Philippians 1:3-5

Prayer- It’s a new day, Heavenly Father. So much to thank you for. Everything good we have comes from you, including the people in our lives. Help me learn to pray thankful prayers with joy because… through Jesus, Amen.

Scripture- 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…

So much here, so much to learn about how to pray, even for folks that are fussing. Paul will address their lack of unity later throughout the letter, but that’s not where he starts.

  1. I thank my God- that makes it prayer, right? Grateful prayer- for what? Grateful every time he remembers his brothers and sisters in Philippi. Who are you grateful for TODAY? Is there somebody you are NOT grateful for today? Paul says “EVERY time I remember you.” Even on the “bad days,” when other people are being stinkers, Paul thanks God for them.
  2. But then it gets even tougher-

                                            “In ALL my prayers for ALL of you.”

I can pray for people I like, some of the time. But Paul prays for all of them all the time. Or is it that WHEN he prays for them, he “always prays with joy?” I always pray with joy BECAUSE…

Yesterday, I asked you to make a list of people God wanted you to greet or communicate with. Today I’m asking you to make a new list, of those who you can pray for with joy. But then add those who make you crazy, who are harder for you to pray for with joy, but are part of the “in all my prayers for ALL of you…”

For each person on your now-expanded list, next to their name, come up with at least one thing that you can pray a prayer of thanks to God for that person. Yes but… No “yes buts.” If that person is a brother or sister in Christ, then they are a partner in the gospel with you. God made them family- you didn’t, they didn’t. Together we are partners IN the gospel, and partners SHARING the gospel- you your way, and me mine. But I can thankfully pray with joy for you because… (because I need prayer, too? Ummm, could be.)

Prayer- In the same way that I need grace from you, Father, I need to extend grace through grateful, joyous prayer- for all the brothers and sisters that I interact with. Help me to focus on the good parts, not the parts that drive me crazy, in the name of my savior Jesus, Amen.

Philippians 1:1-2

Prayer- God, open up our hearts today to receive your word for each of us. Help us set aside our worries and fears, and enjoy precious time with you. There is so much to do today, but nothing more important than this time with you. Amen.

Our Scripture

Paul and Timothy, servants (slaves) of Christ (Messiah) Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons (those who serve): Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Here’s who WE are- just like Paul and Timothy, I am a slave of Messiah (or, as Prof. Wright says, King) Jesus, bought with the incredible currency of his own blood.
  2. What does it mean for me to be a slave… today, this day in April, 2020? __________________________________________________________________
  3. What kind of master is King Jesus, who also just happens to be my older brother? ________________________________________________________
  4. What is the hardest part of being someone else’s slave? _________________________________________________________________________
  5. How is that different for me today, with King Jesus? _________________________________________________________________________
  6. Paul is writing to the saints, the elders and “those who serve.”
  7. Am I one of them today? Why or why not? _________________________________________________________________________
  8. IF I serve, how do I uniquely do it with MY life? _____________
  9. Who am I going to communicate with today, like Paul wrote THEM letter? Family? Coworkers? Who is on your heart that needs a word from you? ________________________________
  10. Paul wishes to all of them “grace and peace,” a common enough greeting, but then he adds who it is from- God our Father and the Master- Jesus, the Messiah.
  11. How does that change the greeting? _________________________________________________________________________
  12. What do YOU want for the people in your world today- Peace?Prosperity? Health? A closer walk with God? Make a list of your “today” people. Next to their names- what do you want for each one? And not only do you want those things FOR them, but those things FROM God the Father and Master Jesus, the Messiah.

Prayer– This time is for you and me, Heavenly Father, but today your Word points me to connect with others, especially during this time of pandemic. Who needs a special word from you, a special blessing? As your special servant today, may I administer your grace and peace to others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

What does the Bible Say?

In this delightful and thought-provoking sermon, Bob raises some interesting questions about the motives of the heart when we turn to the phrase “what does the Bible say?”. Are these the same motives as those of the pharisees so long ago?  And if you like the book of Philippians then you’ll love some of the scripture choices Bob shares with us in this wonderful message.  See how these passages are as relevant to us, today, as they were when they were first penned over twenty centuries ago. 

99-Year-Old WWII Veteran Walks to Raise £1000 for National Health Service

News from the UK, Captain Tom Moore, a WWII veteran, set out to raise £1000, for the National Health Service by walking around his garden 100 times just before his 100th birthday has now exceeded his goal. At the time of writing this, he has raised over £30,000,000, and the donations are still pouring in.

In just a few days this humble and modest man has become a household name not just in the UK, but around the world, as his now legendary charitable effort to support the National Health Service have inspired an overwhelming international response. In a bid to help the battle-weary Doctors, Nurses, and Staff in the fight against Covid-19, Captain Tom decided to try and raise £1,000 by walking around his garden. As it turns out, Captain Tom is something of an over-achiever. God bless you Captain Tom, your spirit inspires us all.

Who’s most important?

(again we have a blog from Rob Hoagland, one of our many theologians-in-residence. Enjoy!)

Since Covid-19 reached our shores, I have been seeing tons of posts, about truck drivers, how important they are, and how they are single-handedly saving the American people. I’ve seen these to the point its almost infuriating (but maybe that’s just me; I get mad about weird things). Yes, they are important, but not the absolute most important, like some of these memes are boldly claiming. Then I see a meme that’s a lot more up my alley, that says something like: if you have enjoyed a book, movie, music, etc. to help you through the quarantine. You should thank an artist, you know, the true heroes…. 

Basically, there are a whole lot of people saying who should be making what, who the country actually depends on, and who is more important than who. Which, as someone who has grown up in the church, to me it is a rather familiar story. 1 Cor 12 talks about the body of Christ, and it sounds a whole lot like the Corinthians were arguing about who was more important: Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?

And yes, absolutely, sometimes the “book” of Warrenton can look a bit like that, where we think that ours, or possibly even someone else’s talent isn’t as important, or can’t be used for the church. The song leader cannot say to the social media coordinator, “Because you are not a song leader, you are not part of the body.” Covid-19 has had the amazing side effect of making us see some things in a different light. Before the virus, our social media presence was nice, it was novel, and maybe it could help bring a few of those elusive youths in, but if we’re honest, our social media game wasn’t very strong. Now, in the midst of the virus, we see just how important that talent is.  And I honestly feel that without Neil’s immense knowledge, we would be dead in the water, or at the very least run a lot less smoothly. Now seamstresses and crafters are being thought of when it isn’t anywhere close to VBS and we are out of costumes. And Bruces’s talents, while I think we have always known to be useful, how much more apparent are they, now that we are a church in lockdown operating on a shoestring budget? This is the time that all our “small”, “worthless”, “novel”, “inconsequential” talents are really taking a forefront, and I am really glad for that, because we have some amazing talent in the church. 

Is any of this to say that the old “key” talents are any less useful? NO! There will be a time (hopefully soon) when those gifts will be returning to the forefront, but when they do, let’s not forget our hidden gems. 

The Tomb is Empty

In this week’s message, Bob asks “What’s it to you?” that the tomb is empty. Then he recounts the tale of Christ’s resurrection looking at the events of that fateful day through the eyes of Mary Magdalene who was expecting to anoint the body in oils and perfume, but discovered something entirely different when she arrived at Jesus’ tomb.

A Sermon for Palm Sunday

In another sermon rich in scripture and level-headed wisdom, Bob talks about our need for hard facts – data – in this strange time, and then explores 5 things that Christians may actually not want to know about their faith and what it all means.

Thanks to technology, ministry goes on!!!

So I’m sure you are all wondering what we do when we can’t assemble physically in our beloved building. Does “church” stop? Of course not! Worship continues every Sunday at 10:30. You just have to check your email and click on the invitation to join the Zoom service! We even have portable, sealed, personal Communion cups that you can call ahead and pick up at the church building, so we can all take Communion together, at home…(Did you follow all of that?) We can sing, listen to a lesson, fellowship afterward, even attend our Care Groups… online.

We also are trying out Celebrate Recovery hanging out time together- a video, some songs, a skit or short lesson- and again, time to visit with each other. That is available at 7:00 on Thursday nights. If you want an invitation, contact Bob at wcminister@mywcoc.org.

And, last but certainly not least, On Friday morning at 10:00, we will have a Zoom Ladies’ Bible Class, reading our way chronologically through the Bible (Not actually reading DURING class, trying to read ahead of time. Whew! I had me worried there.). For many who in the past have been unable to attend, a special welcome and invite to all of you. Again, same deal about getting an invite to the Zoom meeting. See each other’s bright, shining faces without incurring the risk of catching Covid 19. Read the promise Jesus made to the apostles, blog below this one, which takes on all new meaning in light of current events. Prayers for healing, for protection, for medical personnel and first responders, for government leaders and vaccine researchers.

A Relevant Promise for These Days

John 16:31-33

“You believe at last!” Jesus answered.  “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”