Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why Is The Eucharist So Important To Me?


My scripture today is from John 6:56-69

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.  Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, in Jesus the Christ your Word became flesh and dwelt among us, to reveal your steadfast love and faithfulness. Jesus is the bread of life, who gave his life in obedience to your will, that we might come to know your redeeming grace for our life. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to receive him with thanksgiving, and strengthen our faith, that we might embrace him with true devotion. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

This morning we will be looking at the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, which has been labeled “The Bread of Life Discourse.” Jesus expressed that the miracle of his feeding the multitude was a sign that revealed that in him, God’s Word had become flesh. In addition, we looked at several ways in which these teachings of Jesus helps to define the significance of the Eucharist in the worship life of the church, and in particular, our proclamation and participation in Christ’s death for our redemption.

Today, the specific focus of the text centers on the choice of the community to receive the life that Christ has to give, or not. As our lesson indicates, “many of those who had followed Jesus to this point in his ministry, turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve if they also wished to go away, but they, and presumably others, continued as our Lord’s disciples, claiming through the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

As author Gail Ramshaw points out in her commentary, there are similarities to this event that are recorded in both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. And in both Matthew and Mark, Jesus questions his disciples about their faith, following his miraculous feeding of the multitudes. And in each case, the disciples come to grow in their faith and understanding of Jesus.  As Matthew states it, “When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ The disciples said to one another, ‘it is because we have brought no bread.’

And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!  Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  In other words, do not listen to their word, but the Word of life incarnate

In addition, another parallel occurs in the Gospel of Luke, where, following our Lord’s death and resurrection, two disciples come to recognize our risen Lord in the breaking of bread. As Ramshaw points out, “It is as if in God’s gift of feeding, the faithful realize who Christ is and come to affirm their faith.”

Thus, the Eucharist is an important aspect of Christian worship, because it is truly a means by which we receive God’s grace for the strengthening of our faith. In, with and under the forms of bread and wine, our risen Lord continues to be present to us throughout the ages, revealing his gift of life for the forgiveness of sin and for our redemption.

However, if the Eucharist is a means by which we receive God’s grace for our lives, so is the proclamation of the Gospel. Listen again to Peter’s response to Jesus, when the twelve were asked if they also wanted to leave Jesus. Peter said, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

In other words, Peter was stating that through the teachings of Jesus, they had come to recognize that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Word of God in human flesh. They had come to realize that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God, and that through his proclamation, they were able to experience presence of the grace of God. They had come to realize through his words, God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life. These words of Peter are words to be taken to heart. They are words that proclaim that through the Gospel lesson that is about to be read, we are in the presence of Jesus, our Lord. They are words that proclaim that in the reading of the Gospel and the proper preaching of his word, God provides the means by which we might receive his grace for our lives.

Unfortunately, some of the newer, popular styles of worship tend to diminish the importance of the reading of Scripture and the preaching of the Gospel, in an effort to make worship more entertaining. This is truly unfortunate, for I believe that our text for this morning, as well as many texts from the New Testament, uphold the fact that the proclamation of God’s Word and the celebration of the sacraments are the way by which we encounter God’s grace.

But the question posed by our lesson for this morning still remains. We have heard our Lord’s words, as recorded in the Scriptures. We will soon receive through the Eucharist, what Jesus tells us is his body and blood, given for our redemption on the cross. Scripture tells us that hearing his words and receiving the sacraments are the means by which the kingdom of God is present to us in this time of worship.

Yet, these words also challenge us to come to terms with our faith. In this sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus makes an incredible claim. He says that he is the Bread of Life, who came down from heaven, who will give his flesh and blood for our redemption.

So many commentaries and sermons have been written and preached as to how the cannibalistic nature of this language may have led many who had been following Jesus to leave him and return to their normal routines. But I honestly believe that the people of that day would have known that Jesus was not speaking literally about consuming his actual flesh and drinking his blood.
The hardness of his teaching, which confronted the people that day, just as it continues to confront the people of our day, centers on the identity of Jesus, and his claim to be the Word of God incarnate, or, as Peter proclaimed, the Holy One of God. Thus, the question that is put before us this morning, as it has been from generation to generation of those who have heard the Gospel, is this – “Do I really believe that Jesus is who he claims to be?”

And I believe that this is a question that never ceases to be asked. I, myself, have gone through moments in which my faith has been tested. Even pastors are confronted, again and again, with the question put to the disciples – do you truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God, and will you place your trust in him as your redeemer. Will you place your life into his hands…Do we simply believe in God….or do we Believe God?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hodge Podging On A School Day

Welcome to the latest edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks for joining in here today. Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of Joyce's post. Be sure you at least say hi to the blogger who linked before you because that's what good neighbors do. Here we go-



1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway Joyce was hosting. She went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question  submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!   Marla asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   You mean we are supposed to grow up?  Just kidding.  I felt like a grown up when I married the first time and immediately became the mother of two children.  I was ill prepared and not even 21 yet.  What keeps me young is the fact that I teach high school juniors and seniors.  Sometimes I think they forget that I am old enough to be their....grandmother.  
2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?  We bought the HHR in 2007.  My Malibu was starting to have problems so we bought a new one.  The experience overall was a 10.  I loved using the company we bought from.  I love the car and even though they don't make them anymore I will drive this one until I can't.  It has over 256K miles on it.  
3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?  I like all of these....but corn flakes.  I am not a huge fan of them.  I love them with summer grilled food and tomatoes sliced.
4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?  That's easy-lesson plans for the week.  I teach at two schools...in the same system and they both want something different.
5.  Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.
 Mr. Holland's Opus, Stand and Deliver, McFarland USA, Remember the Titans, Radio.....my list could go on.
6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?  Road trips, resting after a grueling day at school, reality that school is back in session.  
7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?
Folk painting.  I don't know if it came easy or what....I am not artistic...but I am loving this and doing very well at it.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Friday night football starts this week and we have our first pep rally.  Is Friday Night High School football a big deal where you live?  Here it is the place to be.  If the folks aren't AT they game they are listening to it on the radio.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Heart's Home






About The Book: This Christmas, a tragic loss at Fort Laramie ushers in hope and healing.
When a young mother dies after giving birth at Fort Laramie, Emmie Croftner is shaken by the death of her dear friend-and reminded of the dangers of childbirth. She won't be able to hide her own pregnancy much longer. She's dreading the day that Isaac Liddle, the handsome soldier she adores, discovers her secret.  Then the young infant's father offers a solution: Emmie should marry him so the child can have a family.  With the Sioux Wars threatening soldier and civilian alike, a ready-made family could be the answer to Emmie's prayers for safety. But at what cost to her heart-and Isaac's?

About The Author:   Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.  Find Colleen online: website, Facebook, Twitter
My Thoughts On The Book:  I have followed these families throughout the whole series and my only disappointment with this book is that the book ended too soon.  It is quick read, around 100 pages and can be easily read in one sitting.  I am delighted to have found Colleen Coble's books, she is a master at developing a story and plot.  The reader is drawn into the action before they even realize they are participants too.  I cannot wait to read her next book/series.  What an amazing writer!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Book Look Bloggers, Litfuse and Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bittersweet



About The Book:  Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.   On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.  But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact - and what they might do to anyone who threatens  them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev's world her own. About The Author:     Miranda Beverly-Whittemore  writes novels.  Bittersweet is her third and is set at the home on Lake Champlain where she spent summers as a girl.  Bittersweet was written for people who love The Secret History and The Emperor's  Children.  Her first two novels were published in 2005 and 2007.  Her next novel, June, will be out in 2016.
My Thoughts On The Book: This book, my first by Miranda Whittemore,  is the absolute perfect summer read! I was delighted when it arrived the day before we left on a beach vacation.  I opened it, dropped in my beach bag, and when we arrived I was delighted to have it.  This book has everything a summer read needs.  It has friendship, a dream of a setting, mystery and suspense.  It does not get much better than this.  Whittemore is an excellent writer and once I started reading I felt myself drawn into the story and could not put it down.  I was sad when it ended.  I do believe that as the ending unfolded I felt as if I was on a rollercoaster ride and things seemed to pick up speed.  I would have liked to have savoured the ending a bit more.  Great read and I can't wait for another book by Whittemore. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Blogging for Books as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers

About The Book:  New York Times bestselling author and educator Ron Clark challenges parents, teachers, and communities everywhere embrace a difference in the classroom and uplift, educate, and empower our children.  Read this book to find out why so many across the country have embraced these powerful rules.
· Set the electric tone on day one
· Teach your children how to study—don’t expect it to come naturally
· Don’t constantly stress about test scores
· Not every child deserves a cookie
· Lift up your teachers. No, really, lift them up!
· If kids like you all the time, you’re doing something wrong
· Don’t be a penny parent
Be different. Be bold. Join in.
About The Author:  Ron Clark is widely known as “America’s Educator” and was Oprah Winfrey’s first pick as her “Phenomenal Man.” He is a New York Times bestselling author and has been featured on the Today show, CNN, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more, please visit EndOfMolassesClasses.com.
My Thoughts On The Book:  This summer some of our reading specialists were allowed to attend a Ron Clark training.  When they got back they were so excited and decided to have a Facebook book study.  We were called Educational Runners.  We were each given a chunk of the book to read and then five questions about that particular chunk.  I had never heard of Ron Clark prior to this and I was sold hook, line, and sinker.  As a teacher of 25+ years sometimes we find ourselves getting stale in the classroom.  Times change....kids change.....and things need to be shaken up a bit.  I loved the practical teaching strategies Ron Clark provided in the book.  "No More Molasses Classes" was just the inspiration I was looking for to rid myself of the stales.   Our school is going to do a book study on Moving the Bus next and I was the first one to sign up for it.  I cannot wait!   If you are an educator, parent, or anyone who works with youth, this book is a must read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I did not receive this book free from anyone.  I paid for it from Amazon.  It was just so amazing I felt as if I needed to write a review so that other teachers would catch the fire and read it too.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” !

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Hodge Podge Volume 231

The Hodgepodge is back after a brief summer holiday.Joyce moved over the weekend, so she is hoping that technology smiles on her poor neglected little corner of the Internet today.
Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to come back after you have answered the questions and  share your answers with the rest of the movers and shakers. Just click here to link up


1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?  We moved 5.5 years ago when Frank was given a church in Rock Mills.  I relocated at the end of last summer when I took a job at RCHS and we had just a few days to move a classroom that held 25 years of stuff.  Both times we moved ourselves.  If we ever move again I am so calling Two Men and A Truck.  I would be happy staying put...but with the Methodist Church itinerant system you never know.  The best thing about moving is starting fresh...you get new places to discover and new people to meet.  The least favorite thing is packing and unpacking all your stuff.  I have a small rant here....One of my least favorite things about moving.....Your friends tell you they will stay in contact....and they don't.  In the beginning I felt as if I made all the effort to see them....and then I felt as if I had fallen off the face of the earth.  The only time I heard from them was when there was a baby shower or wedding.
2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.  At a funeral on Saturday.  The woman who died was an amazing woman and something the pastor said just touched my heart so.....I felt something on my face and realized they were tears.  3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?  Frank and I travel a lot but we try to eat in the restaurant to rest for a bit....but sometimes we do eat in the car.  Nothing messy!  The last thing consumed in the car was McDonald's chicken nuggets.
4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.  409, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, Born to Be Wild.
5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?  Ours would be both the bank and pharmacy.
6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?  I have found that when I act quickly something goes wrong.  I am one who wants to thoroughly investigate something to I do not have buys remorse.
7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?  According to my Father, you are never lost....you are just exploring.  Being raised that way....I never remember being lost and every trip is and was always an adventure worth enjoying.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  The kids returned to school on Monday.  Has school started where you live?  Do you post pictures of the First Day of School on facebook?  Did your mom take first day pictures of you?  The first day for us was CRAZY....but then it usually is.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Working The Polls

Today, is the second day of inservice/training for teachers, but I am not there.  I am working the polls.  I was up and at the fire station by 6:05.  We got the signs out and waited on the clock to hit the magic hour....7:00.  Today we are voting on a one cent sales tax so we can keep a hospital in the county.  This has been pretty controversial and I am interested to see how the voters turn out.  I guessed that only about 75 of the registered voters would show...we actually had 125....but the 125th one did not get to vote....she showed up at 7:01 and the polls were already closed.  We registered 124.  I enjoy the social time with Sherry, Louise, and Kelli.  I learn a lot about what is happening in Rock Mills.  After the polls closed we took care of business at hand and then Sherry and I took our materials to Wedowee.  I got home right at 8:45.  It was a long day.  Sleep came easy for me and I believe I was out by 9:30.  This prep week of school takes a lot out of me.