August 28, 2020
1 Peter 2:4-10
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,” and,
“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

New International Version (NIV)
During my middle school years, my family lived in a town near Frankfurt called Gross Gerau.  Up the cobblestone street, past the bakery on the left there was a narrow old street which turned uphill to the right.  Around the corner and through the gate we entered into a church yard and saw a towering gothic spire on a building hundreds of years old.  The grounds were well kept.  All the time we lived in the town its bells chimed out the time.  The building reminded me that our God travels.  He had been with us in the United States and he was with us in Germany. 

When I walk around Tallowood’s campus these days, the silence is deafening.  I remember and long to hear the sound of children singing in our classrooms again.  The smell of coffee and donuts has been gone for too long.  This Sunday we will begin to regather slowly.  The buildings have never been the church.  But they house our church well.  I wonder, who will we be when we come back together?

Peter wrote to the church scattered to remind them that no matter where they were, they were living stones connected to Jesus the cornerstone.  Some stumble over Jesus.  But not us.  We are his chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.  Once we didn’t even know each other.  But now we are the people of God together.  Once we didn’t know mercy.  But now God’s mercy has found us.  All the titles that belonged to Israel in the Old Testament, Peter ascribes to the people of God who comprise the church.  This is who we have been.  This is who we are.  This is who we will always be.  We live to declare the praises of the God who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

I never actually worshiped in the old gothic building in Gross Gerau.  My family went to an English speaking congregation a few villages away.  In a country filled with magnificent ecclesiastical edifices, we didn’t have our own building.  Our church rented an old dance floor above a bar.  There was no steeple or bells.  Wooden dividers provided the classrooms for children and youth.  There was a kitchen where they kept the banana pudding with the vanilla wafers.  While some of the buildings were empty, ours was packed with people.  We met there Sunday after Sunday and sang, “Because he lives I can face tomorrow.”  We held hands on Sunday night and sang, “There is a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.”  As we greeted each other we sang, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.”  Who did we think we were?  The church.  God was there, every time, right on time.  He still is. 
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for making us into your people and lavishing mercy upon us.  Remind us once again who we are as your chosen people.  Let us not forget your mercies which have saved us.  You know how we have missed singing together.  I thank you, though, that we still have a song.  When we come together, help us to sing to you with all of our hearts.  Help us never to take meeting together for granted.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:27-28
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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