Sunday, February 26, 2017

FOR FRIENDS IN NEED INDEED: SCS 107



Sunday, February 26, 2017, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 107


PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:

Psalm 31 English Standard Version (ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

31 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame;
   in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me;
   rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
   a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress;
   and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
   for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
   you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
   but I trust in the Lord.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
   because you have seen my affliction;
   you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
   you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
   my eye is wasted from grief;
   my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
   and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
   especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
   terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
   I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
   rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love!
17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame,
   for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
   let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
   which speak insolently against the righteous
   in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
   which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
   in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
   from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
   from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
   for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
   when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,
   “I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
   when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you his saints!
   The Lord preserves the faithful
   but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
   all you who wait for the Lord!


2 Corinthians 1:3-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

God of All Comfort

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.


SERMON for Today:
Only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can soothe the broken hearts and give solace to the souls of a family who has lost a loved one.


May God Bless You and Your Loved Ones and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen


© Ed Cooper, February 26, 2017, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is Director of Project Dream Again and an ordained minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ.  He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Obituary of Christie Graham Lane



I only met Christie once.  She was nice enough to come with her husband, my cousin Jerry Lane, to eat lunch with me on my birthday this past November at Skipper's Fish Camp, Darien, GA.  For those of you who do not know her she is the pretty lady in the front of the picture on the right.  I am sitting beside her.  During the meal she looked over at my snow crab legs and said they looked good.  I did not think fast enough to offer her some.  We had a great time.  My wife Patty was taking the picture and my cousin Barb was also there with her husband and a grandchild.  I wish I had known Christie better, but I am glad for the time I did get to spend with her.  Here is her obituary. God bless her and her family.  Ed Cooper

Christie Graham Lane
Christie Lane, 60, of TownsendGeorgia entered into rest on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, at Hospice of the Golden Isles in BrunswickGeorgia.
Christie was born July 29, 1956 in BrunswickGeorgia. She was the daughter of the late Wayne Pack and the late Ann Graham Everett, and lovingly raised by her grandparents Ben H. and Lewis Burrows Graham. She was the loving wife to Gerald “Jerry” Lane. She has resided in McIntosh County for many years. Christie was a member of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in DarienGeorgia.
Christie loved spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She loved her grandchildren and cherished their time spent together. She also enjoyed cooking, collecting antiques, and family gatherings. Christie loved to travel, spending time camping and boating. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Her family will have many fond memories to cherish for years to come.
Christie was preceded in death by her parents, Ann Everett and Wayne Pack; her grandparents, Lewis and Ben Graham; and a brother, Ben Graham.
She is survived by her husband, Gerald “Jerry” Lane of Townsend, Ga.; one son, David Lane of Darien, Ga.; a daughter, Beth Walters Parker (Ryan) of Darien, Ga.; three granddaughters, Shelby Gale, Leilani Lane, and Madeline Parker; one grandson, Graham Walters; six sisters, Anita Consolatore of Ormond Beach, Fla., Melody Ross (Gordon) of  Mabscott, WV, Ginger Liford (Keith) of Orlando, Fla., Amy Murphy (Mike) of Port Orange, Fla., Nancy Palmer (Jeff) of Coral Springs, Fla., Susan Herhold (Shannon) of Maumee, Ohio; one brother, George Everrett of Ormond Beach, Fla. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
The family will receive friends at Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home on Friday, March 3, between the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. A memorial service to honor her life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 4, at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in DarienGeorgia, with Father Ted Clarkson officiating.
Memorial contributions can be made in Christie’s memory to the Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Parish House Building Fund or Hospice of the Golden Isles.
Arrangements are entrusted into the care of Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home www.edomillerandsons.com  (from The Darien News)


Sunday, February 19, 2017

GHOST STORIES AND THE GOSPEL: SCS 106

Sunday, February 19, 2017, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 106

PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:
Philippians 4:4-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.



SERMON for Today:
People who are from the heart of Appalachia or their hearts have been touched by Appalachia know that along with a deep respect for family comes a tradition of telling stories and legends that some would say were of a supernatural nature or ghost stories and legends.  It is an art form to be able to tell one of these stories well.  An art form mostly lost and never to be regained.

The same people from whom these old stories came also had a deep respect for their faith.  They believed the Gospel stories without any reservations.  They did not sit around discussing if the miracles Jesus performed were true.  They simply believed.  A dimension beyond the valley and mountains they could see was not something hard for them to imagine because they were raised on stories that included happenings not of an ordinary day.

Today, we are so sure of what we know that most of us believe that there is nothing knowable beyond what our conscious brains can know.  We think the Gospels stories like the old stories of Appalachia are simply tales of amusement.  We think we have become smarter and have more knowledge than all the people who lived before us.

It is true that science has produced great knowledge which has been put to desirable uses.  However, when they wanted to keep the invasive Canada Blackberry plants from ruining the natural “baldness” of Roan Mountain, TN they turned to goats. http://baatany.org/

The Gospels are not about your head.  They are about your heart.  They are about your soul.  They are about a world that hard science cannot either explain or explain away.  The Gospels are about how to live a life in harmony with your own heart because you have given your soul away to serve others as the Man in the Gospels did.  As long as we remain selfish and demand that all the love be directed towards ourselves, then we will remain soulless and wandering in the wilderness of loneliness in a crowded world.

Only when we decide to give our soul away to the One who gave it to us in the first place can we find the joy it takes to face the darkness until sunrise.  When the sun comes up there will be peace in our souls and harmony in our hearts.  How do I know?  Because that is the promise in the Story and I believe the Story.


May God Bless You and Your Loved Ones and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen

© Ed Cooper, February 19, 2017, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is Director of Project Dream Again and an ordained minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ.  He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

DO YOU KNOW THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT?: SCS 105

Patty's Flowers
Sunday, February 12, 2017, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 105


PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 New International Version (NIV)
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

SERMON for Today:
“The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” is how Paul describes our heavenly Father in the beginning of this letter to the church at Corinth.  What a beautiful description and one packed full of promise.  The problem is that few people know this God as their personal friend.  They may even call themselves believers, but not know this God.  That is why Paul is taking the time to explain this God to people who are in the church.


You see Paul has just been through a rough time in an area of the world that is now called Turkey.  He wants them to know of his suffering, but more importantly he wants them to know that through Jesus Christ the heavenly Father will take compassionate care and comfort us all.


That does not mean we will not face heart wrenching situations.  What it means is that God through His Son and His Holy Spirit will be there to hold you up through it all no matter what you face.  Now, if you would rather face things alone in the darkness then don’t bother to learn about the God Paul is talking about.  However, if you want a true friend then then this is the path.


John 14:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."


You can find Jesus in the Gospels and on your knees in prayer.  Other people can tell you, but only you can truly find him or more accurately open your heart and mind and let Him find you.  Then you will learn and grow close to “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”


John 10:14-30 New International Version (NIV)
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Further Conflict Over Jesus’ Claims
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”


Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and you will find comfort.

May God Bless You and Your Loved Ones and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen


© Ed Cooper, February 12, 2017, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is Director of Project Dream Again and an ordained minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ.  He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

Sunday, February 05, 2017

WORDS WOUND SO THINK BEFORE SPEAKING: SCS 104

The Lester Cooper Family 1960

Sunday, February 5, 2017, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 104

PRAYER for Today:
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


MORNING WORSHIP MUSIC:


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  
Proverbs 16:24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
   sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

James 3:1-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Taming the Tongue

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,[a] for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature,[b] and is itself set on fire by hell.[c] 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,[d] this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,[e] yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Footnotes:

  1. James 3:1 Gk brothers
  2. James 3:6 Or wheel of birth
  3. James 3:6 Gk Gehenna
  4. James 3:10 Gk My brothers
  5. James 3:12 Gk my brothers


SERMON for Today:

In the late 70’s my oldest sister and her husband, now deceased, published Christian-graphic in which they were kind enough to publish some of my early attempts at writing poetry.  When I published a piece about Thomas R. Edwards on this blog (February 14, 2014), I was reminded of the discussion that took place about whether or not to publish my poetry since it did not have any punctuation.  The words hurt then and they hurt again when I was paying tribute to the publisher of Christian-graphic who was more than a brother-in law.  He was my friend.

I recently ran across a poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 and 2009.  In the books The Carrier of Ladders (1971 winner) and The Shadow of Sirius (2009 winner) William S. Merwin, former Poet Laureate of the United States, did not use any punctuation.  It did not do my inner being any good to know that the form I had used was legitimate.  The words had already left their wounds.

I use this example
to simply say
try to watch
what comes out
the opening in your head

Use your mind
before you speak
so the people around you
will have less wounds
as they live
their lives.


May God Bless You and Your Loved Ones and May God Walk Beside You Each Step You Take This Week. Amen

© Ed Cooper, February 5, 2017, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is an ordained minister and Director of Project Dream Again. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)