Have we not become a quick fix culture? Jiffy Lube. Fast food. Instant oatmeal. One hour photo service. One day cleaners. Speed reading clinics. And we all have microwave ovens. Why? Only one reason that I can see. Certainly not the quality or results. Speed. Frozen dinner in seven minutes.
Sudie Black went out of her way to befriend strangers and newcomers to her town. It was nothing for her to sit up all night at a hospital, or to help a sick mother, to cook and clean for the elderly, and still turn up every Sunday to teach her Sunday School class. Why do people do things like that?
Have we not become a quick fix culture? Whatever we need, whatever we do, of prime importance is speed. Jiffy Lube. Fast food. Instant oatmeal. One hour photo service. One day cleaners. Speed reading clinics. Now, I admit that there is stuff in print not worth much time. But speed read Shakespeare?
Heads up: The sermon this morning is about money. Don't blame me. It's the lectionary reading of the day, and the Spirit says, "Stick with the text." So, buckle your seat beats, as we explore the nature of money and its place in a life of faith. I'll try not to step on your toes.
Talking and listening to God is like talking over the telephone: Like when Grandma calls, you can't see her, but you know she's there, and you can say anything you want, and she'll understand. She just loves to hear your voice.
Paul urged his readers to keep their sights on the kingdom of God, not the politics of the day. As for those in authority, he makes no bones about it: Pray for them. That's what he told Timothy; that's what I think he'd tell us today.
Paul encourages us to "pray for those in high places". Don't sit back and criticize them. Don't rubbish their policies or decisions. Pray for them. We may not always agree with them, but we can still take them to God in our prayers. We can go to God and ask him to give our leaders wisdom and understanding to act in a way that will bring peace.
Imago Dei: we are created in the image of God—in his own blessed image, he fashioned us. Frankly, sometimes we look quite a bit like God, and at other times we look very little like Him. But as you look around this room, you will see people who reflect something of God's image—more or less.
My guess is that we have more in common with Paul than we realize. We too have our thorns in the flesh. We've been beaten down a time or two. Look back over the journey of your life and you'll find some shipwrecks in your wake--some things you'd rather not talk about.
What is Grace? We talk about it. We sing about it. We say it's amazing! We even name our churches and our children for it. In 2003 and 2004 it was the 13th most popular name for baby girls. Grace is one of the most popular names for Methodist Churches. But what is it?