Fried Chicken and Crooked Sticks
A rather common bit of advice given to new pastors from the old guard is, “I hope you like fried chicken.” In an earlier time, pastors would sit at a different table nearly every Sunday for lunch, as families in the congregation took turns caring for them. It seems ever since the day that the rooster ratted out Simon Peter we have been trying to get even with them. Unfortunately, the chickens seem to be able to reproduce much faster than we can eat them. I would not be surprised to find out that Peter hated chickens from that day forward. Every time he saw, or heard one, he would have been reminded of the darkest night of his life. There is an old saying, “God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.” The story of Peter, and you and me bear witness to the truth of God’s grace in our lives.
It takes little more than a casual stroll amongst the heroes of the Bible to see some of the earlier crooked sticks that God has used. Moses and David are great examples. Moses was running away from the murder of an Egyptian overseer, but God called him back to lead the Jewish people to the Promised Land. Moses was an amateur as far as sins are concerned when compared to David. Kind David committed premeditated murder to cover up his sins when he had Uriah the Hittite killed to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba. So, Moses and David, two crooked sticks that God called and used for great purposes.
The Bible is about real people. We see them in all there good and bad acts. What you realize is that since we are all sinners, God does not have anybody good to work with including you and me. Jesus made it clear to the disciples that they were not good enough. In Mark 14:27-31, Jesus tells them,
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 28But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” 30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” 31But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.”
We read that and think it’s sad that the disciples would do that. The problem is that we are the same way. At the end of His ministry this is all that Jesus had to work with. Twelve men who were fickle, faithless at times and filled with pride at other times. Jesus demonstrates through these men that He can bring good results from poor intentions. That He starts with us where we are and leads us further than we can see at the right moment. That He can twist good news out of bad and if He couldn’t then He wouldn’t be God; and the whole of creation would be in every possible way, Lost.
You find the same thing when you read the first letter to the church in Corinth. Paul writes the following in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, did not choose any of us to serve Him because we were wise in the eyes of the world or influential or of noble birth. God chose the foolish to confound the wise and He chose the weak to show up the strong. It is the marginalized, the insignificant, the undesirable and the broken that God uses to do His greatest work. With the worst possible people He advances His Kingdom.
Matthew does an excellent job in confirming the truth about crooked sticks. When you read Matthew chapter 1, you find a long boring account of the personal genealogy of Jesus Christ. You find in that long list, mostly of Jesus’ male ancestors the names of three Canaanite women: Tamar, who disguised herself as a prostitute and became pregnant by her father-in-law. Rahab, who really was a prostitute. Ruth, the woman who continues to this day to teach us what faithfulness really means.
All of that is to say that Jesus had broken, sinful, misguided blood of His ancestors in His veins. The point is that we all Fail. We are free to think, to love and to obey. The downside of that freedom is that we often make poor choices and make them for so long and so often that we can end up living in a self-dug pit of consequences that keep us tied to our guilt and shame. In that moment, God presents His grace and love to redeem us. The Prophet wrote in Isiah 61:1-3:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
Those are the very words that Jesus read in the synagogue when He was handed the scroll to read in Luke chapter 4. He then said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Look at it again and notice some of the key words and phrases used; afflicted, brokenhearted, captives, those who mourn, those who have ashes, and you could add not wise, not influential and not of noble birth. Like Jesus said, “You will all fall away.”
Despite our crooked lives and our crooked histories, through us, God works good. God saves. God heals. God brings life to what was once dead. Our goal, our intent, our motivation should be to make the stick that God writes with a little less crooked each day.
HOC Meal Report:
On May 31, 14 were involved in providing a meal for 52 guests. We served BBQ beef sandwiches, (Subway meat) cheese slices, green beans & bacon, French fries, mixed fruit cups, macaroni salad, peach dump cake, cookie bars, milk, tea & coffee.
Thanks to: Mark & Darlene, Tom & Jo, Chuck & Ann who provided food or funds, Vi, Ann and Helen (friend of Margaret) who prepared; Darla, Ted, Vi, Robin, Kellen & Nate who served and helped Tom & Jo with the cleanup. Our next meal is Thursday, June 28.
Summer Camp Registration
2018 Youth Camps
Little Fry (k-2nd grade) June 8-10
Jr/Sr High (7th-12th grade) June 10-15
Elementary (3rd-6th grade) June 24-28
If you register AFTER May 20 you will be responsible for paying for your child’s camp fee in full. The church will reimburse you for the camp fee minus the late fee and BLFC registration fee (per Camper). The church needs a copy of your invoice showing the registration and payment before the refund will be issued.
Mission for months of April, May, June is Camp Quaker Heights scholarships
· July 13-19, 2018: Youth and Young Adult Board sponsored trip to Chicago July 13-19,
· August 1-3, 2018: Church Multiplication Conference at Barclay College (Haviland, Kansas)
LIBRARY LEDGE – Father’s Day
Fathers are Forever, Fathers of Influence, God’s Best for Father’s Success, The Kid-Friendly Dad, The Power of a Promise Kept, God’s Vitamin C for the Spirit of Men as well as many others. Say thank you to your father for all he does, and also thank your Heavenly Father as well.
Sometimes, all it takes is just ONE PRAYER to change everything
Friends Church, in Kingston, Jamaica, has begun refurbishing their annex to
house two mini-suites with sleeping quarters, private bathrooms, and kitchen
space. These suites will allow Friends in Kingston to offer reasonably priced
accommodations for travelers, which will in turn generate an income stream
for the church.
June 8-10: Little Fry Camp
June 10-15: Middle/High School Camp
June 17-22: Kaleo Academy
June 23-24: Quarterly Meeting at Sturgeon Bay, WI
June 24-28: Elementary Camp
July 1: IAYM Annual Reports to be
July 13-19: Youth and Young Adult
Board sponsored trip to Chicago
Aug 1-3: Church Multiplication
Conference at Barclay College
Sept 7-9: Family Camp @ CQH
Oct 5-7: Man Camp @ CQH
Oct 19-23: Pastor's Retreat
November 2-3: IAYM All Boards Retreat
Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends
Our Ministry Conference will kick off on Wednesday (7/25) with prayer and open worship at College Avenue Friends
Our evening worship service will take place at College Ave Friends at 6:30pm.
Thursday (7/26) will feature our board reports and General Meeting for Business
Friday (7/27) will highlight our annual memorial service in the morning, workshops in the afternoon and a recording service in the evening.
We wrap up on Saturday (7/28) with our annual Missions Banquet
Vacation Bible School
Our VBS Co-Directors this year are Dani Juncker, Alicia Daleske, and Mindy Hadley. We will share our VBS with New Providence Friends Church again this year.
2018 VBS dates:
The kick off well be held on Sunday, July 15 at the Union pool for a pool party and meal on the lawn. (in case of rain at the Clemons gym)
VBS will start on Monday, July 16 and be held through Friday, July 20th. Sunday, July 22-VBS children will perform some of their songs during worship. The monthly church potluck will follow worship (moved from the 3rd Sunday) so our VBS children and families can fellowship with us.
Times are: Kickoff-5:00-7:00pm (supper at 6:30pm)
VBS Times: July 16-20- 6:15-8:30pm
Supper will be provided each night of VBS
A Note from Mary Thury Office Administrator Iowa Yearly Meeting
Our office would like for each church to submit a brief (a page or less) of what's happening at your meeting. Give us praise reports, challenges you face, outreaches you endeavored on..etc.
Give us anything that shares the life of your meeting. Our shared stories give life to our yearly meeting and the people who fellowship with us. We will have these synopsizes available at our Yearly Meeting Ministry Conference.
Please send your report by July 16th! If you are unable to personally to handle this...please pass along to a member of your meeting to complete.