Jul 29, 2016

Spending Time With the Master


Our primary Gospel this liturgical year (Year C) is Luke. From time to time we are allowed to witness some of the marvelous aspects of this special Gospel. My friend, Guy Ames, a retired DS from OK, relates the following story that pertains to last week’s lesson from Luke on Mary and Martha:

Years ago, as I traveled through Nepal, I had an opportunity to drive up into the Himalayas early one morning to watch the sun rise. Our tour had been long and I was tired and feeling sick, so the morning of the early tour I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep. I’ve always regretted that decision. I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the sun rise over the highest mountain range in the world, and I passed it up because I was sleepy. Mary wouldn’t pass up the most important thing: spending time with the Master.

I wonder what would happen to the church if we placed as much importance on spending time with the Master as Mary did. I wonder what would happen to committees and classes and teams and ministry if we sought to spend as much time in listening prayer and hearing the words of Christ as we do in getting the job done (Guy Ames—adapted from The Abingdon Preaching Annual 2007).

Maybe Luke’s Jesus reminds us that we each need balance between action/reflection.


Come—Worship
Stay—Learn
Go—Serve

* As a special note I would ask our congregation to be in prayer for our “Graduated Seniors” who will be on their Senior Retreat July 27-30. If you have questions about this gathering of our great high school class of 2016, please call or email Brittany Wright at bwright@arlingtonmethodist.org or 817-274-2571.

Jul 22, 2016

What is Life Worth?


A variation of the following story appears in Anthony De Mello’s little book called The Song of the Bird.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,” answered the fisherperson.

“Well, then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The fisherperson explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."

“How long would that take” asked the fisherperson?

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American. “And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”—

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take siestas with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

            “What do you think I am doing now?”

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*As a special note I would ask our congregation to be in prayer for our Special Needs VBS which will be from July 24-26 and our VBS for PreK-6th grade July 25-29. We are blessed with wonderful volunteers and you too can join the fun by calling the church office or registering online at arlingtonmethodist.org/Summer

Come—Worship
Stay—Learn
Go—Serve

Jul 15, 2016

Are We like the ‘The Pretty Good Samaritans?’

Sunday last, I shared a story that Tim Hansel tells, which may help us understand Jesus’ Good Samaritan parable:   
One semester, a seminary professor set up his preaching class in an unusual way. He scheduled his students to preach on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and on the day of the class, he choreographed his experiment so that each student would go, one at a time, from one classroom to another where he or she would preach a sermon. The professor gave some students ten minutes to go from one room to the other; to others he allowed less time, forcing them to rush in order to meet the schedule. Each student, one at a time, had to walk down a certain corridor and pass by a bum, who was deliberately planted there, obviously in need of some sort of aid.

The results were surprising, and offered a powerful lesson to them. The percentage of those good men and women who stopped to help was extremely low, especially for those who were under the pressure of a shorter time period. The tighter the schedule, the fewer were those who stopped to help the indigent man. When the professor revealed his experiment, you can imagine the impact on that class of future spiritual leaders. Rushing to preach a sermon on The Good Samaritan they had walked past the beggar at the heart of the parable. We must have eyes to see as well as hands to help, or we may never help at all.

What might we have done if chanced with a similar circumstance?

Come—Worship
Stay—Learn
Go—Serve

Jul 1, 2016

Independence Day


John Adams, statesman and second president of the United States, was determined to live until the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence—July 4, 1826. At dawn on that day, a servant awoke him and asked if he knew what day it was. He said: “Oh yes, it is the glorious Fourth of July. God bless it. God bless you all”,  sounding a bit like Tiny Tim. Adams then slipped into a coma. In the afternoon, he recovered consciousness briefly to murmur, “Thomas Jefferson lives.” These were his last words. Unbeknownst to him, Thomas Jefferson had died earlier that same day.

The report is that on the evening of July 3rd, Thomas Jefferson was in bed and his life subsiding rapidly. He whispered to a young friend who was watching by his bedside: “Is this the fourth?” The man could not bring himself to say that it was not yet, so kept silent. Jefferson repeated the question and this time the friend nodded. A look of deep satisfaction came over Jefferson’s face; he sighed deeply, lay back, sank into a deep sleep, and died shortly after noon on July 4, 1826.

It is remarkable that these two brilliant statesmen, whose resolve had so much to do with laying the foundation of our republic, were able to keep Charon’s boat waiting on the banks of the River Styx until they could celebrate that date so precious to them both. If you are a student of the philosophy of “life after life,” and/or if you use your imagination to put some content into your Christian understanding of life after death, or if you have some be-wonderment about what happens and who we see when we die, then you will enjoy thinking about John Adams’ comment, “Thomas Jefferson lives” as he left this world. Jefferson had preceded Adams in death by a few hours. Did these two meet up as they left on the “long journey?” You never know . . . .


As you celebrate Independence Day, think about these grand and great leaders, and pray to our God that their kind will increase in our time.

Come—Worship
Stay—Learn
Go—Serve

 
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