Back Into the Fold

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September 10, 2017. In Matthew 18, Jesus offers a four-point plan for combating evil in the congregation, the last step of which is to treat offenders as gentiles or tax collectors. Times are different and the plan doesn’t seem to apply to us today. But Pastor Penny asks us what we can take away from it. She points out that Jesus’ method of dealing with gentiles and tax collectors was to befriend them, to bring them back into the fold. We are all troublemakers of one sort or another. But Jesus died so that we don’t have to be removed from his community.

*** [Keywords: 1970s 2017 Cast Away movie Christ Lutheran Church Christian communities everywhere God Jesus Jews Matthew 18:15-20 Pastor Penny Holste Tom Hanks accessbile air conditioned homes anger angry answer any congregation at all appreciate it architects ashamed back into eternal joy back into the fold baptism brought build the kingdom call someone causes separation champion of justice and kindness change people’s behavior cheater children of Israel chosen to follow Jesus coat of righteousness colleage combat combat evil in congregation community constantly befriend them convince troublemaker crave community daughter dear friend defend defended the man desperate for community desserter dialog didn’t stay long died dieting disciples and followers disowned by families doesn’t listen doesn’t stick to diet earbuds earphones emojis emotion excommunicate face the people far deeper fill in the floor find different congregation four point plan front porches funeral gay given out of love grandparents grew up in hard hard work having been transformed he is with us hear it in voice hurt very communities hurtful hurting inclination individualism intact jokes leave in a huff less appreciation of community light in refrigerator lose weight keeps finding me love them back meant to have midnight snacks meeting of members met in people’s homes middle class society much more equal music new family no ordained leader non believer not easy thing to do not get involved not my problem not welcome one or two other people one sort or another open to criticism open to returning ostracized our own our society out of line paints face on volleyball pastor planning precious protect quiter refuge rejoin community rely on his help reminds us remodel of Mead Center removed from his community school see what they lost self sufficiency selfish desires sense responsibility sent away separate ourselves sermon serving in small town several feet below ground level shared support and love shared wisdom small social media some people cared something mean something we miss stand up against staying with plan step four 4 step one 1 step three 3 step two 2 stop making trouble synagogues system take away from Gospel talk on phone talk privately tax collector tearing apart tell whole congregation texting things happen in community transformed treat as gentile troublemaker try to hurt others ugly words uncomfortable unfairness unfriend use here today wanted to fire washed ashore washed our sins away washed out to sea we are all troublemakers we need and love what a gift where they belong where to put the ramp whole point words or actions work as intended today workplace writer of Matthew wrongdoer is important]