This is a one-time deal here. I found this picture of Princess Leia shooting two pews from her space gun. Had I found this before I started ‘the view from the pew’ I would have used the ‘pew pew’ title for my movie reviews. Or something. As it is, ‘the view from the pew’ is a pretty typical name for a worship-based article, so says google. My wife is good at coming up with catchy phrases and titles. I learned my lesson. As with a persistent cough, always seek a second opinion when deciding on a title for a (hopefully) long running series.
I completely forgot to mention my main point regarding last week’s sermon. It had to do with praying for loved ones and despised persons alike. Praying for loved ones is easy. I love my wife and children and family and small group members and most of the people I have written in the pages of my Bible. Some of the names are of people who have moved away from my sphere of influence. I don’t dislike them but have no contact with them either. I pray for them as a matter of them being the next name on the list. God tells us to pray for the world entire. That includes mean people. You know who I’m talking about. My problem with praying for them is that I don’t want my prayers for them to work. That’s a pretty crummy attitude. That’s a pretty stupid attitude. Who prayed for my salvation? It was anybody who prayed for my good welfare. There is no log here on Earth of who prayed for whom, so in a fit of grattitude I pray for all hoping they receive the same grace I was given.
9-17-16 Saturday evening service. Our sound man has been found! Brad was back clicking us through the service folder with nary a mistake. Thanks, old man. There was a power surge in Holy Cross last Saturday as three children were baptised in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Besides communion with Jesus, or forgiveness of my and your wretched sins, or the honor to praise His name with a song like “When Peace, Like a River”, or the ability to give an offering of Susan’s hard earned money, or or or … what better way is there to witness the power of Him who created the universe including every grain of sand but with the baptisms of three young mortals-turned-servants of the kingdom?
Pastor Sattler taught the Gospel through Luke 16:1-15, about the manager who cheated his boss and when he was found out, made ammends to the boss … by cheating him again? That is how it reads to me. I would have been completely hopeless had I ever attended seminary. Pastor taught how God never promises happiness but we can be taught to achieve contentment. The pursuit of happiness is what keeps us going, thinking that the next new car, fanciful technology, decoration for the hallway, or the next pay raise will find us in Happyland. The problem is that the evil one always dangles another shiny bauble, a rich doo-dad, a pretty red skirt, or a corner office to distract us from what we already have. Welcome unhappiness.
So if fulltime happiness is a pointless endeavor, how does one achieve contentment? Pastor explained it in three points. The first is
Learn The Source of Everything. Where does everything you have come from? (hint: it’s the Sunday School answer). Jesus. Everything you have is what God has allowed you to have. The Lord taught us to pray for our ‘daily bread’ which of course includes bread but also our jobs, transportation, friends, our talents, neighbors and friends, all those things that help us live a basic life. We need a house, a car, clothes, plates and forks. They don’t need to be shiny, just useful. The second point is
Learn to Live With Less. Most of us have less than some of us. It’s just a fact. You don’t have the earning power of the CEO down the street so, unless you overspend with credit cards, you will have fewer items to show off to people around you. If that’s an issue with you. There’s nothing wrong with having nice things. Buying one pair of expensive shoes might last longer than buying two or three pairs of regular shoes, thus making it cost less in the long run. But there’s nothing wrong with wearing a lesser brand shirt from the rack rather than a packaged one, especially if you miss a needle or two unpacking it. The third point is
Learn to Live With Much. OK, so you have a bundle of money. Maybe you earned it. Maybe you received it as part of a legal settlement. Maybe it was bequeathed to you by a rich parent. If you like it, buy it. You don’t have to live like a refugee (thanks, Tom!) but a question you should ask yourself when purchasing anything is “Will what I buy make me a better Christian?” Aye, laddy, there’s the rub. Whether rich or poor or probably in between, what do you own that could be used for other people? Let’s just leave it right there. You decide what you have that can be used and how or when or for whom. You might even need to be brutal with your self and decided if it can’t be used, should you even have it?
Regardless of how much fruit you pick off the money tree, learn to live above life’s circumstances. No matter how much or little you think you have that doesn’t stop stuff from going wrong in your life. Paul said he had all what he needed yet he still spent time in prison, and was shipwrecked, was bitten by a deadly snake, was beaten, bitten, torn assunder and left for dead. How did he respond to his frequent dilemmas? By seeing past his life and into the One who gave him life. He didn’t enjoy the pain and suffering yet he sang hymns, prayed quietly and aloud, and told most he met of God’s love for them. Odds are that you have already achieved a certain amount of contentment. You are most likely going through an issue or two in your life right now but haven’t given up the ship because you see it only as a blip. You are strong enough in Christ to understand that the blip will pass. What if something worse happens? You can prepare your self with praying a little bit more, reading the Bible a little bit more, spending time at Bible study a little bit more, and attending service a little bit more. That doesn’t ease the grief of a disaster but you will find that as time passes you’ll realize that you made it through better than you could have imagined. That’s what faith in Christ is all about, Charlie Brown.