Your Future Story

    by Tom Harrison

    It has been a long time since I missed three Sundays in a row. We were out celebrating a week’s worth of birthdays with family. Before that, I was in Israel for two weeks. I look forward to being back in the pulpit, and back with you, this week.

    We begin a new series on Sunday: “Jesus the Contrarian.” Over the next three weeks, we will look at what Jesus had to say about priorities, faith, God, and money. Jesus is a contrarian. He does the opposite of popular opinion. This contradicts conventional wisdom. Sunday’s text is Matthew 20:1-16, about the vineyard workers. The emphasis is upon the master, not upon the workers. He is taking the initiative. They are all standing around, “idle.” Ironically, this story is a contrast between “grace” and “works.” We want to focus on how hard we’ve worked. The truth of the matter is that no matter how hard we work unless the owner gives us a denarius, we won’t get paid. No one is righteous. No one can save themselves. Grace is a gift from the Lord but we often want to earn it, and may begrudge it to others. “But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’” 

    As “The Magnificent Story” illustrated, many of us are tied to the shaming and scary gospel, or the good works gospel. While these are part of the story, they are not the whole story. We want to embrace the whole story of Jesus—which is good, beautiful and true. Dr. Ben Witherington III gave us a wonderful wrap-up to the series, and we conclude with these readings. Sunday’s text marks the shift to “Jesus the Contrarian.”

    Monday: Isaiah 40:27-31
    Tuesday: John 11:17-27
    Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
    Thursday: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
    Friday: 1 Peter 5:6-11
    Saturday: James 5:7-11
    Sunday: Matthew 20:1-16

    See you Sunday,

    Tom Harrison
    Senior Pastor

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