Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

The Sermon on the Mount and Beyond….!”

Today’s study takes us initially to the kitchen, and with the subject matter being “SALT”.

Now, I’m a real aficionado when it comes to the kitchen. Back in 2002 when I was pastoring my first charge in a small town called Beaver Meadow, NY, my wife suddenly developed cancer. She would need surgery and as a result would be bedridden for several weeks following the surgery. [BTW – that cancer no longer exists, PTL!] The church ladies asked if they could help to make meals while my bride was recovering. I wisely said, “I’ve got it all taken care of! We’ll have hot dogs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and we’ll have hamburgers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Sundays? Oh then we’ll have leftovers. I’ve got it all taken care of!” Needless to say, the kind ladies and their families fed us well! They were behaving like “the salt of the earth.”

So, what does that expression mean, anyhow?


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Week Fifteen, 2021


We have a Bonsai tree and it adorns our morning room table. It is a beautiful reminder of how it became what it is. The object is a bonsai tree, all of less than a foot tall. It is a perfectly formed tree, yet its growth beyond a foot is intentional stunted by the clipping of its roots.

It has been a Japanese form of art dating back more than a thousand years. The trees are a miniature replica of a fully grown tree. They look the same as a fully grown tree, only smaller. The secret is when they begin to sprout as a seedling, they are planted in a shallow container and their roots are pruned and trimmed whenever they begin to grow. When they reach dwarf maturity, then are planted in a pot that prohibits their roots from growing.

I had not thought of how that depicts a journey of faith, until one evening during our dinner I looked at the little tree and saw a spiritual parallel.

Have you Been pruned and trimmed?


“Resurrection Morning …”

When the artist’s two little boys first saw this painting, they ran from the room in stark terror. When a Bible college professor saw it, he was offended because the man seen kneeling in the grass was naked. When the artist’s wife saw the painting, she understood that these men had made their decisions. One was clothed in the righteousness of Christ alone, and the other had chosen the path of death.

But look deeper!


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