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02.02.2020

REFLECTIONS

Where the royal rule of God, the discipleship of Jesus as the glorification of the Creator and service to the creature, and the justice and the truth of the Beatitudes are proclaimed, human weakness does not render perfect and undivided surrender illusory. It is precisely the weak, in themselves imperfect and rejected by perfectionists, whom the Father of Jesus uses as his instruments.

—Ernst Käsemann

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Leviticus 19:9–18

9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.

11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12 You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

13 “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

17“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

 

Matthew 5:17, 21–32

17   “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

 

 

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 the glory of your Name.

01.26.2020

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: We all want to live with purpose; we want to live for something beyond ourselves. Yet most of us feel the futility of modern life and wonder if we have a place in this world. What if God told you that you were essential for his work in the world? Join us this week as we learn from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.

 

REFLECTIONS

What the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world.

—Epistle to Diognetus, 2nd Century

 

“Light of the world” and “salt of the earth” apply either everywhere, every time, and radically—or not at all.

—Ernst Käsemann

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 49:5–7

And now the LORD says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—
he says:

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the LORD,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
the servant of rulers:

“Kings shall see and arise;
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

 

Matthew 5:13–16

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

 

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.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

01.19.2020

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: We does human flourishing look like? We may all have a different opinion on what a life of blessing entails, but few would include poverty or hunger on their list. How does Jesus define blessing, and why did he begin his famous Sermon on the Mount with those words? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series looking at the Sermon on the Mount.

 

REFLECTIONS

Without exception, one’s reading of the Sermon [on the Mount] says much about one’s understanding of Jesus and Christian theology.

—Jonathan Pennington

 

­­­­­­­­­­­I can’t get no satisfaction.

—The Rolling Stones

 

Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something.

—The Princess Bride

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 57.14-21

And it shall be said, 

“Build up, build up, prepare the way, 

remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” 

15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, 

who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 

“I dwell in the high and holy place, 

and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, 

to revive the spirit of the lowly, 

and to revive the heart of the contrite. 

16 For I will not contend forever, 

nor will I always be angry; 

for the spirit would grow faint before me, 

and the breath of life that I made. 

17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, 

I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, 

but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. 

18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; 

I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, 

19 creating the fruit of the lips. 

Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, 

“and I will heal him. 

20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; 

for it cannot be quiet, 

and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 

21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

 

Matthew 5:1–12

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty and merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned
against you and one another
in both our actions and our inactions.
We recognize that in Jesus Christ our light has come,
yet often we choose to walk in shadows and ignore the light. 

Gracious God, forgive our sins and remove from us
the veil of darkness that shrouds our lives.

silent confession

Amen

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

01.12.2020

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: Authority can be a difficult word to hear in our modern context. Abuses of authority abound, but examples of authority wielded correctly are rare. We often prefer to be the one with authority rather than the one under authority.  What would it look like to be under the authority of someone you could trust? Join us this Sunday as we begin a sermon series on Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.

 

 

REFLECTIONS

As Jesus Christ is God’s comforting pronouncement of the forgiveness of all our sins, so, with equal seriousness, he is also God’s vigorous announcement of his claim upon our whole life. Through him there comes to us joyful liberation from the godless ties of this world for free, grateful service to his creatures.

—The Barmen Declaration

 

When people say they really love [the sermon on the mount] … it is a clear sign that they have never actually read the sermon on the mount.

—Sinclair Ferguson

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 60:1-6

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.

6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,

the young camels of Midian and Ephah;

all those from Sheba shall come.

They shall bring gold and frankincense,

and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.

 

Matthew 5:17–20; 7:28–29

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Jesus, Light of the World,
we confess that we have sinned against you.

We set aside your teaching because it seems too difficult.
Instead of following you we choose to walk in darkness. 

silent confession

Forgive our sins and  remove the veil of darkness from our lives. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

01.05.2020

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: Have you ever considered why we get star struck around famous people? Or why we like to name-drop household names we might know. The truth is we all want a little glory in our lives. But what if we are looking in all the wrong places to find it? This week we will see how God reveals his glory in the most unexpected of places. Come join us if you want to know how you can experience that glory for yourself.

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 19:1-4a

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,

    and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours out speech,

    and night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words,

    whose voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out through all the earth,

    and their words to the end of the world.

 

Romans 11:33-35

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

    or who has been his counselor?”

35 “Or who has given a gift to him

    that he might be repaid?”

 

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Lord, we are like sheep, and we get lost.
We forget the needs of our neighbors
and do not love you above all else.
We need a Savior and cling to the one who was born in Bethlehem.

silent confession

Come, forgive our sins Jesus.

 Amen

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

12.29.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: The gifts have been opened, the egg nog has been drunk, the cookies have been eaten, and the relatives have returned home. But in the midst of all the festivities, did you catch the beauty and mystery of Christmas? Did you consider who that baby in the manger would be and what he would do? Join us this Sunday as we hear Jesus describe himself and his mission from Luke’s Gospel.

 

 

REFLECTIONS

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

—Nicene Creed

 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.

—John 1:14

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 98

Oh sing to the Lord a new song,

    for he has done marvelous things!

His right hand and his holy arm

    have worked salvation for him.

The Lord has made known his salvation;

    he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness

    to the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

    the salvation of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;

    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,

    with the lyre and the sound of melody!

With trumpets and the sound of the horn

    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

    the world and those who dwell in it!

Let the rivers clap their hands;

    let the hills sing for joy together

before the Lord, for he comes

    to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness,

    and the peoples with equity.

 

 Luke 4:14-30

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Almighty God who inhabits eternity, but dwells with those who are humble and contrite; we confess our sins to you.

We have ignored the presence of your Spirit in our lives.

silent confession

We have failed to look to you as our Savior and Judge.

silent confession

Father, in your great goodness

Forgive our offenses and cleanse us from our sin, for Jesus’ sake. Amen

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

12.22.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: When Otis Redding sang “I want security and I want it at any cost,” he told more than he probably realized about human nature. We all long for a sense of security. And we look for it in many places—money, control, relationships, nation-states, good choices. But can any of these really guarantee our ultimate security? And what happens when our reliance on these things is disrupted? Where do we turn then? This week we will consider how three deportees found security in the most unlikely place.

 

 

REFLECTIONS

It is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with.

—Nicolo Machiavelli

 

Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

—Michael Scott from The Office

 

Many times, many men, took our homes, took our lives. Kings they were, gone they are. We’re still here!

—When Messiah Comes, from Fiddler on the Roof

 

No one man should have all that power.

—Kanye West

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Daniel 3:1; 4-30

1King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

4And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Holy Father,
We take for ourselves what you have promised to give in time.

We confess our impatience with you.

We choose to fulfill our desires in sinful and inordinate ways.

We confess our lack of self-control.

We look to temporary things to satisfy us.

We confess our lack of hope.

We judge bitterly those people and circumstances that make us wait.

We confess that we have not loved well.

We need your mercy. 

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Silent Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace to wait for you until you come again. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

12.15.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: It’s unsuprising that God acts in surprising ways. But one thing is consistent: grace. When God appears, it is always at his own invitation. Join us this Sunday as we continue our Advent sermon series, When God Appears.

 

 

REFLECTION

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

—Romans 11:33–36

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Matthew 1:21-23

[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
 and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

 

 

Judges 13:2–25

2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, 7 but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Holy Father,
We take for ourselves what you have promised to give in time.

We confess our impatience with you.

We choose to fulfill our desires in sinful and inordinate ways.

We confess our lack of self-control.

We look to temporary things to satisfy us.

We confess our lack of hope.

We judge bitterly those people and circumstances that make us wait.

We confess that we have not loved well.

We need your mercy. 

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Silent Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace to wait for you until you come again. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

O come, divine Messiah, the world in silence waits
When hope shall sing its triumphs, and sadness flee away
O come desired of nations, whom priest and prophet told,
Will break the captive fetters, redeem the long-lost fold.Come to the earth, come to the earth,
dear Savior, haste!
Dispel the night, dispel the night
and show your face,
Bid us hail the dawn of grace.

O come in peace and meekness, for lowly will you be
Though clothed in human weakness, we shall your God-head see
O come, divine Messiah, the world in silence waits
When hope shall sing its triumphs, and sadness flee away.

from Theophilus: Songs from the Book of Luke, released September 1, 2016
music: Andy Bast
lyrics: M. l’abbé Pellegrin; trans: Sister Mary of St. Philip (1877)
©TheophilusMusic, 2016

12.08.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: When we’re arguing with someone, we make appeals to higher authorities, whether scholars who agree with our side or opinion pieces that make our arguments for us. Do you ever wish you had an authority so high, with evidence so conclusive, that you could win your opponent over to your side once and for all? What if God was on your side? Join us this Sunday as we look at the story of God’s appearing to a man named Joshua.

 

 

REFLECTIONS

Oh my name it ain’t nothin’ // My age it means less
The country I come from // Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there // The laws to abide
And that land that I live in // Has God on its side

—Bob Dylan

 

I understand that everyone wants Jesus on their political side. In fact, I find it heartening that Jesus is still the endorsement that everyone wants! But there are immense costs being paid when politicians and pundits claim Jesus for their own side.

—Michael Bird

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Romans 2:1-11 NIV

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

 

 

Joshua 5:13–15

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[a] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Holy Father,
We take for ourselves what you have promised to give in time.

We confess our impatience with you.

We choose to fulfill our desires in sinful and inordinate ways.

We confess our lack of self-control.

We look to temporary things to satisfy us.

We confess our lack of hope.

We judge bitterly those people and circumstances that make us wait.

We confess that we have not loved well.

We need your mercy. 

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Silent Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace to wait for you until you come again. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

12.01.2019

 

 

SERVICE SUMMARY: Have you ever wrestled with God? Every person of faith knows what it’s like to doubt; every Christian has wrestled with God in some way. A man named Jacob once wrestled with God in a way that changed his life forever. Join us this Sunday for the first Sunday in Advent series, When God Appears.

 

 

REFLECTION

In a very real sense, the Christian community lives in Advent all the time… The disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In that Advent tension, the church lives its life.

—Fleming Rutledge, Advent

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

1 Peter 5:6-11

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Genesis 32:22–32

22 The same night [Jacob] arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

Holy Father,
We take for ourselves what you have promised to give in time.

We confess our impatience with you.

We choose to fulfill our desires in sinful and inordinate ways.

We confess our lack of self-control.

We look to temporary things to satisfy us.

We confess our lack of hope.

We judge bitterly those people and circumstances that make us wait.

We confess that we have not loved well.

We need your mercy. 

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Silent Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace to wait for you until you come again. 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.

credits

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)