August 11, 2016
for Sunday, August 14
The role of heroes of the faith continues in Hebrews. Now we’ve moved past Abraham to others. Some are named and others are not. After hearing “by faith” so much, do you think we’ve gotten the picture? It’s doubtful. Even the greatest followers of God struggled and did stupid things. The Bible does not whitewash their stories.
How can we be faithful in our walk with God? We get the response to that in the last two verses of Sunday’s reading, Hebrews 12:1, 2. It begins with the word “therefore,” which is like a blinking stop light to get our attention. Any time there is a “therefore,” we need to find out what it’s there for, looking to what has preceded the “therefore.” It’s the stories of the Old Testament heroes of the faith.
As exciting as it is to read their exploits in scripture, it’s also frightening. Don’t we have just a little fear that if we follow God with our whole heart, we may be required to suffer in some way as these biblical characters have? Of course, the greatest example of that is Jesus. God does not leave us wondering.
We are told three things that help us in our walk with God. They are: 1. “Let us lay aside every weight…and sin,” 2. “let us run with perseverance the race…,” and 3. “looking to Jesus…” There’ll be more about this on Sunday.
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
***If you can help, we are in need of ushers for this Sunday, August 14th.
***As part of her continuing education this summer, Pastor Ivy Gauvin is staying on the grounds at Chautauqua Institution, at the Lutheran House, until Saturday morning.
***A new church directory will be printed soon. If you have changes to your address/email/phone and have not previously notified the church office, please leave a note on the office desk or send an email to the church, firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone wants to add their cell phone to the directory, please inform the office as above.
To our newest friends who began attending after last August, please ensure we have your address/email/phone as well as birthdays.
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For victims of violence and their families in all places
· For Jill Scott, Bill Reel, Eleanor Bergeson Orman, Helen Cogliano, Chris Ziemba, John Bylund, Joanne Aron, Adam Hull, Pastor John Klatt, JoLynn Stearns, Scott Stearns, Zachary Frazier, Todd Reel, Maj-Britt Traynor, Gerald Ayers, Matt Isaacson, Sandra Kelderhouse, Thom Shagla, Ralph Prieur, Mary Anne, Ryan Samuelson,
· For people serving in the military and their families, those caught up in war who have no safe home in which to live.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.