By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Mark 8:22-26
Perhaps you are familiar with the story of the elephant and the blind men. Being unable to see the great animal, each man discerned it by touching a different part of its body. One, touching its side, announced that an elephant was like a wall. A second blind man felt the animal’s tusk and determined an elephant was more like a spear. Another grabbed its trunk and announced an elephant was like a thick snake. The next touched the elephant’s leg and pronounced elephants were like the trunks of trees. The fifth man touched its ear and said that elephants are like broad fans. The final man seized its tail and declared that all the rest were mistaken; an elephant is like a rope. That ancient parable from India reminds us that, when our vision is impaired, our perception can be skewed and our understanding can be compromised.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:4-18
We have all, I imagine, had times in our lives when we have felt dreadfully alone and discouraged. Recovering from my recent surgery, I’ve recalled times that I’ve been sick or in the hospital over the years. One of the worst came when we were living in Gary and I had a bowel obstruction. The pain was so intense. That afternoon, Britt took me to the ER. It was as rewarding as most ER trips are. It took forever. They did a scan and knew I had an obstruction but, somehow, they still discharged me after giving me some pretty heavy narcotics to dull the pain. We returned home late that evening and in the wee hours of the morning I woke Britt again in terrible pain. I couldn’t stand it. So, before it was even dawn, there we were, back at the ER. After a couple hours they administered an IV med. Now, I don’t recall what it was for or what it was called, but my body did not respond well to it. Britt had to pop back home to give our oldest dog her own medications and, while he was gone, I began to feel the most intense anxiety and claustrophobia I have ever felt in my life. I was in terrible physical pain and, now, intense emotional anxiety, lying there all alone on an ER bed, behind a curtain, too weak to move but desperately wanting to escape my own skin. I could hear people beyond that curtain but I felt like I could not endure one more moment alone and miserable.
We’ve all been there, right? Maybe not in the ER, but grieving the sudden, unexpected death of a friend or family member; a brutal betrayal beyond our wildest imagining; some extreme loss or feeling of desperation that we cannot rise above. Dreadfully alone and discouraged.
That must have been the experience of the prophet Elijah; feeling dreadfully alone and discouraged.
Matthew 13:1-19, 18-23
By Melissa Kramer
The first time I taught on this parable was for Vacation Bible School, I was the lead teacher for the 1st grade class. Which, to this day I can’t believe I agreed to teach the 1st-grade class - it was a large VBS program and I easily had 30 kids in my class. Only for 1 week, but oh my gosh it was exhausting. I don’t remember the other lessons from the week, but this one stands out to me. I think it may be because I can picture it, and the kids were also able to picture the parable in their minds, and because of that they were quiet. Some parables we have a hard time imagining. But, I can picture seeds, rocks, birds, thorns, and soil.
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