Focus: This lesson from Paul has this wonderful two part instruction for the thief. First, he says, “Don’t steal.” This makes sense. When you encounter evil, you say “Stop!” Second, he says, “Work your hands for honest sharing with those who are needy.” Paul understands something basic about our humanity. We are filled with energy, drive, and compulsion. It serves a purpose to steer that energy away from disaster, but that help is limiting unless we also steer that energy in a good direction.
Function: There are so many examples in parenting, teaching, or church life, where we follow the first half of Paul’s teaching, “Stop!” Unfortunately, we miss the underlying truth of Paul’s message: we are empowered with God given energy, and we need direction for what to do with that energy. We need to provide and direct positive and life giving direction to our human energy, otherwise our Good News is simply frustrating and futile attempts to bottle up that which God gives to explode us out.
August 26, 2018
Texts: Ephesians 64:10-20
Title: “Be Strong in the Lord”
Focus: Paul tells us that our struggle is not with enemies of flesh and blood, but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” What does this mean? And what are our tools for struggling against these dynamics?
Function: The powers that Paul mentions are not ghosts or devils in the sense of red suited, forked tailed, demons who lead us astray. Rather there are systems, structures, and powers in our life that are not so much flesh and blood but spiritual evil that seek to divide us through lies, ignorance, and hatred. The armor of God is the gifts of God that empower us to fight against these systems and the evil that they perpetuate around us. We must put on this armor, “Be strong in the Lord” to overcome this present darkness.
September 2, 2018
Elder Lisa Bontemps, who is the director of Westwood for All Ages and the coordinator of the Westwood Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, will be our guest preacher. Lisa has been an elder of Parkside for many years. Her heart for wellness and inclusion (making Westwood safe for all ages, especially seniors) is part of the heart of Parkside. We believe that the Good News of Jesus Christ brings wellness to every part of our lives and it is a message for all people. We look forward to hearing the Good News that she will bring from the Word of God.