Phileas Fogg is extremely concerned with time. Every minute of his day he has planned, down to the second. Fogg believes he maximizes his potential and build’s his net worth through the management of TIME. Every minute of his day is used for productivity, well besides his game of Whist at the men’s club. Whist at the men’s club is where he makes his bet to go Around the World in 80 Days; a bet that will change his life; the way he views the world and ultimately changes what matters most to him in life. Fogg will go from a man obsessed with time and money; to man who understands how, time is short, and the love between friends and family is the most important thing in life.
Around the World in 80 Days is the title of the 1872 Jules Verne book I reflected on this week as I spent some down time, because I was “pooped”. My pace, playing catchup to my wife and kids has been exhausting. I had a difficult time managing my time, and it really wiped me out.
If you have never read the book, I am sure you have seen the classic movie. And the lesson that I learned as I read about Mr. Fogg and his butler Mr. Passepartout that Fogg did not listen much to others. He was a stubborn man, but he had a good heart. And by the end of his trip around the world, he learns to listen to others more sincerely and actually hear what is said. He learned of the love of a woman and commits to marry her, and he gives up a selfish lifestyle; to pursue a new life with a family. I guess sometimes it takes extreme measures to force us to slow down and pay attention to the people we love and in slowing down appreciate them more and offer time to learn who they are inside.
Is this what this whole COVID19 and change of world view, change of FREAKING LIFE is all about Lord? Why the extreme? Is that the only way we learn? Is this what it takes to bring humanity new life in Christ, these days? Wow! I think it is.
Jesus came to offer us all a new life with a renewed understanding of how we should spend our time. In this section of Luke Chapter 4 verse 21 -30 we are offered three truths to stand firm by; first that from the beginning God has been with us. Secondly, that worship is built on time and experience. (The more time we spend in worship the stronger the experience becomes). And lastly, that God’s presence, and that time spent and the experience we feel, will become known as tradition. However, beware, tradition is not to be worshiped, it is God who is worshiped.
Sunday July the 5th will be a new day of worship for our congregation, for me, for you and for our community. We will announce that we are a church with open doors, open hearts, open minds and as limited as we are, open arms. We will begin the new era of worship not just for Monte Pres but for the Body of Christ. We will begin making new tradition and revisiting things that may seem from long ago. Nevertheless, one thing remains the same…Jesus. The section closes with Jesus saying, “I was sent to preach the gospel, this is my purpose.” This is our purpose as well. We are not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. Thanks be to God.
Peace in Christ <><
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I have three names and four stories for you today. The first is Vincent Mueller. Vince was 9 years older than me. He was a rugged, reliable, and hard-working example of what men should be. I watched him as an adolescent in my early teens work on cars, paint homes, trim trees, and do things in the neighborhood for our older community members. I was 21 when we got the news that Vince had been murdered on his family ranch as he was taking a shower. The criminals robbed his home and stole his truck. They were caught in Dallas, TX. Over 700 miles away.
Caroline McCullough was the daughter of Jean and Betty. These were friends of my parents who played tennis at the country club. I would fill in as a fourth when they needed one for mixed doubles. These older couples were so much fun to play with because they were part of the greatest generation, and they loved and lived life to the fullest. I remember my mother hearing of the tragic events from the 6 O’clock news. How the McCullough’s daughter was jogging in Olmos Park, when a man abducted her and murdered her in the park in broad daylight. Her year-old child was left in a jogging stroller off to the side of the trail, safe and sound thankfully.
Brandon Smith was a boy who lived next door to my sister. My sis and her husband were newly wedded with two Pugs. Brandon and his two sisters would pug sit and play in their front yard. They were a fun, happy family. They were a Christian family who shared their faith and love for Christ with everyone. Brandon, however, got mixed up in drugs. I ran into his mother at the courthouse while working for my father as a legal assistant. I learned that he had died at the hands of a man he met online.
The final story is mine. I have lived in Birmingham, AL. I have seen racism from a southern point of view that left me empty and filled with sorrow. To think that ancestors in my family lineage could be so ignorant of the value and worth of precious human life was appalling. I have been in the military; I have seen war and felt toxic leadership. I have worked in a maximum-security prison. I have read the files and heard the confessions on inmates. I have bad dreams from the effects of what I have read, seen and I feel I know too much of how sinful and heinous this world can be. This knowledge makes me want to run and hide.
Which brings me to current events. I believe that racism, gang violence, overuse of authority from the police force to the military is an inexcusable abuse of power by people who do not know who Christ is or what he did on the cross. These riots, thefts, murders are sin at its core. And topped off with racism and hate across the lives of humanity makes it ever more tragic. It can only be defined as sin.
Sin is sin yet racism and hatred of people is a poison of the heart. So, this hatred like that which resided in Cane’s soul, there is no remedy it seems, that man has at least. The only hope we have is in the redemption of Christ our Lord and Savior. The only way to change the way we think is through the choice to cleave to one another and choose love over hate, peace over revenge, and forgiveness over judgement. The only way to begin this healing is through pure and unhindered humility of all people. We must call on the name of Jesus. We must claim the call of Christianity as our worldview and stand firm in our faith. We must embrace humility as Christ teaches.
The following notes are from an article Garrett shared with me. (Canvas Church, Kalispell, MT):
Here is why humility helps destroy racism.
1. Humility opens the door for me to acknowledge that I am capable of racism and might even express it in ways I do not even realize. I must choose to be a different person than the rest of the world.
2. Humility opens the door to for me to use the opportunities I have to be shared and extended to others. To give opportunities away should be seen as an honor.
3. Humility opens the door for me to listen before I talk, to learn before I teach, to follow before I lead, to give benefit before I give doubt.
4. Humility opens the door for me to realize the color of my skin doesn’t determine my worth, value, status, intelligence, or right. (this goes for all people of all nationalities) We are all human beings of value and worth to God.
5. Humility opens the door for me to be quick to seek forgiveness from others when they feel hurt even when I don’t realize why or how I was offensive. The very fact that someone was hurt requires I start with an apology. This should open lines of communication. A two-way line.
6. Humility opens the door for me to consider a new way of thinking instead of starting sentences with “Yeah, BUT…” defensiveness is not the cure that heals people.
7. Humility – To consider others better than myself. (No exceptions) READ Romans 12:9-21.
My heart is broken, my mind is numbed by the amount of disregard for human life that we see in looting, killing and senseless violence. All we can do is pray, teach our children, and witness Christ to the world around us. We must bear the marks of a true believer in Christ Jesus as our mirror image of Jesus to the world. This is our number one defense and stay. Please join me in prayer for our country, its victims of violence and the hatred that clouds our world.
Montesano Presbyterian Church Soft Open Guidelines ~ Policy Letter
Dear Montesano Presbyterian Church Family, we are pleased to announce that our Oikos family will be able to worship again as a church family.
The following are basic guidelines for in-person attendance:
Social Distancing — Based on https:coronavirus.wa.gov-compliance. Observe all signs posted for safety and social distancing, following the requirement of policy order NO. 2020-07. Follow the direction of the Welcome Team and Pastoral Staff for entering, seating and exiting.
Entry will be from the glass Foyer Entrance doors, follow the flow of traffic to the sanctuary (from east) and sit at first come seating sections as indicated by staff members.
Exit will be to the right thru the (west) wooden exit double doors to the parking lot. Unless you are in special parking area.
Face Masks—Masks are mandatory. The Welcome Team, staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks. We ask that everyone please bring your own face mask to use while on campus. Extra masks will be available at the entrance should you forget yours.
Please remember these recommendations are for your protection and your church family.
Seating Capacity—Seating capacity will be limited to 50, excluding church staff, due to reduced capacity with social distancing. We ask for your patience, and willingness to continue to experience our online streaming service at WWW.MONTEPRES.ORG if you desire to stay at home. We will continue to record the services and present them online.
Attendance Planning—Congregants will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we encourage you to let us know if you plan to attend by calling Susan on Friday for an RSVP (with your name and contact phone number). This is a measure for everyone to see how close to capacity we may be so we can all plan accordingly. We may need to do two services which would be AWESOME>>>> I’d dig that…so please call. Susan or Patrick will be at the church all day and if you call on Thursday you can leave a message. Thank you.
Monitoring and Reporting – Under the guidelines of the administration we are required by law to have a plan in place for monitoring and reporting possible or confirmed cases of COVID19. In order to mitigate these circumstances, we will be utilizing an RSVP and attendance roster that will include where each and every person attending sat on the date they attended.
Under these guidelines are policies for sanitization. Church staff has sanitized all areas common to our worship area. They will be sanitized again after each service. This includes all bathroom and kitchen areas. Church staff has been trained and prepared through the guidelines of Grays Harbor County Health order NO. 2020-07.
At-Risk Worshippers—We ask that those 65 and older or high health-risk individuals PLEASE consider staying at home to watch the service on our website. ALSO, please call us to let us know how you are doing and what we can do for you. YOU particularly are our greatest concern. If you DO plan on coming…we will assist you and prioritize your movement in and out of the building with extra precaution.
Recovery and Plan of Action for Possible Infection – Should a member of our congregation be diagnosed with COVID19 we will ensure that all movement and directives will be reviewed and those in close proximity will be notified, in a manner appropriate to confidentiality of our institution.
Other Activities—Children will sit with their families. No childcare will be available until further notice.
There will be No coffee hour at this time. Plans are to resume coffee hour in late June.
An Official Celebratory Opening will be set after my family gets here so they can join in the celebration. During this event, we will celebrate moms, veterans, fathers and most importantly, the Easter Sunday we missed
From the bottom of my heart Montesano Presbyterian Church Family, I am delighted to be here, and I am looking forward to seeing you all in real time. You are a tremendously caring and thoughtful congregation and I look forward to serving you each and every day.
1 John 3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so, we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
You are beloved in Christ and our Oikos family looks forward to coming together as the Body.
Sincerely, Rev. Patrick E. Cobb
Pastor, Montesano Presbyterian Church