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The Immediate Word
Chris Keating

Humility -- It’s What’s for Dinner

Luke 14:1, 7-14

Tall and tan, and young and lovely -- the athletes are now returning from Rio. The jazzy beats and sandy beaches are already beginning to fade from view as the arenas turn silent and the press conferences end. Some Olympians will land lucrative endorsements and eye-popping contracts, while others will make their way into less glamourous jobs.
     But once the Olympic cauldron is extinguished, many athletes may find themselves wrestling with the sort of dilemma Jesus describes while eating at the home of a Pharisee. Watching guests clamor for first place, Jesus reminds those gathered around the table that humility is worth more than a dozen gold medals.
     Jesus’ parable is a reminder of how the values of the kingdom contrast with the values we often prize. He tells his fellow diners that those first on God’s guest list are hardly the “A” celebrities who strut down red carpets. Jesus suggests that humility leads to rewards greater than fleeting fame.
     Going home from Rio may be a challenge for some, especially if they’ve generated more stares than that glitzy girl from Ipanema. Ryan Lochte, the U.S. swimmer embroiled in an embarrassing post-competition incident, is learning that lesson already....
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Guess Who's Coming To Dinner!

Imagine this situation, if you will: a husband comes home from work on a Friday night, say the Friday of Labor Day weekend. And as he drives into the driveway, he sees that there is a rented tent in the back yard. Under the tent are tables and chairs for about forty people. A bandstand and dance floor are assembled in one corner of the tent. Paper lanterns are hanging all around. Now mind you, none of this was there when the husband left for work that morning! Seeing all these preparations and having them come as a surprise, what do you think the husband might think?
     A first reaction from some husbands might be one of panic: "Good Lord! It's our anniversary, and somehow I've forgotten! And, look at the preparations! It must be one of the big ones!" But, assuming he does some quick arithmetic and realizes it isn't their twentieth or thirtieth or fortieth, he might continue thinking,...
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Wayne Brouwer

Lying eyes, crying eyes

The great composer Felix Mendelssohn loved to tell the marvelous story of how his grandparents Moses and Frumte Mendelssohn met and married. Moses was very short and far from handsome. He walked with a limping gait, partly because he sported a very noticeable hunchback.
     The day Moses met Frumte, Cupid’s arrow struck deep. He determined to win the hand of this young beauty, the daughter of a local businessman. He knew it would be difficult because, like other young women of Hamburg, Frumte was repulsed by his misshapen body. Only after Moses made many requests to her father did she reluctantly agree to see him....
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Keith Hewitt

A Question of Hospitality

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Go to any large metropolis -- any metropolis: Chicago, New York, Rome, Carthage -- and you’ll find one. Tucked out of the way on a side street near the center of town, neither pretentious or seedy, but just comfortable, the first thing you’ll see is a sign written in several languages (one always Hebrew) that translates simply as “peace.” Inside, you’ll find a bar, booths and tables, and lighting that is too dark for surgery, but light enough to discourage some of the nefarious things that go on at other establishments. And, if your eyes are sufficiently keen, at any given time you might see a dozen or so customers -- usually in booths, usually in pairs, usually so nondescript as to defy description -- engaged in deep conversation....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott


The wedding season starts around Easter each year, heats up during June, July and August, begins to quiet down during September and is usually finished by October. It can become quite hectic if most Saturday afternoons of the three summer months are taken up with weddings, but they are usually fun to conduct and a real privilege for the priest....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Eichelman

See How Great I Am!

Object: a trophy or certificate
Look at my trophy/certificate! Isn't it great?! And it's all for my outstanding performance! I'm just amazing, don't you think? Do you know who gave me this? I did! (pause) Why are you looking at me so strangely? Is there anything wrong with awarding myself?...
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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