Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Collect for the Week

Merciful God, 
You have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding: 
Pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Monday, July 13, 2020

Comment on a Lectionary Reading: Romans 8:12–25

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 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. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 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. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:12–25

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Last time we were reminded of the glorious truth of the Gospel: no condemnation! Because of what Jesus has done we are set free from that consequence of sin. In this reading we encounter a necessary companion to this truth. We are freed from sin but we are not done with sin. The guilt is gone so the condemnation is gone. But sin remains with us.

Friday, July 10, 2020

A Prayer

These are old pastoral prayers that I wrote.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!  
Psalm 8  
Hallowed be thy name. Matthew 6

O Lord, You are the Almighty whose deeds are amazing. You are able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. You have pledged to use Your might to spread the fame of Your Name. Help us to believe that, to be convinced of that, so that our prayers would regularly call upon You to use that might to enable us to accomplish great things for the sake of the glory of Your Name.

O Lord, You are the holy one of Israel who is of purer eyes than to see evil. You cannot look at wrong. And yet, there is so much evil, so much that is just wrong, not just around us but also in us. We do ask that you would make us learn to hate evil like you do so that we would be eager to cast it out in Jesus’ name.

O Lord, You are the Father who is so near to his children, the Father who loves us dearly. Our adversary whispers his lies in our ears so that we will doubt this. And as a result, we so often act like orphans who need to depend on themselves to survive. Help us, Father. Teach our hearts to believe in Your Fatherly love, to entrust ourselves to Your Fatherly love, so that our lives would broadcast that love to the people around us.

O Lord, You are the God who has created and at every moment sustains this universe. You do that not just with great power but also with great wisdom. And for this reason alone, You are worthy of the worship of every person alive. Give us a growing desire to see You receive this worship so that we would live in a way that would baffle those who refuse to worship You. Bless us with this so that they would see the foolishness of their ways and turn from them to You to offer worship that is worthy of Your Name.

O Lord, You are the one who has come in Jesus to reveal to us who You really are: the Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, our Father, the God who has created and sustains. We thank You that He has come. Help us to listen to Him so that we will serve You with all that we have.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Leters to My Grandchildren: The Church's Mission

My Dear Grandchildren,

We’re still taking a look at the Church and what it is to be doing. We’ve considered the Church in terms of its worship as well as the Church as the communion of the saints. Today, we look at the third aspect of what it is to be doing, its mission.

So, what’s a mission? (Definitions!) Here’s a simple definition that works well. A mission is an assignment that is given to a person or group. Well, the Church has been given an assignment. And it’s so very important to remember that. The Church doesn’t exist for itself. There is something that we need to do out in the world. We have a mission.

Next question. What’s the mission? Here’s one place where the mission is made quite clear.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Stray Thoughts: What Do We Do? Follow Jesus

For the past couple of ‘Stray Thoughts’ posts, I’ve been considering our situation and what we as Christians are to be doing in response. Thus far, I’ve encouraged you to rejoice in what Jesus is doing even as you need to grieve because of the evil that He is using to accomplish His goal. That leaves one more thing for me to add to that list. We need to follow Jesus. That may sound obvious, but there is more involved in that than what many think.

So, follow Jesus. And what does that mean? I think that it would be fair to say that one common answer to that question would go something like this. We need to take the truths revealed in the Bible and apply them to life. How’s that sound? Well, to be sure, it’s true. It’s true but incomplete. And that is the source of so many problems: providing true but incomplete answers. Including what is missing makes all the difference. And that missing part is what I want to talk about.
 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Collect of the Week

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:

Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.