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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September 12, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

Restoration

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Read along with Matthew 18:15-20

 

Sermon excerpt

The truth is this: the messiness, or brokenness, in one person tends to respond to the messiness and brokenness in another person as either water or gasoline. And only prayer, humility, and a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit can transform our fiery words into life-giving water.

Jesus intends for us to focus on restoring the wholeness of BOTH parties who are involved.[1]

It’s about restoring the messy but significant relationship that has been broken; a relationship which will continue to be messy but one that now has more depth because it is grounded in prayer and humility and a divine kind of love that so far exceeds a human kind of love.

[1] https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3392

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September 12, 2017 @ 6:13 pm

Heaping Burning Coals

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Read along with Romans 12:9-21

 

Sermon excerpt

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their head.”

One of these things is not like the others.

Heaping burning coals on someone’s head doesn’t sound like much of an act of kindness.

But when you think about waking up one morning to find that your fire has burned out and knowing how long it takes for a fire to burn down to the coal stage—which, if you’re even a casual S’more maker, you know is the best cooking stage—the thought of giving away some of your own coals IS an act of kindness.

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July 17, 2017 @ 3:55 pm

BOLD

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Read along with Acts 4:21-31

 

From "Roots: Who God Created Us to Be" (exploring the early church in the book of Acts) 

 

Sermon excerpt:

Surely in their human frailty and sinfulness, Peter and John were at least a little bit scared to face the imposing group of religious authorities. David and Daniel’s friends and Esther and the widow probably were all a little scared too.

They all risked something in order to be bold—their reputation or their livelihood or their very lives. And in every case, it was worth it. Their courage and their boldness was fueled by the Spirit and the Word of God, a foundation which will never fail.

It makes me wonder: what does this kind of boldness look like today? Where are followers of Christ today being emboldened by the Spirit to stand up for something which pleases God even if it displeases the world around them? 

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July 14, 2017 @ 12:33 pm

Inter-dependence Day

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Read Matthew 10:40-42

 

Sermon excerpt: 

“We woke up this morning in a bed someone else made. We showered in water that some else delivered to our homes – [homes] which someone else built. We put on clothes that are the work of others’ hands; ate a meal someone else grew, harvested, shipped, [and] inspected ….  We got into cars … that others engineered, built and tested for safety” [and drove] along roads that others designed and maintain.[1]

As much as we cling to our fierce independence, the truth is … our lives are very much interdependent on the people around us and even on people we’ll never meet.

[1] http://sojo.net/print/127521

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July 14, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

Special Music: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

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Special music from July 2 Independence Day Worship Serivce with our friends from First Presbyterian Church (and others) who helped supplement the choir!

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