Month: July 2018

Knowing the depth, height, and breadth of the love of Christ


For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Exploring the Text: In Ephesians, Paul envisions the mainly non-Jewish believers as a “dwelling place” for God. Today’s text is connected to the end of chapter 2 linguistically. Paul prays, for God to “fill” this new “dwelling place” that is the church (3:14). The mysterious language of “breadth, length, height, and depth” echoes OT texts that instruct about temple proportions. 

Verse 18: “height and depth”: Paul uses these words in Romans 8:39. In the context of Ephesians, these words describe God’s plan of salvation or, more likely, the love of Christ.

Verse 17: “Christ may dwell”: Usually Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as dwelling in people, but to him, the Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit are interchangeable (see Romans 8:9-11) because the Risen Jesus is the source of the Spirit (Acts 2:23).

Verse 21: “the church” and “Christ Jesus” are connected and inseparable.

The apostle prays for a church filled in every dimension by God, with and for the glory of God. Paul talks about the depth of our commitment, our breadth of vision, our vision put into action, that people (and we ourselves) may come to grasp how deep the love of Christ is.

Going Deeper: Both grace and mercy are in deficit in the world we live in. In our world, we’re much more comfortable with posting a sign like “No strangers allowed” that reflects the suspicion and fear of our time. But perhaps it is time for us to acknowledge our fear, confront it, and turn that very slogan on its head. We recognize that God loves and accepts all persons through Jesus the Christ, and therefore we do too. In the Kingdom of God nobody is a stranger, therefore in this congregation, nobody is a stranger. The result of such a depth of experience of God’s relating to us in love in Christ is that we may find ourselves called to tasks we had not dreamed of facing. How can we broaden and deepen our ability to love? How can we help others to experience God more fully and deeply? There again, it does always start and end with relationships, doesn’t it?

Prayer: Teach us the economics of kingdom living: a shirt-sharing, extra-mile-walking, have-my-lunch way of life. For then many shall be the richer. And we shall be among them. Amen.

Invest 5 Minutes In Your Faith

Last Sunday, the sermon called us to focus on the goal and ignore the obstacles. This coming Sunday’s sermon is based on 2 Samuel 6: 1-7 and encourage us to continue our spiritual pilgrimage. Too often we read the Bible based on “pick and choose” principle. Some verses make us uncomfortable. Others – inspire because they help us to prove our point in arguing with our neighbors and friends, even our family members. Should I say especially with our family members?  These verses are about what is God’s will and what is human will and how they collide.  2 Samuel implies that, as a result, David wants to stop resting and do something about that discrepancy.  He wants to give God’s ark a permanent home that is a temple that matches God’s centrality in Israel’s life.

What Does the Text Say?

The passage from Samuel begs the questions: Can God choose to be more fully present in some places than others? Is there a synergy between divine call and human response that makes certain times and places unique? It just doesn’t seem fair to David that while he lives in a palace, God’s ark lives in a tent. 

What Does the Text Do? Of course, David may also have a political motive.  Just as he’d once tried to make God’s ark a unifying force in Israel, he apparently wants to give a temple a similar role.  If, after all, David builds a temple in Jerusalem, everyone in Israel will have to come to “his” city to worship God. God’s covenant with Israel has been expanded to include all humanity. The law is no longer a dividing line, creating a chasm between the clean and unclean, but has been transformed to inspire and shape all humanity. Ephesians affirms that Christ is our peace, our unity, joining diverse and otherwise divided people into one community of love. There are no aliens anymore; all persons are encompassed by God’s covenant of grace.

What Should We Do? Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions. The ethicist Margaret A. Farley challenges us to look for reforms that are needed today. She offers some questions to help.
Where is the apathy and what can awaken us?
Where are the old and the new springs of life and how shall they be released?

The secret to the Christian life is learning to hear His invitation and to respond without fear or hesitation. It is on our pilgrimage that we see the miracles unfold.

Father, give me a sensitive ear and a willing heart to participate in your works of grace. Amen.

Invest 5 Minutes in Your Faith

Take 5 Minutes to Invest in Your Faith

This coming Sunday’s sermon is based on Mark 6:14-22, the story follows the verses how Jesus was rejected at home. Mark relayed the story of John and Herod as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death by the hands of a political, though sympathetic, figure.


Herod is portrayed in the scriptures as being somewhat of a fan of John. Why did he kill John, then? Herod bluntly makes a promise based on his emotions… How many of us make decisions emotionally? What to do when our best intentions have gone bad? This is a lesson to be pondered because this story isn’t all that different from many of the stories we read about or watch on television.

Going Deeper

Compare Mark’s story with the similar in Matthew. What’s Esther got to do with it? Because the Book of Mark is a commentary on the Hebrew Bible, and because it would be used as a worship document in the first century, it is important to consider that phrase, “up to half of my kingdom.” Found in Esther, twice in chapter 5 and once in chapter 7, King Xerxes asks, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.” Why would Mark want to bring Esther into the discussion?

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Joan Magee

Joan E. Leeper Magee Attends
DAR National Convention in Washington, D.C.

From DAR Press-Release

July 12, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC) More than 3,700 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution convened in the nation’s capital in June for the 127th Continental Congress, the latest gathering of the longstanding service organization’s annual meeting. The week-long convention consists of business sessions, committee meetings, and social functions, and is topped off with formal evening ceremonies at which national DAR award winners are honored. In attendance were Donna Green Nash, Joan E. Leeper Magee, Natalie Byergo, & Deborah Rainey of the St. Joseph Chapter, which is based in St. Joseph, MO.

Included in the activities they participated in was the annual Missouri Bluebird Luncheon, workshops & training sessions, all business sessions, social functions, & formal evening ceremonies. Mrs. Magee currently serves the National Society as National Division Vice-Chairman of the South-Central Division, President General’s Project committee. During the 127th Continental Congress, Mrs. Cynthia Suich and Mrs. Joan E. Magee were installed as the new Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Revolution State Regent and State Vice Regent, respectfully.

The Opening Night Ceremony featured award-winning documentary filmmaker, Lynn Novick, as keynote speaker, who was also be awarded the DAR Media and Entertainment Award. The National Defense Night Ceremony, honoring our nation’s military personnel and veterans, welcomed Rear Admiral Joseph M. Vojvodich, Deputy for Mission Support for the U.S. Coast Guard, as keynote speaker. Other national awards were handed out during the week to outstanding individuals celebrating excellence in historic preservation, education, and patriotism.

“As our more than 3,700 dedicated DAR members gather in one place, their energy produces inspiration, creative breakthroughs, and true camaraderie,” said Ann T. Dillon, President General. “We are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the hard work and accomplishments of the past year, including the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars to preservation, education and patriotic endeavors and the contribution of millions of hours of volunteer service in our communities. The reports presented at Continental Congress offer irrefutable proof that the DAR remains a relevant, vital and multifaceted force in cities and towns across the country.”

The DAR Continental Congress is a time-honored annual gathering that has been held in Washington, D.C. since the organization’s founding. National, state and chapter leaders as well as other members from across the country and around the world meet at the DAR National Headquarters to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit

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Please Pray

Norma Lukemper, Debbie Larzelere; Sharon Thomas; Scott & Phyllis Hall; Frank Connett; Ted Crail; Janette Hickok Garrett; Sherry Noeth and Larry Edwards (friends of Al & Susie Brown); with cancer diagnoses – Ashton DeWeese,Marc Magee, Sherrie Boller. 

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