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Use It or Lose It November 19, 2017

November 20th, 2017

Use It or Lose It

Psalm 100:1-5 and Matthew 25:14-30

(Quoted scripture is New International Version)

 

Teacher and author Dr. David McLennon tells a story of his very first job in a small town general store. At age thirteen he was hired as a handy boy. He would sweep the floor, bag items for customers, put up stock. On one particular Saturday he heard the owner say to one of the clerks “It’s that time of the year again, it’s time to take inventory.” Dr. McLennon wrote this was a word he didn’t know the meaning of. He went up to the kindly older man and asked, “Sir, what is an inventory?” Patiently the owner explained that it was a time when you made a list of everything that you had–from groceries on the shelves to wrapping paper and string. Still somewhat puzzled, the young McLennon then asked, “Why?”

“Well,” responded the owner, “it is easy to forget exactly how much you have each year. Every now and then you have to take an inventory just to see what you have.”

This little story pretty well sums up what Thanksgiving is all about. It is a time when each of us needs to ask ourselves the question: Have I taken inventory of my life lately? Have I made an effort to count all the things that I do have in life instead of complaining about the things that I don’t have? It is a good exercise especially when we are of a mind to brood or whine in self-pity. Have you taken inventory lately?

From time to time we need to sit down and do some talking to ourselves about all of the gifts and opportunities and challenges that God has given each one of us.

Oprah Winfrey encouraged us to keep a Gratitude Journal. Try it. You might be amazed at what God has given you.

A thirty-eight-year-old scrubwoman would go to the movies and sigh, “If only I had her looks.” She would listen to a singer and moan, “If only I had her voice.” Then one day someone gave her a copy of the book, The Magic of Believing by Claude M Bristol. She stopped comparing herself with actresses and singers. She stopped crying about what she didn’t have and started concentrating on what she did have. She took inventory of herself and remembered that in high school she had a reputation for being the funniest girl around. She began to turn her liabilities into assets. When she was at the top of her career Phyllis Diller made over $1 million a year. She wasn’t good-looking and she had a scratchy voice, but she could make people laugh. She took inventory and recognized the talent God had given her, took the risk, used her talent and the return she realized was amazing!

When she said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” I could relate to that. My saying is, ‘You can have a neat, clean house and nice furniture, or you can have a happy family. Both cannot exist while the kids are growing up.’ Joe and I chose a happy family and we replaced the furniture and hired a cleaning lady after the kids were grown and gone!

Another of her sayings was, “Housework won’t kill you, but why take a chance.”  That’s my motto too! Fortunately, my husband doesn’t mind taking chances and he likes to do housework!

In Jesus’ parable in the Gospel of Matthew about the three servants, two of the servants use the talents God gave them wisely and prospered, but the one who does not use his talent wisely, loses everything. Use It or Lose It.

Matthew 25:14-18, “Again, it (the kingdom of God) will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

When the master returns he rewards the servants who have doubled what they had been given, saying to each, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (vv. 21, 23).  He says to the servant who buried his talent, “You wicked, lazy servant! (v.26a)” “-Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v. 30)

Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose to tell the story this way, picking on the poor, timid, one-talent servant? Why wasn’t it the five-talent servant who hid his money? He certainly had a lot more to lose, after all. A talent was a lot of money, and he had five of them!

I believe Jesus will hold us accountable for the talents, the gifts, we’ve been given, whether five or more or one. I think Jesus wants to point out the responsibility of ordinary people, which we are.  For every five-talent person, there are hundreds of ordinary, one-talent people.

This is Jesus’ way of reminding us ordinary folks that God doesn’t just call superstars like Billy Graham for service in the kingdom. God needs each of us and expects us to use our gifts, no matter how small or insignificant we might think those gifts are.

In scripture we read of one-talented people – people like Moses, Peter, Mary, a small boy with a small lunch. The one thing these folks had in common was that they were willing to allow God to use the gifts they had been given. When we are willing to risk everything for the kingdom, to let God use our unique talents, we find that the return on our investment works to build the kingdom of God.

When we invest the gifts God has given us and risk talking to someone about Jesus Christ and the impact He has had on our lives, or when we serve someone who could never repay us, then we realize that the talent that has been given to us is not for ourselves, but for others, in order to build God’s Kingdom.

Mark Twain once said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” The one talent servant in our lesson today sure could have used that common-sense advice from Mark Twain. The one talent servant did not invest himself or his resources, and thus, he inherited what he had invested, which was nothing. The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon but that we sometimes wait too long to live it!

Herman Cain was CEO and president of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., from 1986–1996. Cain is an African-American man who was raised in poverty. He credits his hard-working father for his success in life. Throughout Herman’s life, his father worked three or four jobs at a time in order to support his family.

In addition to his father, Herman Cain also found inspiration from Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, a former president of Morehouse College. Dr. Mays taught Herman a poem titled Just a Minute, that has guided him through the ups and downs of life.

“Life is just a minute/ Only sixty seconds in it,

Forced upon you, can’t refuse it.

Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it,

But it’s up to you to use it.

You must suffer if you lose it,

Give an account if you abuse it,

Just a tiny little minute, /But eternity is in it.”

 

Look into your heart, take inventory and realize everything you have is a gift from God to be used for His glory. Whatever gifts you have, whether five or more or one, use them, don’t lose them.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to stop and recognize the blessings you’ve given to me. Help me also to look into my heart and see the talents, the gifts you have given to me which I am not using to glorify you. Enlighten me as to how I can be a blessing to You. Amen

 

Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                

November 19, 2017

 

 

 

 

By: Ironwoodumc

November 20th, 2017

Are You Ready? November 12, 2017

November 13th, 2017

Are You Ready?

Joshua 24:14-18 and Matthew 25:1-13

(Quoted Scripture is New Revised Standard Version)

 

          The wind howled all night. I could hear it as I was trying to sleep.  We had three kids at the time, all of whom I had to get up and ready for school in the morning before I went to work. Joe was at deer camp. He’d made several trips to our family camp on the Ontonagon River hauling provisions out, and everything was ready for deer season in the U.P. Joe was ready to get that big buck!

          However, he had failed to get our snow blower ready for the snow! Instead of being in the garage, where it was easily accessible to the wife of the deer hunter, it was way back in the shed behind the house. We have a hundred-foot driveway, and when I got up in the morning, I discovered it had snowed 8 -10 inches overnight! I think school was canceled because of the storm so the kids slept in, yet I still had to go to work. I had to shovel and scoop my way out of the driveway! I was late for work, and I was not happy! I don’t remember if Joe shot a buck that year, but I do know it was the last year he left for deer camp that the snow blower wasn’t in the garage ready for the deer hunters wife to use it!

           Jesus tells the parable of the ten bridesmaids in our scripture passage from Matthew this morning, and the lesson here is all about being ready.

          “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise. ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.(Matthew 25:1-9)

               The five foolish bridesmaids went off to buy oil for their lamps and they were late for the party. Just as I was late for work the day the snow blower wasn’t ready. Unlike the bridesmaids, they let me in when I did arrive. However, the bridesmaids were not as lucky. When they arrived, the door was shut and the were not allowed in.

          This parable describes the Jewish customs in Jesus’ day. The first stage of a wedding was the betrothal, when the marriage was arranged by the parents of the couple to be married. This was more than a modern “engagement” because it was legally binding and could be broken only by divorce, another legal action. Remember when Mary became pregnant through the Holy Spirit? Joseph considered whether he should divorce her or not. They were betrothed at the time, not married. The second stage was the marriage itself, which often occurred a year later, accompanied by a wedding feast. Jesus’ first miracle, changing water into wine, took place at a wedding feast which happened over a number of days. When a couple finally got married, they were ready to be married and they were ready to party!

          This is the first lesson I see in today’s scripture.

We must prepare in this life to be ready to party with Jesus! Some preparation must go into being ready to party.

The traditional Boy Scout motto of “Be prepared” taught generations of kids lots of useful skills. And those “skills” were put into practice by going camping, fishing, rock climbing, toasting marshmallows over a campfire, the fun stuff! They were preparing for good times. Today’s gospel text tells us in parable form how Jesus wants us to be “prepared,” so that we can party with Him for eternity! Are you ready to party?

No one knows when the party will begin. Jesus says in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” In our reading from today, in Matthew 25:13 Jesus tells us, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

 As Christians, we understand that we must be ready for Jesus’ return and the final defeat of Satan. We know from scripture that this could happen at any time, and we need to be ready. Yet I wonder, are we ready for life here and now?

In 1976, Indiana University’s basketball team was undefeated throughout the regular season and captured the NCAA National Championship. Controversial and colorful coach Bobby Knight led them to that championship. Shortly afterwards, Coach Knight was interviewed on the television show “60 Minutes.” The commentator asked him, “Why is it, Bobby, that your basketball teams at Indiana are always so successful? Is it the will to succeed?”

“The will to succeed is important,” replied Bobby Knight, “but I’ll tell you what’s more important, it’s the will to prepare. It’s the will to go out there every day training and building those muscles and sharpening those skills!”

 Another famous coach believed the same thing. “Hurry Up” Yost was the football coach at the University of Michigan. A player once assured Coach Yost that their team was sure to win on Saturday because the players had “the will to win.” “Hurry Up” Yost answered: “Don’t fool yourself. The will to win is not worth a plugged nickel unless you have the will to prepare.” That is true. Success goes to the one who has made ready for the challenges they will face.

Joshua, in our Old Testament passage this morning, is trying to ready the people of Israel for the challenges they will face. Joshua had been young when he and his family were slaves in Egypt. He witnessed the miracles; the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the water from the rock, the manna and the quail. Joshua encouraged the Israelites to trust God when it came time to occupy the land of milk and honey, yet the people turned away the first time. They were not prepared to trust in God.

Joshua went with them for the forty years of

wandering in the desert. When they finally returned, Joshua was ready and willing to lead the people of Israel to conquer and possess the land of Canaan, which they did. Now Joshua is one hundred ten years old and about to die, and he wants to remind the Israelites who brought them this far. He wants to remind them to be ready to live their lives day by day in this land they have conquered.

 Joshua knows they will be tempted to stray from serving the One True God, so he challenges them, “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (verses 14-15).

When the people of Israel chose to put God first in their lives, they were blessed. When they put God anywhere but first, no so many blessings.

The second thing the parable of the ten bridesmaids says to me is that as we prepare to reach our goal, we must also prepare for the unexpected. In the parable the bridegroom’s coming was delayed. Five of the bridesmaids prepared for that eventuality; they brought extra oil. Are you prepared, ready for the unexpected?

There’s a story told about a Cornish farmer who had difficulty keeping a hired man because his farm was located on the west coast of England, where storms roared in off the Atlantic. It was a miserable place to be. The farmer looked and looked, for help. Finally, a man came and applied for the job. He was a little fellow. He didn’t look very strong and appeared to be past middle age. He looked like he could be on his last leg. But he was the only person the farmer had found.

The farmer asked him, “Are you a good helper to a farmer?” The man answered in his Cornish accent, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” When the farmer said, “I don’t understand,” the little fellow repeated, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” The farmer didn’t know what that meant, but he took the man on because he desperately needed help.

The man worked well around the farm and seemed to be effective. Then one night the farmer could hear the wind kicking up and beginning to blow. He got out of bed, lit the lantern, went to the barn where the hired man was sleeping and shook him awake. “The storm is coming and the wind is howling,” the farmer shouted. “We have to do something fast.” The hired man looked at him and said, “No, sir, I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.” The farmer went outside and saw that all the haystacks had been covered by tarpaulins, all the chickens were in coops, all the cows were in the barn, all of the things that could have blown away were secured and all doors and shutters closed. Indeed, the hired man could sleep when the wind blew. He was prepared, he was ready when it came to regular farm work, and he was able to deal with the unexpected.

When the unexpected diagnosis happens, when the unexpected death occurs, when the unexpected financial crisis comes, are you ready? Is your faith strong enough to handle day to day life? Earthly life is not easy; yet when life happens, if we draw near to God, He’ll draw near to us. If we have placed God first in our life, we know that He is with us in our struggles as well as with us in our joy filled times.

That is the last point I see in today’s scripture.  Are you ready for the love, the joy, the peace God has waiting for you? I encounter people who do not place God first in their life. In fact, for some God has no place in their life at all. Some of the reasons are: ‘God is mean, waiting to punish me when I mess up,’ ‘I want to be in control of my life,’ ‘I’ll start going to church when I’m older. Now I want to have fun,’ ‘I don’t need God, I’m doing just fine.’

What I have discovered is when the people who want nothing to do with God finally bottom out and come to a place where the only way to look is up, and they decide they need God after all; they are not ready for the mercy and grace of our loving God. The unexpected God they encounter is not a God waiting to punish them, but rather a God of love. They are not ready for the love that surrounds them and fills them. They are not ready for the deep-down joy. They are not ready for the incredible peace of heart and soul. They are not ready because they have not prepared.

So how do we ready ourselves; for life’s struggles? How do we ready ourselves to party with Jesus through eternity? How do we get ready to experience the love, joy, and peace of giving our life to the One True God?

A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.

He wrote, “I’ve gone for 30 years now, and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons but for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time, the preachers and the priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for almost 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals.”

“But I do know this; They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.

Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!” 

How do we ready ourselves; to party with Jesus, to handle the struggles in this life, to experience the abundant life Jesus offers to us?

We attend church, we engage in Bible study and prayer, and most importantly; we love the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul, and mind. We choose to love and serve the One True God and we surrender our heart and life to Jesus God’s Son and our Savior.

Are you ready? I hope so, because Jesus says, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

 

 

Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                                                                                                            November 12, 2017        

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Ironwoodumc

November 13th, 2017

Walk the Talk, November 5, 2017

November 6th, 2017

Walk the Talk

Isaiah 42:1-4 and Matthew 23:1-12

(Quoted scripture is New International Version)

 

Remember Albert Schweitzer? He was known as a great humanitarian. He spent his life from age 40 until his death, in Africa as a medical doctor at Lambgarence. He established a hospital and treated the natives there. At the age of 40 he said, he “was not going to speak or talk any longer.” What he was going to do was to act; to act in behalf of those poor natives who had no proper medical aid. In other words, he was going to Walk the Talk. Because of his philosophy of the Reverence of Life, which resulted in his loving and serving the African natives, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.

When he arrived at the Chicago railroad station in 1953 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he was easily recognizable, a tall man with bushy hair and a big mustache. As the cameras flashed and city officials approached with hands outstretched to meet him, he thanked them politely. Then he asked to be excused for a minute. He walked through the crowd to the side of an elderly black woman struggling with two large suitcases. He picked them up, smiled, and escorted her to the bus, helped her get on, and wished her a safe journey. Then Albert Schweitzer turned to the crowd and apologized for keeping them waiting. It is reported that one member of the reception committee told a reporter, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”

Albert believed in what Jesus taught and lived out the teachings of Jesus in his life, yet Albert Schweitzer did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. He wrote in his book, Quest of the Historical Jesus, that he believed that Jesus held the idea that He was the Messiah, and died as a martyr to his belief in His “messianic character,” yet Albert did not believe Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah.

Albert Schweitzer and the Pharisees in todays reading from Matthew had this in common. Neither one believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. However, Albert lived out the teachings of Jesus, where the Pharisees did not.

The setting is this: Jesus has his disciples with him and the crowds have gathered around them. He has just finished telling them that the first and greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-38)

Now he turns to his disciples and to the crowds and says something surprising, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.” (Matthew 23:2-7)

What is the Moses seat? The Jews had a tradition that stated that angels gave the law to Moses. Moses, in turn, passed it onto Joshua; Joshua passed it onto the elders; the elders passed it onto the prophets; and the prophets passed it onto those who led the synagogue. Since the Pharisees and the scribes were the ones who led the synagogue, they were claiming to have been passed the truth by the prophets themselves (and, ultimately, from Moses). Because the law originated with Moses, the position of being a teacher of God’s law became known as Moses’ seat. In the synagogue, there was a raised platform at the front. On that platform was a special seat, reserved for the most respected teacher in the synagogue.

Jesus tells us do everything these teachers tell you to, however, do not do what they do, they are hypocrites. He goes on to say in verse 11-12 of our Matthew passage, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  In other words, the first will be last and the last will be first in God’s heavenly kingdom.

In our Isaiah scripture we read what some have interpreted as a description of Jesus, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.

Jesus was a humble servant. Paul writes in Philippians 2:8-9, “He humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Jesus Walked the Talk. He not only taught us how to be servants to God and to one another, he was the example as well.

Today we celebrate All Saint’s Day in the Christian church. We prayed John Wesley’s covenant prayer. Was John Wesley a saint? He was not sinless in this life, yet I believe he was a saint. In Adam Hamilton’s new book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It, we get a picture of how Wesley strived to live his life emulating Christ. In chapter 2 Hamilton writes, “At Oxford, the small band of Christians Wesley was mentoring shared his longing for holiness. For Wesley and his friends, holiness included a complete yielding of one’s life to God, a desire to become like Christ in heart and actions, acts of compassion for others, and a resolution to live one’s life for God’s glory. Among the ways Wesley pursued this quest for holiness was rising at four or five o’clock in the morning for private prayer, fasting two days a week until mid-afternoon and meeting with others to study the Bible and other Christian writings, and to hold each other accountable. They actively pursued acts of compassion and mercy for the poor, the prisoners, and the elderly, and they sought to achieve lives of simplicity (49-50). John Wesley Walked the Talk. He lived out his faith.

John Wesley’s rule for Christian living is: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!”

In other words, if you claim the name of Christ, as we Christ-ians do, then do all you can to live as Jesus Christ lived. Walk the Talk!

A little boy attended Church with his Grandfather one Sunday. Grandpa’s church had beautiful stained-glass windows. Grandpa told his grandson that the windows contained pictures of Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, Saint John, Saint Paul, and whole lot of other saints.

When he got home, the boy told Mom and Dad all about it. Dad, wanting to be funny and curious about what his son had learned, asked, “What is a saint?” The boy thought for a minute, and then replied, “A saint is a somebody the light shines through.”

I think this is a pretty good definition of a Saint. Who are your saints? Who are the people in your life who let the light of God shine through them for you to see? Who are the people in your life who Walk the Talk?

I leave you with this question. Does the light of God shine through your life, in the way you love and in how you live your daily life? If you claim the name of Christ and call yourself a Christian, do you Walk the Talk?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to examine my heart and my life, to be honest with myself. Am I living out my faith? Is the light of Jesus shining through my life? Reveal to me the truth. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen

Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                                                                                                                                                                          November 5, 2017

By: Ironwoodumc

November 6th, 2017

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Our Hours

Sunday Service 11:00 A.M. Central Time (nursery available)

Phone Number: 906-932-3900

Pastor: Rev. Rosemary DeHut

Pastor Rosemary is in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays

Prayer

~~ For the renewal of the church Spirit of promise, Spirit of unity, We thank you that you are also a Spirit of renewal. Renew in the whole Church That passionate desire for the coming of your kingdom Which will unite all Christians in one mission to the world. May we all grow up together into him who is our head, The Savior of the world. Amen. ~~