‘Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing around, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.”
In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner saying, “The men who came last have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.”
He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the lastcomer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why should you be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’ (Matt. 20:1-16)
Join us tonight at 7 for the community choir Easter Cantata!
The retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse: they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things.
That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies- because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices; and the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion.
In other words, since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their unacceptable thoughts and indecent behaviour. And so now they are steeped in all sorts of injustice, rottenness, greed and malice; full of envy, murder, wrangling, treachery and spite, libellers, slanderers, enemies of God, rude, arrogant and boastful, enterprising in evil, rebellious to parents, without brains, honour, love or pity. They are well aware of God’s ordinance: that those who behave like this deserve to die — yet they not only do it, but even applaud others who do the same. (Rom. 1:18-32)
“Arise, judge of the world, give back the proud what they deserve! How long are the wicked, Yahweh, how long are the wicked to triumph? They bluster and boast, they flaunt themselves, all the evil-doers.” (Ps. 94:2-4)
There’s a lot going on this week and we’d love to have you and your family join us:
As the Israelites complained about having to eat manna…
Moses heard the people weeping, each family at the door of its tent. Yahweh’s anger was greatly aroused; Moses too found it disgraceful, and he said to Yahweh: ‘Why do you treat your servant so badly? In what respect have I failed to win your favour, for you to lay the burden of all these people on me? Was it I who conceived all these people, was I their father, for you to say to me, “Carry them in your arms, like a foster-father carrying an unweaned child, to the country which I swore to give their fathers”? Where am I to find meat to give all these people, pestering me with their tears and saying, “Give us meat to eat”? I cannot carry all these people on my own; the weight is too much for me. If this is how you mean to treat me, please kill me outright! If only I could win your favour and be spared the sight of my misery!’ (Num. 11:10-15)
Be sure to join us tonight at 7 for our new study, ‘Prayer’. And speaking of prayer, please remember Lois.
These telling statistics from The Guardian:
“Europe’s march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion. The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious. The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults define themselves as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%.”
America is next up for De-Christianization. If you doubt it, just show up at any Church on a Sunday evening or Wednesday evening (if the churches in your area even bother with such services) and take note of the lack of participation.
For many Christians, their Christianity simply doesn’t matter. Not only do most have no time for worship or study, they also have even less time for evangelism and ministry. It is, therefore, frankly, no surprise at all that America, like Europe, has fewer and fewer Christians. And the downward trend shows no sign of turning around. And, again, if you don’t believe it, just show up at any church anywhere that has an Evening service.
“What more shall I say? There is not time for me to give an account of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, or of David, Samuel and the prophets. These were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what was upright and earned the promises. They could keep a lion’s mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders. Some returned to their wives from the dead by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life. Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or killed by the sword; they were homeless, and wore only the skins of sheep and goats; they were in want and hardship, and maltreated. They were too good for the world and they wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines.” (Heb. 11:32-38)
Tomorrow night at 7 we begin a new series of lessons on ‘Prayer’. Come out and be with us. And invite a friend.
Put yourselves to the test to make sure you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Do you not recognise yourselves as people in whom Jesus Christ is present? – unless, that is, you fail the test. (2 Cor. 13:5)
Please note, the person of the week’s zip code is 37840. It was incorrect in the bulletin. Sorry for the confusion.
Remember Lois L.
Please note- the 4th Sunday Fellowship Meal will be bypassed this month as we will be having breakfast on Easter Morning. Thanks.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. (Ps. 4:5)
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Prov. 17:28)
From an essay in the Raleigh News and Observer:
Here are the reasons why, all things being equal, Christians must go to church:
Christianity is a team sport. Permit me a humble analogy. You might see yourself as a terrific baseball pitcher. But if you only throw baseballs in your backyard at a plywood cutout, you won’t progress. You’re not even really playing baseball.
To discover the full extent of your abilities, to understand the true game, you need a catcher, a coach, infielders and outfielders — and even someone standing in the batter’s box ready to swat your best fastball right back at you.
Same with being a Christian. You can’t do it well by yourself.
Communion is among our faith’s central sacraments, a ritual that celebrates Christians as members of a spiritual, God-ordained community. We’re many individuals who, joined together with Jesus and each other, form one great cosmic body. It’s in our spiritual DNA that we rely on one another; no one stands alone.
Attendance is commanded. The writer of Hebrews, for instance, warns us never to forsake assembling together with our brothers and sisters.
It’s not all about you. We’re sent to church to serve others as much as we’re sent there to be served. Believe it or not, you possess gifts and talents your brothers and sisters need. If you’re not present, you’re denying them benefits God intended them to enjoy.
Your fellow parishioners, including your pastor, will make you mad, hurt your feelings and get on your last nerve. This is exactly what’s supposed to happen. Finding ourselves offended and disappointed lets us see just how shallow and petty we are. It sands down our rough edges. We discover that, by gosh, we’re no better than all those other hymn-warbling yahoos!
Also, watching God work miracles through the smelly, imperfect, hypocritical men and women who make up a congregation reveals to us the unfathomable depths of God’s grace and love. It renews our faith. We realize he can use anybody — even us.
Your fellow Christians will reveal aspects of the Lord you’ve never seen. As we get to know our fellow pilgrims, as we hear them tell and retell their sordid stories while they’re bumbling along, we find they’ve experienced God in ways we haven’t. They’ve seen revelations we’ve never imagined. Over time, all these very different visions merge into a greater portrait of him than we’d ever otherwise behold.
Your fellow churchgoers will inspire and comfort you. Sure, some Christians will let you down, because they’re human and that’s what humans do. But you’ll also find disciples who’ll sit beside you in court when your kid’s up on drug charges, and who’ll hold your hand when your spouse is lying in a coffin, and who’ll bring you soup when you’re sick with the flu. When everything’s going wrong, they’ll assure you it’s going to be OK in the end, because they — and God — have your back.
To the extent you honor your church, you honor Christ. “In as much as you’ve done it to the least of these my brothers and sisters,” Jesus said, “you’ve done it unto me.” When you dishonor or ignore his church, you’re dishonoring or ignoring him.
You’ll get plenty of laughs. You’ll sing and pray, sure. You’ll snore. You’ll grow fidgety. But as much as anything, you’ll experience joy — and mirth. Each church is a microcosm of the human comedy. When you’re not cussing about it, the sheer surreal madness of it just leaves you clutching your rib cage, shaking with laughter, tears of gratitude streaming down your cheeks.