How's Your Whittling?
How's Your Whittling?

John A. Murphy, Jr. • August 12, 2020

We all have those verses in the Bible that just convict us again, and again, and again, and again... you get the idea. One passage that has always convicted me is from Matthew 7:1-5. I've summarized it in my own head reminding myself, "I need to be a better whittler."


You see (whether I like to admit it or not) I, like most people, can be really good at seeing little faults here and there in others. It's interesting to note that the Bible does not encourage us in this at all; instead the Bible reminds us to take a look in the mirror at ourselves. "First take the log out of your own eye..."


There is something so keystone cops about the visual here. Imagine if I did have a log protruding from my eye. Every time I turned my head I'd be smacking people upside the head with it, whether intentionally or not. Much like the keystone cops and the still hilarious "ladder routine". We watch them, and we think, "How can they be so blind to their actions?" and yet we too recognize in ourselves that we are often blind to the ways in which our words and actions impact others.


As the inequality and systemic racism of our culture has come to the forefront in our so called Great American Society, the log in my own eye has become increasingly clear to me. I've spent time listening to people with different shades of melanin than mine, and am learning more and more how differently these friends and others have experienced our world. I'm seeing how the log in my eye has blocked my view.


So, I'm whittling. I'm creating space for the Light of the world to get in. It's actually less of me creating the space and more about me surrendering to our Creator and allowing God to create the space. I'm reading more about different perspectives of race; I'm engaging in intentional conversations about race and the inequalities of our life experience. I'm being very intentional to listen and to be honest it sometimes takes everything within me not to say, "But..." and to discount and judge what I'm being told. This is because these conversations are not comfortable.


It's not just about race. It can be about any social, religious, political, or philosophical idea we might hold. Like it or not, we ALWAYS think our opinion is right. Otherwise, why would we hold them? And still, we will admit we're not always right. And so the question comes, "How do you know?" "How do you know whether your opinion is right or wrong?"


In college a professor informed our class that we all prejudge, and then asked if prejudice was wrong. We all agreed that prejudice was wrong and many disagreed with the statement that we all prejudge. What is the difference between prejudgment and prejudice?


Prejudgment is what we all do when we first encounter someone. We approach them with a general belief of who they are and what their experience has been. I prejudge that a child will not be able to understand complex words and so I speak to them with simple words. It's an action of our adjustment to our perception of a person or situation. Prejudice is where we assume our prejudgment to be absolute and correct. They tend to be all or nothing statements. There is no room for change or correction. "All black/white people are..." "All democrats/republicans are..."


No one would pridefully say they are prejudice. It's a shameful thought. Yet, if we take a serious look at ourselves in self-examination, we will see at least a glimpse of the log in our own eye. As we begin whittling on that log and allowing the Light of Christ in, a world we were blind to begins to be revealed. The more of the log that is removed, the clearer we can see ourselves reflected in the mirror in the Light of Jesus. It drives us to a place of humility. "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you," (James 4:10).


I'm whittling on my log, not only for my own benefit. It's because when the time comes that you would like help to remove the speck from your eye, that I can see clearly to help you. As a christian, we are all called to do the same. So, how's your whittling?


“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."


 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 7:1–5). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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Join Us for Church on Sunday!
Join Us for Church on Sunday!

MISSION WOODS CHURCH • August 07, 2020

We've had a few technical difficulties each Sunday, but we were so excited to see so many of our MWC family and others. You are invited to church again this Sunday! Each week we get better at this thing.


Who: You!

What: Worship of our LORD

When: Sundays @ 10am

Where: Mission Woods Church Parking Lot

Why: Because we love Jesus, each other, and our community

How: By the grace of God and the wonders of modern technology.

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Drive-Thru COMMUNION
Drive-Thru COMMUNION

MISSION WOODS CHURCH • August 01, 2020

This Sunday, August 2nd, is Communion Sunday for us at Mission Woods. We've been away for far too long, so let's come together in a safe way.


We're going to have a drive-thru communion. We will worship together from the safety of our own vehicles. You will be able to listen to the service through your radio station, and sing along with Cami for our music. Pastor John will deliver a Communion Message (his series on James continues on our website), and then you will be able to participate in communion in a safe way for everyone.


Don't miss this opportunity for us to be together again. We look forward to seeing you at church this Sunday.


Who: Believers in our Lord Jesus Christ - all are welcome.

What: Communion service

When: 10:00am, Sunday August 2, 2020

Where: Mission Woods Church parking lot

How: By the grace of God

Why: Because you are the disciple Jesus loves!


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When Can We Open?
When Can We Open?

MISSION WOODS CHURCH • July 13, 2020

As you are no doubt aware, Pierce County is in Phase 2 and this has allowed many churches to begin to think about or to re-open. Mission Woods Church is not open at this time. Our congregation continues to have our sermons and Bible Studies online. Please visit our website missionwoodschurch.org to listen to sermons and see what is happening at the church. If you'd like to join the online Bible Study - please send an email to info@missionwoodschurch.org with BIBLE STUDY in the subject line.


The building has been opened for smaller groups that will meet in the largest meeting space (the sanctuary) physically distanced. The nursery will remain closed. Groups that meet must do so according to the guidelines posted through the building, including disinfecting surfaces before and after any meetings.


Our church leadership is preparing for when we will be able to reopen the building for worship and group meetings again. We will open the building following the CDC and the Governor’s office's guidelines and can keep everyone safe.


Our elders with the guidance from health professionals has considered the list of guidelines from the Washington State CDC as well as the Pierce County Health department and made the decision we will reconsider a reopening date once Pierce County has entered phase 3. We thank you for your patience.

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When will we re-open?
When will we re-open?

MISSION WOODS CHURCH • June 07, 2020

Though Pierce county has now entered Phase 2, the Mission Woods Presbyterian Church building is not open at this time. No groups are able to meet in the building for now. We all want to get back together as soon as possible. At the same time we as a faith community are called to care for one another and that may include remaining apart to protect the most vulnerable among us.


Our church leadership is preparing for when we will be able to reopen the building for worship and group meetings again. We will open the building following the CDC and the Governor’s office's guidelines and can keep everyone safe.


Our elders with the guidance from health professionals has considered the list of guidelines from the Washington State CDC as well as the Pierce County Health department and made the decision we will reconsider a reopening date once Pierce County has entered phase 3. We thank you for your patience.

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