Holy Week @ Condon UCC

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Dreams & Temptations

Dreams & Temptations

Sunday, January 18, 2015 * Worship @ 10:30 * Bible Study @ 9:15
Sermon: Dreams & Temptations
Sacred Text: Matthew 4:1-17

Wisdom Words: “I Have a Dream” speech


 

Hello friends,

Our sacred text this week comes from the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 4:1-17 is the story of Jesus being tempted prior to the start of his ministry. Traditionally we have thought of the tempter as an evil character or even Satan but that is not quite correct.

According to Richard Swanson, “The Greek word is not quite so devilish: it refers physically to the act of throwing something across someone’s path, and is well-translated as “slanderer.” Such a character is no ally, but neither is a slanderer necessarily a cosmic force of evil.”

You can read the scripture in the Common English Bible or in your favorite translation.

I will be pairing the scripture with a wisdom text in the coming weeks. The wisdom text for this week is an excerpt from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. You can read it at the National Archives by clicking here or watch a video from Salt Project.

See you Sunday!

Tim

Searching Is Theme for Advent at Condon UCC

The Condon United Church of Christ announced special music, weekly worship, Bible Study, and special services for Advent, the start of the Christian calendar and the season of preparation leading to Christmas. The focus of services and studies will be “Searching”, according to Rev. Tim Graves, pastor of the United Church of Christ.Advent 2014 at Condon UCC flyer

“All of us are on our own spiritual journeys with the Divine One,” explained Rev. Graves. “Our theme of Searching reflects this truth about human existence during this season of preparation for Christmas.”

Advent at the UCC begins Sunday, November 30 with a Hanging of the Greens worship service featuring special music by local artist and musician Dan Robinson. Scripture readings, Advent and Christmas hymns, prayer, and multimedia are interspersed with decorating the sanctuary.

“At the start of a Hanging of the Greens service, the sanctuary is bare. By the end of the service it is decked out in seasonal decorations and liturgical colors,” said Rev. Graves.

Each Sunday morning, as is the practice at the local UCC, begins with Bible study at 9:15 and worship at 10:30. The traditional themes of hope, peace, joy, and love will be incorporated into the searching theme on each of the four Sundays leading to Christmas.

The second Sunday of Advent, December 6, will feature special music by Russell Thompson, grandson of Patti and Dale Thompson.

A Longest Night service will be Sunday evening December 21 at 5:00 p.m. Sometimes called Blue Christmas, many Christian churches now recognize the sadness inherent in the Christmas season for many people.

“The service affirms that not everyone is as happy as our culture tells us we should be at this time of the year,” says Rev. Graves. “The holidays, especially Christmas, are often times when people feel the loss of loved ones, hopes, and dreams. Those searching for work or living in poverty often feel the pressures of spending money they do not have. Even those who appear to have it all, often struggle with depression or blue feelings as the long nights of winter press on.”

The traditional candlelight Christmas Eve service will be at 8:00 p.m. on December 24.

Becoming a Living Sacrifice

Becoming a Living Sacrifice

Writing to the Romans, the Apostle Paul implores them to live a life transformed not by the culture but by their faith. He also Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 8.48.32 AMemphasizes that each of them have been given unique gifts by God.

Please read the passage in your favorite translation or in the Common English Bible below. As you read, pray and meditate on your own gifts and the gifts you see in others.

Romans 12:1-8

Living sacrifice and transformed lives
12 So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

Transformed relationships
3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

One Way or Another

One Way or Another

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 11.19.55 AMOur scripture readings for Sunday are Psalm 133 and Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. Please read these passages in your favorite translation or you can read them from the Common English Bible below. As you read, please pray and meditate upon their meaning in your life and our shared lives.

Psalm 133
A pilgrimage song. Of David.
Look at how good and pleasing it is
    when families[a] live together as one!
2 It is like expensive oil poured over the head,
    running down onto the beard—
        Aaron’s beard!—
    which extended over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew on Mount Hermon
    streaming down onto the mountains of Zion,
    because it is there that the Lord has commanded the blessing:
        everlasting life.
Footnotes:
Psalm 133:1 Or brothers (and sisters); the term often encompasses extended family relationships.
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Israel and God’s faithfulness
So I ask you, has God rejected his people? Absolutely not! I’m an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hasn’t rejected his people, whom he knew in advance.
29 God’s gifts and calling can’t be taken back. 30 Once you were disobedient to God, but now you have mercy because they were disobedient. 31 In the same way, they have also been disobedient because of the mercy that you received, so now they can receive mercy too. 32 God has locked up all people in disobedience, in order to have mercy on all of them.
Bible quotations from the Common English Bible, copyright 2011