Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

Pastor’s Pen

Pastor’s Pen “Opening Up the Shut Down”
January 23rd

Since our government leaders seem unable to solve the nation’s current crisis, perhaps we ought to look to scripture to help us discern how they, and we, ought to respond.

The U.S. government shutdown over lack of funding has now entered its second month; and the nasty, vitriolic war of words between President Trump and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives has continued. The latest point of contention is over differing ideologies regarding national security.   President Trump and most Republican senators and representatives argue that building a wall between the U.S. southern border and Mexico is essential to secure our nation from threats from the south while Democratic leaders argue a border wall sends the wrong message to the rest of the world and that the impact of the wall would have minimal effect on our overall national security.   As for public opinion, no one seems to be winning. At this point, the president, the Senate and the House all have approval ratings lower than 50 percent.   While there are no winners at the moment in this conflict, the American public overwhelmingly, and rightfully, believes that it is the loser as politicians continue to bicker and refuse to reasonably meet to discuss solutions to the crisis. The shutdown of nonessential government programs has led to widespread frustration across all political ideologies.
During the last federal government shutdown in 2013, George Friedman, founder and chairman of Stratfor, astutely noted; “Each faction is deeply committed to its beliefs, and feels it would be corrupt to abandon them.  Even if it means closing the government, even if it means defaulting on debt, ideology is a demanding mistress who permits no other lovers.”
As ancient Israel departed from God’s way, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write: “They don’t know the way of peace; there’s no justice in their paths. They make their roads crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace.” (Isaiah 59:8). The “something” that Friedman refers to that could be done to help the U.S. is for its politicians to practice “the way of peace.”   The first step would be for them to begin leading the nation by their example and begin showing respect for each other—despite their differing ideologies. The Bible teaches it is each person’s individual responsibility to pursue peaceful relations with others (Romans 12:18).   
Perhaps we ought to contact our senators, representatives, and even the president and let them know that we expect and insist on a certain level of respect and peace in the way they treat one another as they debate their ideologies.
Perhaps we can set the example for them!  Perhaps we can treat others, particularly those with whom we disagree with respect and peace.  Who knows, doing so may just open them up to listening to our perspective as well.

In Christ, Pastor Scott If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.”    (Romans 12:18, CEB)

Pastor’s Pen: Hide and Seek

Do you remember playing hide-and-seek as a child?  More than anything, I remember hiding in the most obscure places around my house hoping whoever was searching wouldn’t find me.

I wonder what it must have been like for Jesus’ followers when they went to his grave to find him and he wasn’t there.

“Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.  They didn’t know what to make of this.  Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing.  The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He isn’t here, but has been raised.’”  (Luke 24:1-6b)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is, in fact, alive!  If we continue reading Luke’s gospel, we find Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus alongside two of his disciples.  He later appeared to the eleven and their companions in Jerusalem.  He was flesh and blood, just as he was before the crucifixion.  Even doubting Thomas came to believe Jesus was alive after touching Jesus’ nail scarred hands and side.

The Easter experience is so enticing, Christians come out of the woodworks to be a part of the celebration.  Congregations nearly double in size on Easter Sunday because we’ve read about it, heard about it, and have experienced the risen Christ.  We all want to be a part of the body just like Paul said we should be;

“You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.
(1 Corinthians 12:27).”  
It’s a glorious day for the church and for Christians everywhere.

Then comes the Sunday after Easter.  Pews seem almost empty.  Half of those who were here Easter Sunday stay home.  The hoopla surrounding Easter is gone.  It’s as if we need another resurrection.  It’s as if the body is no longer alive and Jesus went back into the tomb.

Don’t let that happen!  Come back to church this Sunday.  Let’s continue celebrating the fact that Christ is alive and well and living among us!  Let’s continue living into and being the risen body of Christ!

May God’s grace and peace give you strength,

Pastor Scott

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession.  You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of the darkness into his amazing light.” (1 Peter 2:9, CEB)