November 15, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

11.12.17 Speaking Frankly About Death: The Great Equalizer

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Read along with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

 

In this sermon podcast: 

1. Anthem of the day: "Rejoice, the Lord is King" (Archer/Wesley) 

2. Sermon: "The Great Equalizer" 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

Friends, from the moment we’re born, we’re dying. Maybe it’s time we start embracing that knowledge; not in a macabre or warped way … but honestly, acknowledging that this life is temporary and that something much grander awaits us. Maybe instead of seeing passersby as strangers, we can instead see them as fellow travelers on a pilgrimage. Maybe then we will be willing to enter into and to shed a tear for someone else’s suffering instead of spending all our time being focused on our own.

It turns out, though we fear that which we don’t understand, we can in fact face the depths of death … because we have the words of life, of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ and our own resurrection.

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November 7, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

11.05.17 Delight in Giving

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Read along with 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the day: "For the Fruit of All Creation" (Green/McCullough) 

2. Sermon 

BONUS: "We Give Thee But Thine Own" (because someone forgot to turn the recording off!) 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

The word for “cheerful” Paul uses here is “hilaros” in the Greek, which sounds an awful lot like our word “hilarious.” “Hilaros” is an adjective that means joyous, cheerful, propitious, not grudging.[i]

And it is only used this one time in the New Testament.

God loves it when a gift is given “hilaros-ly” because it is a reflection of the way God gives: lovingly, generously, and open-handedly.

Giving “hilaros-ly” is one way of obeying the second greatest commandment (love thy neighbor) which immediately spills into the greatest commandment of loving God, two commandments which are inseparable.[ii]  Part of the way we worship God is by giving cheerfully as we are able to the needs of others.[iii] And when others see the way we delight in our giving, so Paul reasons in verse 14, they in turn will praise God.

 

[i]  Strong’s Concordance, “hilaros"  

[ii] Best, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Intepretation, p. 86.

[iii] Ibid., p. 87.

 

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November 1, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

10.29.17 “Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory to God Alone)

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Read along with John 12:27-43

 

In this podcast:

1. Anthem of the day: "Built on a Rock the Church Doth Stand" (Lindeman/Grundtvig) 

2. Sermon 

3. All Saints' Day remembrance

4. "Amazing Grace" (Ryan Praskovich, bagpipes)

 

Sermon excerpt:

If only our restless hearts knew that the search is over. That God created us for him. For rest in him.

Once we have that, we don’t need anything else.

When Augustine talks of “rest,” he’s talking about the security and comfort of salvation in Jesus Christ, our only comfort in life and in death. Salvation through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone as witnessed to by Scripture alone.

Once our hearts find this rest, our only response is gratefulness. Or, as Augustine would say, to delight in praising God. Or, as Martin Luther, father of this Protestant Reformation we’ve been learning about for the last 4 weeks, would put it: to give glory to God alone, which is our 5th of the 5 BIG ideas of the Reformation.

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November 1, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

10.29.17 Reformation Day & All Saints’ Day (complete service)

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Audio of the complete service from Reformation Day & All Saints' Day. 

Special music includes: 

Prelude: "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" and "Highland Cathedral" (Ryan Praskovich, bagpipes)

Hymn: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (organ, brass, and timpani) 

Bagpipe Voluntary: "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (Praskovich) 

Anthem: "Built on a Rock the Church Doth Stand" (Lindeman/Grundtvig) 

Bagpipe mediation: "Amazing Grace" (Praskovich) 

Hymn: "For All the Saints" (organ, brass, and timpani) 

Hymn: "The Church's One Foundation" (organ, brass, timpani) 

Postlude: "Now Thank We All Our God" (J.S. Bach; organ, brass, timpani) 

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October 27, 2017 @ 2:40 am

10.22.17 5 BIG Ideas: “solus Christus (Christ alone)”

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Read along with John 14:1-14

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the day: "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Gordon Young) 

2. sermon 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

The problem is that we have a tendency to make ourselves the center of our worlds: everything in our lives revolves around what we want and what is best for us. Idolatry, which is putting someone or something in God’s place, is one of our favorite sins; we put ourselves in the place where God should be. Instead of my life revolving around God, my life revolves around me.

But remember what the heart of the Reformation is all about: Jesus. Five hundred years ago (though probably longer ago than that), the church had gotten drunk on its own wealth and power and started to think the world revolved around the church; the church thought it had some role to play in deciding who received salvation and who didn’t. Luther wanted to call them back to Jesus and to remind them Christ alone is the source of salvation.

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October 27, 2017 @ 2:17 am

10.15.17 5 BIG Ideas: sola Fide (Faith alone)

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Read along with Galatians 2:14-21

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the Day: "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" (Palmer/Mason/Derksen) featuring Jacque Hines, soloist, and Kara Penley, flute obblicato

2. sermon 

3. BONUS, semi-spontaneous rendition of closing song from "Godspell" sung by our Shawnee State University students 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

This means the Jewish believers must let go of that identity and instead understand that now they are “counted as righteous” by faith because of the righteousness of Jesus. Christ’s death on the cross is accepted by God as the payment for our sins.[i] This is the gift of salvation given as God’s free grace alone … and it can only be accepted by faith alone, or sola fide (the third big idea of the Reformation).

Just as the Gentile Christians left behind their identities as pagans, so too the Jewish Christians have to let go of their old identity defined by following the law so that going forward they may all be defined only by following the Messiah. Now, God is shaping them into a completely new, UNITED community of faith where they no long follow the Law but rather the One who came to fulfill the Law.

[i]  Donald McKim, Reformation Questions, Reformation Answers, p. 77.

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October 9, 2017 @ 6:28 pm

5 BIG Ideas: sola Gratia (Grace alone)

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Read along with Ephesians 2:1-10

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the day: "And Can It Be" (Thomas Campbell, Lloyd Larson, Charles Wesley) 

2. Sermon 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

But I gotta say, even for a word nerd like me, this passage from Ephesians chapter 2 is daunting. In the original Greek, “verses 1-7 form a single, one hundred twenty-four word sentence.”[i] The subject of the sentence (God) doesn’t appear until verse 4 and the main verbs (made us alive and raised us up with him) don’t show up until verses 5 and 6!

So, for the sake of sparing you the headache that untangling this passage gave me this week, let me break it down for you. Very simply … the author of Ephesians is trying to say this: … once you were dead in your sin, but God who is rich in mercy, out of his great love for you, has made you alive in Christ.

Wait. I can make it even simpler: once you were lost, but now you have been found.

 

[i]  https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=262   

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October 5, 2017 @ 9:34 pm

5 BIG Ideas: sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)

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Read along with 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the Day: "How Firm a Foundation" 

2. Sermon 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

God’s heart is written out on the pages of Scripture.[i] If you ever long to hear God speak to you, listen to what God says on the pages of Scripture. If you long to know God’s will for your life, study the sacred writings of Scripture. If you ever wonder if there is purpose or meaning in life (particularly in your own life), seek God prayerfully in the pages of the Scripture … for you will find God there more than you will find God anywhere else.

 

[i] Oden, p. 25. 

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October 5, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

The Landowner’s Generosity

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Read along with Matthew 20:1-16

 

In this podcast: 

1. Anthem of the day: "Come, Labor On" (John Ferguson) 

2. The sermon 

3. Our Shawnee State University students singing "All Good Gifts" from the musical "Godspell," playing at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on campus Oct 10-14. (Bobby Gomez, solo) 

 

Sermon excerpt: 

Here in the real world, the fewer hours someone works, the less pay he or she receives. But in this story, the landowner knows that the daily wage isn’t likely to make anyone wealthy and for someone to go home with less than a full day’s wage might cause economic misfortune.

To the majority of workers (those hired at 9am, noon, 3pm, and 5pm), he gives more, some FAR more, than what is deserved or what is earned. What is given comes from the generosity of the landowner’s heart.

It is, in fact, a gift. A grace.

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September 21, 2017 @ 7:48 pm

Forgiveness: The Currency of Life

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Read along with Matthew 18:21-35.

 

In this audio recording, after a few seconds of delay (while I scurry from the pulpit to the choir loft!), you will first hear the choir's anthem of the day, "Go Forth for God" (choral setting by Todd Wilson) and featuring John Parker on the trumpet.

 

Sermon excerpt 

Forgiveness is part of the everyday currency of life, even outside the church. Not a day goes by that we don’t ask for forgiveness for something we have done wrong or grant forgiveness to someone who has done wrong to us. Giving and receiving forgiveness is just part of the messiness of staying in relationship together.

“Repeated forgiveness holds the community [of faith] together.”[1] All our sins for all time have been forgiven on the cross. As we have been forgiven, we are expected to forgive others.

 

[1] The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, study note on Matthew 18:21-35.

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