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Faith In the Storm

Luke stared at the stack of papers sitting in front of him. The last thing he wanted to do was close the Good Shepherd Ministry. He dreaded having to put out the press release saying that they were out of money and were no longer able to minister to the street people in the city. He knew that as soon as word got out all the people they had helped and the people in need would come looking for answers. He didn’t know what he was going to say to them. Truthfully, he didn’t know what to say.

“Hey neighbour,” Fran put a cup of coffee in front of him.

“Hey,” Luke looked up. “What’s this?”

“A dark blend from the place down the street.” Fran sat down across from him. “You looked like you could use it.”

“You heard then?”

“I guessed. I was over in my office dealing with a client when the Board of Directors filed out of here. From the looks on their faces I gather it didn’t go well. What happened?”

“They’re shutting us down.”

“I’m sorry,” Fran said.  “I know how much this ministry means to you.”

Luke sipped his coffee. “I thought I could make a difference.”

“I’m not around all the time but I thought you did make a make a difference.”

“I failed.” Luke shook his head. “I failed.”

Fran tilted her head. “How did you fail?”

“The ministry that was my dream, what I always wanted to do is now done. In the words of the Board of Directors it is ‘no longer viable’.”

“Again, I’m sorry.” Fran sipped her own coffee. “That must have been hard news to get.”

Luke nodded slowly. “I knew making this ministry work was going to be hard, but I thought I could make it work.”

Fran didn’t say anything.

Luke took a deep breath. “I guess I got over my head.”

“Anytime I popped over you seemed to be in crisis mode.”

“I was trying the best I could. I thought they would give me a little more time.”

“Why didn’t they?”

Luke picked up the financial report and handed it to her. “This is why.”

Fran looked over the numbers and whistled. “Yeah, I guess I can understand. If you were a client looking for advice, I would tell you to shut things down.”

“I know we needed money but I thought maybe a grant would tide us over.” Luke took the paper back. “We were turned down.”

“They saw your books?”

Luke nodded. “They said they couldn’t justify sinking money into this effort.”

“From a financial point of view, I can see that.”

“But this is a ministry. We were helping people who really have no where else to turn.” Luke paused and slumped back in his chair. “I guess it’s really over.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

“Fran,” Luke whispered. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“Just because this outreach isn’t going to continue doesn’t mean that there aren’t still people in need. Find another ministry to pursue.”

Luke shook his head. “I think I’m finished.”

Fran put down her coffee. “Why?”

Luke threw up his hands. “I’m a failure. I did what I was sure Jesus wanted and I ruined everything. I don’t have enough faith I guess.”

“Enough faith?” Fran frowned. “I wish I had half your faith. I mean you started Good Shepherd Ministry from nothing and ran a whole year reaching out into the streets with the good news. That takes a lot of faith.”

“But I failed. All of this was for nothing.”

Fran looked at her friend for a moment. “Do you remember the Bible story of Peter trying to walk on water?”

“Sure. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, tried to do it himself and failed. He didn’t have enough faith.”

“When didn’t he have enough faith?”

Luke paused for a second to think. “When he saw the storm and his feet, he felt overwhelmed and he sank. That’s when he cried out to Jesus to save him.”

Fran nodded. “Which is when Jesus asks Peter why he doubted.”

“Yeah, that’s the story.”

“So let me ask you again. Did Peter not have enough faith when he failed to walk on water or did Peter not have enough faith when he cried out in fear as he was sinking? Was Jesus talking about his doubt at failing to do something he’d never done before or his doubt that Jesus would save him?”

Luke opened his mouth and closed it. He thought for a few minutes as Fran sipped her coffee.

“So in other words I should trust in Jesus to save me even when I am sinking because of my own failure.”

“Exactly. If you believe Jesus can save you why do you look to your failure instead of what he can do for you?” Fran looked at her watch. “Still want that drive home?”

Luke nodded and his friend went back to her office. He looked at the pile of papers again and took a deep breath. He started to pray. “Lord Jesus, the storms are raging around me...”
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The Immediate Word

Thomas Willadsen
Dean Feldmeyer
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Katy Stenta
George Reed
Bethany Peerbolte
For May 9, 2021:
  • One Nation Under God? by Tom Willadsen — What would the United States look like if we truly were “one nation under God?” What would it be like to live in a place where everyone was treated as one who has been “born of God?”
  • Dying Is Easy by Dean Feldmeyer — Dying is easy; living the gospel is hard.


John E. Sumwalt
Frank Ramirez
“Waking Up to Racism” by John Sumwalt
“Twists and Turns” by Frank Ramirez

Waking Up to Racism
by John Sumwalt
Psalm 98

Let the floods clap their hands;
    let the hills sing together for joy
 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity.
(vv. 8-9)

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Kalas
In the mid-1960s, a popular song declared, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of.”1 It was an era of both national and international unrest. And the American landscape was reeling from the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and opposition to both. Amidst headlines so marked by unrest and division, therefore, the sentiment of the song struck a chord with an American audience. 
Bill Thomas
Mark Ellingsen
Frank Ramirez
Bonnie Bates
Acts 10:44-48
Prejudice is always wrong. Nat King Cole is a well-known artist who was the first African American to host his own national television program. In 1948, he purchased a beautiful home in an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood. When the local neighborhood association confronted him and informed him it didn’t want any undesirables to move in, Cole responded, “Neither do I. If I see any coming in here, I’ll be the first to complain.” He lived in that house until his death in 1965.


John Jamison
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (vv. 9-12)

Hi, everyone! (Let them respond.)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Call to Worship:

Jesus gave up his life for us. In our worship today let us explore how to love one another as he has loved us.

Invitation to Confession:

Jesus, sometimes our love for each other is thin and pale.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes we pretend to love but fail to care.
Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes we don't know how to love.
Lord, have mercy.


John E. Sumwalt
Jo Perry-sumwalt
One evening, when I was 26 years old, beleagered by guilt for acknowledged sins, I was deep into an hour-long prayer of repentance. In despair, I grieved that I had broken the commandments and that I was not worthy of God's love.

Near me lay the Bible, unused and unfamiliar. I had never, ever read from the Bible. Yet my hands reached out and took the Bible to open it. I knew not where, nor why. But my hands knew the way. They opened to John 15:9-11 and as my eyes began to read, my mind knew the meaning with clarity. My eyes read verse 10 first:
Mark Ellingsen
Theme of the Day
God's love brings us together.

Collect of the Day
It is noted that God has prepared great joy for those who love Him. Petitions are then offered that such love may be poured into the hearts of the faithful so that they may obtain these promises. Justification as a reward for our deeds (love) is communicated by this prayer.

Psalm of the Day
Psalm 98
Stan Purdum
(See Christmas Day, Cycles A and B, for alternative approaches.)

Richard E. Gribble
Once upon a time a great and powerful king ruled over a vast territory. There was something very strange about this kingdom, however -- everything was the same. The people ate the same food, drank the same drink, wore the same clothes, and lived in the same type of homes. The people even did all the same work. There was another oddity about this place. Everything was gray -- the food, the drink, the clothes, the houses; there were no other colors.

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