25th Ordinary Sunday, 18 September: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13 ~ help others and make friends

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord of glory: Help us to be your faithful servants before all else.

Opening Prayer:

God our Savior, you call us into your service. Make us wise and resourceful: children of the light who continue your work in this world with untiring concern for integrity and justice. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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“Praise, my soul the King of heaven”The Northern Baptist Association (UK)


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A Reading from the Old Testament: Amos 8:4-7 (NLT)
[A warning to treat others justly.]

Saudi Arabia, thousands of Nepalese immigrant workers die from exploitation, torture and alcoholism.
Saudi Arabia, thousands of Nepalese immigrant workers die from exploitation, torture and alcoholism. [Click on picture for full article]

Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy! You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals.

Now the Lord has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel: “I will never forget the wicked things you have done!”
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 (NLT)
[God lifts up the poor.]

Praise the Lord!

A Coptic Christian man picks up trash before it is recycled inside Garbage City in Cairo. [Cairo’s zabbaleen are primarily Coptic Christians, a sizable minority who have a history of being ostracized by Islamist powers in the country.] For more on Cairo's "Town of Trash," please click on picture.
A Coptic man picks up trash before it is recycled inside Garbage City in Cairo. Cairo’s zabbaleen are primarily Coptic Christians, a sizable minority who have a history of being ostracized by Islamist powers in the country.
[Click on picture for full article.]

Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.
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For the Lord is high above the nations; his glory is higher than the heavens.

Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high? He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth.
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He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people!
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“Psalm 113: Praise the Lord Ye Servants” – Elizabeth C. Patterson and Gloriae Dei Cantores


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A Reading from the Letters: 1 Timothy 2:1-8 (NLT)
[Paul reminds us to offer prayers for everyone.]

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For,

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.

In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 16:1-13 (NLT)
[We cannot be slaves both of God and money.]

Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’

“The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’

“So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’

“‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Legacy?

“The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
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“If My People” – Brenda James


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Intercessory Prayer:

Gracious God: We come confidently before Your throne of grace. Grant your mercy and help to those on our hearts today –

+ For all who minister among your people…. Lord, hear us.
+ For our current leaders and everyone in authority over us…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those seeking public office and positions of authority…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the preservation of righteousness throughout our land…. Lord, hear us.
+ For peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…. Lord, hear us.
+ For freedom of religion and an end to religious persecution…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have been unjustly treated in any way…. Lord, hear us.
+ For people in difficulty, particularly those whom we know…. Lord, hear us.
+ For for all who have died in Christ, especially through conflict and violence in the Middle East…. Lord, hear us.

God of glory and majesty, you stoop from the heights to lift up the poor: hear the prayers of all who praise you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Jesus at the Center” – Darlene Zschech


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Benediction:

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

– Colossians 1:15-20

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Daily Reading: 14 June – The Teachings of Jesus – Sermon on the Mount (Part II) – Matthew 6:5-7:29

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

E100:12.b – The Teachings of Jesus

Sermon on the Mount (Part II) – Matthew 6:5-7:29 (NLT)

Teaching about Prayer and Fasting

The Sermon on the Mountain Károly Ferenczy, 1896 Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
The Sermon on the Mountain
Károly Ferenczy, 1896
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Matthew 6:5  “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Money and Possessions

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

no one can serve two masters

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Do Not Judge Others

Matthew 7  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Effective Prayer

Person-Praying

7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

The Golden Rule

12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

The Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

you are the Bible

True Disciples

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Building on a Solid Foundation

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.

Prayer

Heavenly Father – as I read through Jesus’ teaching, your Spirit brings to my attention, areas of my life that I have been struggling with for years – specifically______________________________________________________. Nevertheless, Jesus tells me to persevere in prayer and to trust you to respond, in your way and in your time – for my good and for your glory.

+ “Keep on asking”: once again, Lord, _______________________________.

+ “Keep on seeking”: open my heart and mind to new possibilities that I haven’t considered before.

+ “Keep on knocking”: but most of all, open the windows of heaven that I may see your glory.

I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

“The Lord’s Prayer” – Michael W Smith

Closing Sentence

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
– Ephesians 3:20-21

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!