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06.23.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

No one likes regret. Regret can pierce through any moment–even the most joyful–and turn us into a ball of nerves. Regret can turn our beds into time machines that take us back years or even decades to a remorseful word or action or missed opportunity and keep us awake at night. How can we face the truth about ourselves in a way that leads to joy instead of regret? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series on 2 Corinthians.

 

 

REFLECTION:

The best testimony to the truth of the gospel is the quality of our life together.

—Christine Pohl

All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.

—C.S. Lewis

 

In God’s Home there is an everlasting party… The choirs of angels keep eternal festival, for the eternally present face of God is joy never diminished.  

—St. Augustine

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

   whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

   and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

 

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

   through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

   my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

 

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,

   and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

   and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

 

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly

   offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

surely in the rush of great waters,

   they shall not reach him.

7 You are a hiding place for me;

   you preserve me from trouble;

   you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

 

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

   I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

   which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

   or it will not stay near you.

 

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

   but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

   and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

 

2 Corinthians 7:2-13

2 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.
And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

silent confession

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Blest is the soul that’s free from deceit—
No need to hide what he says from what he means.
Blest is the heart forgiven by love,
Whose every fault our good Lord covers up.

Long I disguised and buried my shame;
Ran through the night and I groaned through the day.
Shelter I sought where I thought I was safe,
But oh silent soul, how you wasted away!

Then at last I told all my sins,
And with shouts of joy, lovin’ arms drew me in
To my one true safe place:
In the love of God and the family of grace!

So listen up, if you truly want to live:
Do not hide alone in the dark like this one fool did.
Be not like the mule as he fights against the reins.
Come let your broken heart be bound by grace!

Words and Music: © 2016 Wendell Kimbrough. CCLI Song #7064730.

06.16.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

Dire circumstances make hope difficult. They often crush us down as we brace for the worst. Pessimism, it seems, is safer than hope. Yet Paul tells the Corinthians to not lose heart, even in the shadow of death itself. How is this possible? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series on 2 Corinthians.

 

 

REFLECTION:

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

—C.S. Lewis

 

The Christian lives in the present, off the fat of the future, because of the past.  

—Rev. Ron Lutjens

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 64:1-8

1 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
2 as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

 

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 16-18

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to glory of your Name. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Eternal Weight of Glory
Now the days and hours and moments
Of our suff’ring seem so long;
And the toilsome wait and wond’ring
Threaten silence to our song.
Now our pain is real and pressing
Where our faith is thin and weak,
But our hope is set on Jesus;
And we cling to him, our strength.

Oh eternal weight of glory!
Oh inheritance divine!
We will see our Lord redeeming
Every past and future time.
All our pains will be transfigured,
Like the scars of Christ our Lord.
We will see the weight of glory,
And our broken years restored.

Chorus:
For behold! I tell a myst’ry:
At the trumpet sound we’ll wake
“Death is swallowed up in vict’ry!”
When we meet our King of Grace
Every year we thought was wasted
Every night we cried “How long?”
All will be a passing moment
In our Savior’s vict’ry song

We will see our wounded Savior.
We’ll behold him face to face;
And we’ll hear our anguished stories
Sung as vict’ry songs of grace.

Words and Music: © 2015 Wendell Kimbrough.

06.09.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

This Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost–the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church in an extravagant and miraculous way. Is the Holy Spirit still at work among us? What is it doing? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series on 2 Corinthians.

 

REFLECTION:

For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as mythical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man…Some day a man will walk into my office as a ghost or beast or ghost-beast and walk out as a man, which is to say sovereign wanderer, lordly exile, worker and waiter and watcher.

—Walker Percy

 

SCRIPTURE:

Acts 2:1-11

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, [the disciples of Jesus] were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:1-7; 16-21

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Our God, we come in humility, confessing who and what we are.
We are often unresponsive, for we are afraid.

When your Spirit speaks,

we turn deaf ears, for we fear what you might call us to do.

When your Spirit touches our lips,

we close our mouths, embarrassed to speak your Word.

When the wind of your Spirit blows,

we close the windows of our hearts, afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives.

When the fire of your Spirit touches us,

we quench the flame, afraid of the new life it might bring.

Forgive us, O Lord. Amen.

06.02.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

How do we find comfort in our suffering? How do we comfort others in a way that is genuine and heart-felt? Come hear what Paul says about the comfort God supplies in our first sermon in our series on 2 Corinthians.

 

REFLECTIONS:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.

―C.S. Lewis

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head.

—William Cowper

 

SCRIPTURE:

Acts 1:1-11

1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when [Jesus]  was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.  

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty God, you raised Jesus from death to life and crowned him Lord of all. We confess that we do not always bow before him or acknowledge his rule in our lives. We have gone along with the ways of the world and failed to give him glory. We have refused to see our suffering as a sharing in his own suffering.

(silent confession)

Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may live as your faithful people, Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

1. Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears,
Home after wandering, praise after tears.
 
2. Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain;
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.
 
Weeping may remain for a night
But joy arrives in morning’s new light
I’ll praise the God of merciful plight
Still I will praise him,
still I will praise him, my God.
 
3. Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb;
After long agony, rapture of bliss,
Right was the pathway, leading to this.
 
You give and you take away
In darkness still I will say:
“A good God I serve this day.”
Still I will praise you, still I will praise you.
 
from Our Strivings Cease, released November 18, 2018 Words: Frances Ridley Havergal, 1879 (verses); Zac Hicks, 2008 (chorus & bridge) Chorus & Bridge based on Psalm 30:5 & Job 1:21 Music: Zac Hicks, 2009 (c)2009 Unbudding Fig Music (ASCAP)

05.26.2019

   

SERVICE SUMMARY:

Comparisons rarely inspire; more often they lead to shame or pride. Who has God uniquely called you to be? And how will you find faith to endure the path to which he has called you? Join us this week as we look at the Apostle Peter’s call from the risen Jesus.

   

REFLECTIONS:

No one is told any story but their own.

― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

[O]ne of the simplest and most popular distractions we have developed so as not to have to cope with the truth about ourselves is to spend time and energy looking at others and their failings.

—Rowan Williams

Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

—Regina Brett

   

SCRIPTURE:

Judges 6:11–24a

Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him,“The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”

So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. And the angel of God said to him,“Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace.

 

John 21:18–25

18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

   

CONFESSION OF SIN

God of mercy, whose Son, Jesus Christ, longs to embrace us in his love,

We confess that we have been wayward children.
We have disobeyed your commands and ignored your mission;
Our ears have been deaf to your call and our hearts have been cold to your love.

(silent confession)

Father, we confess that we have hurt others and dishonored your name.

We have been selfish and self-reliant.
We have hoarded our gifts instead of using them to bless others.
We have failed to reflect your love to the watching world.

(silent confession)

Lord, have mercy on us, and forgive us for our sins.

Receive us again as your well-beloved children,
not because we are worthy, but for the sake of Christ
who loved us and gave himself for us.

Amen.

05.19.2019

   

SERVICE SUMMARY:

We tend to lead with our strengths and put forward our highlight reel in public life. “Look how great I am,” we say to the world. Yet it’s our failures and regrets that keep us up at night. “If I were truly known, I’d surely be rejected,” we think. What does Jesus think of our failures and mistakes? Will he still love us even when we’ve failed him? Join us this Sunday as we look at the Apostle Peter’s relationship to Jesus.

   

REFLECTIONS:

Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.

—Westminster Confession of Faith

If there is to be reconciliation, first there must be truth.

―Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.

―Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

   

SCRIPTURE:

2 Samuel 9:1-11

And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” 7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table, like one of the king’s sons.

 

John 21:1–19

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?”They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards[a] off.

9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

   

CONFESSION OF SIN

O Lord, great God,
all holy, Father most gracious,
filled with mercy and steadfast love,
we are embarrassed to come before you,
for we have preferred the ways of this world to your ways

Lord, have mercy.

for we have rebelled against your wisdom
and we have gotten into trouble,

Lord, have mercy.

for we have rejected your fatherly guidance
and have gotten lost altogether.

Lord, have mercy.

To you belongs righteousness, O Lord,
and to us confusion of face.

Lord, have mercy.

O Lord, great God,
all holy, filled with awe,
Father, most gracious,
filled with mercy and steadfast love,
incline your ear to our troubles.
Hear us when we pour out our sorrows before you.

Lord, have mercy.

Forgive us,
not on the ground of our own righteousness,
but on the ground of your great mercy
found in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Savior and the mediator of the covenant of grace.

Lord, have mercy.

05.12.2019

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

If there is anyone in the gospels that most modern people feel they can relate to it is Thomas. Some of us, like Thomas, feel we need empirical evidence to be able to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. Others of us simply know what it is like to place conditions on God: “Unless … I will never believe.” But this story is given to us not so that we can relate to Thomas’ doubts, but to his faith. Come this Sunday and find out how Jesus challenges our objections and shows us how those objections are overcome.

   

REFLECTIONS:

There are two ways to look at the world, through faith and superstition, or through the rigors of logic, observation, and evidence—in other words through reason.

—Richard Dawkins

All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B.… Every doubt, therefore, is based on a leap of faith.

—Tim Keller

   

SCRIPTURE:

1 Peter 1:3-27

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time[a]the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

 

John 20:24–31

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[a] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

   

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty God, in raising Jesus from the grave, you shattered the power of sin and death.

Yet we confess that we still live in doubt and fear, participating in behavioral patterns that lead to death.

We often overlook the poor and the hungry and pass by those who mourn;

We can be deaf to the cries of the oppressed and indifferent to calls for peace;

We despise the weak and abuse the earth you made.

silent confession

Forgive us, God of mercy.
Help us to trust your power to change our lives and make us new,
that we may know the joy of life abundant through Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.

Amen.

   

SONG TO CONSIDER

05.05.2019

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

Last week we were reminded that in every gospel, the response to the resurrection was to go out on mission. And we were also reminded that fear is a major factor preventing this response. How do we overcome such fears? Join us this week as we see how the presence of the resurrected Christ gives us the resources we need to go out into the world with the power and love of Jesus.

   

REFLECTION:

If the Resurrection of Jesus actually happened, then nothing else really matters. If the Resurrection of Jesus did not actually happen, then nothing else really matters.

—Jaroslav Pelikan

It is the mission of Jesus himself which, through the Spirit, is perpetuated in the mission of the church…. It follows that in the apostolic mission of the church … the world is veritably confronted not merely by a human institution but by Jesus, the Son of God.

—C.K. Barrett

The convex of the concave Resurrection is mission, and the two have to happen almost exactly together, on the same day, because this Great Miracle requires this Great Mission, immediately and urgently.

—Frederick Dale Bruner

   

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 48:12–17, 20

12
“Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13
My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
14
“Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15
I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16
Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.
17
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
20
Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”

 

John 20:19–23

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

   

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from death to life and crowned him Lord of all.

We confess that we have not acknowledged his authority or trusted in his commands.

We have boasted in our own achievements and failed to give him thanks.

We have been deaf to his call and blind to his work in our world.

silent confession

Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, following our Lord Jesus Christ.

   

SONG TO CONSIDER

04.28.2019

 

SERVICE SUMMARY:

In both Luke’s and Matthew’s account of the resurrection, there is an immediate response of ’sharing’ the good news. What response do we have to the Gospel? What response should we have? In the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul gives us a great paradigm to think through how we can engage every culture with the good news of Easter. Come this Sunday as we learn about the beauty of God’s mission to the world.

   

REFLECTION:

Mission is not ours; mission is God’s…Or, as has been nicely put, it is not so much the case that God has a mission for His church in the world but that God has a church for His mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission—God’s mission.

—Christopher Wright

   

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 12: 1-6

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,

   for though you were angry with me,

your anger turned away,

   that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;

   I will trust, and will not be afraid;

for the Lord God is my strength and my song,

   and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

4 And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,

   call upon his name,

make known his deeds among the peoples,

   proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;

   let this be made known in all the earth.

Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,

   for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Acts 17:1-4, 16-31

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,28 for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

   

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from death to life and crowned him Lord of all.

We confess that we have not acknowledged his authority or trusted in his commands.

We have boasted in our own achievements and failed to give him thanks.

We have been deaf to his call and blind to his work in our world.

silent confession

Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, following our Lord Jesus Christ.

   

SONG TO CONSIDER

04.21.2019

SERVICE SUMMARY:

From dust you have come; to dust you will return. Death of career, death of ambition, death of relationship, death of youth–we experience a thousand smaller deaths before they put us in the ground. On Easter Sunday, however, we celebrate a different death–the death of Death itself! For Christians all over the world, Easter is a promise of a new world where Death is buried and forgotten. Come this Sunday and hear about the man who put Death in his grave!

REFLECTION:

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

—The Apostle Paul


Presumably what happened to Jesus was what happens to all of us when we die. We decompose. Accounts of Jesus’s resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as Jack and the Beanstalk.

—Richard Dawkins.

If the Resurrection is resurrection from the dead, all hope and freedom are in spite of death.

—Paul Ricoeur

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 65:17-19; 24-25

“For behold, I create new heavens

   and a new earth,

and the former things shall not be remembered

   or come into mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever

   in that which I create;

for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,

   and her people to be a gladness.

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem

   and be glad in my people;

no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping

   and the cry of distress.

24 Before they call I will answer;

   while they are yet speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;

   the lion shall eat straw like the ox,

   and dust shall be the serpent’s food.

They shall not hurt or destroy

   in all my holy mountain,”

says the Lord.

Acts 10:34-43

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

John 20:1-18

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

CONFESSION OF SIN

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

silent confession

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.