Sunday, November 19, 2017

If the Foundations Are Destroyed

It was my intention to preach on Romans 4 this morning. But as I did my preparations it became clear to me that the Spirit had other ideas. Today’s sermon is going to be a look at what’s going on in our world and what that has to say to us. My goal is to help you to understand our situation better. Out of that will, in time, come things to do in response. Psalm 11 has some helpful insights on this for you to consider. Listen.
In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. Psalm 11

Prayer for the Week

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer

Friday, November 17, 2017

Scripture to Meditate on This Week

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3.7-8

Paul lost much. When many Christians hear that, what they think about first are the regular beatings he faced in every town he visited - or so it seems. But even before all of that, Paul gave up much. Trained by the esteemed Gamaliel, he was an up and comer. Knowledgeable, intelligent. And greatly motivated. His journeying to Damascus with authority from the high priest to imprison the followers of that heretic, Jesus, give ample evidence of that. The future was his. But he gave it all up - counted it all as loss - when he himself became a follower of that heretic.

So, what do you think? Was he okay with how things were working out for him, or was it too much? Was he content with his life, its loss, its suffering? Read the verses from Philippians again.

For Sunday

Reading of the Law of God
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5.5

Confession of Sin
Our Father, we are not by nature meek people. We like to assert ourselves. We bristle when someone ignores ‘our rights’. We can be good at defending ‘our turf’. In this we sin. We are not like Jesus. We are not meek. Forgive us this sin. Grant us grace so that we might become a meek people and in this way reveal Jesus to the world around us. Amen.

Declaration of Pardon
He made him who knew no sin to become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

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

Aphorism

The problem with much Christian worship in the contemporary world, Catholic and Protestant alike, is not that it is too entertaining but that it is not entertaining enough. Worship characterized by upbeat rock music, stand-up comedy, beautiful people taking center stage, and a certain amount of Hallmark Channel sentimentality neglects one classic form of entertainment, the one that tells us, to quote the Book of Common Prayer, that “in the midst of life we are in death.” It neglects tragedy.
Carl Trueman, “Tragic Worship”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Comment on a Psalm


Here is a Psalm where David not in trouble. Instead, he is reacting to unjust judges, whom he labeled 'gods'. Some Christians don't know what to do with some of what David calls for, things like, 'O God, break the teeth in their mouths' (verse 6) and 'let them be like the stillborn child who never sees the sun' (verse 8). But what is this but a cry for justice. And since 'vengeance is mine, says the Lord' it seems a very apt request. The martyrs of Revelation 6 thought so. They - and we - 'will rejoice when [we] see the vengeance' (verse 10).