Welcome to Grace Lutheran Church

The Weekly Word for September 28- October 4, 2014


Opening Prayer:

God of love, Giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in that way of salvation, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

The Word:

Matthew 21:23-32

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

 

Sermon for September 28, 2014: “Trust”

When I studied the Gospel for this week, I took a long look at the story, the parable that Jesus shares with his disciples, the chief priests, and the elders of the temple.

As I was reading the responses of the two sons, I felt the Holy Spirit awakening in me a memory of time in my life when I did not trust many people.

That time in my life began in college, when I was introduced to my least-favorite activity.

The group project!

Ugh!

I hated having to depend on others in order to get a good grade.

And in my major, Communication, these projects happened quite a bit.

Here are two examples:

One was my final in-studio television project where one of my camera men, Andy, for some reason, decided that it was on this day, the day of MY project, that he fell in love with the zoom lens on the camera!

I cannot tell you the number of times I had to yell, “Andy! Zoom out! Zoom out! For the love of God almighty, zoom out!”

The other project involved one of my closest and dearest friends.

We were working on a combined audio and video project.

We were getting near the end, but it was slow going.

And for some reason she freaked out.

She was certain that we were never going to finish the project in time and that we would fail miserably.

And this was coming from someone who was a CHEERLEADER in high school!

So now not only did I have a project to finish but I also had to convince my friend that we were not going to fail.

 

When you have friends go crazy on you, or friends who confess they love the zoom lens, you tend to hold on to those feelings of mistrust.

 

You tend to not take people at their word.

 

Things started to change when I was able to get back to church on a regular basis.

It was there that I began to reflect on God.

And I realized that I not only had trouble trusting people, but I had trouble trusting God.

 

I felt like God let me down.

 

And not because of the two incidents I mentioned, but because of the times in my life where I was let down by people who I trusted. People who hurt me.

 

But then the Holy Spirit went to work on me.

As my faith life began to improve, and my involvement with the church became a priority in my life, I began to look back with more clarity about the rough times.

I thought about my mom and dad, my friends, my time in school, especially my college buddies who to this day are still my friends,

And I realized…all of them were (and still are) gifts FROM God.

They were (and still are) all signs pointing to God’s reliability.

They were signs pointing to the promises that God made to me at the time of my baptism:

“Jonathan, you are my child. You are my responsibility. I am going to be with you always.”

And God was not just watching me.

He was loving me.

And he was guiding me through some very rough waters.

 

So as my relationship with God deepened, I realized I really could trust God with my whole heart.

 

In our time, we spend a lot of time in church talking about how we can trust God.

 

BUT

BUT

BUT how often do we consider to the idea of whether God can trust us?

 

Think about it.

 

If you look back to the Bible, think at how many times God entrusted his message to us.

His people.

From Adam and Eve, to Abraham, to Moses, to the Judges and Prophets, to Kings, to Warriors.

And most times those moments ended badly.

Things did not go smoothly.

 

Over time, the one lesson we could teach God is that He could not depend on us.

 

You would think that God would simply give up on us.

 

But he doesn’t.

And he won’t.

 

Please take a moment and look at the cross.

Look at the cross, and remember who was put on it.

Jesus.

Son of God.

God’s only son.

Why did God send Jesus?

God sent Jesus because of He loved us.

And Jesus did what we could not do.

And so look at the Cross.

Then look at The Font and The Altar- all these are signs that point to a God who does not let us down.

 

And they point to a God who gives us a new assignment.

That new assignment can be heard from today’s parable:

“Go and work in the vineyard today.”

Even after all our failures, God STILL entrusts us to this important task.

What is the vineyard?

The vineyard is the world.

The vineyard is the neighbor, the stranger, the poor, the sick, the enemy, and the earth.

God is calling us to work.

 

And that brings me back to the parable and to a question I want to ask you.

 

Which son or daughter will you be?

Will you be the one who says “no” and then does a “yes”?

Or will you be the one says “yes” and then does nothing?

 

To me, this goes back to the issue of trust.

God trusts us with HIS mission.

God believes in us and that WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

God believes in us and that WE CAN MAKE THE KINGDOM A REALITY!

 

Think about that.

God trusts us!

Even after all that we have done to break that trust.

 

God still sees us for who we ARE and CAN BE, not who we WERE.

 

So, folks. The vineyard is waiting.

God is waiting.

 

So what are we going to do with His trust?

Will we do nothing?

Or will we do something?

 

Let’s go and do some good.

Let’s go and spread the good news.

Let’s go and put God’s trust in us to good use.

 

Closing Prayer:

Pour out upon us the spirit of your love, O Lord, and unite the wills of those whom you have fed with one heavenly food; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Ella Bunting 6th Annual Cancer Retreat October 11, 2014


You are invited to join The Open Arms Community for a FREE day of Pampering & Fellowship for cancer survivors & caregivers.
There is something for everyone including:

  • Healing Service
  • “Look Good Feel Better” Workshop
  • Manicures
  • Hot wax hands and feet
  • Zumba
  • Self Defense
  • Bingo
  • Cake Walk
  • Door prizes
  • Breakfast & Lunch Served

The retreat will run 8 am – 2 pm

To attend please RSVP at 476-4114

Download a flyer 2014 Ella Bunting Retreat

 

Ella Bunting Open Arms September 2014 Newsletter


The Ella Bunting Open Arms Cancer Support Newsletter for SEPTEMBER 2014 is available now.

Just click on this link: September 2014

Grace September 2014 Newsletter Now Available!


Check out our latest newsletter to read about all the things going on at Grace this month! September 2014

NOW AVAILABLE “Recipes for Hope:Cooking with Miss Ellie and Friends”


The Ella Bunting Open Arms Cancer Support Group Cookbooks “Recipes for Hope: Cooking with Miss Ellie and Friends” are now available at the church! The cookbooks cost $15 each. We would love to hold a copy for you. Just contact the church office at tvillegrace@aol.com or 336-476-4114 and we will put one on hold WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.