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The Gospel Reading.
In the kingdom of heaven, who is the greatest?
The disciples struggle with the concept of the kingdom of heaven. They do not yet understand that who is most important or most powerful is a contradiction in terms. This is the fourth of the five great sermons in Matthew.
2 Jesus called over a little child. He put His hand on the top of the child’s head.
Jesus: 3 This is the truth: unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 In that kingdom, the most humble who are most like this child are the greatest. 5 And whoever welcomes a child, welcomes her in My name, welcomes Me. 6 And do not lead astray one of the weak and friendless who believes in Me. If you do, it would be better for you to be dragged down with a millstone and drowned in the bottom of the sea.
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Poetry In Life
There was a time when men were kind When their voices were soft And their words inviting There was a time when love was blind And the world was a song And the song was exciting There was a time Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by When hope was high And life worth living I dreamed that love would never die I dreamed that God would be forgiving Then I was young and unafraid And dreams were made and used and wasted There was no ransom to be paid No song unsung No wine untasted
But the tigers come at night With their voices soft as thunder As they tear your hope apart As they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side He filled my days with endless wonder He took my childhood in his stride But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he'll come to me That we will live the years together But there are dreams that cannot be And there are storms we cannot weather!
I had a dream my life would be So different from this hell I'm living So different now, from what it seemed Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
Paul Describes his Suffering
[info_box] 2 Corinthians 11:16-30
16 So as I said before, please don’t mark me a fool; but if you must, then please accept me even as that and give me a little more room to boast. 17 What I am saying now is not in character with our Lord but is the bragging of a self-assured fool. 18 Just as other fools brag according to their worldly accomplishments, so I, too, will have to boast;19 meanwhile, you—so wise, so tolerant—gladly bear this kind of foolishness. 20 How easily you tolerate becoming another’s slave, having them consume you, letting them rob you blind, or allowing them to edge their way past you or slap you in the face. 21 Embarrassingly I admit that next to them we must look very weak!
But in whatever way they dare to boast—remember, I’m speaking in character as a fool—I dare to boast even more!22 Are they Hebrews, God’s chosen? So am I. Are they true Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants to the Anointed One, the Liberating King? I am even more so! (I can’t believe how foolish I sound.) I have worked harder for God’s kingdom, taken more beatings, been dragged in and out of prisons, and have been eye-to-eye with death. 24 Five times I have withstood thirty-nine lashes from Jewish authorities, 25 three times I was battered with rods, once I was almost stoned to death, three times I was shipwrecked, and I spent one day and night adrift on the sea. 26 I have been on many journeys and faced the most extreme circumstances: perilous rivers, violent thieves, and threats by my own people and by the Gentile outsiders alike. I have faced dangers in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea; and danger from spies among our brothers and sisters. 27 I have survived toil and hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst without a crumb in sight, bare to the cold. 28 As if these external trials weren’t enough, there is the daily stress I feel and anxiety I carry for all the churches under my care. 29 Who is weak without this arousing my empathy? Who gets hurt and offended without this inciting my burning anger?
30 So as you can see, if I have to boast, I will, but only in my own weaknesses. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus, He who is worthy of eternal blessing, can confirm that I am telling you the truth.
Paul and the Windy Sea
[info_box] Acts 27
Paul In Front of the Roman Leaders
[info_box] Acts 28
23 They scheduled a day to meet again, and a large number came to his lodging. From morning until evening, he explained his message to them—giving his account of the kingdom of God, trying to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets’ writings. 24 Some were convinced, but others refused to believe.
Paul (adding as they left in disagreement): 25 The Holy Spirit rightly spoke to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
26 Go to this people and say, “You certainly do hear, but you will never understand; you certainly do see, but you will never have insight. 27 Make their hearts hard, their ears deaf, and their eyes blind. Otherwise, they would look and see, listen and hear, understand and repent, and be healed.”[a]
28 So let it be known to you that God’s liberation, God’s healing, has been sent to the outsiders, and they will listen.
I Gladly Tell of God's Grace
[info_box] Acts 20
23 but I know—the Holy Spirit has told me—that everywhere I go from now on, I will find imprisonment and persecution waiting for me. 24 But that’s OK. That’s no tragedy for me because I don’t cling to my life for my own sake. The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.
[pirenko_blockquote author="Rob Bell - What We Talk About When We Talk About God. "]Gospel is the shocking, provocative, revolutionary, subversive, counterintuitive good news that in your moments of greatest despair, failure, sin, weakness, losing, failing, frustration, inability, helplessness, wandering, and falling short, God meets you there- right there- right exactly there- in that place, and announces, I am on your side. Gospel insists that God doesn’t wait for us to get ourselves polished, shined, proper, and without blemish. God comes to us and meets us and blesses us while we are still in the middle of the mess we created. Gospel isn’t us getting it together so that we can have God’s favor; gospel is us finding God exactly in the moment of our greatest not-togetherness. Gospel is grace, and grace is a gift. You don’t earn a gift; you simply receive it. You don’t make it happen; you wake up to what has already happened. Gospel isn’t doing enough good to be worthy; it’s your eyes being opened to your unworthiness and to Jesus’s insistence that that was never the way it worked in the first place. Being a good person, then, naturally flows not from trying to get on God’s good side but from your realization that God has been on your side the whole time. Gospel calls you to a major change in thinking, a giant shift in understanding, a massive leap in how you see yourself, otherwise, you’re stuck in the same old points program, trying to earn what is already yours. Chapter 5, Pg. 135-137[/pirenko_blockquote]
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Faith Of Theology :
The Worst Parable Jesus Ever Told
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When I heard it I had to grab the Bible out of the pew in front of me and see for myself that it was actually in there because it’s like Jesus is saying “You know that whole Sermon on the Mount thing? Yeah, I was totally kidding about that.”
Why What You Think About Foster Care Matters
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THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM NOT ONLY IMPACTS THE CHILDREN TODAY BUT ALSO EVERY AMERICAN’S FUTURE.
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Music of the Week: Beautiful Eulogy
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Beautiful Eulogy is a Portland, Oregon-based group made up of artists Braille, Odd Thomas and Courtland Urbano. The group introduces a distinct and directive sound that’s driven by a desire to worship and glorify the God of the Bible, based in the context of its members’ hip-hop roots and shaped by influences like electronic music, folk songs and old hymns.
Beautiful Eulogy's debut album "Satellite Kite" was released in June of 2012 and has been well received by a variety of listeners. This positive response provided the group with opportunities to tour around the country and produce for other artists, including the production of Propaganda's album "Excellent.
Beautiful Eulogy now presents their sophomore release "Instruments Of Mercy", a natural progression of their sound using analog and acoustic instruments with poetic lyricism.