Texts: Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27

Speaker: Joel Miller

Our fourth commitment is a big one: “Share our time and resources, discerning our call to both work and rest.”

It’s big because our time and resources cover the full span of how we order our lives.  It’s big because in Jesus’ teachings, finances and resource sharing are inseparable from expressions of the kingdom of God.  It’s big because discerning our call to both work and rest is counter-cultural.  Sabbath rest, the enjoyment of life for its own sake, doesn’t pay well.  It gets all the more complicated for folks for whom work doesn’t pay well either.

This is big because in order to talk honestly about time, resources, work, and rest, we must keep in mind the very big impersonal economic powers persistently imposing their will on us, for good or for ill, and the very personal spiritual gifts of gratitude and generosity re-shaping our will – to keep both of these in view at all times.

So what better way to survey the landscape than through a parable of Jesus that has been applied to both of these levels, from the earliest memory of the church....

Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Luke 2:21-40   

Speaker: Joel Miller  

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.


We needed 28 readers for that.  I’m guessing that’s a record for a scripture reading at Columbus Mennonite...

Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Speaker: Mark Rupp

“We commit to: Learn from one another, allowing the wisdom of all ages to teach us”

A few weeks ago, on the Friday evening of our Peace Camp, I made a very exciting announcement.  I told the group that I had recently been elected mayor of the new town of Peaceburg.  Much like the similarly named Pittsburgh, Peaceburg was a city tri-sected by two rivers coming together to form a third river, leaving the city split into three large neighborhood sections. 

But, unlike most cities, my city, Peaceburg, was almost completely a blank slate with lots of resources and lots of room for new development in each of the three neighborhoods created by the rivers.  As the mayor, I needed help figuring out how to design my new city, what to put in it, where things should go, and, perhaps most importantly, how to do all this in a way that helped Peaceburg live up to its name and become a city where everyone could experience and practice peace. 

Lucky for me, I just happened to have access to a group of energetic young people who had just spent some time learning...

Texts: Daniel 3:1-18; Luke 22:14-30

Speaker: Joel MIller

This is Part 1 of a 7 week series on our Membership Commitment statement.

The August edition of Sojourners magazine features short letters written to the American church – that’s us – from Christian leaders around the world.  The feature is called “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.”

These letters come from places like El Progreso, Honduras; Taize, France; New Delhi,, India, Johannesburg, South Africa; The Wakka Wakka nation, located within land now called Australia.

As you might imagine, the letters address us as Christians living within a global superpower.

One letter comes from Ruth Padilla Deborst.  She’s the director of a World Vision program in Santa Domingo, Costa Rica.

She begins: “I write to you as a sister from Latin America who yearns to see peace and justice embrace on this suffering planet that is humanity’s home.  I write you in hopes that you will ponder these questions in the spirit they are offered, that of a shared prayer that God’s good will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

She then asks three questions.

I’ll read just the first one.  Here it is:

“First, might...

Text: Hebrews 11:1-16 

Speaker: Joel Miller                

Wendell Berry, farmer, poet, turned 85 this past week.  He once wrote: “Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years.”  These words come at the end of his Mad Farmer Liberation Front Manifesto in which he chastises the many other things in which humanity has placed its faith: the quick profit, mindless consumption, the generals and politicos.  At 85 and counting, Wendell Berry is living a full life.  But according to his own math — 1000 years to form two inches of humus – the full stretch of his life, so far, is only enough time for .17 inches of that richest of soils to accumulate in the healthiest of forests.  Barely visible to the human eye.  Which of course is his point about the nature of faith.

In chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews faith is at the forefront of the author’s mind.  Having just finished writing about the importance of provoking each other to love and good deeds and staying in the habit of meeting together, the author ends chapter...