Two very good articles appeared recently in The Oregonian: the first was an article by Nancy Haught asking the question, “Are sports taking a toll on church attendance?” The second was a commentary by Steve Duin on generous giving to charities. They’re topics that come up in our church as well because Sherwood and the surrounding cities have very vital youth sports programs. And the giving article is timely as we embark on Consecrated Stewards. So, let me speak a little bit about both since I will probably not get a chance to speak to each of you individually about them.
When it comes to the question of church and sports, I’m with you because I have a son who plays baseball in Sherwood. I remember a couple years ago Aaron played Fall Ball, and the following year when I asked if he wanted to sign up for it again he said, “Fall Ball ruined my life!” I was surprised; I thought he had enjoyed it. When I asked him why, he said it was because the Fall Ball games were on Sunday mornings during the 10:45 service, and he didn’t like missing church. He only missed a few services as I remember, but it must have made a big impression on him. He hasn’t cared to play Fall Ball since. The regular season isn’t so bad, and we always let the coaches know that Aaron won’t be at Sunday morning games if there are any because he’ll be at church. It’s never been an issue with them, but sometimes Aaron feels like he’s letting his team down by not being there. I would imagine most kids feel that way when they’re on a sports team. They know church is important, but they also don’t want to miss a game because they’re part of a team.
Now I could say something really cheesy like, “We’re all on God’s team at St. Paul, so don’t let Him down by missing Sunday worship—Rah! Rah! Rah! Goooooooo TEAM!” But in a way, that’s one of the things you’ve called me to do as your pastor. On the one hand, I have a family too, and my kids want to be part of the fun and activities their fine city has to offer. Jill and I want them to enrich their lives as well by being part of a team and learn how work with others towards a common goal. On the other hand, you haven’t called me to be a cheerleader for the Bowmen (or whoever else.) I expect you, would expect me to gently remind you of the importance of regularly hearing God’s Word and receiving the Lord’s Supper. If this topic is currently affecting you and your family, read the article and comments on the internet at: www.oregonlive.com, and ask yourself, “Are we allowing sports to prohibit our family from regularly attending Sunday School, hearing God’s Word and receiving His forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper?” If you believe it is, what an opportunity then to let the Lord of Life guide your life into a deeper, stronger relationship with Him, where more joy can be found in His Word and Sacraments.
On that note, read the article from The Sunday Oregonian, “Metro/Northwest” section on giving. While it’s not underpinned with Christian theology or doctrine as Consecrated Stewards is, a couple lines toward the end ring true in the Christian’s ear. In a brief story about a missionary family who adopted three orphans, and presented the family farm to them saying, “All of this is yours,” the author says:
Frances [the family’s daughter] heard two loving voices at that moment. Her sister [adopted], she realized, had done nothing to earn this rescue, this gift, the new life that was being handed to her…you can understand I hope, why she believes the only possible response is to give.
You and I know that “free gift” is salvation purchased for us on the cross by God’s Son. We do nothing to earn it. And, like a loving Dad who gives all he owns to even his adopted children, our loving God waves his hands across the heavens and the earth and says to us, “All of this is yours.”
Anyway, two things to think about and act upon in response to God’s love for us as we move ahead into Spring. May God be with you and give you His peace.
Greetings in Jesus!
Here comes May! How fast the time goes. Question–Do you have pain in your life? It seems the older we get the more pain we experience. Yes our bodies fail. We will die. So how should we live? As Easter people. We know there is life after this one. The day of no pain and no tears will come. Thanks be to Jesus!
Come to our next Senior Saints luncheon on May 17. Bring your favorite sack lunch. We plan to have a program on Senior living, Social Security, etc.
Now, for some laughs:
“My memory is gone” said a senior, “So I changed my password to incorrect. That way when I log in to my computer it will tell me…your password is incorrect.”
An old man went to the Doctor complaining that his wife could barely hear. The Doctor suggested a test to find out the extent of the problem. “Stand far behind her and ask her a question, and then slowly move up and see how far away you are when she first responds.” The old man excited to finally be working on a solution for the problem, runs home and sees his wife preparing supper. “Honey,” the man asks standing around 20 feet away “What’s for supper?” After receiving no response he tried it again 15 feet away, and again no response. Then at 10 feet away and again with no response. Finally he was 5 feet away “honey what’s for supper?” She replies, “For the fourth time it’s lasagna!”
God bless you with His love.Pastor Rich