plus formula for salvation.

I have died to all of the rules.  I could never live up to all of the rules.  My disobedience, my missing the mark, my sin all had to die.  It did.  It all died in Christ.

I am crucified with Christ.  Christ lives in me.

We may butt heads sometimes, but when we do, it should be as iron sharpening iron, not an insistence on our own way.  Stick to what we have in common—Christ Jesus is the way to salvation.  It’s all about the grace that we know in Christ.

Paul continued his chastisement of the Galatians shifting to the interrogative.  Did you receive your salvation by obedience to the law or by receiving the good news?  How have you been so easily fooled?

It’s been said that it is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled.  There might just be some truth in that statement.

So then, how will the righteous live?  The righteous will live by faith.

You can’t read Galatians without reading Paul’s Christmas story.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Paul challenges the Galatians to stick to the one and only gospel.  He asked, Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

He says don’t buy the snake oil. As we continue into the last chapter, Paul uses metaphor to make his appeal to the fidelity of the gospel.

You were running a good race.  Who cut you off?

There is a whole bunch of chastisement in this letter, but it is also home to the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Paul gives some encouragement near the end of the letter. He charged the Galatians and us not to grow weary in doing good.  A harvest is coming.  Hang in there.

Paul wraps us his letter with an affirmation and a challenge.  He will never boast except in the cross of Jesus.  So too, he challenges us to the same standard.

And there we have the 10,000-foot flyover of the letter to the Galatians.  It’s on to the Ephesians.

There is only one place to begin this letter.  It is with the spiritual blessings that we know in Christ Jesus. In him, we are blessed beyond measure.

Paul prayed that these believers in Ephesus would know all of these blessings.  That prayer is for us as well.

And then we come to words that carried through all four of these letters.  They are by grace through faith.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

This is where we anchor ourselves when it come to salvation.  It is 100% the gift of God.  Our discipleship is another story altogether.  We have much to do in the areas of love, faith, obedience, service, worship, and so much more in response to this gift, but we must know with certainty that our salvation is totally the gift of God.

Our response brings us out of division into unity.  We are one in the Spirit.  Christ has made us one.  We have a diversity of gifts and responses to grace, but we are to be of one accord in the Spirit of God.

We who have professed Jesus as Lord must undergo a paradigm shift, a renewal of the mind, an exchange of old thinking for new thinking.  We are no longer people governed by rules, but people ruled by love.

Our whole identity is in God.  We are indeed his new creation.

How do we know that we are living the Christian life?  One way is to ask this question.  Do I speak the truth in a spirit of love? Speaking the truth in love is a benchmark of our Christian maturity.

Speaking the truth without love is easy.  It is simple condemnation.

Giving people what the world calls love without the truth is not so hard either.  That’s the vending machine.

Being able to speak the truth and do it in a spirit of love takes Christian maturity.  It’s no picnic.

And now we come to words that challenge us to live in response to the grace that we know.

Live a life worthy of the calling that you have received.

Much of that worthy life involves unity.  We should live in accord with each other.  We may have to practice some patience, gentleness, humility and other Christlike traits and qualities, but we must remember that our response to this gift of grace should be the best response we can muster.

In that response to grace, we strive to hit the target. That could be strict obedience to the law.  It could be pure love.  We know that love will not harm others so in most cases, you might not be able to tell the difference, but God will show us the target.

If we want to please God, we had better aim at the target and do our best to hit it.

The words from God that we read in Leviticus and that were repeated by some of the apostles should ring true.

Be holy because I am holy.

We have been saved from sin and death so we can live completely for God.  He will show us our targets.

What does that mean?  It means that we have eyes to see opportunities all around us.  God wants us to make the most of the opportunities. 

Yes, these opportunities exist in a world ruled by sin.  We must be wise. We must use the sound mind that God gave us.

It’s a target-rich environment, but we must hit the targets at which we take aim.

Paul wraps up this letter with some counsel for families.  Love, respect, obedience, and remembering who the parent is when things get stressful. This is still excellent counsel for this century.

Finally, we get the full armor of God.

But, let’s put on the armor-all of it.

·       The belt of truth

·       The breastplate of righteousness

·       Feet fitted—these are your combat boots—with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace

·       The shield of faith that extinguishes the arrows of the enemy

·       The helmet of salvation

·       The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Now it’s on to the Philippians.

As we begin this letter we must understand that our salvation is a done deal.  God did it all.  Jesus paid it all.  It’s all from God so that nobody can boast about their own salvation.

In our response to this done-deal salvation, we often find ourselves to be a work in progress.  We have a lot of work to do to live up to the person that God made us to be.

Early in this letter, Paul proffers the ultimate win-win.  For him to die right now would be fantastic.  He would be with the Lord.  Oohrah, hallelujah, amen.

For him to live another day would be another day that he could take the good news to the lost.  It was the best mission—the best commission ever.

It was win-win.  To live is Christ.  To die is gain. It should be the same for us.

There are other familiar words that we know from Paul’s letter to the Philippians—every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Those are some good words, but we should finish the sentence—to the glory of God.

We should not expect a forced confession, but the ultimate expression of the truth:  Jesus Christ is Lord!

This letter brings us to our response to the gift of God that we call salvation.  Paul tells us to work out our salvation as the most important thing that we do.

Our response to God’s incredible gift of mercy and grace that we have received through faith is the most important thing we do for the rest of our days in these bodies on this planet.

We have an abundance of opportunities in which to respond with love for one another as we live out our salvation.

We are reminded that we are citizens of heaven and that we go through this life with purpose.  Press on.  Don’t lose your focus.  Don’t go native.  This world is not our home.

Press on.

Paul noted to the church in Philippi and others as well, that so many had made ad hominem attacks on him and he wasn’t playing this game.

But if he were to play the game, he had the best resume of any of his so-called challengers.  He just did not regard his religious status of any value when it came to right standing with the Lord.  He considered it as valuable as manure.

It’s Christ, Christ, and only Christ who brings us to right standing with God.

Paul, writing from prison in whatever form that looked like, challenged us to be happy, to rejoice, to know the joy of the Lord.

Our joy comes from the Lord.  We rejoice in the Lord.  We talked about the source of our joy—our gladness—being the favor of the Lord.

Paul also challenged us not to worry.  Don’t be anxious about anything.  We can know a peace that comes from God that goes way beyond what we can understand.

Our job is to go to God in thanksgiving, have our talk with him, and receive a peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul understood that God made us right with him but we were not quite there yet.  It’s a done deal but we are still working on our part.  One day, God will finish the good work that he began in us, but for now, we are still working on it.

So, Paul equipped us with a simple piece of counsel.  Think on good things.

The governing verb here is think.  In a world governed by red herrings, nonsequiturs, and other logical fallacies as well as purely emotional appeals, we are challenged to think.

We are charged to use the sound mind that God gave us.

That brings us to the Colossians.

We begin with Christ being the image of the invisible God.  Remember that Jesus told his disciples before he went to the cross, if you have seen me, then you have seen the Father.  Quit asking for what you already have.

After the resurrection, he told Thomas, but he was speaking to all gathered in the room with him that they believed because they had seen.  Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed.

That’s us.

Next, we are reminded that we are redeemed and reconciled.  The work to reconcile the entire creation was accomplished in Christ Jesus.  It’s hard to see now, but the work of the cross accomplished it.

What comes next is a throwback to the Galatians and others who were being courted by fancy arguments.  Do not be deceived.

There is one gospel and you heard it.  Stick to it.

We talked about the law, written codes, and the invoice for our sin.  What we should have walked away with was that man’s rules must not get in the way of God’s love.

The third chapter of this letter had some umbrella sort of counsel.

Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord.


Whatever you do, work at it as if you are working for the Lord, not for men.

Live in love but keep your eyes open for the tricks of the world.  Be a little salty.


How do we wrap this up?

One gospel.

One Spirit.

One Lord.

One accord.

Salvation one hundred percent the gift of God.

Rejoice in the Lord, always.

Be anxious for nothing.

Pray about everything.  Start by being thankful.

Think on good things.

It’s what you do with what God gave you not your titles and accolades that count.

Never lose sight of the fact that we are working for the Lord.

Press on.

Put on the full armor of God.

Live in the fruit of the Spirit.

Above all else, put on love

Talk and live grace but be seasoned with salt.

Those should get you through the week.