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Choices, we all make ‘em. Sometimes they are fun in that we examine an array of choices and choose the most pleasant. Sometimes outside forces beyond our control demand that we make a choice, maybe even choosing between the best of unsavory options. Sometimes, our choices take courage and fortitude because they are not necessarily easy nor fun, but are the right thing to do.

In the first example, I (guilty pleasure) sometimes spend time in front of the ice cream case in the grocery store just looking. What do my taste buds crave? Where is my eye drawn? The anticipation of the choice is often as pleasurable as the choice itself. After all, what are a few thousand extra calories?

We are all being hammered by the second. We have seen inflation unlike that in our recent memories. Food has become way more expensive, it seems. How about your real estate assessment? Some are in the “donut hole” regarding your medication. Insurance? Utilities? Ouch.

We know there are two ways to balance a budget, increase revenue and cut expenses. (BTW; they know this in Washington too, but don’t have enough respect for us to tell us the truth, preferring to sprinkle fairy dust around—and we don’t have the gumption to demand better. But, that’s a topic for another day.)

Many of us are on fixed incomes and wonder how we are going to manage our expenses without a change in income. It seems, something has to give. These are tough, unwanted challenges.

Believe it or not, the Church is not immune. Insurance, utilities, repairs, you name it have all been impacted by the inflationary trend in our economy. Your church struggles with the same issues of revenue and expense as you.

This brings us to the third of the choices listed above. You have to eat, you have to pay taxes, you have to have utilities, and the dereliction of any has a direct, personal consequence. Can defer our contribution to the church? Yes you can without direct consequence. However…

…we are engaged in real ministry at NBUMC. Our vision of being Christ’s hands and feet in the world has not dimmed, especially in light of the hardship and hunger in our community, and especially as the culture wars are taking direct aim at a portion of our community and certainly, all our sense of what it means to be in God’s grace.

I know there are tough choices to be made in these economic times. But please remember, you are doing direct kingdom work. There is nothing more important.

Sunday we will continue in Paul’s letter to the Romans as we look at the second half of the sixth chapter. Not coincidentally, Paul continues to argue the relationship between status, that is, being justified in God’s grace, and our behavior as a result. We will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Thank you for being a laborer in the vineyard with me.

See you Sunday,


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