A Note from Session:
we WILL meet to Worship the Lord this Sunday & following Sundays in the
Sanctuary and we Will wear masks. You may not sing, but as we hear music
shared by video you may Praise God and hum along! We will pray
silently and we will hear the word of God preached by Pastor Patrick!
Please join us for Worship on Sunday at 10 AM.
We are studying the gospel of John as we close out 2020. It seems appropriate that we dive deep into waters of a gospel that flexes and stretches our spiritual muscles and forces us to pause and reflect on the beauty of God’s word and the gravity of theological themes and Jesus’ power to do the incredible all the time. It really asks us, who is Jesus for our lives? As we face an election year, a global pandemic and disorder among cultures and neighbors across the country, I want to know where God is at work in all this after all. And John leaves me asking good questions of my life, my faith and our world.
We are only on chapter six and the questions coming from both our men’s breakfast and our women’s lunch are deep, thoughtful, and motivating. I am determined to read ahead, search for answers to questions, study more and be the best my little Army boy can be, “Be all you can be…for Jesus!” But the truth of the matter is, I feel more and more inadequate, unprepared and lacking in many different areas of my academic and philosophical realms of thought and abilities than I ever did before. I love to read about it, I love to think about it, but answering some questions is so hard and intimidating, I just freeze up and panic almost. Honestly, I don’t want to get the answer wrong, look stupid or make anyone angry. That’s about as human as one can get, I suppose. Afterall, I am the SME (subject matter expert). But truth be known, I do not have all the answers and I would be foolish to think or pretend that I do. I have to say, “I don’t know” at times.
I took this idea to a pastor friend. My friend from seminary reminded me that we are all orphans in the sense that we long to be known by God and experience the love of the Father as accepted and made whole, complete. Complete with knowledge, understanding and wisdom; complete without blemish or fault, complete and whole as the man who received healing from Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. I too, wish I understood scripture in such a way as that, but I don’t and I am ok with that. The real question that I pose to myself and others as we search for meaning within God’s Word together is, what does it mean for you? And how does it bring me closer to Christ today?
As a Christian and a pastor, biblical authority means, on the one hand, that God directs the belief and behavior of His people through, “revealed truth set forth in Scripture.” (WMCF 6.005) and on the other hand, it means that all our ideas about God and Holy Scripture should be measured, tested, and confirmed and if necessary corrected, by Scripture as well. “Let scripture interpret scritprue” my friend said to me. He is right. The authority in Christianity belongs to God alone. From a human standpoint, the Bible was made to introduce us to Jesus and it does that from beginning to end, so we take it from beginning to the end in order to understand who God is in the end. Scripture is an instrument of the Lord. So, let the Lord ring truth into our ears as we read His Scripture, earnestly, with a pure heart and an open mind to Christ. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So, like Jeremiah, I can’t boast about knowing Greek or Hebrew, or understanding the writings of Barth or Tertullian (a bunch of dead guys) but I can boast about this: Jeremiah 9:24 “Let him boast…that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.” This is the Word of the Lord, thanks be to God.
Click the Announcement & Coming Event tab on the task bar above, to see what’s happening here at Monte Pres!
Family Promise of Grays Harbor will be raffling off a Queen sized quilt, handcrafted by Sheena (Wilson). This quilt is beautiful, in shades of blue and green. Tickets are $2.00 each and can be purchased from either Linda Anderson, or Susan in the Church office (on Wednesday or Friday’s). Drawing for the quilt will take place on December 11. If you have not had the opportunity to see the quilt, please let Susan know and she will e-mail you a picture of it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his first chapter of Life Together, shares how Christians never meet one-on-one; he reminds us that we always meet in the presence of Jesus. Recognizing this will help us escape the traps of the devil and the dreadful habits that human beings engage in like gossip and sizing each other up spiritually and self absorbed piety.
This was a problem in the Chaplains corp. I even engaged in it from time to time with other chaplains and I am ashamed of myself. Criticism and thinking we are better than others, for our opinions and personal ideas; is wrong and only wounds us from the inside out. Does this identify anything that you have experienced or participated in? Have you felt the eyes upon you as you have tried so hard to speak or share personally and found that others just didn’t get you? Then, they express thoughts and feelings that only shoot you down? I know that must have been hard to hear and may still open wounds that should be healed. People can be cruel and thoughtless. Jesus knows how you feel and sits with you in your hurt. Know that only the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit can bring us beyond those hurts and allowing yourself to embrace those who don’t embrace you shows the love that Jesus calls us to share.
Through Christ we will meet that person, a stranger, a new member of the community, or maybe someone we have sat next to in church for years but never asked poignant questions that build a relationship. Believe in this, when Jesus is with us, that initial meeting is a blessing from God, no matter who it may be, no matter where they are from, no matter any and all differences in the person or you, in that moment Jesus is introducing you to a child of God. Don’t hinder the Spirit from working a miracle. Remember, we are always in a face to face relationship with Jesus and he just introduced you to someone new, whom you are called to love.
I met Kevin this week and was offered two chances to see and experience Christ in his life…It was awesome. I can’t wait to see him again. I hope you all are presented such opportunities with everyone you meet. Blessings in Christ our Lord. <><
Don’t Let your Hearts Be Troubled. Trust in God, and Trust in me. John 14:1
Our minds are so consumed with everything we are bombarded with each new day. I have to say, it’s exhausting to be alive some days. I chuckle at how much we are all taking in and honestly, how well we as a church family are doing. Kudos to you all. Many of you have needs and worries that are so legit and burdensome that my heart goes out to you everyday. So, if you don’t hear it from the rest of the world, hear it from me. Well done good and faithful servant. well done.
Our minds have a hard enough time with CNN so asking you to think about things of eternity may be the “straw that breaks the camels back”. But when it comes to a world with no boundaries of space and time, we must sit for a moment and embrace the idea that God is in control, that God is watching closely, and how, the Lord is standing with you in everything you face, I face and what we face together as a church body of Christ. “Trust me”…he says. “don’t allow your hearts to be troubled”. Don’t let the evil one tease you or taunt you. Don’t give heed to the things that don’t make a difference in my kingdom Jesus says to us all. Don’t be anxious about what is God’s responsibility. For the Christian is faithful and to be a follower of Jesus doesn’t require us to be rocket scientists (thank you Lord I would fail that test). No code breaking, though you may have to suffer through a sermon of mine that had to many rabbits in it (sorry). Nevertheless, you can anticipate what God has in store for you as you wait patiently for him to answer prayers. The Almighty Lord our God loves you, wants what is best for you, and eagerly awaits your prayers and requests. Jeremiah says, “I know the plans I have for you.” Plans of blessings not for harm. Rest easy beloved in Christ, Amen. <>< P. COBB
THURSDAY SEPT. 17, 2020
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
2 Corinthians 6:4 But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, beatings, calamities, riots, sleepless nights, hunger, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, by truthful speech, and the power of God; with weapons if righteousness for the right hand and the left…punished, yet not killed…always rejoicing…possessing everything.
When you are confused and frustrated with life, if you are worried about the future, if you are uncertain about all the things you see on T.V. and through the media, take a moment and listen for God to speak through scripture and His Holy Spirit. Do it now! – What did you hear? What still small and gentle voice whispered in your ear? Do it again. This time ask for Jesus our Lord to share his Holy Spirit with you as you wait patiently for his peace. Take a moment and rest in his presence.
Paul in his letter to the Corinthians reminds them that the world is going to do everything in its power to take your peace away from you. But its not there for the taking, it’s there for the giving. We are instruments of grace and peace for the world around us. Share your peace. John 14:27 was Rev. Louis Zbinden’s favorite offering to those he met as he offered them the peace he had through Christ; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid.” I am always amazed at how the Lord works in my life. I feel the peace of Christ and the love of his grace even more today then I did before COVID. This crazy world doesn’t bother me because I know the Lord is in control. So, I offer you this peace that fills my heart. Run to his high tower and allow him to shepherd you in his love and mercy. May the Lord bless you and Keep you. Amen <><
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God the Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16
Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Luke 11:40…Martha lived a clutter life. I have a clutter desk. I have a cluttered mind. She needed a break, well I need a break! She was worried and upset about many things. I too am worried about many things. I am worried about my kids education, I am worried about the older members of our congregation, I am worried about my parents and I am worried about our country. Sheesh! Somethings gonna give!
“Patrick, Patrick, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is important and Mary chose [it]” Luke 11:41.
Mary chose to sit at the foot of Jesus and listen to the gospel of grace and love. She sat at the foot of the Lord and was blessed by His presence. She sat at the foot of Jesus and allowed the Lord God Almighty to smile upon her and gaze at her love for him, and in turn receive his love for her. What an amazing opportunity it is to sit at the foot of Jesus.
Max Lucado says, “God is more pleased with the quiet attention of a sincere servant than the noisy service of a sour one.”
I am still worried. But what matters more than my worry is my love for Christ, may gratitude for his blessings, the grace offered to those I love and the hope that I express and share in everything I do. A bad attitude spoils the gift that God offers in each new day. Problems will come and go, as will the good and the bad, and Jesus will always be there for you and for me. the sign behind my desk says, “it is what it is” and Jesus is [it]. Jesus take my worry and replace it with peace, amen.
Therefore, rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. <><
Well of course this is going to be the center of my devotional topic for this week; I can’t stop thinking about it and in all honesty, I wish I could be out on the water again today to try again. That was one heck of a fish after all.
Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but through away the bad.”
I really do wonder what kind of fish they were netting on the sea of Galilee. A Google search will tell you they were Carp, Tilapia, Catfish and Sardines. I feel a little bad that there were not any Salmon. I mean, really Lord, you have over 8 different species of Salmon and you chose to eat Carp and Tilapia? I am also certain that the lord didn’t eat any catfish or at least I hope he didn’t.
I am thankful that heaven is like a net thrown into the sea and there will be a plethora of fish; people of from many regions, cultures and backgrounds. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the good fish from the bad fish. But if Tilapia are good in God’s eyes what are Salmon? You have to admit Coho’s in the final stages of life are pretty dreadful to look at.
This parable is about judgement after all not the fish. The lesson really means edible and not edible. Those fish that are healthy for our nourishment will be brought to God and gathered back to Christ in his kingdom. How about that, the righteous and good are not redeemed because of living a perfect life, in fact, they are brought to Christ for living a hard life. The life that follows the example of Jesus. Like Salmon we leave home and go to the sea where Seals and Otters, Sharks, Killer whales, and last but not least Cobb’s are trying to eat you. You have to swim hundreds of miles day in and day out and then when you finally want to go home, for the most part, you are going home to die. Bummer! Then some hooky desperate pastor from Texas tricks you into getting hooked so you can end up on the Barbie. OK back to the passage. Poor fish I feel bad now!
We will all face our depths in the seas and the many struggles of adversity meant just for us. But it is the blood of the Lamb of God that covers our sin and finds us accepted before the Lord when he does call us home. So, like those who are called, our names are written in the book of life, heaven is our final destination and resting place. We really are not to far from a salmon who waits his whole life to make that journey. Our journey is far from over and heaven awaits. Amen
A Special thanks to Bob Meir for a fun filled day of fishing. We were blessed for sure. <><
Philippians 3: 14-16
A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow. “Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.
“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”
The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So, the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.
The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.
The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the finish line. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time. The Tortoise won the race. Slow and steady proved the best intent.
I have often felt as though I was a Hare who longed to be a Tortoise. My nature is to run and leap and bound; I am just full of energy all the time. The doctors may call it hyperactivity and a disorder, but I am fairly sure the whole world struggles, to some degree, with the same problem.
The problem is, I have changed and now I see this story in quite a different light. I have changed. My life is no longer anything like it was a year ago. The world has changed, and everything is different. Still, I feel as though I am a spiritual turtle surrounded by spiritual rabbits. I would see and hear about the chaplains, my peers, who all did and were such great things. Some were jumping out of planes, some were sliding out of helicopters, others were praying with generals and others were preaching at the best and most up to date chapels across the Army. For me, I was still counseling young soldiers and preparing staff slides for a battalion that rarely recognized I was there unless, there was a problem or a party that needed a prayer before supper. And even now I compete against ghosts who are no where near me and have no effect on my life. The human spirit is a strange thing O Lord.
If I am honest, I still tend to bounce around and be that spiritual rabbit zipping along as if I were having to prove myself to someone. But the truth is, I do not have anything to prove to anyone except Jesus who calls my name and who reminds me what race I am actually running.
In the 1980 movie, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams compete in the 1924 Olympics. Liddell is a Christian running for the glory of God and Abrahams is a Jew who runs to overcome prejudice and inequality. Both are good men running for different reasons. They both struggle with their faith and seek what is good and right for their lives. Liddell believes he is called by God to be a missionary in China like his parents and that God made him a runner and when he runs, he feels God’s presence. Both compete in the Olympics and win gold medals for their country. Liddell goes on to China and becomes a martyr for his faith.
I suppose that I feel the strain of pressing on towards the goal set before us as faithful Christians. And I suppose, the feeling of strain is one that turns many away from faith and back to the easy life, where we get off the track, boast of what think we are and nap like Rip Van Winkle until we have overslept and learn we lost the race we were running.
The words spoken to Abraham ring true for us all, he says stubbornly, “If I can’t win I won’t run.” And the reply from his girlfriend was, “If you don’t run you can’t win.” Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are all running a race that is long and at times difficult. We must keep our eyes focused on the prize of salvation and remember that it is Christ Jesus who cheers us on from the sidelines. We are running this race for Him. So, lets run it to win.
Should you feel the urge to quit remember, the price that Jesus paid for us all and the prize we received for the stripes that he wore.