Piedmont Park Apartments Playground Fundraiser a Great Success

On Saturday, January 25th, a crowd came to support the fundraising efforts to install a decent playground and basketball court at Piedmont Park Apartments.
Many volunteers from Fries gave of their time to cook, set-up, serve, and clean-up the spaghetti dinner. Many members at Fries donated homemade desserts.
Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough was in attendance, supporting the project that was spearheaded by our own Rob Lang. You might have even seen Whitney Lang in a WXII 12 News interview before the event; Margaret Couch was interviewed at the event by Spectrum News and Fox8.
The goal of the fundraiser was $15,000: equipment ($10,000) and installation ($5,000). Congratulations, the goal amount was exceeded!

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The Power of Humility and Meekness

The assigned gospel lesson features the 9 Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount begins in Matthew 5:1 when Jesus sat down on the mountain and called his disciples to himself. In those days, teachers often sat to do their teaching. It was a position of authority. Even today, when the Pope has an especially authoritative teaching, he speaks “Ex Cathedra,” which means “from the chair.” (*See Note)  The Power of Humility and Meekness

The Sermon on the Mount ends in Matthew 7:28-29 where we read: 

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. 

For example: When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” he may have been summing up a much longer discourse in which he described exactly what it meant to be “poor in Spirit.”

Now it took me about seven minutes to read aloud the three chapters in Matthew that make-up the Sermon on the Mount.  This does not mean that Jesus used just seven minutes in giving the sermon.  The late Dr. Bruce Metzger, who taught New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, told his students that most of the short, punchy statements in the sermon are summary statements which Jesus gave to his disciples to help them remember a much longer, more detailed block of teaching. 

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Four of a Kind

This sermon was preached on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

The gospels tell us that Jesus appointed twelve disciples to be with him.  There is nothing very remarkable in that.  There were twelve tribes in Israel, making twelve a symbolic number and Jesus made much of symbolism. The remarkable thing is that the first four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John were four of a kind.  They were all fishermen. Evidently fishermen had qualities Jesus though would provide a valuable toolset for his first disciples. It certainly behooves us to ask, “What were those qualities?”  I would suggest three: 

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What Is Your Vocation?

This sermon was preached on Sunday, January 19, 2020.

It has been that there are three questions of supreme importance that all human beings should attempt to answer:  1) Where have I come from? 2) Where am I going? And 3) What am I supposed to do while I am here?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that apart from Jesus Christ we live in the anxious middle, we don’t know where we have come from or where we are going.  Our life begins in the womb and ends in the tomb.  The first is dark and warm and we don’t want to leave it. The second is dark and cold and we don’t want to enter it.  We can see beyond neither.  Only in Jesus can we see that we have come from God and that we are going to God.

Jesus came from God, and returned to God. As the apostle says in John 1:18, “No one has seen God, the only Son who is (right now) in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” Let me say it again, only in Jesus do we see that we have come from God, and are going to God.

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Justice and Peace

This sermon was preached on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

This morning I want to talk a little about Justice and Peace.  As we begin, it may be instructive to consider the cost of war.

The highest cost is human life. Not surprisingly, in terms of American lives lost, the most costly American war was our own Civil War, with more than 750,000 deaths, Union and Confederate.  In descending order, the United States lost 405,000 lives in World War II, 116,000 lives in World War I, and  58,000  lives in Vietnam. That is a lot of dying.  And statistics can never tell the whole story. A soldier knows he may die; a wounded soldier sometimes knows that he or she is going to die, but a soldier does not experience his or her own death. That curse falls to the soldier’s family, friends and nation. A soldier’s death creates widows and orphans and an empty place at the table; there is also the cost of what might have been. Which of these soldiers was to be the next great leader, like Eisenhower, or the next great saint like Schweitzer? Perhaps one of them would have put an early end to a major disease like cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Many would have been doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, engineers, good workers, good neighbors and good citizens.

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