Daily Archives: August 1, 2018

Pastor’s Ponderings

Misusing Scripture

When I was studying to become a pastor at United Theological Seminary, in more than one class, I remember the instructors cautioning us as pastors to be careful how we use Scripture to support an idea or opinion as we present God’s Word to our members and community.

Normally when I write Pastor’s Notes to you in our newsletters I tried to make them informative and upbeat so that as we continue to engage each other and community as we present the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as positive and influential in the ways we live our lives thus encouraging others to walk a closer journey with God.

I am not trying to take political sides but recently the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, reminded me and others of what our theological school professors continually reminded us of: how to and not to use a single verse from Scripture to defend what we say and do. When we use a single verse, it can easily be taken out of context and misused in an attempt to support what we say or do. But, to do this is an inappropriate way for the use of Scripture. When we use a single verse and do not take into consideration the complete context from which it was taken, we could misuse or misappropriate its meaning.

“Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There is not any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God” (Romans 13:1). This single verse was used to justify and defend the policy of separating immigrant children from their families. Now this use of Romans 13:1 was not the first attempt to justify how the government or administrative authorities have the right to do whatever they want. Throughout history there have been times when governments have used Romans 13:1 to defend their actions as, “Sanctioning governments as instruments of God and coerce people into obedience”. During the American Revolution slaveholders used this verse to promote slavery. In our early times advocates for the death penalty used it to defend capital punishment. When we look at Romans and the chapters and verses that surround Romans 13:1, what we see from chapters 12 and 13, they tell us that we are to abhor evil and do good, to practice hospitality, to be at peace, to overcome evil with good, to love our neighbors and to lay aside immoral actions.

When we look for other Scripture to justify the separation of children from parents we find very little in Scripture that would promote such practices. The opposite can be supported by an accumulation of a number of other Scriptures that would support that families should and must be kept together. When we use a verse in Scripture it must be supported by other Scripture verses as we work to interpret what the Bible says to us, and in this case, we should look at Zachariah 7:9 – 10 “Make just and fateful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other! Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor; do not plan evil against each other!” Proverbs 31:8 – 9 says, “Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.” Jeremiah 22:3 “The Lord proclaims: do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Do not exploit or miss treat the refugee, the orphan and the widow. Do not spill the blood of the innocent in this place.” We can go on and find other Scripture such as Isaiah 58:6 – 7 or Leviticus 19:33 – 34 and yes, the list could go on and on as we search for how God would want us to use Scripture, in this case as we advocate for the love of our sisters and brothers and yes, the little children.

I am proud that many within the United Methodist Church and many within our denomination have taken a stance to support the care, respect and loving treatment of all of God’s children. I want to thank and acknowledge the United Methodist Agency On Justice for Neighbors, the United Methodist Counsel of Bishops, the United Methodist Women and so many other United Methodists who have spoken against the separation of families recently and against this in the future; also, Professor Magrey deVega who researched and presented the correct way to read and use Biblical Scripture in this matter.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Thank You So Much
Reba and I want to thank all who attended our gathering, sent cards and extended well wishes recently as we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We truly have felt the love of family and friends and have been greatly blessed. Thank you for your love!
Pastor Gary and Reba

I want to thank you for the very generous gift for Secretary’s Day. It is always a blessing but completely unnecessary because I benefit in many ways personally from my job without any payment needed. I humbly thank you for allowing me to be of service to my church and ultimately to God.

Nursery Schedule
8/5 – Joyce Twiss
8/12 – Doris Graham
8/19 – Edith Bogart
8/26 – Carol Adams

76th Annual Strawberry Social
Come one, come all! Bring yourself or the whole family! It’s the time of the summer for strawberry shortcake and ice cream if you choose. And where can you get a generous portion of this plus great fellowship? Well, at the Claybanks United Methodist Church on August 10th from 5 pm till 7 pm. What better opportunity for this community to gather in friendship than over this sweet treat!

Mark your Calendars
It’s been a fun and busy summer, but now it’s getting close to the time of year to settle down and get back to the basics. The 2018-19 Sunday School year will begin on September 9th with class beginning at 9:30 am for the adults and 9:45 am for the kids. There’s a class for everyone no matter your age. All are welcome. More information regarding the new superintendent and the teachers will be coming in the September newsletter.

Voices Eight Visiting
Voices Eight, the vocal group Larry Lindquist leads, will be joining us for worship on August 12th. They will be singing 3 songs during our service, one of which was requested last time they visited. A goodwill offering will be taken to help them cover the cost of music, travel, and any other expenses they incur while traveling to and from their engagements. Let’s dig deep to show them our appreciation.

Kids Camp Fund
It is a beautiful thing to help send kids to a summer camp. We’ve heard if from their mouths, they love the songs, the worship, the games, the friends, etc. This year we sent 8 kids to spend anywhere from 3-5 days. They had a blast. They helped with a pancake breakfast fund raiser to help with the cost, but we find that our camp fund is in the red by $372.75. If anyone feels God tug on your heart to help defray some of that cost, it would be appreciated. You can mark it as camp fund and place it in the offering. If need be, we will have another fund raiser to help with this arrearage and get us in the black to start next year. In no way do we want to tell a child he can’t go to camp next year because of the lack of money.
Thank You!!!

Nigerian Well Update
Eight months ago, the Missions Committee asked the Ad Board for permission to raise $5,500 to obtain a well in Nigeria to provide safe water for the Nigerian people. It was a huge undertaking for such a small church, but the committee felt it was an important mission. It is a great privilege to announce that CUMC has met that goal!!!! Hundreds of Nigerian people will now be able to get safe drinking water right in their village rather than walk miles and miles to obtain dirty, contaminated water. Good job CUMC!!!!

Up Coming Events
Because we have already met out goal for the Nigerian Well Project, we will begin to wind down on the fundraising activities. We will close out the pop can drive, the used book sale, and the various items on the table for sale on August 12th. We will continue with the plans for the brats on the grill and a spaghetti dinner in celebration of a job well done.

August 10th – 76th Annual Strawberry Social (Sponsored by UMW) (Not for Nigerian Well Project)
Now until August 12th
Pop can Drive
Used book sale
Various items on table for sale
August 19th – Brats on the Grill
September – Spaghetti Dinner


Upcoming Worship Schedule

August 5th – Ephesians 4:1-16 / John 6:24-35
“I Like Angel Food”

August 12th – Psalm 130 / Ephesians
“Controlling Anger is Difficult”

August 19th – 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 / John 6:51-58
“You Get One Wish”

August 26th  – Acts 10:34-35
“More Than Coincidence”
Pastor Glenn Wagner
Leading Worship