Read any good books lately? Like many of you, my favorite book is the Bible. I’ve heard many folks refer to the Bible as: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Personally I like to think of it as God’s word to help us get through today. Years ago one of my brothers was struggling with a variety of issues in his life. I suggested that he needed to start reading the Bible. He called me one night, obviously having imbibed just slightly, and said, “I can’t make any sense out of the Bible. I asked him where he was reading. He responded, “in the book of Numbers.” Hence the problem!
While I believe we are instructed to read all of God’s word, unlike a “traditional” book, I don’t think we should start at the beginning. I encourage people to start reading with one of the Gospels. My favorite is the Gospel of John because it is presented in a simple and straight forward manner and connects with folks at all levels of spiritual growth from the beginner to the more advanced. Unlike the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), more than 90% of the material in John is without parallel in any of the other three Gospels.
There are also a number of stories about Jesus that are unique to John’s Gospel such as: Jesus calling of Andrew, Phillip and Nathanael, changing water into wine at Cana, the conversion of Nicodemus, the raising of Lazarus and the washing of the disciples feet. The Gospel of John also emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
A commitment to read something every day from the Bible will draw you closer to God and help with some of those really difficult situations that James in talking about in our new sermon series. Just saying!
Speaking of good books … did you know that at St. Matthews we have a great library of Christian books available free? Located opposite the kitchen in our main historic building, the library has several hundred books. The process is simple, just take whatever you want, return it when you’re through. There are books available for all reading levels – from youth to adult. If you have books that others might like to read, we invite you to leave them there as well.
Everyone is Gifted to Serve
One of our core convictions at St. Matthews is that everyone is meant to serve. In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul talks about the importance of everyone in the body and reminds us, “now you (that’s you and me!) are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.”
One of the reason that St. Matthews is such a great church is that people volunteer and serve in so many ways and they do it willingly and without asking for any recognition. During this season of inclement weather, we are all especially thankful for Chris Tammany who plows us out and the trustees who make sure that all the walks are shoveled. Like so many others, Chris does it for free without wanting or asking for any acknowledgement. Can you imagine the impact on our budget if we had to pay for snow plowing. And then when he finishes at St. Matthews, he heads to The Rock and plows for them as well. I don’t want to embarrass Chris but I do want him to know how much we all appreciate him. Ditto for our amazing trustees.
A New Prayer Team at St. Matthews
Just a reminder that we are developing a team of folks to be available after the service to pray with you. This Sunday we’re going to be sharing more information about our new prayer ministry after the service. If you would like to be part of our new prayer team or just want to find out how to effectively pray, please join Kathy Kowaleski and me immediately following worship in our beautiful new sanctuary.
See you Sunday at 8:45 as we continue our journey through the book of James.