THE CARILLON - July 2018
Vacation Bible School 2018
This year’s VBS will be from Sunday, July 8 through Tuesday, July 10, from 6 – 8:30 PM. Each night at 5:30 we will have a shared/tailgating meal. Tuesday’s program will be held at the new Claridon Woodlands Park.
These are some of the people we need for a successful VBS:
Photographer/videographer The kids love seeing their faces at our ending program, if you love taking photos!
Tailgating/share a meal- We can use help with the light meal provided for our adventure camp participants and their families
Concession Workers- We can use help with hands on snack preparations the kids will be doing and light refreshments
Game Coaches– We have a great crew from Lighthouse but would love additional help with our outdoor games and activities!
Craft Coaches– Do you enjoy crafting or creating works of art? So do our kids! Please join our craft team to help with these activities!
Music Leaders– Have a gift for singing? Can you sign? Do you dance? Are you filled with energy and excitement? This could be the spot for you!
VBS registration: Are you organized? Can you help with registering our participants and getting them ready for our adventures? We sure could use you at the “pre-race” registration table!
Advertisement: Do you have a knack for advertisement? Can you help promote God’s Team adventures? We sure could use a marketing person-could that be you?!
Pre/post game pep rallies: Are you an awesome cheerleader? Can you really get the crowd pumped up? Do you have a talent to act? Please join us to be part of our pep-team and get us ready for the days adventures and later help us recap the days events.
Trainers: Would you like to help our participants move through their camp schedule? Do you want to experience the activities and help the kids take part? This is open to our youth who sixth grade and older
And of course, we need your prayerful support. Please call Leslie Smetana or Jill Kellogg if you can help. Thanks!
Friday, July 20, 2018
8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
What is going on here? Herod was pleased initially when he saw Jesus. Herod had heard reports about this itinerant preacher and healer, and wanted to see for himself what kind of miracles Jesus could do. Impress me, Jesus. Knock my socks off, Jesus. Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus did not make any reply. Jesus was not about to play Herod’s “game,” or perform like a trained monkey. We think of so many people that waited to see Jesus who were faithful and believed in His teachings. Herod was waiting to see Jesus like you would wait to see a magician or a circus act, not for the relationship of a loving Father, but for the entertainment value. He had heard about the many healings and miracles Jesus had performed.
Then there’s the chief priests and teachers of the law. They had an ax to grind. They wanted to be sure Herod heard all the accusations they had against Jesus. They did not want to take the chance that Herod would be enchanted with the novelty of meeting Jesus and fail to punish him as an enemy of the state.
Apparently Herod got tired of asking questions that Jesus declined to answer. So he and his soldiers mocked Jesus. They lowered themselves to preschool antics even if Jesus would not. Let’s play dress-up with this guy, and send him back to Pilate. It’s interesting that that day Herod and Pilot became friends. Pilot eager to please his superior and Herod with his entertainment supplied for the day. I doubt that the friendship lasted long after Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus showed incredible maturity, wisdom and forbearance in the face of persecution. He did not lower himself to their level, but in every moment, with every action, showed himself to be the face of God. He gave us such a tremendous example of how to act in impossible circumstances. Lord, you were put through so much while you were here on earth. You know the pain we suffer. You were mocked and bullied by these two egotistical rulers. You suffered unbelievable physical torture. You were betrayed, abandoned, and denied by your closest friends. There is nothing we can ensure that you can’t understand.
Thank you, Lord for your sacrifice on our behalf. It’s a humbling thing to realize that most of us have never really grown up. We’ve gotten bigger and older, but not more mature. Jesus showed us the true test of maturity in how he acted from his arrest through his crucifixion. I hope I never have to face what Jesus faced, but in whatever I have before me today, give me the wisdom to discern right behavior. We seek you each day as we wait to see you with your arms and your heart wide open in your perfect time. Thank you for making a way for us. Amen
Thursday, July 19, 2018
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
King of the hill. Big cheese. Top dog. Big shot. Top brass. CEO. Kingpin. We have lots of expressions to describe the one who considers himself the greatest, who has earned the penthouse suite, the ivory dome, the office of the power elite. Nothing has changed from Jesus’ day in that regard. The ones that have lord it over the ones that have not.
“But you are not to be like that.” Jesus turns the hill completely upside down. The greatest should be like the youngest (as in: don’t talk until you are spoken to), and the one who rules like the one who serves (upstairs and downstairs), so the two are reversed. This is not one of the more popular sayings of Jesus, to be sure, even among the faithful. Pastors are just as adept at playing one-upmanship as the next person.
But what if we really paid attention to these words, even tried to live them out on a daily basis? What if we let a car ahead of us – maybe we would have less accidents? What if we let a mom with young children go ahead in a crowded store – would our world become kinder? What if we chose to do some grunt work that usually goes to the minimum wage employee – would we increase company morale? And this is but the tip of the iceberg.
I want to pray about this one, and let God help me put it more into practice. Let me listen to what Jesus says, and do my best to serve, just as he would.
Your words are life-changing, Jesus, if I will truly seek to live and serve as you would. Help me let go of the desire to be a big fish in a small pond, and intentionally choose to be as the small fish instead. Let me serve my neighbor with kindness and humility, and thus give you the praise. Amen.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
“Do not be deceived” is a difficult command to follow in, these days of fake news and political and social polarization. How can we rely on media that is bought and sold by corporate bias and unhealthy extremism? It is more important than ever to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. To invest time in the study of God’s Word to better understand His nature and His will for our lives. Do we see signs Jesus described as the coming of the end times? Certainly many current trends and events seem to fit the description but many have thought the same for centuries. The important thing is not to worry about when, but to always be ready.
Lord, Thank you for your Holy Word and the presence of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Let us listen first and foremost to your voice, Let us rely on Your power. Open our eyes and hearts to your truth so we can discern the impostors and follow only you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
When we read about this widow and her offering, we may become sidetracked, thinking Jesus will reward us for our generosity in giving. We may worry that Jesus is too demanding – as if all of us should act like this widow in giving all of our material goods. Are we to have nothing to live on?
When I read this passage today, I was struck that the main point Jesus was making was about faith. What becomes evidence of faith? How do we know one is living by faith? Faith by its nature is unseen except as it is revealed through one’s character or ethics. This woman truly was living by faith – she had nothing, she had no means of earning any money, and was wholly dependent on family members or kindhearted friends who would allow her a place to live and food to eat. She was an ultimate example of faith, because she gave everything she had.
So really, I don’t think this passage is as much about money as it is about faith. Jesus is telling us here that faith is giving our whole self to God in whatever means that is lived out in us. Love with every ounce of your being. Trust every moment of your future to the Lord. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on God to guide your every step. Absolutely, giving our wealth to God’s work is important. If this passage makes you squirm, maybe you are holding back funds God wants to use for a greater purpose. But just as much as we can hold back from giving money, we can also hold back from letting God work as fully in us as God intends. Faith and obedience go hand in hand. Let God work through you as you faithfully lay down your life to God’s guidance. Put into your life of faith all that you are and all that God asks of you, and the money will take care of itself.
Lord, I want to offer my whole being to you, my entire will and each moment of my day for you to do in me as you intend. I know I fall short in giving myself completely to you, but by the grace of Christ, I will confess my shortcomings and try again. Let me look to Jesus, for he gave his very life for me. His death has made me whole. So I praise you through my savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, July 16, 2018
20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.
Keeping a close watch on Jesus, they refers to the teachers of the law and the chief priests. Notice “they” sent spies. These spies pretended to be sincere, sent by teachers of the law who pretended to represent God. Their purposes were underhanded. Devious. Filled with a hidden agenda. Seeking to trap Jesus. Who did they really represent? Not the God I know.
The God I know is straightforward, righteous, fair and just. The God I know is loving, seeking my best and encouraging. The God I know doesn’t wait to trap me. These teachers of the law may have thought they were followers of God’s law. They may have been “religious” but hardly faithful. And there lies the difference.
Jesus saw through their duplicity, but what did he do? He asked to see a coin. He let them sink themselves in their own mire, but he did not lower himself to their level. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s; give to God what is God’s.” Jesus did not need to accuse them; they understood they were wrong and he was right.
Know that God isn’t into slick flattery, loaded questions or manipulation. This episode is a window into how God acts and wants us to behave. Being gracious honors a person. Flattery seeks only to manipulate and control in unhealthy ways.
Lord God, let me give you the honor and praise you deserve. Let me also live faithfully in the world, fulfilling obligations as I pay my taxes and follow the laws of my country. Help me be honest in my dealings with others, and be as gracious as Jesus even toward those who oppose me. This I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
In 1975 I lived in Cincinnati and decided to go join the crowds of people celebrating the Reds World Series championship at Fountain Square in the heart of the city. I just lived a few blocks from the square. It was the first time I realized how claustrophobic I get in big crowds.
Being short in a massive crowd can be terrifying. It not just a matter of not being able to see, but being in such close proximity to others can feel suffocating. It’s impossible to have an awareness of surroundings beyond the people right next to me.
When Zacchaeus climbed the tree to see Jesus it not only helped his vision, but saved him from the crushing isolation of the crowd. When we make an effort to see Jesus more clearly not only do we find him, but he comes to our homes in our hearts. We are freed from the overwhelming pressure of the worldly attitudes and priorities that surround us and the suffocation of sin.
Lord, thank you for giving us the desire to see you. Thank you for lifting us out of the mindsets and circumstances that keep us anxious and isolated. Thank you for your unlimited capacity to forgive. Help us to honor you in our walk and in our service to others each day. In Jesus’ Holy Name, amen.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Jesus told the story of the persistent widow as an example of why we need to keep praying and trust that God both hears us and answers us. If an unjust judge would grant the request of a widow, certainly God, who is both loving and just, will not delay in doing for us what is right and good. Our sense of time is different from God’s, but Jesus wants us to trust in God’s perfect timing.
At the end of the story, Jesus makes a comment about the Son of Man’s return, and asks whether he will find faith on the earth. We see faith on the decline – in this nation and around the world. Churches are closing; people look around to see too many empty pews on a Sunday morning. Will we continue to believe that God answers prayer? Or will we “give up”?
It bothers me sometimes to hear words that sound like we are giving up on God. Something happens we don’t like and we simply turn away from faith and a fellowship of believers. Or we lower our expectations of what God can accomplish. We fail to believe God can do anything so we don’t look for evidence to the contrary. Prayers are half-hearted if at all.
Be that persistent widow! Keep believing, keep praying, be bold and courageous, be ready to see what God is planning, just out of sight and around the next bend. May we not give up on God, because I don’t want God to give up on us.
Gracious and loving God, let me put my trust in you, today and every day. Help me keep my focus on you, believing that you listen to my prayers and answer them, out of your great love for all of humanity. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
What We Believe
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son and our savior, who lived among us to teach us and die for us. He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life in him John 3:16. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God dwelling in us John 14:15-17. We seek God’s word in the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Our mission as a church is to proclaim the good news of Christ to all. We honor Christ through worship and fellowship, encouraging one another in faith, hope and love 1 Corinthians 13:13, and serving our neighbors with compassion and justice.
We belong to the United Church of Christ. As a congregation we are granted the autonomy to govern our local church, and prayerfully make the best decisions we can on how to live out our calling as believers. Each person has the freedom and responsibility of discerning for themselves how faith in Jesus Christ impacts their daily walk and their worldview. We respect one another’s differences because even though we are diverse, we are still part of Christ’s body.
We look forward to welcoming you some day soon. Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
10:00 am Worship Service
10:00 am Children's Adventure Hour