Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sermon: Glorify God

“Glorify God”

June 2, 2013

Our theme this morning is “Glorify God”.

I’d like to share with you this morning from Psalm 96:

Psalm 96

1 Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”

he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

I would say that is some way of glorifying God! And the remarkable thing about it is, it was written while the Hebrew people were in captivity and in a strange land. They found themselves in very challenging circumstances. They were learning to recognize God’s goodness and sovereignty in the midst of their struggles to forge a new life and a new identity as God’s people in a strange land. They must have had to look on their situation as a new adventure and live it just one day at a time. When adversity strikes, that’s something we all need to learn to do.

They also proclaimed in this psalm that God was different from the idols of their captors. Their proclamation called all people to recognize that this God of theirs was different from the idols of this people. The psalmist’s vision was more expansive than restoration for the Hebrew people alone. It included all people. The coming judgment would bring justice for all people. For perhaps the first time, the Hebrew nation acknowledged that all people were God’s creation.

Today, if we really think about it, there are many “God’s of the people” in our world. People seek a following in what for many is a strange world. Greed, power, instant gratification and self interest lure people who are uncertain of the future into a false security grounded in the accumulation of “things”. To some extent, we are all guilty of it.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a program on TV about a billionaire who is attempting to change the world starting in his own community. Paul Tudor Jones, a former hedge fund manager, created a charity called the Robin Hood Foundation. He said “ I see people in pain, people in need, people at times without hope, looking for something that will give them some compelling future. I see too many people in homeless shelters, on food stamps. I think a lot of us don't like to focus on it, but it's a significant part of this country that needs to be addressed.” When asked what inspired him to try to change the world in his community, he said, “There was probably a hole in my soul. And I didn't really know it at the time. And all of a sudden, here was this man, Gene Long, who showed the joy of giving. So the lesson that I learned was that there was a whole new journey in my life that was ahead of me that I had not yet even realized was there.”

He encourages other millionaires and billionaires to join his Robin Hood Foundation. He throws an annual fundraiser that is more like a rock concert. He raises money..big money…. and this year he raised $56,000,000 to help the poor in his community realize their goals….starting with the very young. But his only stipulation was, they had to have a plan and they had to have a goal. He was inspired by that Gene Lang, who paid for the college education of an entire school of kids who were at risk. Lang’s only stipulation was … they had to stay in school.

We’re not millionaires and we’re certainly not billionaires but every one of us can do something about a mission. ..God’s mission. Our church is not really a church at all…it’s a community. The goal of the church is built right into it’s name. “Community” of Christ.

As a people of faith, we can see and bear witness to God’s goodness all around us even in the worst of times and in challenging circumstances. We join with God in mission with full assurance that God’s future is breaking in to heal and restore all people and God’s creation to wholeness.

We should recall the message imbedded in the 25th chapter of Matthew.

Embedded in the lesson about separating his followers into sheep and goats (which I really don’t think Jesus would have done), there is this message.

34 "The King will say to those disciples on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the disciples will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these you did not do for me.' That’s the embedded message I find in that scripture message.

It would be easy for us to say “we’re too small…we can’t make a difference”. But in examining this scripture, we find that all Jesus really expected of his disciples was, when they were hungry, to give others something to eat, ….to give the thirsty something to drink, …to invite in a lonely one …and to clothe someone who needed clothing. …to look after someone sick…and visit those who are imprisoned….and there are all kinds of imprisonment. These are small things that any of us could do. These are things that minister to the soul. We can offer our friendship and fellowship.

We can make huge changes in our individual worlds if we take small enough bites in change. We cannot all be Gene Langs or a Paul Tudor Jones but we don’t need to be. We can make a vast difference in many little ways if we are not afraid to try to change our personal world….even to express our opinion and stand up for others when we see injustice.

I particularly like the words to the song:

Brothers and sisters of mine are the hungry, who sigh in their sorrow and weep in their pain.

Sisters and brothers of mine are the homeless, who wait without shelter from wind and from rain.

2. Strangers and neighbors, they claim my attention.

They sleep by my doorstep, they sit by my bed.

Neighbors and strangers, their anguish concerns me, and I must not feast till the hungry are fed.

3. People are they, men and women and children, and each has a heart keeping time with my own.

People are they, persons made in God's image, so what shall I offer them, bread or a stone?

4. Lord of all living, we make our confession: Too long we have wasted the wealth of our lands.

Lord of all loving, renew our compassion, and open our hearts while we reach out our hands.

So how do we bring glory to God? We do it by not just proclaiming but also by living our faith. Our song is one like the psalmist…. one of hope that sees our world not as it is but as it could be…..with our help…....and under the reign of God.

Another Good Night's Sleep

I had another good night's sleep last night by sleeping on that small foam pillow. I haven't had to take any more Tylenol. That's good. I dislike only treating the symptoms. My doctor's appointment is Monday at 4:45. Maybe I will learn something then.

Bob came over early and we went to breakfast at 6:30 instead of 7:00. The sky seemed to be clearing so we may go to Bartlesville later. I don't know whether Sunfest will go on or not after their bad weather last night. The park will be soaked that's for sure.

We saw Jim T at Eggberts. He had had a heart attack in April and had four bypasses in Tulsa at St. John's. He looked very good for no longer then it had been. We went over and visited with him there at his table.

More later...

In the afternoon, Bob and I went to Bartlesville to Sunfest. It was a beautiful day but very muddy and wet from last night's storms. We looked around and listened to some music and then left to go to Dink's to have Bar B. Q. Then we came back home about 3:00. I sat down with Missy in my lap and turned on the TV and promptly fell asleep with a warm cat in my lap.

Later I awoke and watched some TV and ate some yogurt for supper.

Friday, May 31, 2013

An Even Better Night

I slept on my left side most of the night, waking up only once. I lay on that small foam pillow with my arm on it. I have not taken any Tylenol since early yesterday morning. So far, so good!

Missy slept most of the night in the recliner. When I got up around two to go to the bathroom, she came in to bed with me. She seems to be much better. The swelling on the abscess has gone down. I hope it is getting well. Sometime today I will wash it off with an old washcloth and see what it looks like. Right now I am preparing to go to Independence for my 7:00 hair appointment. Then I will come home and go to do my stint at the library book sale. After that, if it isn't storming, Bob and I will go to Cherryvale to Just Us for lunch/dinner. He has a 10:50 appointment with Dr. Esliker in Bartlesville and will have to go alone since I will be involved with the book sale.

Both are appeals to authority and authority is so often wrong.

I did my stint at the library and am now waiting for Bob to come back from Bartlesville so we can go to lunch. So far the sun is shining so maybe we will got to go to Cherryvale to Just Us for lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free.

We went over to Cherryvale only to learn Just Us was sign on the door or anything. We ended up going over to Independence and trying the Italian Garden. It was alright but nothing I would write home about.

We had some terrible storms last evening. I spent some time in my closet with a foam pillow for my head. The tornadoes missed us but for awhile there the sirens were screaming and I wondered if I had bought my renter''s insurance just in time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Somewhat Better Night

I discovered night before last that if I laid my arms on a couple of foam pillows I could sleep. So I took a small pillow off the daybed and used it on the other arm. I had the little Mercy Hospital pillow for the left arm. I slept pretty well until 4:00 AM when I woke up with my right upper back and right arm hurting. I got up and took a couple of extra strength Tylenol and went back to sleep for awhile. It thundered and stormed all night but I managed to sleep through most of it because I was so tired. I'll be glad when Monday afternoon comes and I can see the doctor and see if my MRI showed anything that can be treated.

I attended the PINCH meeting last evening before the storm began. The Juneteenth Celebration is shaping up although I don't think it's going to be as large as we had hoped. Marilyn, the committee chair, didn't show up so Paul and I pretty much ran the meeting. Her husband is very fragile and she has a hard time getting away.

I have nothing on the calendar for today...thank goodness. Tomorrow I work 9:00 until 11:00 at the library book sale. I hope it isn't storming by then. Bob has a doctor's appointment in Bartlesville and when he gets back, we will go to Cherryvale to eat at "Just Us". Today we will have yesterday's leftovers. I will either have to get some more steak bread or use biscuits. Bob will need to get a salad. When Karan started their dinner last night, she remembered she was to have brought the salad for yesterday's meal. No big deal.

Missy did not sleep with me last night for the first time in a year. The storm really bothered her and she slept in the recliner or under the sofa. I found her under the sofa when the thunder started. She seems to be feeling better now since her trip to the vet. I hope the abscess clears up all right.

More later...

We had another big storm this afternoon with hail again. The damage was worse at the church. Now the ceiling in the office is wet too. We had pea size hail.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another Painful Night

I had my MRI yesterday afternoon and am anxious to see if it showed why my arms are so sore at night. Sometimes they're sore in the daytime but seldom to the same extent. Last night I awoke about 2:00 with terrible aching arms. I put a small pillow under the left one, which was the worst one, and that helped a bunch. I was able to get back to sleep until 5:00. I should have got up and taken another one from the daybed but I didn't want to get that awake.

My daughter called last evening to inquire about the MRI. Of course I didn't know anything so couldn't tell her anything. My doctor's appointment is Monday afternoon. We lost the signal halfway through our conversation. She had met with the appraiser at the church yesterday afternoon. Both contractors were there too. The appraiser won't get to his paperwork for a week so in the meantime we're on hold and down further on both their lists now. I guess we'll just have to be patient and hope it doesn't do any more damage to the foyer ceiling if it rains again.

Missy was feeling rough last night after seeing the vet. She is still feeling bad but at least she ate something this morning and she did sleep through the night on my bed.

I may go to exercise class today and just not do any that call for the arms to be moved. I enjoy the visit with my friends. I have laid out some meat to thaw. I may fix goulash for lunch. I will need some steak bread. I may have some frozen. We had creamed peas with chicken over biscuits yesterday and I sent the leftovers home with Bob. I ate some yogurt for supper.

More later...

I am fixing goulash for lunch and I have asked Bobby and Karan to join us. There's plenty of goulash and they are working on one of their mobile homes today to get it ready to rent. They have to eat somewhere so I invited them over for this goulash. We'll have a salad and some hot bread. I fixed some pudding for dessert and I have some homemade cookies.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Busy Tuesday

I had a restless night again last night. The air conditioner makes a gurgling noise as it runs. There is a trap under it for the condensation water to drain into and it makes a lot of noise. I have put up with it over a week now and late this morning I got up and covered it with a towel to shut it up. That helped. On top of that, my arms hurt. I finally got up and took a couple of Tylenol and got back to sleep for another hour.

Missy has a serious problem. I noticed a couple of days ago that she was sniffing the air and doing a lot of licking her coat. Last night I smelled a foul smell and checked it out. She has an infected sore or cyst on her back just out of her reach. It is probably from that cat fight she got into last week. I will need to take her to the vet this morning if I can get her into the carrier. The last time I tried, when I moved, she tried to scratch me and bite me. That is going to be a challenge. I don't know what he can do about it either. I could never get her meds down her before even if I put them in her food.

I have a hair appointment in Independence this morning so I will take her up there then. I really like Dr. Barta.

I have my MRI at 3:00 this afternoon. I need to be back well before that.

More later....

A Doctor Cooper saw Missy at Dr. Barta's clinic and he immediately said she had an abscess. He said there was a lot of scar tissue there too. She had had a cyst when she was just a kitty and it had to be lanced twice. That's what the scar tissue was. He squeezed out the puss, cleaned it up and gave her a shot that is supposed to last ten days to two weeks. He also doctored it with an antibiotic cream. Her front foot was also infected and he cleaned that up too. She was just great through the entire ordeal. She didn't want to get into the carrier initially but Bob and I both wore leather gloves and managed to get her in without getting scratched.

She cried most of the way up there but when I took her back at the vet's, the vet reached in and took her by the scruff of her neck and pulled her out and she didn't object at all. She lay still while he treated her and didn't even offer to hiss or scratch. Then when he got ready to put her back in the carrier, he just took her by the scruff of her neck and gently pulled her back in. She didn't object at all. She never cried on the way home either. He said if she wasn't well in 10 days to two weeks, bring her back in for another shot and another cleaning up. But he thought this once would do it. Amazing!

I had my MRI this afternoon. Of course, I won't know a thing until Monday when I see the doctor.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Monday

Bob and I are going to Bartlesville this morning to do a little light shopping. We both use the hand soap from Bath and Body in the mall. We are both out of it. So about 10:00 AM we will go to Bartlesville.

I wrote some thank you notes this morning for those who helped with the reunion. I also sent the photos I had taken to Phyllis. She does not have the internet. I have all of them on my computer so I don't really need the hard copies.

I slept fairly well last night. I did not take any more of that Tylenol Extra Strength. I don't want to take it unless I just must. I have an appointment tomorrow at 3:00 for an MRI. Maybe Dr. Hsu can find out what is causing the soreness. My appointment with him is next Monday.

Here is a photo I received from one of the people who came to the reunion this weekend. She had her husband take it with their I Phone.

The person standing on the far right is me. This is the only photo taken with me this weekend.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What a Night!

Last night's dinner was a great success at the country club. The food was excellent and everyone seemed to have a great time. I got lots of accolades...too many for my ego, in fact. My head must have swelled to twice the size. You would have thought I'd done it single handed. John and Phyllis arranged for the lodge for Friday night. Larry arranged for last night's dinner. I did the communications and sent out the reservation forms and ordered the food for Friday night. I also trouble shot.

It's a good thing too. The lodge was locked when I got out there Friday afternoon and I had called ahead to be sure it would be open. Luckily I had entered the lodge caretakers number into my cell phone. One of the committee told me Dean was not coming Friday evening and he had arranged to pick up Larry P.'s widow, Carol. I just knew he was wrong but I had to call John and have him check that out with Carol. Sure enough, Dean was coming and he and Phil were picking up Carol and in fact, were on their way. Several of us, mainly Bob A., Bobby and Karan, me and Ron's wife, Paula cleaned the lodge after we finished eating. Everyone else was outside at the cookout eating smores.

Since I am the one who lives here, I have tried to keep to the committee's decisions. When we went to see the Midland Theater restoration yesterday afternoon, Aaron, who was supposed to give us the tour at 2:00 didn't show up. I tried to call six or seven people to check out why that was. Everyone was gone. It was, after all, a holiday weekend. Karan drove over to the fire station and they called Aaron on his cell phone and he finally arrived over an hour late. If Karan hadn't been there, no one would have known who was supposed to have done the tour. John, who had made the arrangements for the tour, finally called me back and told us he had dealt with Aaron. So then Karan went to the fire station to have him called on his cell. To give Aaron credit, he is the director of the Red Cross here and had been up countless hours deploying volunteers to the Oklahoma tornadoes. He was taking a nap and had forgotten about the tour. But it was a headache. Half the class who had come for the tour had left and went out to the Airport Museum instead.

But it was a great weekend and we still have this morning's breakfast to go. But this is the last one I will work on. My life is too busy. I told the committee that at our last meeting.

The breakfast was also a great success. Most of those who attended the reunion came to the breakfast. We left at 10:30 and made it in time for church.