Ministry Updates for Friday, October 23rd, 2020

 Facebook Live Worship—Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m.

Please join us as we again worship through Facebook Live. Use this link to watch the service. And please consider passing it along.

 In-Person Worship – 11am

If you failed to register for in-person worship, please feel free to attend. While it is important that we honor our commitment to keep our numbers under 50, to date we have been well below that number.

 Scripture – Matthew 15:22 (See 15:15-23)

Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 Reflection – The Christian Challenge

Given that Jesus lived in an occupied land and he never said anything bad about the Romans, it makes you wonder what Jesus thought of politics. Without a doubt Jesus spoke against oppression. But he also seemed to speak to accepting certain realities. Pay taxes to Rome. What is the alternative? Rebellion? Imprisonment? Actually, it could even be worse.

 It is documented that if someone did not or could not pay their taxes, for any reason, some tax collectors would simply go and squeeze family members to pay up, with threats being levied against the delinquent person or their other family members. To be honest, I have heard similar stories about drug dealers in our time.

 Jesus said pay the taxes (give to the emperor the things that are the emperors’). But then he called us to a higher principle. Give to God the things that are God’s.

 We are God’s. If we give our whole self to God, dealing with the issues of the day, whether it is oppressive taxes or extortionary people, will put everything in perspective.

 I believe it is not easy to be Christian. Every generation has suffered with something. But focusing on God, remembering he claims us, sent his son to suffer and die for us, and sends his Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us, well, that puts everything in perspective. And while it is not easy to be a Christian, life is much harder without God.

 Are the issues of the day weighing you down? Jesus understands. He would say do your best to deal with them. But above all else, He would implore you, us, to remember God is at work in the world. Seek his kingdom. And give to him the things that are his; honor, glory, praise, service, witness; your whole life.

 Our Prayer

God of all people, God of hopes and dreams for this nation and for the world, as we move into an election season, we know there are divisions. We sense in our communities an anxiousness that can overflow to the point that we feel divided and estranged from family or neighbor. Lord, help us be instruments of Your peace. Gift us with the conviction to believe and act with passion. Gift us with humility to know that ours is not the only way to see the world. Gift us with compassion that seeks to understand others. God, You have created a diverse world, a diverse humanity, and a diversity of life experiences. Help us celebrate this diversity, knowing You are the One holding it all together. Amen.