Faith Words

Giving Your Treasure Back to God

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
October 19, 2014
“Giving Your Treasure Back to God “ (Treasures, part 3)

Matthew 6:1-6

Sometimes you’ll get the chance to be part of something bigger than yourself. Your name may not be mentioned and you may not hoist the trophy on the stage; but as the confetti falls, you will know that you played a role. It won’t matter that you’re not getting the glory; the glory is in knowing that you were a part of it.

I felt that way last week at the CROP Walk. As we prepared to begin our walk it was announced that as of that morning $7,100 had been pledged in on-line gifts. I thought about the pledges  that were  being turned in that day. It struck me that I was a part of something so much larger. Our local walk supports the global work of Church World Service and it benefits 2 local programs: Wilkinsburg Community Ministry and East End Cooperative Ministry. As we walked – as many of you contributed – we were touching the lives of people, most of whom we would never meet.

It is a powerful thing to know that my life can play a role bigger than me.

I am going to say two words, one at a time. As I say each word, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?

Ready. . .?

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The Problem With Two Masters

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
October 12, 2014
“The Problem With Two Masters” (Treasures, part 2)

Matthew 6: 24

Perhaps you have seen the license plates that show the phrase “A House Divided,” accompanied by the logos of two rival college football teams…like Pitt  and Penn State. That rivalry has been dormant since 2000, but will be renewed with the 2016 to 2019 schedule.

This phrase often reminds people of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech in 1858. Lincoln was speaking about a nation divided on the issue of slavery. What many people don’t know is that the line was not unique to Lincoln but that instead Lincoln was quoting Jesus.

Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:24-25 NRSV).

Jesus is telling us, in other words, that competing allegiances in a kingdom, a house, or a heart will lead to destruction. Division leads to war in which either there is constant strife or one side wins out.

Last week we were challenged to consider where we are investing our hearts. Our homework was to pay attention to where we spend our time, money, and energy. In other words, where our hearts are invested. To accomplish this task you probably examined your budget or our calendar.

We were also challenged to make a list of our top ten priorities – a vehicle that might help us align those priorities is to review – or create – a personal mission statement.  You may have discovered this task is quite challenging because we have to wade through so much stuff.  I invite you to come to the adult forum because we are going to talk about that task.

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Where Is Your Treasure?

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
October 5, 2014
“Where Is Your Treasure?” (Treasures, part 1)

Matthew 6:19-21

A pilot came on the intercom of his plane: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I have good news and bad. The bad news is that we’re lost. But, the good news is that we’re making excellent time!”  Some people don’t stop and ask directions when they’re lost, they just speed up… The Bible encourages us to check the map of God’s Word to see if we’re still on the right road.

That’s what we are going to be doing in the month of October.  We are going to stop and check the map.

Do you ever feel that the things you value and love get the least of your time, attention and money?  If you answer “yes” to that question you are not alone.  Many of us can answer yes to that question.   Our lives are filled with so much “stuff.”

It is important to set aside time to examine that “stuff” that is taking up our time, attention and money.

There is 2.3 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space in the United States. We have so much stuff that our homes can’t hold it. So what do we do…we rent a storage space. We neatly pack it with our valued possessions, close the door, put a lock on it.  After all, the contents are important things we saved for, deliberated over and purchased, stacked in that room . . . meaningful treasures that have been given to us.

At first you go by every week or so just to check in on it. There may be some things you discover you really need. But after a period of time paying for the rental of that storage space, do you know what most people discover? They don’t need the stuff that they have stored in the unit. 

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Just add water

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
September 28, 2014
“Just add water”

Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7

Most of us know how important water is to sustain life. We know it’s important for the animals in the field, the crops and for us as well. It provides nourishment and life. The human body is mostly water. We can survive without food for 40 days or more, but we can’t go long without water.

The people had been fed and they had been traveling through the wilderness, as God had commanded. But they still complained incessantly, this time about water. This was no small problem. There were a lot of people with flocks and herds, and the water supplies in the Sinai were very limited.

“Give us something to drink,” the people said. Their complaint was about water, but it was also about Moses being incompetent. Why did he get them out there where he couldn’t take care of them?

Actually, he probably could. Moses was an old desert hand and knew how to find water in the rocks. Water moves along the surface of impermeable layers. When it reaches an outcropping, as in the side of a canyon, it drips out. Minerals from the water are deposited and eventually seal up the hole from which the water drips. But you can always see where the hole was, and a sharp blow from a staff will open the hole again and bring water. In fact, Moses used exactly these skills near the end of their journey

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If Only…

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
September 21, 2014
“If Only…”

Exodus 16:2-15

But what have you done for me this week? This question is not new; the Hebrews under Moses’ leadership asked the same thing. Just a few weeks after rejoicing over their escape from Egypt and singing Moses’ (and God’s) praises, the Israelites were fearfully complaining of their discomfort in the wilderness.

“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt. There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve to death.”  (Exodus 16:3)

The wilderness was a place of hunger and death. In the Sinai peninsula food and water were in short supply. Egypt, on the other hand, was a place where there had been bread and meat. Israel had already forgotten the hardships of slavery and remembered only that there had been enough food to eat.

“If only we were back in Egypt…..”

That’s the way it works when we find ourselves in the wilderness- that place that is difficult –  the  place where we can’t see any way  out.

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Eyes of Faith

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

October 28, 2012

“Eyes of Faith”

Mark 10:46-52

Helen Keller, so brave and inspiring to us in her deafness and blindness, once wrote a magazine article entitled: “Three days to see.” In that article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight. It was a powerful, thought provoking article. On the first day she said she wanted to see friends. Day two she would spend seeing nature. The third day she would spend in her home city of New York, watching the busy city and the work day of the present. She concluded it with these words: “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.”

As bad as blindness is in the 20th century, however, it was so much worse in Jesus’ day. Today a blind person at least has the hope of living a useful life with proper training. Some of the most skilled and creative people in our society are blind. But in first century Palestine blindness meant that you would be subject to abject poverty. You would be reduced to begging for a living. You lived at the mercy and the generosity of others. Unless your particular kind of blindness was self-correcting, there was no hope whatsoever for a cure. The skills that were necessary were still centuries beyond the medical knowledge of the day. Little wonder then that one of the signs of the coming of the Messiah was that the blind should receive their sight.

When Jesus announced his messiahship, he said: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to recover sight to the blind.” The story this morning of the healing of blind Bartimaeus would suggest to us that there are three kinds of blindness. For a few moments this morrning let’s examine each.

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