First Congregational Church UCC
220 West Lyon Avenue
Lake City, Minnesota 55041
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SUNDAY,  MAY 8, 2022

Good Morning!  

Credit goes to Mothers.  

They share their love and wisdom.
They share their faith.  

Their children do the same.  

And on it goes.

Credit goes to two mothers who influenced our Christian faith.  

They shaped a boy named Timothy.  

-Pastor David 
These two words have rung across history for nearly 2000 years and still carry the hope of God's love, the promise of Christ's presence, and the belief in life after death.  

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Thank you for your generous support. 

If you cannot attend worship you can continue to make financial contributions to our church through electronic transfer, and through checks in the mail.  

Thank you for your generosity!  
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First Congregational Church UCC
114 North Oak Street
Lake City, MN  55041
Here Is Today's Message

"Credit Goes To A Mother's Faith"
A message from
Rev. David S. Badgley
May 8, 2022

     To celebrate Mother's Day, I looked on the Internet and found this great quote.  
   Then I found another quote on the Internet.
     Then I found another quote from Abe. 
     And I found another quote from George.
      Wait, how can George and Abe have the same exact quote, and how did they know anything about the Internet, and how did they know there are pictures with quotes next to them?
      Then I found this,
     You get the point.
     The Internet is a questionable place to find who gets credit for what. 
     Who said what?  When was it said? Is it real? Is it fake?  Wasn't that a quote by George Lincoln?  Or was it Abraham Washington?
     The Internet can be a very factual, fictional, fanciful and funny place! 
     As it turns out, the first two quotes crediting two mothers for nurturing faith, morality, and personal strength really do come from our first president, George Washington, and our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, speaking about their own mothers.  The contribution of their mothers went all the way to the White House, and to our nation.
     And just like those quotes from Abe and George, there is a quote in the Bible that credits two mothers for nurturing faith, morality, and personal strength.  And the contribution of those mothers went all the way to the Christian faith, and to our world.  
   The Bible quote mentions both mothers by name.  It says this, 

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 
2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

     Those words are attributed to the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, written around the year 63.  And just as with quotes on the Internet, quotes in the Bible require discernment when it comes to their sources and authenticity.  
     For instance, Biblical scholars know that the apostle Paul did not write all of the New Testament letters attributed to him. The style, grammar and vocabulary of some of the letters differs from the authentic letters of Paul. 
     As for Paul's two letters to Timothy, there is no dispute that they are authentically Paul's writings. They are among Paul's most personal words, expressing how he considers Timothy to be like his own son. Paul begins his first letter to Timothy with these words, 

To Timothy, my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.  
1 Timothy 1:2 (NIV)

     Paul mentions his father and son relationship with Timothy in his letter to the church in Philippi, Greece. Paul writes,  
But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
Philippians 2:22 (NIV)
     Paul met Timothy while traveling across the Mediterranean.  After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul had a spiritual encounter with the Risen Christ.  
     Paul then became a missionary and made extensive journeys by land and by sea to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  
     Paul covered enormous territory in three different journeys between the years of 46 to 58.   After establishing communities of Christian believers, Paul wrote letters to them to instruct and to inspire. It helped to bridge the distance.
     It was during Paul's second missionary trip in about the year 49 when he went to Derbe and Lystra (located in modern-day Turkey) where he met Timothy.  The book of Acts tells us, 

Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy.  His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium.   
Acts 16:1-2 (NLT)

     Timothy is identified as a young disciple, which means he is a follower of the way of Jesus. Timothy’s mother is identified as a Jewish believer, which means she is Jewish and believes in Jesus as the Messiah. Timothy’s father is identified as a Greek, which likely means he is not Jewish. 
     Timothy is described as having a favorable reputation among the other Jewish believers in nearby communities.  Apparently, Timothy’s love for God and people and his dedication to the way of Jesus was evident to others. They thought well of him.  
      So, Paul enlisted Timothy to accompany him on his missionary travels. That is when Paul saw firsthand how powerful and deep Timothy’s faith really was. 
     I imagine Paul and Timothy had conversations about their upbringing and how their individual faith was shaped.  Timothy must have shared how his mother taught him about God’s love, and how she told him that he belonged to God and was to live his life for God. Timothy also must have talked about his grandmother, and how she influenced his faith.   
     I think those conversations remained in Paul's heart, and they came to mind while he was writing his second letter to Timothy. He wrote,

     Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.
     I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.  This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:3-7 (NLT)

     Paul's words are a touching tribute to a mom's influence on her child, which happens from one generation to the next.  Paul gives credit to Eunice for nurturing the faith of her son, Timothy. Paul gives credit to Lois for nurturing the faith of her daughter, Eunice. 
     Then Paul reminds Timothy where his personal greatness came from - it came from his mother and grandmother. Their faith now lives in Timothy, and he is to nurture the growth of that faith in himself, just as he nurtures it in others as he works with Paul in the mission field.  
     Paul's encouragement to Timothy is a popular inspirational passage that appears on various signs and merchandise.  
     Paul says those words directly after he gives credit to mothers for nurturing the faith of their children.  
      In every century mothers inspire some really good quotes!  
     Timothy was so powerful in his work with Paul to spread the Gospel of Jesus, the Christian church reveres him as a saint.  He is St. Timothy.  
     And that made me think there might be some noteworthy quotes by St. Timothy to be found on the Internet.  
     I was hoping to find a quote Timothy made about his mother, Eunice, in the same way Lincoln and Washington made quotes about their moms.  
     So, I went to the Internet to see what I could find.
     As usual, there were errors. The quotes that were attributed to St. Timothy were actually quotes taken from Paul's letters to Timothy.  They’re Paul’s words, not Timothy’s words.  
     Both Lincoln and Washington warned us, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it.”
     That’s okay.  Even if I couldn’t find quotes from Timothy, Paul has some pretty amazing things to quote, such as these loving words in his second letter to Timothy.
     Paul writes this message to Timothy while Paul is sitting in prison in Rome, awaiting his imminent death under the Roman Emperor Nero, around the year 64 or 67.  Paul says, 
     But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured...But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.
     You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
2 Timothy 3:10-11, 14-17 (NLT)
     For centuries of time mothers have taught their children Scripture and wisdom.
     Mothers have equipped their children to do every good work.
     Credit goes to Mary Ball Washington for shaping her son, George, who shaped our country. 
     Credit goes to Nancy Hanks Lincoln for shaping her son, Abraham, who shaped our nation.
     Credit goes to Lois for shaping her daughter, Eunice, who shaped her son, Timothy, who shaped our Christianity.
     Credit goes to a mother's faith.

-Pastor David
Click here for previous Sunday Morning Reflections
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