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September 2020
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Giving Up the Grudge

Year A – RCL – Proper 19

Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35

Once upon a time, there was a pack rat who had a large collection. He guarded his collection carefully. It had taken him a long time to build up this collection… years and years of adding to it until it was the biggest collection of its kind for miles around.

Image from MRKESSELL.COM

The trouble was, this was not a good kind of collection. It was not colorful marbles, or interesting buttons, or

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Cheating at Changing (and Chocolate)

Year A – Proper 9 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT) 18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

Have you ever met someone who says

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The Wages of Sin

Baabara the Sheep wants a job, but first she has to learn about wages. Grudge the Rat wants an easy job for lots of money. It’s best to find out the wages of the work before you agree to do the job. A hard but healthy job with a good wage is better than an easy, destructive job with a deadly wage. Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ

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What Are the Wages?

Year A – Proper 8 – June 28, 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Romans 6:20 – 23 “In those days when you were slaves of sin you didn’t bother much with goodness. And what was the result? Evidently not good, since you are ashamed now even to think about those things you used to do, for all of them end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and are slaves of God, and his benefits to you include

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Facing the Wolves

Year A – Revised Common Lectionary – Proper 6 – June 14, 2020

Scriptures: Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)

If a sheep went up against a wolf in a battle out in the wilderness, who would probably win? One of the animals is a predator with sharp teeth and the other has no natural defenses besides the ability to see a predator sneaking up from behind and the ability to run away.

But what if a sheep under the protection of a shepherd with a long

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Without a Doubt

The disciples knew that Jesus was the Light of the world; he had told them so. They had seen in his life, words, and miracles, a glimpse of the glory of God. It was as if they were looking at a lamp with its light shaded from view, sort of like this lamp. (Show lamp with shade.) When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, it’s as if the shade was taken away and the disciples could see the true brightness of God’s glory.

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Shepherd and Door

Did you know that in Bible times, a couple thousand years ago, being a door was part of a shepherd’s job? The sheep pen was usually a stone wall built in a circle with only one opening. So after the shepherd had gathered all the sheep into the pen for the night, he would have to lie down across the opening to guard the sheep. The only way a wolf could get in was through that door, so the wolf would have to deal with the shepherd first. Do you think a good shepherd would let a wolf through that door? No sir! The shepherd would drive the wolf away!

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A Palm Sunday Carpet

Note: Dog story followed by children’s sermon:

The palm branches brought in by our pastor for this Palm Sunday were augmented by large fan-shaped branches gleaned from the nearby woods here in Tokyo, and carried in by eager middle schoolers to create a very green and festive opening hymn processional. As the parade of Sunday School students ended, many of the large branches were placed on the floor at the front of the church where the children typically gather for the kids’ sermon. It made

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Sweet Temptation

Well, I’ve got something in my sack here that’s about this big. (Indicate with thumb and forefinger about one-half to one inch.) Do you think you’re stronger than something that big? Okay, I’ll show you what I have. Candies! No, I don’t want you to have a wrestling match with candy. I don’t want to see how strong these muscles are. (Indicate biceps.) I want to see how strong you are inside. We’re reading a lot of verses this Sunday about temptation. Does anyone know what temptation is?

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Following the Lamb

This is why Jesus was sent to earth. He was sent to save us from our sins; sent to die in our place on the cross. And this is why John called Jesus, the “Lamb of God.” Even though John the Baptist did not know exactly what was going to happen to Jesus, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to call Jesus the Lamb of God. Jesus came to save us from death and to bring us to eternal life. We follow a Lamb who saves us.

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