Matthew 7:21-29, "The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock" (9/25/2009)
One of the songs we learned in Sunday School is this one:
Back in the last century, just before Christmas in 1964, much of the State of Oregon was flooded by heavy rains that drenched the whole state and melted snowpack in the Cascades. My grandfather died that week, and my parents and sister and I had to travel from one end of the state to the other. Going to the funeral, we took Interstate 5 up the Willamette Valley to Portland and Interstate 80 (now 84) east to La Grande. By the time we came home, a brand new bridge over the John Day River on Interstate 80 had washed out, and we had to come home by a different route. We saw a lot of water.
The engineers and builders planned for something like the 500-year flood when they poured the foundations for that bridge. As it turned out, the bed of the John Day River was sandy for a long way down. Two months later, a flood much bigger than they planned for came down the river and washed away the sand below
the foundations. Since they hadn't built their bridge upon the rock, it came tumbling down.
Always plan for the 1000-year flood by building your house on the Rock, Jesus Christ. How? By doing the will of God.
[my translation] [Jesus is speaking.]
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but rather the one who does the will of my father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord! Lord!, didn't we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many works of power in your name?' And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. [Psalm 6:8]'
"But everyone who hears these words of mine and applies them is like a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. The rain came down, and the river waters came, and the wind blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because its foundation was upon the rock.
"And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not apply them is like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. The rain came down, and the river waters came, and the wind blew and pounded on that house, and it fell. And great was its fall!"
When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. This was because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
Matthew 25:1-13, The Foolish and Wise Bridesmaids (7/20/2009)
The main thing we learned in Sunday School about the five foolish bridesmaids is that they didn't bring any oil for their lamps, and consequently they didn't get to go to the wedding. Unfortunately, the story is more grim than that. Fortunately, if you read it all the way through, it's self-explanatory. The great theologian Bob Dylan puts it this way:
Are you ready, are you ready?
Are you ready to meet Jesus?
Are you where you ought to be?
Will He know you when He sees you
Or will He say, "Depart from Me"?
Are you ready, hope you're ready
Am I ready, am I ready?
(copyright 1980 Special Rider Music)
You only get one chance to meet the bridegroom. Be ready.
Luke 10:29-37, The Good Samaritan (9/3/2009)
Jews didn't like Samaritans. Even if they might have had a few Jewish ancestors who had escaped being deported along with the rest of the Ten Lost Tribes
, mostly they were a lot of foreigners who had been imported from pagan countries. They had interfered with the rebuilding of the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. They claimed to follow the Law, but they sacrificed on mountains, not in the Temple. They didn't accept the writings of the prophets, and they didn't listen to the teachings of the rabbis. In short, they were not us.
More Bible Stories for Grownups
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Now, wishing to justify himself (for asking such a silly question), the lawyer said to Jesus, "Well then, who is my neighbor?"
Taking up that question, Jesus said, "A fellow was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among a gang of robbers, and they took everything he had, beat him up, and went away, leaving him half dead. By chance, a priest came down the road, and seeing him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he also passed by on the other side.
"Well! A Samaritan came traveling along the road, and when he saw him, he felt sorry for him. He went to him, dressed his wounds with oil and wine, and put him up on his own donkey. He brought him to a motel and took care of him. The next day, he took a couple hundred dollars to the manager and said to him, 'Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will pay you back when I return.'
"Now what do you think? Which of these three was a neighbor to the one who fell among the gang of robbers?"
He answered, "The one who was merciful to him."
"So," Jesus said, "you go and do the same thing!"
The image of the marriage procession is from the Binns family Bible, now in the personal collection of Regina Hunter.
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St. John’s United Methodist Church,
2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
St. John's Music Ministries now has a YouTube channel, bringing you free concerts and choral music. Check it out!
Traditional worship services are held Sundays at 8:15 and
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Casual worship services are held Sundays at
9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center.
are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
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