|Jan. 18, 2018
Dear Hyde Park Family,
HOMETOWN MAN PREACHES; CAUSES UPROAR
Mathias Avram, Nazareth Gazette Special Correspondent
Nazareth, Galilee – Tensions flared as hometown product Jesus ben-Joseph made his first preaching appearance at the synagogue, offering a controversial message of inclusion and diversity.
In a sermon titled, “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me,” Jesus was initially received with thunderous approval by the standing room-only crowd.
“I remember him when he was just barely old enough to pick up a hammer,” said Zachariah Yousseff, a next-door neighbor. “Who knew he would grow up to become a preacher? His message really resonated with me. At first.”
Jesus’ opening was filled with populist messages of liberation for the oppressed, recovery of sight to the blind, good news for the poor, and freedom for the enslaved, all issues that rank high among the latest opinion polls, according to several recent surveys.
“It definitely started out as a rousing speech,” said Reuben Aretz, holding a large sign emblazoned with “I’m with Jesus” in giant letters. “He set the scroll aside, sat down, and said ‘Today the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ There was so much cheering I couldn’t hear myself think. We were right there with him.”
But according to several eyewitness accounts, the speech then took a surprising turn.
“Suddenly, he started talking about blessing foreigners. And that made me uncomfortable,” said Yousseff.
A written transcript obtained by the Gazette reveals that Jesus then referred to several ancient Hebrew stories involving immigrants from foreign countries. He mentioned God’s blessing of the widow of Zarephath, from the country of Sidon, a long-time oppressor of the Hebrew people and birthplace of evil queen Jezebel. He then described God’s healing of Naaman, a leper from Syria, a stronghold of the troublesome Canaanites.
“Clearly, that’s when Jesus started to lose the crowd,” said Aretz. “People’s signs started to droop, and the mumbling got louder. One guy next to me said, ‘Why would we want to allow people from Sidon, Syria, and all those other dung-hole countries? Get ’em out of here.'”
Tempers then flared as Jesus concluded his sermon, with people having expected Jesus to return to a more populist message.
“Things really got out of hand,” said Yousseff. “People started pressing in on the guy, threatening to lock him up in jail. At one point, people chased him out of the synagogue and over toward the ravine. I thought for sure people were going to pick him up and toss him over.”
But according to officials who later appeared on the scene, Jesus was able to escape the crowd, calmly passing through them without saying a word.
“I don’t know what happened there at the end,” said Aretz. “One minute we all wanted to kill him. And then, just like that, he was gone.”
“I just don’t know. Gives you something to think about, I guess.”
(This is a developing story. For the latest updates, visit Luke 4:16-30).
Grace and peace,
2017 – A Great Year of Gleaning and Feeding
• 18.1 Million Pounds Gleaned from the Fields
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• A total of 28.6 Million Pounds Collected and Distributed
• 86 Million Servings of Fresh Produce Provided
• 5,960 Events Held and 37,482 Volunteers Engaged
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A magnifying glass, with its convex lense, enlarges the appearance of things. When you are called to “magnify the Lord,” you are to make God stand out in a world that often ignores Him. How are you “being the glass?” As people look at your life, how are they seeing God in you? If you’d like to explore some ways to do so, join us at GSM. Let us exalt His name together as we “transform the world for Christ, one heart at a time!”
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We can probably all remember the go-to lines our parents used to say to us comparing life from when they were growing up to our lives growing up. And you’ve probably cringed when you heard yourselves saying those same lines to your own kids. Without even trying very hard, we’ve become a lot like our parents. And maybe nothing looks more different in our generation compared to theirs than relationships with the opposite sex. What has always been complicated now feels entirely mystifying.
The terms for dating and the cultural standards are different. What you may expect for your teenagers in your family may be different than what other families expect. In fact, your expectations and guidelines may vary with each of your kids.
Thankfully, the most important thing for you to do, has little to do with the cultural whims of the day, the current relationship status of your kids, or even whether you’ve had the chance to talk about it with your students before.
When it comes to your role in the relationships your kids have in the dating realm, your first step is to fill their tank.
Students (and children, and adults, for that matter) tend to make their worst mistakes out of a place of insecurity. It’s not a conscious decision, but when someone feels insecure, they’ll do just about anything to feel otherwise. In her TED talk, author and researcher Brené Brown says, “the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging.” Meaning, every child comes pre-built with a tank made for love and belonging. So, if you work hard now to make sure your students believe beyond any doubt they are loved and they fit in your family, there is less chance they will look elsewhere for the affirmation and acceptance they are wired to experience.
No, this won’t provide them with an invincible shield of armor that fights off every potential dating pitfall. But it offers a solid base your kids can build on—an anchor that grounds them when relationships change. And when they know they have what they need at home, they won’t be as desperate to find it somewhere else.
While words are powerful, they’re only worth something if they’re believed. And belief comes from hearing messages and seeing actions that support one another. We know from our own experience that someone whose behavior and words matchup is far more believable than someone whose actions contradict what they say.
Try choosing one of the messages below that you feel most strongly about your student believing.
- You are accepted. You fit in this family just the way you are.
- You matter. You are an important person.
- You are better than you think. You’re more talented, more intelligent, and more valuable than culture gives you credit for being.
Now, think of one way action you can do this week to reinforce that belief for your student?
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. March 4
Parents and their children, grades 2-5, are invited to join the Children’s Team and our pastors for a Sacraments Workshop in the Harnish Activities Center. We will explore the meaning of Baptism and Communion in the United Methodist Church and enjoy some hands-on activities. We will conclude the afternoon by celebrating Communion together in the Chapel.
Feb. 4, 11, 18, 10:45 a.m.
Spend three weeks with other parents learning practical steps for sharing your faith with your 2- or 3-year-old child. A blessing event and Bible presentation will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary.
Classes are from 10:45 a.m. – Noon on Sundays, starting Feb. 4. Register here.