Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reminders: The Bible

Well, here it is. My last sermon as your pastor. And as I said last week, there are some things that I would like you to remember, things that I’ve taught you in the past. Last week, it was all about the question, ‘Who is God, and what is He like?’ This week I want to remind you about God’s Word, the Bible.

There are several reasons why I want to do this, but here is just one. If you lose the Bible, everything falls apart. Sad to say, there are churches that are in the process of losing the Bible. That doesn’t mean that they have rejected it outright, though some have. But what it does mean is that the final appeal is made to something other than the Bible and what it teaches. That might be some tradition or the opinion of some noteworthy person or what everybody ‘just knows is right’. It might even be simply whatever is the opinion of the person preaching. The Bible as the final authority is being set aside, sometimes very quietly. And once you start down that path things begin to fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to you.

Remember Jesus’ words.

Friday, August 23, 2019

For Sunday

Reading of the Law of God
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4.1-2

Confession of Sin
Our Father, we admit that, all too often, we do not walk worthy of the Gospel. All too often, we are proud and not humble, harsh and not gentle. We so easily become impatient, refusing to bear with the weaknesses and sins of others. We sin in these ways even as we expect others not to treat us similarly. We have no excuse and admit that we deserve Your justice. But we believe the Gospel of Jesus. And so, we would ask for forgiveness. We would also ask for change. Make us more like Jesus, through whom we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Pardon
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD. though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1.18

The Lord enrich you with his grace, and nourish you with his blessing; the Lord defend you in trouble and keep you from all evil; the Lord accept your prayers, and absolve you from your offences, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
 The Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Scripture to Meditate On

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25.6–9

This passage of Scripture is a good reminder of what our future holds. There will be a feast. And feasts are things you do to celebrate happy times: weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. On that day we will certainly have reason to celebrate something happy: God will swallow up death. It will be gone in all its ugly, evil forms.

We will need to wait for Him to save us, but He will. And when He does, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. And we will do that every day forever.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Reminders: God

We are down to my last two sermons as your pastor. And I’ve been doing a good bit of thinking and praying about what I should talk to you about during these last two weeks. Actually, I was just considering a last sermon, but the list of things that I was eager to talk about with you grew quite large. And that’s why my last sermon became my last two sermons.

As I considered what to do, there was something Peter wrote that was prominent in my thinking.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 2 Peter 1:12–15

Peter was soon to leave those saints, just as I will be leaving you. And just like Peter, I want to do what I can to make sure that you will remember some important things so that you can understand life. And I do that because, just like Peter, I know that how you understand life will define the kind of life that you will lead. I want you to be able to live well.

So, this week and next, I will remind you of some biblical themes that I have taught you, and I do that so that, just as Peter said,

after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

A Prayer

Father,
We live in a world that can, at times, be harsh. Sometimes, it's other people who complicate our lives. But then, at other times, it's just how the events of each day unfold. And while much of the time, it's just a matter of a bit of inconvenience, there are those times when we wished it was only a matter of inconvenience.

And yet, we know, Father, that You are near to us as we make our way through this world. And You are near to do us good. In fact, even in the harsh events of this life, You are near to use those events to bring about much good, good for Your kingdom as well as good for us.

So, Father, we would simply ask that You would build up our faith so that when we hit those hard spots, whether merely some inconvenience or something much worse, we would trust You to act. Grant us the ability to turn to You, to make clear our needs to You, so that, by Your grace, instead of being overwhelmed by what is going on, we would be at peace.

Father, we are asking for this not merely for our own sakes. We know that we live in a place and a time where people are increasingly uninterested in listening to a presentation of the Gospel. However, as their lives fall apart - and that is increasingly the case for more and more people - if they could see our lives, lives that aren't falling apart, they would come to us and ask how we do that. That's when they will be willing to listen. So, for the sake of the spread of the Gospel, for the sake of the honor of Your name, we ask that You would grant our request. Grant us the grace to believe this part of the Gospel, especially when we are tempted not to believe it. Grant us the ability to trust You in every situation of life and thus to live well. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Friday, August 16, 2019

For Sunday

Reading of the Law of God
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6.9-10

Confession of Sin
Our Father, we hear Your call to persevere in doing good. And yet, we have to admit that we, at times, give in to the weariness and stop. We give up when it gets too hard. This is disobedience. This is sin. We ask that You would forgive us this sin. We ask that You would give us the ability to continue to do what is good to others, even when it gets hard. We ask that You would remind us that there will be a time of reaping, if we do not give up. We ask this through our faithful Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Declaration of Pardon
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28.13

May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days.
The Book of Common Prayer