This Week’s Challenge
The challenge for this week is, “Pick somebody and serve them anonymously, inconvenience yourself for their sake. Go out of your way to do something that would be meaningful to them.” Evidently, some of you have embraced this challenge.
As I was walking out of Pearce following the 10:30 am worship service this past Sunday, I received a text from one member of our church saying: “I did a good, anonymous deed on the way home from church today. How’s that for quick results to your sermon?” I’d say that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you?
I’d enjoy hearing from others. If you participated in the Winter Challenge by tackling this week’s assignment, please let me know. I’d love to share your joy in demonstrating Christ’s love to our world.
Adding SWAG to Your Life
In last week’s Dangling, I encouraged you to add a little SWAG to your life. By using the term SWAG, I’m referring to Pearce’s stewardship emphasis for this year. I am hoping that all of us will become even more generous this year in our giving of time, talents, and resources.
Our goal is to raise $200,000 above our 2013 operational budget, to fund several projects that will enable us to take good care of our church facility, as well as pay down some of the principle on our debt load of $2.7 million. To date, we have received $7,591 towards this ambitious goal. Check out the bulletin board near the sanctuary entrance to keep track of our progress. Thanks for adding some SWAG to our ministry!
The first project on our SWAG list is the asbestos abatement project. I received word from Bob Antes, our Director of Facilities, that this work is tentatively scheduled to begin May 15. The abatement will take approximately six weeks.
Holy Week at Pearce
Palm Sunday, and the start of Holy Week, is only two weeks away. I hope you’ll join us for several worship opportunities in the days immediately preceding Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday will definitely have a sense of celebration, as the Pearce Youth Band will be providing music in both of the Sunday morning worship services on March 24. You may recall that the band did a great job in enriching one of our Advent Sundays last December. Once again, the band is under the direction of Shelley Sadler, now in her 27th year as a music teacher in the Churchville-Chili School District.
Pearce Good Friday Service, a somber time of reflection on our Savior’s sufferings and death, will be held at 7:00 pm on March 29.
On Easter Sunday, both the 9:00 and 10:30 am services will feature a full orchestra and a retelling of the Easter story in song, drama, and word. Invite your friends, co-workers, and distant relatives to join you in worship on this most celebratory of all days on the calendar. An Easter Brunch will be served in the Family Life Center from 8:00 to 11:00 am Tickets for the brunch are now on sale at the reception desk in the lobby and cost $5.50 per person; $22 family maximum.
A Prayer for Ambitious Disciples
This week I received an email from Jonathan Bratt, the chaplain at Roberts. He wrote: “Here is a prayer I’ve written flowing from your Sunday sermon—noting that Jesus’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ is said not just to James and John, but a little further in the text of Mark 10—to Bartimaeus—with a different kind of response.” I thought you might appreciate Jonathan’s prayer.
“The Bartimaeus Prayer”
“Teacher, we want you to do something for us?”
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
“You don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink my cup or be baptized with my baptism?”
“Sure we can. We have been hanging with you quite some time now Jesus, we got this!”
Like James and John I come to you Jesus. I have lots of ideas of what you can do for me. Lots of confidence in my potential to be in charge with you. Lots of confidence in how well I have everything figured out and in place. Well sort of…I still don’t quite get that stuff about going up to Jerusalem and being condemned and mocked and flogged and spit upon and killed. But I am here, with you Jesus, committed and strong, and ready to take the great blessings and public positions you have for me.
Forgive O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Bring pause to my life to stop, to reflect, to understand what you are up to, to learn and to love. Forgive O God, for the self-centered desires emerging even in the midst of the desire to serve, the mix motivations, the hidden heart that is revealed in quiet and stillness before you.
“Take heart, get up, Jesus is calling you.”
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Teacher, I want to see.”
“Go; your faith has made you well again.”
“Lord, I want to see. I want to see clearly. Help me to see and follow you on the way. Amen.”
When Thoughts Turn to Spring!
At precisely 2:00 am this Sunday, we’ll move into Daylight Savings Time and our evenings will once again be filled with sunlight. It is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. In just a few weeks, the Astros will play the Rangers in the first major league baseball game of 2013. Speaking of baseball, Pearce just reserved a block of tickets for a Red Wings game on Wednesday, May 29, at 7:05 pm It’s not too early to put that date on your family’s calendar and spend an evening with your Pearce friends at Frontier Field. Watch for ticket sales in May.
Smout Ponders Stewardship
“Although as Christians we accumulate goods, we should not make possessions or wealth the goal of our lives (Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:16-21). Rather, as stewards we give generously to meet the needs of others and to support ministry (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-13). The Scriptures allow the privilege of private ownership. Though we hold title to possessions under civil law, we regard all we have as the property of God entrusted to us as stewards.” (¶3421 2011 Book of Discipline, FMC-USA)
One aspect of stewardship is tithing. In preparation for a subsequent article, you are encouraged to prepare (perhaps as a devotional exercise) by examining several scriptures and then responding to a few brief questions.
Scriptures: Leviticus 27:30, 32; Deuteronomy 14:22; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Consider examining these Scripture portions in two or more translations.
Now, using the verses from 2 Corinthians, consider these questions:
- Jot down as many single adjectives as you can to describe these Christians.
- List the unexpected behaviors described in these verses.
- What attitudes are absent here?
- Which verse seems to be the key to understanding their actions?