This week's Combap Update newsletter.

combapupdate
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
July 29, 2015 - "Weird Reading" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Throughout history, various cultural issues have created forces that made people reinterpret the Bible in goofy ways. For example, the Crusades had people quoting scripture in ways that made it sound right to kill your enemies instead of loving them. Prohibition in the US caused preachers to preach that the Bible taught abstinence, in spite of the fact that Jesus Himself made wine. And slave owners in the south often heard teachers teaching that the Bible taught that blacks were inferior, in spite of the clear and obvious Bible teaching that all humans are created equal and are endowed with the image of God.

For each of these “re-readings” of scripture, it took only time for the historical and clearly taught truths taught in scripture to re-assert themselves.  Whenever we impose a cultural shift on scripture, it leads to weirdness.

So, don't panic when someone comes along with another weird reading of scripture. Time and good scholarship will prevail. And, the Word Of God can withstand the test of time!

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
July 22, 2015 - "Gardening" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Gardening is hard work. OK, let me rephrase that. Gardening LOOKS like hard work! For the many green thumbs out there, I see one consistent quality for those with nice gardens: hard work. Hours spent preparing the plants and the soil. Hours spent planting and cultivating. Hours spend weeding and pruning. And, finally, hours spent harvesting...and giving away food!

Right around harvest time is where I show up....yes... willing to receive the blessings of the harvest without any work. (Thanks for the wonderful produce, you guys!!)

But, a gardener will tell you that the blessing isn't just in the harvest. Participating in the other aspects of gardening is a blessing itself. Participating in growing food isn't just about the harvest.

I guess it shouldn't surprise us then to learn that growing a church is also hard work. Many of you are involved in doing the grunt work that makes the Kingdom of God grow. Some, however, are looking around for the harvest and not willing to do any of the "grunt work" of the kingdom. Loving. Serving. Giving. Sharing. Teaching. Preaching. Caring. Administrating. Studying.... etc.

We may not all be harvesters, but we all participate in the process. And, whatever your part is in that process, you will be blessed by simply doing your part!

It's the secret all gardeners know.

Now you do too.

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
July 6, 2015 - "Embracing a Broken World" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

"Missions" is an old fashioned sounding term, but Its significance is as relevant as ever.  I love the definition used by Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) ... "embracing a broken world through word and deed".  Our world certainly is broken in so many ways.  Jesus desires to fix each of us - and to involve us in bettering the world around us. 

The parable of the good Samaritan describes this very thing.  Embracing the broken world can't happen without investing the time and effort (as Janet D. preached yesterday) to really connect with people, treating them as unique individuals and seeing them as God sees them - through a lens of grace, mercy, and love.  God wants us to share the good news of the gospel, motivated by a heart of love.  It's important to remember that every word we speak, every deed we do, and even every status or link we post on Facebook can draw others towards Christ or create more brokenness.

Kudos to our youth who are in High River this week (SERVE), demonstrating God's love through word and deed.  Way to go, guys!

Penny

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
June 29, 2015 - "Not Your Own Interests" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Good morning.  I've been reading the new gripping book by Charles Martin called "Water From My Heart".  Let me share a few paragraphs with you. 

(Set in Nicaragua):  "Let me tell you something about that lady.  When her husband was sick last year, the medicine he needed was very expensive.  Most people in his condition die.  But Anna would work all day in the coffee plantation, then walk down the mountain at dusk to the peanut fields and work all night, by moonlight, digging up peanuts with her bare hands.  She slept in the field for an hour or two before dawn; then she'd hide her peanut bag and walk back up the mountain to check on her husband and then make it to work on time.  It'd take her three to four days to fill a hundred pound bag with peanuts, and for that bag, they'd pay her ten dollars."

"'When I first traveled to the States to study, I was struck by how everyone I encountered spend their days working feverishly to make enough money to buy a better tomorrow.  Here, people are content - they buy what they need today and leave tomorrow to God.  These people don't have a death grip on their life here.  They hold it loosely because they're not in control of it in the first place, and -'.  She paused, weighing her words.  'In their experience, it can be ripped form their hands no matter how tightly they squeeze it.'"

"Leena was something of a combination of the two.  As tough as her environment demanded, tender at the drop of a hat; quick to speak but more apt to listen; modest in her dress but also comfortable in her confidence; beautiful not only in silence and passing glance, but even more so in action.  Leena also possessed the one thing that neither Amanda nor Shelly did:  presence.  She commanded authority because she was first and foremost ready to serve those around her.  She'd earned it.  Her willingness to kneel down and clean the groin and bottom of a feces and urine soaked man, then kiss his forehead, put her on a pedestal unlike any other.  I did not feel comfortable around her not because she made me feel uncomfortable, but because I felt counterfeit.  Her willingness to stop, kneel, and serve amid filthy, embarrassing, and uncomfortable situations jarred something loose in me because I wasn't.  I'd spent my life pursuing my comfort, not others'.  Leena had not.  A strange emotion shadowed me as we bumped down dirt roads in the middle of nowhere.  I did not know what to call it, but 'unworthy' came about as close as anything."

The story captures not only the poverty experienced in Nicaragua compared to our standard of living here - but also how we tend to concentrate on our own comfort and happiness rather than on the comfort and happiness of others.  Philippians 2:3-8 states:  "D
o nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."  Ouch!  That's a pretty tall order.  Let's make an effort today (and every day) to thank God for all the blessings He has given us - and to look at those around us with compassion ("water from our heart") and see how we may help.

Penny

P.S.  "Water From My Heart", "a breathtaking story of a man driven by the hope of redemption", is absolutely worth the read!

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