Pastor Bob’s September Message

Dear people of God:

Since I have two things on my mind and I can’t decide which is more urgent, I’m going to write about both of them.

The first is to note that we are now two-thirds of the way through the year, meaning that we are two-thirds of the way through The Year of the Bible. I hope you’re still reading! It gets hard, doesn’t it? Many of us start a new discipline at the beginning of a year with great enthusiasm, but any discipline (whether it’s reading the Bible, practicing the piano, or working on your golf swing) can get awfully tedious. I hope you’re still at it, even if you’re behind or you find yourself skipping sections. Since we just finished Proverbs, I’m interested in hearing from you what your favorite Proverb was. I can’t pin down one favorite, but I have long appreciated this one: “Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (27:6)

The second is to add my caution to one you may often see on TV or the newspaper, although you may not often see it on the Internet. Beware of scams. Recently two of our staff got emails purporting to be from me, asking them to change their passwords and to send “me” their new ones. Fortunately, they looked at the email address and noticed that it wasn’t really from me. This sort of thing has been going on for some time. Years ago a staff member got an email from “me” asking her to buy gift cards for a worthy cause and to send the information to “me.” She checked it out with me – after all, my office is close by! – and it was a scam.

You may get emails claiming to be from a grandchild in prison, or from the IRS, or from your bank, or from a friend in a foreign country… you may get requests for money through Facebook… and you may, of course, get an email claiming to be from me and asking you for money. Always check it out. Don’t click on links in an email unless you are certain you know where it’s taking you; go to the appropriate website instead. Don’t buy gift cards or send money without checking if it’s legitimate. If it says it’s from me, don’t reply to the email; send a new email directly to my address. Phone or text me. My email address and cell number are in the church directory and have been published in the bulletin every Sunday for the last eight years. You have no excuse for not having them handy!

Smart people can easily get caught in scams, especially when, like you, they have a big heart. Jesus talked about the importance of being wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). When it comes to interpersonal relationships, be doves. When it comes to money: serpents. Please be careful.

Pastor Bob