OnLine Enews - Sept 21 - 28, 2022
Rev. Tom Willetts
Saturday Worship @ 4:45 PM meet in the CHAPEL.
Sunday Worship @ 10:00 AM meet in the SANCTUARY.
..Thursdays - 9am HANDBELL REHEARSALS - Worship Center Room 3
..Thursdays - 1pm - Mysteries of the Bible - Study group - MC - Room A
..Thursdays- 3pm CHOIR REHEARSALS - Chapel
..Thursday - Sept 22 - 9am - SET UP CREW - reset Sanctuary
..Friday - Sept 23 - 10am - Alzheimer's Caregivers Support - Conf B
..Saturday - Sept 24th at 9:15am - Mission Sampler UWF - Cape Coral 1st UMC
..Sunday - Sept 25 - New Members -then after service -BACK TO CHURCH LUNCHEON
..Monday, Sept 26 - 1pm Finance - Conf B
..Tuesday - Sept 27th -10am - Leadership Team - Conf B


If someone rose from the dead would people be convinced that there is a final and eternal judgement? Moses and the prophets have been telling people for centuries of the consequence of not showing mercy and grace to one another. Have people listened to them? I believe that this a follow up illustration by Jesus of his earlier teachings in Luke 9:46-49 about greatness, Luke 14:25-33 about the cost of discipleship and Luke 15:11-32 the prodigal son. Let’s read the text.

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Lazarus, a poor man covered in sores was laid at the doorstep of a rich man. All Lazarus desired was to eat the crumbs which fell from the rich mans table. No one tended to Lazarus’ sores except dogs. This is an awful and disturbing scene to read and consider. It was well established in the Law of Moses and by the prophets that we are to care for those in need. Mercy is a fundamental quality of righteousness. The rich man was indifferent to Lazarus’ condition. His indifference was his eternal judgement. God did not send the rich man to Hades.
The rich man’s ignorance of Lazarus and lack of sharing mercy and grace determined his fate.

Of course, he complained to Abraham seeking the relief he thought he deserved and certainly needed. Abraham sees his situation but it is clear, “between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’’ (Vs. 26).

The rich man received all his comfort in this life and never shared mercy to anyone else. He got what he desired every day of his life on earth and he never acted to store up any treasure in heaven.

Lazarus had given up everything. He simply had nothing and was a beggar covered in sores. He was shown no mercy by anyone in his life, but God showed him the mercy he needed and received him into heaven to be at Abraham’s side. God showed him the mercy that the rich man would not share.

There certainly is plenty of news of awful and disturbing scenes in the world that should cause people to share mercy and respond in grace to the desperate needs of others. People respond – people ignore. They make choices in this life that have eternal consequences.

The Good News is that God did send his Son back to rise from the dead so that there would be a clear witness to all the power of God’s mercy and grace and to even overcome sin and death. People hear of Jesus and receive the invitation to be a disciple and live as a faithful follower. Being a disciple means repentance, faithful discipleship, and sacrifice. People respond – people ignore. They make their choices in this life that have eternal consequences.
Heaven and Hell do not choose us – we chose them.

Each day we can choose to live in the joy and promises of the Lord or in the ease and comforts of the world. We should make our choices understanding the consequences.

I found this reading from Henri J. M. Nouwen to be a helpful observation.

Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world.
It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives.
Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is
shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world.

Jesus says it loudly and clearly: “In the world you have troubles, but rejoice,
I have overcome the world.”

The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected.
No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness,
that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies,
that God’s love is stronger than death.

From Here and Now by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Show mercy – share kindness and offer grace - not because we have to, or ought to or else, but because God has already showed each one of us abundant mercy, kindness and grace and it will cost us nothing to simply share what God has already given us through Jesus. Be surprised.

Pastor Tom
following Worship Service
after Worship this Sunday the 25th
Community Small Groups

Herons Glen – John Michel
Magnolia Landing – Sandy Hedge
Pine Lakes / Lake Fairways – Barbara Patton
Tara Woods – Vicky Carnevale
Del Tura – Bart DeGraaf
Good Shepherd UMC – Larry Massing - Wed., starts Sept 7th at 6pm - Ministry Center Conf B
Littleton Road / Six Lakes – Bob Streul
ZOOM – John Colston
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