Pastor's Page
Pastor Brad Luck
September 8, 2019
From the Pastorís Desk 9/9/19

Throughout history, God’s people needed to be called back to the path leading toward God. The same could be true for the people of God today. We as the people of God need to be sensitive to the ways we are tempted and find ourselves lost on alternate paths. Then we must allow ourselves to be led back to the path God provided for us. But let me assure you, this never was or will be a leisure-time activity that we do when it is convenient.

In last Sunday’s Jeremiah passage, God put the people on notice. They had been wooed away by Assyrian gods. They had abandoned the law, which requires concern for the vulnerable. They had forgotten how God had carried them from slavery through the desert and ultimately to their own land—all the while making sure they were fed and safe.

This week, Jeremiah resorts to an overt warning. He tells the people of God’s leading him to visit a potter. The vessel the potter was attempting to create became spoiled, and so the potter reworked it into another vessel, “as it seemed good to him” (v. 18:4).

A potter uses his or her hands carefully and sensitively. It’s a delicate matter to shape a clay on a spinning wheel. It truly takes the work of an artist. Any slight change in pressure—or a change of mind—can result in the pot being ruined. Nonetheless, it’s the potter that turns clay that is flopped, into something new, beautiful and useful for his purposes.

“Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done?” says God to Jeremiah. “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

For some of us, this might sound like one of those “smiting” passages that lead many Christians to saying they have a hard time believing in the violent God of the Old Testament. When we read the book of Jeremiah, we see God to be pretty severe. But do we not also get angry when we learn of children being abused, the elderly being neglected, or the vile rhetoric of emboldened racist groups? I would hope that we who are faithful are angry about the damage being done to God’s perfect and wonderful creation. Earlier in Jeremiah, we learned that God is angry about similar evils: the greed of religious leaders; false claims about peace in the land; oppression of strangers in the land, orphans, and widows; murder; lies; and the abandonment of God who saved them from false gods which offered nothing of real value. We know these evils still exist today, and I cannot imagine that God is any more accepting of them than we are.

But even in God’s distressing rage and threats of violence in this book, we find hope. Hope comes when God offers second chances. Twice in this short passage today (in vv. 8 and 11), God says the people still have a chance to avoid punishment if they only turn from their evil ways and return to God’s ways of compassion and justice. The God we see in Jeremiah may be angry, but He repeatedly offers people the chance for repentance.

We often fall short of the expectations God has for our lives. We fail to withstand the weight and pressures of life, falling flat. That is when God takes us and molds us into something new for His purposes. For us, we are molded throughout a lifetime, making tweaks to our flaws, making us stronger and useful. The same is true for the church. 

I gave two questions to ponder this week that are important for us becoming stronger in our faith and as Disciples. Reflect upon these questions and see where we may need to be changed in order to allow new life to sprout and grow.

The first is for us as individuals.

  • What in your life needs to be reworked or gotten rid of so that new life can be created in you?

The second is for our church.

  • What in our church needs to be reworked or discontinued so that something new and necessary can be created in its place? In other words, what things in our church may not be working the way they should or once did, that needs to be allowed to die so that something new can be put in its place bringing new life?

May God bless you this week,

  Pastor Brad

Joys & Concerns 9/08/19
Prayers:  Faye McKinstry fell last Saturday in Kentucky (15 ft down a mountain), broke her shoulder, and is in a lot of pain; Lou Driy continues to have bone marrow transplant preparation issues; family of Charlotte Freshour; those devastated by the hurricane; continued prayer for Baby Zoe; Nita Irby who passed away Saturday after a lengthy illness; Kathleen King had brain surgery Monday morning; prayers for Tim Luck; travel mercies for Katherine who left Sunday for a semester abroad (she’s a sophomore at Harding University studying International Business); continued prayer for Steve Buhl; prayer for Dale Williams who will have knee surgery this Wednesday; prayer for Janice Simon as she fell and broke her arm; prayer for Janice’s brother Dean Dentel who fell and broke his leg.

  Joys:  That Sunday School is back in session.
Calendar of Ministry Opportunities
Tuesday Sept 10 10 am Prayer Time
  7 pm Administrative Council Meeting
Wed Sept 11 10 am Grief Support Group
  7 pm Choir Practice
  8 pm Worship Committee Meeting
Thursday Sept 12 9:30 am Sweat Sister’s Dance Cardio Class
  6:30 pm UMW Meeting – Potluck & Planning meeting -- all are welcome!!
Friday Sept 13 6 am Sweat Sister’s Boot Camp Class
Saturday Sept 14 9 am Sweat Sister’s Dance Cardio Class
  11 am Memorial Service for Charlotte Freshour
Sunday Sept 15 10:30 am Morning Worship

Exciting News! Our church leadership has decided it is time for a new pictorial church directory. Our date for photography will be October 8 & 9. We invite you to stop by the sign-up table outside the sanctuary and schedule your appointment to get your picture taken.

Greeters & Welcome Center hosts needed -- We continue to ask for volunteers to be greeters at both entrances and for welcome center persons to help visitors and members with questions. Sign-up sheets are in the Fellowship Hall on the Opportunities Table. Please consider volunteering for a Sunday.

  Dundee UMC Endowment Fund -- As you make long-range financial decisions for yourself and your family, please remember the Dundee United Methodist Church Endowment Fund. A gift to this fund, no matter the size, offers an opportunity to continue your giving for generations and ensures the church and its ministries are sustained for the years to come. Ten Percent of the dividends are reinvested back into the fund as principle and the remaining 90% is used for church maintenance projects, programs and missions.  For more information please contact the church office.

Baby Bottle Drive – Heartbeat of Monroe will be hosting their Baby Bottle Drive again this year.  Continue to save your change and pick up a bottle at church on Sunday.  Questions?  See Judy Williams.  Your donation will make a huge difference in the lives of babies and young parents in Monroe County!

  Liturgists needed – See Rich Rothrock if you’d like to take a couple of Sundays!

Trip to the Holy Land – Pastor Brad and Aimee are hosting a trip to Israel entitled Journey Through the Bible.  The trip will be for 10 days in May of 2020.  If you are interested in this fabulous opportunity, contact Pastor Brad or Aimee.  Flyers will be available soon as well.
Birthdays this week:
  Sunday Sept 8 Jay Hickey
  Monday Sept 9 Veda Tyler
  Wed Sept 11 Alan Elmes
  Friday Sept 13 Valerie Juckette, Gordon Wenzel
  Saturday Sept 14 Alex Lenz
Anniversaries this week:
  Tuesday Sept 10 Jacob & Hunter Rich
  Saturday Sept 14 Brad & Aimee Luck
  Have a blessed week!  

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