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“Caring for God’s Creation” – 4/23/17

Westminster GREEN TEAM Speakers:


  • Tom Stovall

  • Julia Smith

  • Doug Cheever         

Genesis 1 (NRSV)

 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

27 So God created humankind in his image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

 

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.

 

“STILL Recruiting” – Pastor Hal Murry – 4/16/17

  1. The "Easter joke(s)"
  2. Today's Scripture:  John 20:1-18
  3. What it meant to the first Christians
  4. Believing in Easter vs. Participating in Easter

Scripture:  John 20:1-18                       (Common English Bible)                                                   

                            20 Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in.Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.

                        11 Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. 13 The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.

                        15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

                Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”

                        16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

                She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher).

                        17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

                        18 Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.”

“Always Teaching” – Pastor Hal Murry – 4/9/17

  1. Every teacher's challenge
  2. Today's Scripture: John 11:55-12:19 (Common English Bible)
  3. Why did he go to Jerusalem?
  4. Why did he ride a donkey?
  5. What does "then" have to do with "now"?

Scripture:  John 11:55-12:19                     (Common English Bible)                                                    

                     55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover, and many people went from the countryside up to Jerusalem to purify themselves through ritual washing before the Passover. 56 They were looking for Jesus. As they spoke to each other in the temple, they said, “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will he?” 57 The chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where he was should report it, so they could arrest him.

               12 Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, “This perfume was worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.)

                    7 Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it. You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.”

                    9 Many Jews learned that he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 The chief priests decided that they would kill Lazarus too. 11 It was because of Lazarus that many of the Jews had deserted them and come to believe in Jesus.

                     12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him. They shouted,

    “Hosanna!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Blessings on the king of Israel!”

 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

 15 Don’t be afraid, Daughter Zion.
        Look! Your king is coming,
            sitting on a donkey’s colt.

                    16 His disciples didn’t understand these things at first. After he was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

                    17 The crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were testifying about him. 18 That’s why the crowd came to meet him, because they had heard about this miraculous sign that he had done. 19 Therefore, the Pharisees said to each other, “See! You’ve accomplished nothing! Look! The whole world is following him!”

“Back from the Dead”- Pastor Hal Murry – 4/2/17

  1. John's special way of teaching about Jesus...
  2. Today's Scripture: portions of John 11
  3. It's about Lazarus, and...
  4. It's about US!
  5. "From that day on..."

John 11 (CEB)

1 A certain man, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This was the Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was ill.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Son can be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was. After two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s return to Judea again.”

The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish opposition wants to stone you, but you want to go back?”

Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in the day? Whoever walks in the day doesn’t stumble because they see the light of the world. 10 But whoever walks in the night does stumble because the light isn’t in them.”

11 He continued, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, but I am going in order to wake him up.”

12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he will get well.” 13 They thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was in a deep sleep, but Jesus had spoken about Lazarus’ death.

14 Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. 15 For your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you can believe. Let’s go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other disciples, “Let us go too so that we may die with Jesus.”

 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. 19 Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death.20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die.26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, the one who is coming into the world.”

28 After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.”29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. 30 He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.

32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled.34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?”

They replied, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus began to cry. 36 The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”

40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

 47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”

49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.”  53 From that day on they plotted to kill him.

 

 

“Sighted?” – Pastor Hal Murry – 3/26/17

  1. Who's to blame?
  2. How are you now able to see?
  3. Surely WE aren't blind, are we?

John 9 (CEB)

Jesus heals a blind man

 

9 As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?”

 

Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents. This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him.While it’s daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see.

Disagreement about the healing

 

The man’s neighbors and those who used to see him when he was a beggar said, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”

 

Some said, “It is,” and others said, “No, it’s someone who looks like him.”

But the man said, “Yes, it’s me!”

 

10 So they asked him, “How are you now able to see?”

11 He answered, “The man they call Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes, and said, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

 

12 They asked, “Where is this man?”

He replied, “I don’t know.”

 

13 Then they led the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now Jesus made the mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes on a Sabbath day. 15 So Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.

 

The man told them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”

 

16 Some Pharisees said, “This man isn’t from God, because he breaks the Sabbath law.” Others said, “How can a sinner do miraculous signs like these?” So they were divided. 17 Some of the Pharisees questioned the man who had been born blind again: “What do you have to say about him, since he healed your eyes?”

 

He replied, “He’s a prophet.”

Conflict over the healing

 

18 The Jewish leaders didn’t believe the man had been blind and received his sight until they called for his parents.19 The Jewish leaders asked them, “Is this your son? Are you saying he was born blind? How can he now see?”

 

20 His parents answered, “We know he is our son. We know he was born blind. 21 But we don’t know how he now sees, and we don’t know who healed his eyes. Ask him. He’s old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they feared the Jewish authorities. This is because the Jewish authorities had already decided that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough. Ask him.”

 

24 Therefore, they called a second time for the man who had been born blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner.”

 

 

 

25 The man answered, “I don’t know whether he’s a sinner. Here’s what I do know: I was blind and now I see.”

 

26 They questioned him: “What did he do to you? How did he heal your eyes?”

 

27 He replied, “I already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

 

28 They insulted him: “You are his disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t know where this man is from.”

 

30 The man answered, “This is incredible! You don’t know where he is from, yet he healed my eyes! 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners. God listens to anyone who is devout and does God’s will. 32 No one has ever heard of a healing of the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man wasn’t from God, he couldn’t do this.”

 

34 They responded, “You were born completely in sin! How is it that you dare to teach us?” Then they expelled him.

 

Jesus finds the man born blind

 

35 Jesus heard they had expelled the man born blind. Finding him, Jesus said, “Do you believe in the Human One?”

 

36 He answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

 

37 Jesus said, “You have seen him. In fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

 

38 The man said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped Jesus.

Jesus teaches the Pharisees

 

39 Jesus said, “I have come into the world to exercise judgment so that those who don’t see can see and those who see will become blind.”

 

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard what he said and asked, “Surely we aren’t blind, are we?”

 

41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t have any sin, but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.