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It Happened at Church Camp

You’ve been there.  You’ve done a spectacular job.  But nobody noticed.

And you’ve been here, too.  You’ve simply fulfilled your responsibilities.  To the best of your abilities.  But again, nobody noticed.

Or…maybe somebody did.

For example, Melissa Etheridge noticed this: “I started playing 12-string (guitar) when I was 14,” she says,because someone “at church camp had one at just sounded so beautiful.”

Imagine that.  It happened “at church camp.”

You’ve been there.  Maybe it was called Vacation Bible School.  Or a nursing home.  Or a place the rest of us wouldn’t ever think of.

But you’ve been there.

You’ve made a difference.

Someone noticed.

And That’s from A Money Guy

The current issue of Barron’s, “The Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly,” highlights their annual list of Top 100 Financial Advisors.

Ron Carson is one of the best of the best.  He and his team manage $4.3 billion…with a “b.”

“True wealth is all you have that money can’t buy,” says Carson, “and that death can’t take away.”

And that’s from a money guy.

Let’s Go, part 3

 When they said,

“Let’s go to the house of God,

    my heart leaped for joy.

— Psalm 122

Who was it who first said to you something along the lines of “Let’s go to the house of God?”

The Rest

We give hearty thanks for the rest of the past night

and for the gift of a new day,

with its opportunities of pleasing you.

Grant that we may so pass its hours

in the perfect freedom of your service,

that at eventide we may again

give thanks to you.  Amen.

 —from the Eastern Orthodox tradition,

#676 in our current United Methodist Hymnal

You and I get excited over lotsa stuff.

We could easily name several examples…and there are probably a few best keep private at the moment.

Maybe we haven’t taken time to intentionally give hearty thanks for the rest of this past night.

 If the rest of this past night has ever been elusive, that line takes on special significance.

Here’s some ancient context for us: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for God grants sleep to those God loves.”  — Psalm 127:2

Focus right now on the “God grants sleep” part with me, and let’s be thankful.

In fact, let’s give hearty thanks for the rest of this past night.

Hearty

We give hearty thanks for the rest of the past night

and for the gift of a new day,

with its opportunities of pleasing you.

Grant that we may so pass its hours

in the perfect freedom of your service,

that at eventide we may again

give thanks to you.  Amen.

 —from the Eastern Orthodox tradition,

#676 in our current United Methodist Hymnal

There’s a big holiday on the horizon.

Its name is one thing and its focus is often another.

Thanksgiving in our culture has become about travel, food, family and football.

Thanksgiving Services often include something along the lines of “It’s not about thanks-GIVING, it’s about thanks-LIVING.”  It’s true.

A great way to rehearse that is with this prayer’s opening phrase: We give hearty thanks.

Let’s you and me give hearty thanks today.

As my congregations must get tired of hearing me say, There is so much to celebrate.

But there really is.

That’s why We give hearty thanks.

Prayer for a New Day

Join the rest of us in this prayer today:

We give hearty thanks for the rest of the past night

and for the gift of a new day,

with its opportunities of pleasing you.

Grant that we may so pass its hours

in the perfect freedom of your service,

that at eventide we may again

give thanks to you.  Amen.

 —from the Eastern Orthodox tradition,

#676 in our current United Methodist Hymnal

See you back here tomorrow and let’s think together about this prayer.

For right now, join the rest of us in simply praying it.

What’s That Gonna Cost Me?

“Compassion that is redemptive will cost us something.”

That’s a line from last evening’s lesson in our official United Methodist Bible Study, DISCIPLE 2.  This week’s lesson was on Compassion.

The recurring theme was how God’s compassion towards ancient Israel shaped the nation’s relationship with each other and with neighbors.

And if the Church is the New Israel…well then…“Compassion that is redemptive will cost us something.”

If our comfortable compassion doesn’t cost us something, it’s not redemptive.

Christ’s redemptive compassion cost him His life.

What does ours cost us?

“Compassion that is redemptive will cost us something.”

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