Rev. David Banks Blogging for the Week of Oct 18th
2009-10-13 by David Banks

Hi! I am a proud father of two great kids, Ryan and Casey, married to an amazing wife, Amy. We have been in Arp since June of 2007. I grew up in Spring, TX and attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University. Axe'em Jacks! While in college, I received my call to ministry and went to Perkins School of Theology. I was ordained in as a Deacon in 1996. I was ordained as an Elder in 2000. Amy teaches here in Arp, and we love it here.

In my ministry, I have served both large churches and small churches, as a Sr. Pastor and as an Associate Pastor. I have had the opportunity to spend a summer working in Israel and a year working at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. Even my work in the church has afforded me a great chance to work with a diverse group of people. From Youth to Senior Adults and all ages between, my encounters with God's children has been a kaliescope of grace.

I love my family, writing(e-votionals and a blog), sports, the outdoors and hanging out with my kids. Fishing, of course, is always an incredible way to realx and recharge. My life has taken me many places, Greece, Canada, The British Virgin Islands, Israel, Germany, Austria and France and look forward to having it take me many more places. The Mediterranean, Greater Europe, Australia, The British Isles and the Pacific along with Hawaii are destinations we plan on visiting in the future. The phrases "life is short" and "it's a small world" are certainly phrases I can relate too.

Currently, I am working on my DMin at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, in Portland, OR.  The Semiotics and Future Studies Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program with Dr. Leonard (Len) Sweet emphasizes Jesus Semiotics, the theory and study of the signs and symbols associated with Jesus' work in the world now and in the future. I find this appropriate because if we are to communicate the Gospel faithfully, we are to GO and communicate TO, and not expect the listener to adjust their ears, but we must meet the “hearer” where they are. Communication is of vital importance.  I also believe that as Jesus taught in a way that was abductive, we too ought to utilize the forms of image and metaphor in our communication.
Also, I just got back in from seeing U2 in Dallas.

If you are in the area, come visit us.

Pain's End
2009-10-13 by Stephen Schuette

At our clergy conversation around these texts a friend suggested the book Hurt People Hurt People (Sandra Wilson, 2001).  The thesis is that the pain we inflict has its source in the pain that we’ve received.  Not knowing what else to do with it, and since it needs to go somewhere, we pass it on in a never-ending cycle.  As our discussion ranged we came up with many examples:   the tendency to define ourselves over against others, the ethnic and generational pain that is passed, to the booing of the first Hispanic NFL referee who called his first penalty in Spanish and was booed on Monday Night Football.  The list goes on.

The source of pain is in sin, or so the first story of the Bible suggests, as do many others.  And what is sin but the breaking of relationship?

Is it the goal of James and John to heal their inner pain by rising to the top, with Jesus, above others?  If so, Jesus turns it around, suggesting that true healing will only come in a new way of life in which the inflicting of pain is put to an end.  Rising to the top for Jesus depends on bending low.  And in the act of bending relationships are healed.  The suffering servant of Isaiah says, in essence, “The pain ends here.”  Jesus agrees.

What if we read Isaiah forward beyond a representation of Israel and even beyond a representation of Christ, to the New Community?  And what if we read the story of the relationship among the disciples forward toward the New Community as well?  We begin to see more clearly what Jesus desires for us.  The result is a new understanding of the sacredness we share in our relationships as the body of Christ.  The gathered community is itself a miracle representing a way of life that is permeated with a Holy purpose.  And the intention is the fulfillment of an old promise – that Israel exits for the healing of all the nations even as the Church exists for the healing of the world.

This larger vision, inspiring as it might be, is not enough for a sermon.  I’ll need to turn back to find a specific example or two of this healing.  And that fits the message of Jesus too:  don’t get lost in the grand scheme.  It’s about real-life servanthood in which risk is taken, pain even exposed but never passed forward.

This Week At
2009-10-12 by David Howell

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Post-Sermon Reflection and a Problematic Parishioner
2009-10-12 by David von Schlichten

I preached on persistence. I proclaimed that God is persistent with us in various ways, and our response is to be persistent with God. That is, often we are called to wait upon the Lord and to seek, knock, ask. Sometimes the wait is long, and other times God seems to rebuff us.

The rich man in the gospel is not persistent enough. He walks away from Jesus before hearing that, for God, all things are possible. If only the rich man had stuck around.

My parishioners responded well to this sermon overall. At least one said that he had never thought of the rich man's lack of persistence.

I have one parishioner who gives away money to television ministries and, as a result, does not have enough to pay the bills. This person is trying to secure a better place in heaven and heard the gospel as a confirmation of this strategy. I will be praying for this person and will be thinking about how to respond. I welcome input.

Thanks again to Matthew Flemming for guest blogging last week, and I praise God that Matt's children are doing all right healthwise.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Thank you...
2009-10-12 by Matthew Flemming

Thank you to everyone who read the blog this week. I hope that our conversation was helpful in your preperation. Perhaps one day I can take the lead of the blog again and walk through the steps I intended to get through this week. That said, it was a joy to wrestle with the topics we engaged this week. I appreciate your wonderful questions. As for me, the good news is, my boys are feeling better and our house no longer resembles an instant care clinic. My thanks to David Howell for providing me the opportunity to blog with you this week and to our excellent moderator, David von Schlichten, for sharing this site with me. Please feel free to e-mail me at if I can ever be of service to your ministry. Serving the servants is the core of my vocation. Until then, I cannot recommend highly enough the wonderful rescources on site. It is truly a treasure trove for the preperation of sermons. God bless.

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