POST-IT FROM THE PASTOR
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:15-17)
It’s easy to get caught up in spreading untruth—especially in an election year in an electronic age! We live in a world of sound bites that suggest simplistic solutions to complex problems and assassinate the character of any who disagree. If we’re not careful, we can be led to divide the world into us vs. them and assume that anything supporting our side or condemning the other must be the truth! Yet it was Jesus’ enemies, not His followers, who spread false testimony and practiced character assassination. Jesus prayed that we would distinguish ourselves from the world by loving enough to speak only the absolute, verifiable truth, defined not by political propaganda, but by God’s Word. This election cycle, we have the opportunity to show ourselves sanctified—set apart from the world—by speaking nothing but truth, with no motive but love.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be the living truth and Your Spirit to guide us into all truth. Give us the care, courage, and discernment required to distinguish ourselves from the world by speaking only the truth in love, in Jesus’ name, amen.
A woman agreed to bake a cake for a church bake sale, but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered the morning of the bake sale and quickly rummaged through her cabinets. There she found an angel food cake mix and quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack for camp.
When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat. The cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed, "Oh nooo! There’s no time to bake another cake!" So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She cut out the fallen center, plunked in the paper roll, and then covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect.
Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, the woman woke her daughter, gave her money, and instructed her to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 to buy the cake and bring it home. When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found to her horror that the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. The woman was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night, the woman lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.
The next day, the woman promised herself she would try not to think about the cake as she attended a fancy bridal shower luncheon at the home of a fellow church member. She did not really want to attend because the hostess seemed to be a self-righteous snob who had looked down her nose at her because she was a single parent. But having already RSVP'd, she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.
The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust, and to the woman's horror, the cake she had made for the bake sale was presented for dessert! She felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake. She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, another prominent church member said, "what a beautiful cake!" The woman, stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess say, "Thank you, I baked it myself." She smiled and thought to herself, "God is good."
May God’s goodness guide you into all truth!
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:13-16)
As we celebrate the gift of our nation’s independence this week, we also remember the cost of that freedom and the character required of those who would continue to be free. As Christians, we cannot help but see parallels to the freedom Christ died to secure for us from sin, death, and the tyranny of evil. So also we consider the character to which we are called as those led by God’s Spirit to love others as He has loved us. Only by guarding against both legalism and license can we preserve our spiritual liberty.
Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin and its consequences. Empower us with Your Spirit to ignore the impulses of both self-righteousness and self-indulgence, so that we can continue to walk in freedom and love, through Jesus Your Son, amen.
FOR THOSE WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR:
To the citizens of the United States of America, from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, as well as the deleterious effect your experiment in independence has had on our own sovereign citizens as evidenced by the so-called Brexit vote to leave the European Union, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy). Our outgoing Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (You may wish to look up 'vocabulary').
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of '-ize.'
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. In addition, a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776). It is the least that you can do to help your mother country weather the impending economic disaster brought about by the Brexit.
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
Sincerely, Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
As Pastor at Pilgrim, Kirk is fueled by a passion for God's Word and a lot of good coffee.