Category Archives: Calendar

Homily – Numbers Don’t Always Count

Luke 10:1-20                                    (MSG)

10 1-2 Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge:

“What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.

3 “On your way! But be careful—this is hazardous work. You’re like lambs in a wolf pack.

4 “Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage.

“Don’t loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way.

5-6 “When you enter a home, greet the family, ‘Peace.’ If your greeting is received, then it’s a good place to stay. But if it’s not received, take it back and get out. Don’t impose yourself.

7 “Stay at one home, taking your meals there, for a worker deserves three square meals. Don’t move from house to house, looking for the best cook in town.

8-9 “When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, ‘God’s kingdom is right on your doorstep!’

10-12 “When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, ‘The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we’re giving it back. Did you have any idea that God’s kingdom was right on your doorstep?’ Sodom will have it better on Judgment Day than the town that rejects you.

13-14 “Doom, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had been given half the chances given you, they’d have been on their knees long ago, repenting and crying for mercy. Tyre and Sidon will have it easy on Judgment Day compared to you.

15 “And you, Capernaum! Do you think you’re about to be promoted to heaven? Think again. You’re on a mudslide to hell.

16 “The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me.”

17 The seventy came back triumphant. “Master, even the demons danced to your tune!”

18-20 Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”





When I first knew that God was calling me to this church… I began disassembling our house and packing boxes. I packed boxes every day for three months and stacked them in the garage. Even with yard sale, many late night runs to various dumpsters, and trips to Good Will… I still had filled a large two car garage and stacked two and three boxes high.

I thought, for two people who had accumulated a lifetime of stuff… this wasn’t too bad —

Until the day the semi-trailer truck pulled into our little cul-de-sac for the move. The driver walked through the house and began putting yellow tags with numbers on everything….

Before he had come close to finishing… he said Oh, Oh..

Apparently the company contracted to estimate the load had been inaccurate… by 4000 pounds… (remember the estimate was made BEFORE sorting, selling, throwing and donating.

I asked if there was a problem, and he said there was. The estimate was for only ¾ of the trailer… and he was to pick up two more loads in route to Nebraska…He had to call his office in Michigan to have another truck sent for the other loads. I still could not believe our stuff would take up that much space in a semi-trailer…

Well, after eight hours of five men and two dollies loading the trailer to within inches of the roof… and front to back— they got it all loaded — but barely. And we didn’t bring washer and dryer or refrigerator. After preparing for this move – literally handling every possession we have… then packing the truck… I can now understand why it was that Jesus suggested to his followers that we ‘carry no purse, no bag, no sandals’….

Jesus understood how belongings can be a burden – how possessions divide our attention–how things divert our focus –how stuff can prevent progress

Jesus then sent these followers out in pairs, rather than one by one…We are not given his reasoning for this,        Maybe Jesus thought it was more   effective to send his followers out in               pairs sharing diverse gifts.

They would be accountable to one another, They would be encouragement for one another, They would be safer traveling in pairs.  But who were these followers?

Scripture just states that Jesus appointed seventy others…Not priests… not prophets… not scholars… not royalty…


Others sent to share God’s peace – cure the sick – cast out demons – and share God’s love..Contrary to popular belief these acts do not require professional religious leaders – to perform these acts requires trust in God’s reign. Sending out ordinary people shows us that everyone is called into God’s ministry….and can carry out that ministry in any number of ways.

Flannel blankets cut and tied are a ministry to children through Linus Project – and to those at the end of life in the hospital.

Some of these are tied by young people with mental illness; older people who still wish to contribute and everyone in between.        Taking turns to serve breakfast to the homeless.                                   Collecting household items for refugees                                                                Distributing necessities to panhandlers                                                       Picking up the tab for groceries for a struggling family.                  Collecting eye glasses for the poor                                                               Giving rides to dr appts                                                                                              Hospice House volunteer – ministry was to go room to room and clean the resident’s glasses.

These are ministries – that do not require professional training –Theological research  Special skills    Or money….Just time — and a desire to be part of God’s ministry…

The followers were sent out empty handed –

Another reason for this might have been so that these followers ministry to others would require them to depend on relationships to survive…It required them to help others learn to help themselves, rather than supplying for their need—or fixing the problem….

Is this story a good example of a successful ministry?                                   It was seventy ordinary people – untrained – unskilled and sent out in pairs       When it comes to having a successful ministry- it may not look like what we would expect –When the seventy returned excited at their ‘success’, Jesus reminded them that their success was because of him… and not they themselves…

Often, ministers measure the ‘successes of their ministry by the numbers in the pews… by the money in the plate                                         If that is a legitimate way of measuring… then many churches are very UNSUCCESSFUL…

FACEBOOK   Modern Religion Focuses on Filling Churches with People. The True Gospel Emphasizes Filling People With God.(

Jesus taught us to be more concerned with the health of the community not the size of it. Jesus knew the difference between CROWDS and followers…One who reads the gospel of Matthew       quickly realizes there is a real difference between crowds and         disciples.

So, it may be that the message we have here is                                           The health of a church is not based                                                                        upon the number of people who attend.

But whether the church is producing disciples.

So when we worry about church growth —Remember – we are healthy and successful  Because

We are more concerned with growing disciples than numbers!

Ministerting to Refugees / Homeless


Karen and Jane – Shopping for household items to                                        assist refugee families

Open Door Missions - Serving Breakfast - July 8, 2016

Breakfast Queens – Rev. Susan, Peggy and Debbie                                         serving pancakes at Open Door Mission

Open Door 2

Peanut Butter Patt brightening someone’s day                                             at Open Door Mission.

Open Door 3

Helping Hands at Open Door Mission Breakfast                                            – Peggy, Barb, Patt and Debbie


Homily – Baptism of Jesus

Homily – Baptism of Jesus


Luke 3:15-22                         The Message (MSG)

15 The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?”

16-17 But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

18-20 There was a lot more of this—words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them. The Message! But Herod, the ruler, stung by John’s rebuke in the matter of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, capped his long string of evil deeds with this outrage: He put John in jail.

21-22 After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”




-Christian sacrament (ritual/ceremony)

marked by ritual use of water and                  admitting the recipient to the                         Christian community

-a non-Christian rite using water for               ritual purification

-Christian sacrament signifying                       spiritual         cleansing and rebirth

-an immersion or sprinkling of water                      that signifies one’s identification with            a belief or cause.

In Christianity,                                                      it is the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection     (Rom. 6:4-5).

It is done in the name and authority                      (Acts 4:7) of Christ with the baptismal    formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit       (Matt. 28:19).


Do you remember your baptism?

This is what we are called to do whenever we witness a baptism… to remember our own.


How were you Baptized?






What is one word that describes your baptism?



Why were you baptized?





Some Traditions: baptism needed for salvation


It does not save us (1 Pet. 3:21).                      However, it is our responsibility,                               as believers, to receive it.

Why are some baptized by                            sprinkling? Pouring? Immersion?


Why was Jesus baptized?

Baptism of REPENTENCE?

Washing away sins?


Possible Reasons

  1. He would be recognized by his forerunner, John the Baptizer
  2. Showed Jesus identified with sinners
  3. His baptism symbolized the sinners’ baptism into righteousness
  4. Showed his approval of John’s baptism, and that it was approved by God.
  5. Symbol of the new beginning of     Jesus’ ministry

Some theologians say that Jesus                         was also just following Jewish law…                   the legal requirements for                                   entering priesthood….

  1. Cleansing – washing – water
  2. Anointing with oil – represents the anointing of the HS.
  3. Needed to be 30 years old
  4. Receive verbal blessing – God spoke this blessing.


Luke was not as concerned with the Baptism of Jesus, as he was with what happened               AFTER WARDS

Luke, unlike Matthew, Mark and John                never mentions Jesus in the water,                        or that it was John who baptized him.

Luke directed our attention to what Jesus did AFTER the baptism – his story has Jesus

IN PRAYER after the baptism and at            THAT time the HS descended                 on Jesus like a dove…


Luke wanted his listeners to know that PRAYER was and is an important part of Jesus’ life as it should be for all of us…

And it is in prayer that we will receive the HS…

Baptism ends too soon when we focus only on              the moment and forget what comes                    after the water has dried:

a baptism-shaped life where God’s Spirit               dwells within our very bodies.

Please pray with me.

Gracious God, remind us that baptism is a symbol that we are claimed by someone special and called to do something special.

That we are God’s beloved… and God is well pleased with us…

Pour out your Holy Spirit now upon us, upon and within our bodies.

Help us to live in faithfulness to you long after the water has dried.