Midweek Reflections

“Little Things Matter”

This Week’s Meditation:  “Little Things Matter”
Read: Mark 4:30-34

The parable of the mustard seed reminds us of many things but one of the truth’s it proclaims is that little things do matter for both good and bad.

I was reminded of that again last night when the St. Louis Cardinals played a big game against Milwaukee whom they are chasing in the National League Central standings.  In the sixth inning the Cardinal pitcher walked a batter and then a couple pitches later the backup catcher allowed a past ball (that should have been caught) get past him.

That small error allowed the runner to go to second and soon after he was hit in for the score when Milwaukee’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy singled.  The next player made the third out of the inning.  If it wasn’t for the passed ball the runner would not have scored.

It seemed like a small thing until the 9th inning when the score was tied and went into extra innings.  If it wasn’t for that past ball the Cards would have been up 3-2 and won the game in 9 innings.  Instead they lost 5-3 in extra innings.

When Jesus tells this parable he is describing what the kingdom of God is like.  The smallest thing, the smallest seed that is planted can end up making such a big difference in someone’s life and in God’s kingdom.

The same can also be said about a wrong choice we make in life or a seemingly small decision or error.  What at one point may seem small and insignificant may one day end up having a huge impact on your life or others lives.

When we think of the mustard seed we need to consider how small things can lead to great things for God, but we also need to remember that small choices that go against God’s will can also grow into bigger problems if we are not careful.

One baseball game is not a big deal, but those little things in life that we sometimes take for granted sure can be.  Remember that this week as you face each day.  Take nothing for granted and live to grow the good in your life and not the bad.  After all that is God’s perfect will!

Make it personal:  No matter how small or insignificant you may think your job, your responsibilities, etc. are, God plans to use you and them to further his kingdom on this earth.  Approach your life in that way and live each moment as if it matters to God, because it does.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church

“The Lord of the Sabbath

This Weeks Meditation:  “Lord of the Sabbath”
Read: Mark 2:23-28

It seems like there has been an ongoing debate for many years now about what Christians should and should not do on the Sabbath (Sunday).  Many times in the Gospels we see the Pharisees being very strict and condemning about certain things that happen on the day that God declared for rest.

In this passage in Mark 2 Jesus and his disciples are walking through the grain fields on their way to their next destination when they begin to pick some of the grain to eat.  The Pharisees become upset and say, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus then refers to an example of David from 1 Samuel 21 to explain that the Sabbath was made for our good, we were not made for the good of the Sabbath (v. 27-28).  In other words, the Sabbath is a day for us to worship the Lord, rest, and enjoy a change from the normal routine of our week.

This doesn’t mean that we should come up with a long list of do’s and dont’s for the Sabbath, it simply means that we should use it as a day to honor God, celebrate the joy that Jesus brings to our lives, and enjoy our time with family and friends.

There are even other examples in the Gospels where Jesus and his disciples healed on the Sabbath in order to bring God’s mercy to people.  They didn’t work to increase their estate, they worked to increase God’s blessings to others.

Jesus simply is telling the Pharisees and us today that we should be wise about the Sabbath.  Yes, it should be different from the other six days of your week, but it shouldn’t be a source of burden or division for His church.

When Sunday rolls around, give God your utmost attention (worship) first and foremost, and then enjoy the day that He has given you to rest and recharge your physical and spiritual batteries for life.  Remember, Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath (v.28).

Make it Personal:  Obviously every day is the Lords; but what do you do to make yourself aware of that?  Sunday is a special day that Christians set aside to worship the Lord together, but what are we doing throughout the week to worship the Lord individually or in our family?

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church

“The Perfect Temp!”

This Weeks Meditation:  “The Perfect Temp!”
Read: Revelation 3:14-22

With the excessive heat and humidity this week many people have been talking about the weather.  This is nothing new except that so often we are complaining about it being either too hot or too cold.  I wonder what the people in San Diego complain about, the average yearly temp. there is a lukewarm 71 degrees.

However, lukewarm is not always the best.  In the Bible that word is used only one time and it is not in a positive way at all.  Revelation 3:16 is a part of a letter to the church in Laodicea and it says, “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  Perhaps lukewarm is not all it seems?

What this letter is really talking about is when believers start to go through the motions and take their faith for granted.  When life is easy we too often forget the one in Christ who is our provider, deliverer, and Savior.  When life get’s tough he is often the first place we turn.

That is good, Jesus wants us to turn to him during those difficult times but he also wants us to stay in tune with him when we are having the perfect day and things are going great.  We dare not become complacent as it appears the church in Laodicea had fallen into.

Verses 21-22 in the Message Bible are paraphrased to say, “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!  Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

let’s not just knock at the door when then temp. is turned up or down in our life, let’s be a consistent visitor even when life is 70 degrees and sunny.  Stay on fire for Jesus, alive in His Word, and don’t let your faith become lukewarm.

Make it personal:  Maybe we should try talking about the faithfulness of God to others as much as we talk to them about the weather.  Hmmm…. who knows where that type of conversation may lead?

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church

“God’s Changelessness”

This Weeks Meditation: “God’s Changelessness”
Read: Psalm 102

We live in an ever-changing world!  As soon as you think you understand someone, they do something to make you wonder.  As soon as you think your work situation couldn’t be better, you walk in to find out that you have been laid off.  As soon as you have the latest smartphone, the next version comes out the following week.

Most of us do not handle change to well.  Even if we like things to be random and unstructured we still want to have an idea of what lies around the next corner.  Surprises are usually only welcomed when they are wrapped in fancy paper and have bows on the top.

That’s what makes being a Christian a wonderful thing!  God is unchanging!  His love, faithfulness, protection, presence, and strength are always there for us and always the same.  In Psalm 102 the writer laments about many of those things that change and are unreliable.  But in the end he writes, “But you remain the same.”

A.W. Tozer once said, “God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.  His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when he drove out the sinful man for the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same when he stretched forth His hands and cried, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Things change, situations change, people change, but God will not change in his faithfulness to see you through.  God sent his Son Jesus to save us from sin, to provide salvation, and to bring us the rest that the verse above describes.  Run to him with whatever you are faced with this week and you will find that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Make it personal:  Try to name some things in your life that have changed over the past year, month, or week.  After doing that start to name the ways that God has not changed in his faithfulness toward you.  God loves you and will see you through whatever wave of change you are currently riding on.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church

“We are the Church”

This Weeks Meditation:  “We are the Church!”
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

This passage from 2 Corinthians is the theme passage for this weeks Mennonite USA convention in Pittsburgh.  Today (Wednesday) was designated as “We are the Church day” here at the convention as a way to celebrate the broad and diverse face of the church in our country and world.

When we say “we” it represents people from many countries and cultures around the world.  Even in our country the cultures that we come from are very diverse and full of fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit.  This means that reconciliation and christian community must be who we are as Christ’s ambassadors.

This passage reminds us that first and foremost we must be reconciled to God.  Then we must live out the ministry of reconciliation in our daily lives.  This gives evidence to the new creation we are in Jesus Christ.

So often we allow our own preferences or our cultural traditions to dictate what we think the church should be or look like.  But God does not see us in that way.  Verse 17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.”  That means that “we” as the “church” should come together as a whole to celebrate this relationship, this reconciliation, and this family that we are a part of.

It is hard to be at a convention like this and not be reminded of the diverse people we are.  Even those who may look similar are still often different in many ways.  But because we are the church we should celebrate what God is doing instead of being critical of each other.  When Jesus reconciled us he did so with unconditional love.  May that same type of love be the testimony of the Christian church today!

Make it personal:  Find ways to connect with the MCUSA conference this week and experience a taste of this reconciliation theme that is permeating this week.  You can go to the AMC website to find various ways to connect with this weeks events.  www.arthurmennonite.org

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

“Most Important Words”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Most Important Words”
Read: Philippians 1:1-11

Encouragement and Humility are two of the greatest virtues in life.  Not only do they lift other people up but they lift our spirits as well.  In the book of Philippians Paul shares these virtues in many ways.  If you have time try to read the whole book of Philippians to appreciate the full scope of joy, encouragement, and thanksgiving that Paul writes about.

I ran across an email this week that said:
The six most important words are…
“I admit that I was wrong!”
The five most important words are…
“You did a great job.”
The four most important words are…
“What do you think?”
The three most important words are…
“May I help?”
The two most important words are…
“Thank You!”
The most important word is…
The least important word is…

In verse 6 Paul says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  So often we get caught up in the needs that we have as individuals and forget about the needs of those whom God places in our path each day.

Paul encourages us here that we are called to bring about good things in life and speak positive words of encouragement to each other.  That “good work” is only possible when we place ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Our positive and encouraging words to each other not only flow out of our relationship with Jesus but they also can lead others to him.

Paul says, “The fruit of righteousness” comes through Jesus Christ.  Let’s remember those important words this week and put the focus on others instead of ourselves.  After all, that is what Jesus always did.

Make it personal:  Take your most difficult relationship this week and use this text and these most important words to approach it in a different way.  By blessing others in Christ we can often turn the bad into good.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church

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