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Friday, June 17 - Devotional from Pastor John Hartman

June 17, 2022 | by: Rev. John Hartman | 0 comments

Posted in: Worship

“Grace When We Don’t Deserve It”
In his book, “Facing Your Giants,” Max Lucado tells of a man named, Rogers Cadenhead. Cadenhead is an author and a self-described “domain hoarder.” That is, someone who acquires Internet domain names with the idea of eventually selling them to interested parties. In 2005, when media outlets began reporting that “then” pope, John Paul II’s health was failing and, he was in his final hours, Rogers Cadenhead began working out possible names the “new” pope might choose.
Newly elected popes often take the name of previous popes, as a way of honoring them. So, Cadenhead did a little figuring, and bought a half-dozen domain names he thought the new pope might adopt. One of those guesses turned out to be a bullseye, when the new pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected and chose the papal name, Benedict XVI,  which Cadenhead had registered as – a few weeks earlier. Now, how he correctly narrowed it down and guessed the new pope’s name, nobody knows. But he did! He secured the domain before the Vatican knew they even needed it, – and soon his Web server started to buckle under the weight of an estimated 1,000 hits per minute.
The thing about domain names is they can be very lucrative if you secure the right one. A similar domain, for example, -- sold for more than $16,000 on eBay – and Cadenhead might have been tempted to sell his too, – for the right price. But, he said he wasn’t interested in making any money off his guess. He said at the time, “Whatever I decide,” it’s going to be guided by a desire not to anger 1.1 billion Catholics, -- and my grandmother.”
However, Cadenhead said even though he wasn’t looking to make any money off it, he would like “something” in exchange for giving up rights to the domain name. First, he said, he would like one of those big papal hats. Then, he said, he would like a free stay at the Vatican hotel.
And, most importantly, he said he wanted “absolution – no questions asked, for the things he did during the third week of March back in 1987.” Makes you wonder what happened that week, doesn’t it?
Well, I don’t know if Rogers Cadenhead ever got his absolution, but we all know that feeling of having something in our past we wished could just be wiped clean, forgiven, expunged from our record, like it never even happened! 
The Bible is about God’s pursuit of sinners, and how in the words of the Presbyterian pastor and author, Tim Keller, “God continually and persistently gives His grace to people who don’t deserve it, don’t even seek it, and who don’t appreciate it when they get it!”  
This Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day, I will continue my sermon series titled, “Majoring in the Minors.” All during these summer months, we will be learning about the minor prophets of the Old Testament. This week, we will be looking at the prophet, Hosea. Please join us in the sanctuary at either 8:00 am or 10:30 am. For the 10:30 service, we will also be broadcasting on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube.