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02.03.2019

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

“Holiness” seems like a foreign concept to many of us. What does it mean that God is holy, and how does that impact our relationship to him? Come consider with us as we turn to the book of Isaiah to explore God’s unique character.

 

 

REFLECTION:

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.

Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

 

Hebrews 9:11-14; 24-28

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God…

24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

 

 

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.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

1. When we see the risen Savior with the bread that he has blessed,
He becomes the living Servant, heav’nly food for holy rest.
Stay with us, for day is fading, feast with us, O secret King,
Show to us how Scripture’s story speaks of you in everything.

Do not our hearts burn now?
For you’re here in power.

2. Jesus, show yourself the Author and Perfecter of our faith,
In your living and your dying, consummation of God’s grace.
From creation to the exile, incarnation to the grave,
Resurrection to ascension; come, O Jesus, come to save.

Do not our hearts burn now?
For you’re here in power.

Open our eyes, shine on our sight,
O risen Lord, reigning on high;
Give us your life, bread from the skies;
Lift up our hearts, open our eyes.

3. You’re the Word that spoke creation, you’re the end of Moses’ Law,
You’re the goal of Abram’s blessing, you’re the King whom David saw;
You’re the Day the prophets longed for, you’re the covenant of grace,
You’re the hero of the Scriptures, now we see you face to face.

Do not our hearts burn now?
For you’re here in power. (Chorus)

4. Jesus, show yourself the Prophet, Jesus, show yourself the King,
Jesus, show yourself the Priest, all in all, and everything.

from Our Strivings Cease, released November 18, 2018
Words & Music: Bruce Benedict and Zac Hicks, 2012, 2018
(c)2012 Cardiphonia | Unbudding Fig Music (ASCAP)

01.27.2019

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

“In God we trust.” It’s printed on our money here in America, but its significance is often overlooked. Perhaps the ones who put it there wanted to remind us to trust God over money. It’s a great warning, but greater still is the reminder that every dollar we have is a gift from God in the first place. Join us this Sunday as we learn how to give and receive with joy!

 

 

REFLECTION:

When a person performs any act with “rejoicing”, his heart is surely in it.

—Sara Japhet

 

What do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it, why do you boast, as if you had not received it?

—The Apostle Paul

 

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

—The Apostle Paul

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Acts 20:33-36

32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

 

1 Chronicles 29:1-20

And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God. 2 So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble. 3 Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 4 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, 5 and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver. Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?”

6 Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. 7 They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. 8 And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

10 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father,
You ask us to give with our hands and feet.

Forgive us for doing so only when it is convenient.

You ask us to give with our mouths.

Forgive us for keeping the truth about you to ourselves.

You ask us to give our resources.

Forgive us for failing to give generously.

You ask us to give our lives.

Forgive us for giving only in part.

Lord, forgive us for only giving when it is convenient or easy.

Father, have mercy on us and renew us.
Send us out with the power of Christ
who enables us to give generously.
Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

01.20.2019

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

When we’re young we build forts in the living room out of blankets and chairs. As we grow older we retreat behind closed doors and accessorize our room with things that create our own space. As adults, we follow fixer-uppers and obsess over tidying up. The need is obvious–we all need a place to call home; a sanctuary and refuge from the outside world; a place of peace. In the Hebrew Bible, God calls himself a home for his people. What kind of home is he? Join us this week as we hear God’s reassuring words from the book of Genesis.

 

 

REFLECTION:

Love. We use the word so easily and might even think we know a bit about it. Surely it’s something we all want and, in our better moments, want to give. Yet there is no more demanding occupation than love. Love, as a reflection of the glory of God, is the ground of being, the reason for existing, and the core of the gospel. It is the most basic staple of life; yet it is nearly impossible to wrap words around love’s vastness, to describe how to be transformed by it, or to use it for the sake of another, especially in a world that hurts us regularly and often.

—Dr. Dan Allender, Bold Love

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the chariots with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

 

Genesis 28:10-22

10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder[a] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it[b] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel,[c] but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Most merciful God,
Whose Son Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet without sin,

We confess before you our own sinfulness;
We have hungered after that which does not satisfy;
We have compromised with evil;
We have doubted your power to protect us.
Forgive our lack of faith;
Have mercy on our weakness.

Silent Confession

Restore in us such trust and love
That we may walk in your ways and delight in doing your will.
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

01.13.2019

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

How do you remember the important things? Do you tie a string around your finger, write it on your hand, or stick Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror? With so many thoughts running through our minds, remembering can be a difficult task. Maybe that’s why God so often commands his people to remember. But he doesn’t just give them a to-do list to remember, he tells them to remember his work among them. Join us this Sunday as we look back on God’s faithfulness to us in 2018.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.

—Elie Wiesel

 

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

—Lewis Carroll

 

Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you.

—Isaiah 44:21

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

   and all that is within me,

   bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

   and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity,

   who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit,

   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good

   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness

   and justice for all who are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,

   his acts to the people of Israel.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,

   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 He will not always chide,

   nor will he keep his anger forever.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,

   nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

   so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

   so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

   so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

   he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;

   he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

   and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

   and his righteousness to children’s children,

18 to those who keep his covenant

   and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

   and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

   you mighty ones who do his word,

   obeying the voice of his word!

21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

   his ministers, who do his will!

22 Bless the Lord, all his works,

   in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

1. Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

2. Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

3. Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry ’til you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

4. Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you,
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

Silent Confession

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

01.06.2019

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Our world can be confusing at times. Competing headlines and narratives flood our senses. It is hard to know what is true. Ever new revelations and experiences cause us to doubt previously held convictions. And then there are the waring desires and questions that volley back and forth in our own heads. Sometimes it is hard to see and life feels murky and gray. It is into the dark reality of this human predicament that Christianity proclaims that God has made his light shine in the world. Come this Sunday and as we learn about a light that is good news for a confused world.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.

—C. S. Lewis

 

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

—Jesus of Nazareth

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 60:1-5; 19-21a

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,

and his glory will be seen upon you.

3 And nations shall come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see;

they all gather together, they come to you;

your sons shall come from afar,

and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.

5 Then you shall see and be radiant;

your heart shall thrill and exult,

because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

The sun shall be no more

your light by day,

nor for brightness shall the moon

give you light;

but the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

20 Your sun shall no more go down,

nor your moon withdraw itself;

for the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your days of mourning shall be ended.

21 Your people shall all be righteous;

 

John 1:1-18

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father, the light of your salvation shines in the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yet we live as if your light cannot defeat darkness.
Forgive us for doubting your salvation.

Through your Spirit, you never abandon us; your name is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

When life becomes difficult, we fear your presence has left us.
Forgive us for turning to other things for comfort.

Jesus, at your return you promise to wipe away all tears and heal all pain.

Instead of trusting you to restore your world, we take matters into our own hands.
Forgive us for doing what is right in our own eyes.

Silent Confession

Lord, of these sins we repent. Forgive us according to your mercy and steadfast love. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Hark the herald angels sing,
Jesus the light of the world.
Glory to the newborn king,
Jesus the light of the world.

We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dewdrops of mercy are bright.
Shine all around us by day and by night;
Jesus the light of the world.

Joyful all ye nations rise,
Jesus the light of the world.
Join the triumph of the skies,
Jesus the light of the world.

Christ by highest heaven adored,
Jesus the light of the world.
Christ the everlasting Lord,
Jesus the light of the world.

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace,
Jesus The light of the world.
Hail the Son of righteousness,
Jesus the light of the world.

12.23.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

It is hard to wait for something we want. Perhaps that’s why we fill our Decembers with so much busyness and distraction. But it is especially hard to wait for something we desperately need. How do we wait faithfully when we feel desperate? Come hear from the gospel of Luke on this fourth and final Sunday of Advent.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Today it is those with a perpetual sense of spiritual need and spiritual hunger who live in the wonder of the Incarnation.

—Kent Hughes

 

I waited patiently for the Lord

He inclined and heard my cry

He brought me up out of the pit

Out of the mire and clay

I will sing, sing a new song

I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song

—U2, 40

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

 Isaiah 52:3-10

3 For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” 4 For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. 5 Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

 

 

Luke 2:22-35

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father, the light of your salvation shines in the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yet we live as if your light cannot defeat darkness.
Forgive us for doubting your salvation.

Through your Spirit, you never abandon us; your name is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Yet when life becomes difficult, we fear you have left us.
Forgive us for turning to other things for comfort.

Jesus, at your return you promise to wipe away all tears and heal all pain.

Yet instead of trusting you to restore your world, we take matters into our own hands.
Forgive us for doing what is right in our own eyes.

Lord, of these things we repent.

Help us to trust you and to live as those who reflect your light to the world,
ever-waiting for your return. Come, Lord Jesus!

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

12.16.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

In Advent we wait. We wait for the healing of our bodies; we wait for relationships to be restored; we wait for wrongs to be righted; we wait to be delivered from our sins. But we do not wait alone. The cosmos, too, is waiting with us. The mountains and the deserts, the moon and the stars, the oceans and the trees, every atom, every animal is also waiting; groaning for redemption; looking for the return of their Creator. Join us this Sunday for the third week of Advent: Waiting for Salvation.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

—The Man in Black

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

—W.B. Yeats

 

SCRIPTURE:

Jeremiah 12:1-4

1 Righteous are you, O Lord,

when I complain to you;

yet I would plead my case before you.

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

2 You plant them, and they take root;

they grow and produce fruit;

you are near in their mouth

and far from their heart.

3 But you, O Lord, know me;

you see me, and test my heart toward you.

Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,

and set them apart for the day of slaughter.

4 How long will the land mourn

and the grass of every field wither?

For the evil of those who dwell in it

the beasts and the birds are swept away,

because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”

 

Romans 8:18–25

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

King Jesus, you are a good and just King,
But we have rebelled against your lead.
We have initiated a coup against your reign.
We have committed treason against your kingdom.

Lord, have mercy.

We have traded your perfect and just law for our own desires.
We have rejected your authority in order to be our own kings;
we have built our kingdoms instead of yours.

Lord, have mercy.

We abuse our authority.
We treat our neighbors as rival kings and
compete to conquer them.

Lord, have mercy.

Yet while we were still your enemies,
you subdued us and made us your children.
Make us now willing and ready to follow you.

Lord, have mercy.
Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Come Lord Jesus come
Come Lord Jesus come
Come Lord Jesus come
Come Lord Jesus come

Verse 1

Come again to claim Your own
Come to reap what You have sown
All creation weeps and groans for You
It’s to You that we belong
It’s to You we lift our song
How our spirits look and long for You

Verse 2

Like a thief in dead of night
Come our everlasting light
Let Your brilliance shame the brightest day
With Your voice like endless seas
Wielding swords and stars and keys
Bring the nations to their knees we pray

Verse 3

For though fitful is our flame
You’re from age to age the same
Jesus faithful is Your name and true
So until the sun does rise
Till Your trumpets rend the skies
Help us keep our restless eyes on You

12.09.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

The wrapping paper and the gifts, the garland and the tinsel, the trees and the lights, and all the carols of merrymaking and cheer can almost convince us that the world is at peace. Almost. But underneath the wistful nostalgia of the Christmas season, the real world–with all its injustice and suffering–persists. What are we to do? Come join us this Sunday as we continue our Advent series on Waiting for Salvation.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on your troubles will be out of sight

—Ralph Blane

 

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow;

Look now, for glad and golden hours

Come swiftly on the wing;

Oh rest beside the weary road

And hear the angels sing.

—Edmund Hamilton Sears

 

SCRIPTURE:

James 5:7-11

7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

 

Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord;

   consider my groaning.

2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,

   my King and my God,

   for to you do I pray.

3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;

   in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;

   evil may not dwell with you.

5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;

   you hate all evildoers.

6 You destroy those who speak lies;

   the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,

   will enter your house.

I will bow down toward your holy temple

   in the fear of you.

8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness

   because of my enemies;

   make your way straight before me.

9 For there is no truth in their mouth;

   their inmost self is destruction;

their throat is an open grave;

   they flatter with their tongue.

10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;

   let them fall by their own counsels;

because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,

   for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;

   let them ever sing for joy,

and spread your protection over them,

   that those who love your name may exult in you.

12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;

   you cover him with favor as with a shield.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Lord, we have not kept watch for you.
We have occupied ourselves with our own concerns.
We have not waited to find your will for us.
We have not noticed the needs of the people around us.

Forgive us for our lack of watchfulness.
Help us to wait to know your will.
Help us to look out for the needs of others.
Help us to work, watch, and wait for your coming. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Words: Wendell Kimbrough (c) 2012 Wendell Kimbrough
Music: Bruce Benedict, (c) 2012 Cardiphonia
cardiphonia.org

1. Long in darkness Israel wandered;
Long in mortal shadows, we
Walked in bondage and self-pity,
Trod in paths of sin and grief.
In the prophets’ words He told us,
Long the God of Israel spoke;
He alone in strength would save us
From the hands of all our foes.

Every valley be exalted!
Every mountain be made plane!
Crooked ways repent and straighten;
All creation bend in praise

2. He shall raise a mighty Savior;
Born of David’s lineage, He
Comes in cov’nant love to claim us
From our sins to set us free.
Light to those who dwell in darkness
Life to those from death who flee
Joy unto the earth, and gladness,
To your pathways dawning peace.

3. Jesus, Lord, and mighty Savior,
David’s Son and yet his King,
Dawning light of our salvation,
Of your saving pow’r we sing!
Stand, Oh lame, and dance ye broken,
Know the Savior’s healing grace;
Come, Oh deaf and hear him singing;
Turn, Oh blind, behold his face!

12.02.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Waiting has got to be one of the most difficult things to do, especially when we are suffering and it seems that God does not see. Come, this first Sunday of Advent to hear what God promises as we wait for Christ to return and restore what is broken.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent most closely mirrors the daily lives of Christians and of the church, asks the most important ethical questions, presents the most accurate picture of the human condition, and above all, orients us to the future of the God who will come again.

—Fleming Rutledge

Nothing can save us that is possible.

—W. H Auden, “For the Time Being”

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

2 Peter 3:1-13

3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 

Isaiah 8:17-9:3,6-7

17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

9 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness

   have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

   on them has light shone.

3 You have multiplied the nation;

   you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you

   as with joy at the harvest,

   as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

 

6 For to us a child is born,

   to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

   and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and of peace

   there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

   to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

   from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father, the light of your salvation shines in the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yet we live as if your light cannot defeat darkness.
Forgive us for doubting your salvation.

Through your Spirit, you never abandon us; your name is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Yet when life becomes difficult, we fear your presence has left us.
Forgive us for turning to other things for comfort.

Jesus, at your return you promise to wipe away all tears and heal all pain.

Yet instead of trusting you to restore your world, we take matters into our own hands.
Forgive us for doing what is right in our own eyes.

Lord, of these things we repent.

Help us to trust you, live as your light, ever-waiting for your return.
Come, Lord Jesus!

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Words: Wendell Kimbrough (c) 2012 Wendell Kimbrough
Music: Bruce Benedict, (c) 2012 Cardiphonia
cardiphonia.org

lyrics

1. Long in darkness Israel wandered;
Long in mortal shadows, we
Walked in bondage and self-pity,
Trod in paths of sin and grief.
In the prophets’ words He told us,
Long the God of Israel spoke;
He alone in strength would save us
From the hands of all our foes.Every valley be exalted!
Every mountain be made plane!
Crooked ways repent and straighten;
All creation bend in praise!

2. He shall raise a mighty Savior;
Born of David’s lineage, He
Comes in cov’nant love to claim us
From our sins to set us free.
Light to those who dwell in darkness
Life to those from death who flee
Joy unto the earth, and gladness,
To your pathways dawning peace!

Refrain

3. Jesus, Lord, and mighty Savior,
David’s Son and yet his King,
Dawning light of our salvation,
Of your saving pow’r we sing!
Stand, Oh lame, and dance ye broken,
Know the Savior’s healing grace;
Come, Oh deaf and hear him singing;
Turn, Oh blind, behold his face!

Refrain

 

11.25.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Do you ever feel like your passion for Christ and his mission has gone a bit lukewarm? Come hear what Jesus has to say about the causes of and cure for lukewarm love as we conclude our series on the letters to the churches Revelation.

 

REFLECTIONS:

We can grow up in homes in which the food finds the table, the clothes find the drawers, the money finds the college funds, and the family even finds the church each Sunday; but somehow our souls remain undiscovered, hidden in the shadows of our caregivers’ well-intentioned mindlessness.

Curt Thompson

Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioural consequences.

—Dan Siegel

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 55:1-11

1“Come, everyone who thirsts,

   come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

   come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

   without money and without price.

2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,

   and delight yourselves in rich food.

3 Incline your ear, and come to me;

   hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

   my steadfast, sure love for David.

4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,

   a leader and commander for the peoples.

5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,

   and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,

because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,

   for he has glorified you.

 

6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;

   call upon him while he is near;

7 let the wicked forsake his way,

   and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

   neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

   so are my ways higher than your ways

   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

   and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

   it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

 

Revelation 3:14-22

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

God of everlasting love,

We confess that we have been unfaithful to you and to one another.
We have worshiped other gods: money, power, comfort, and convenience.
We have served our own self-interest instead of serving only you.
We have not loved our neighbor as you have commanded.

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