Wednesday, February 29, 2012


That was easy.

It is my intent to write a bit more. Not sure how much of that I will be doing on my blog. Some, no doubt. I have devised one simple way to force myself to write a little something each day.

I get a word of the day from the Oxford English Dictionary-OED. For a while I was disappointed in my daily words as they seemed very modern and faddish, unlike the OED. But it was not long until my daily inbox was filled with fascinating words, as most words are. Anyway, my intent is to use these words putting them to keyboard that forces me to understand how the word works in real time, and try to incorporate the words into my regular vocabulary. At the very least, write.

Relax, there will be no extra charge to you for these words or potential extra posts. They will all be freebies.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Goes Around

Last night at dinner table, my 10 year old son asked to do the Bible reading after our meal. We are reading through Ephesians and have come to chapter 6. It starts this way, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." As my son attempted to continue to read, I interrupted him several times asking him to read that first line over again and again. We had a good laugh, him too, as I said, "Ah, that is music to my ears."

But...a little later the Bible says, "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." My little obedient and image-bearing son, unprompted, but apparently highly provoked, read this line over again and again to great laughter and a well deserved 'comes around' to dear old dad.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Communion- Great Father

God is always with us and He keeps us even when we are unaware that He is doing so.  He watches out for us and makes sure that we are clothed, fed and sheltered.  This abundance of grace largely goes unnoticed by us. But even though this is the case, our Father in heaven continues to shower these blessings upon us day after day, anyway.
         We are gathered here again to eat and drink in the name of the Lord Jesus. God has provided the Lamb. He has washed away our sins. He has called us to His home. He has set good food and wine before us. He has provided us with fare that will make us strong enough to withstand the world, the flesh and the devil.  The Spirit, Himself, prays for our weakness, fulfilling the Father’s will in our lives to make us strong in Jesus Christ.
         It is a great Father that watches over us, protects us and is always here in our time of need. These symbols speak these truths to us. Remember this as you eat and drink.

Exhortation- Father sins

As we look at the character of God, the Father, we are confronted with our own failures as fathers. But we need not focus on the failures.  Our heavenly Father has been very gracious to us, surely far better than we deserve. We have a fine harvest of young men and women who are growing up to love the Lord, our God. We give thanks to the Father for this and pray that He would grant us many more believing children.
At the same time, we should admit that this is all grace from first to last. The fact that we have some clue about how to raise our children is a gift from God. But even though we do have some clue, we cannot fulfill the role of parents without God’s ever-abundant grace. And when we try to do so, we find that we really are clueless.  Even the best of earthly fathers knows that he has enough failures and sins against them to send all of his children to hell.  But thanks be to God, we do not have to live in that fear. Trust in the Lord your God. Confess your sins and seek His wisdom standing on the promises of God to you and to your children. This humility and confession, admitting that we are not capable of raising faithful children without the abundant grace of God, is one of the biggest means of grace to your children.
         So, do not be afraid to confess your sins in this area and pray that God will use this confession to shower grace upon grace to your little ones, now and always.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Communion-A bite and a sip

One of the things I point out in our liturgy sermon is that Communion is the high point of our service. I wish we had a bit more time to do our eating and drinking in a more relaxed way but just because we do not take a lot of time to do Communion should not detract us from the importance of it.
I suppose you all look forward to Easter dinner. You spend time thinking about the menu, preparing the lamb or the ham, pealing the potatoes, making the salad, picking out the right wine, decorating the table, lighting the candles, saying a thoughtful prayer. And then you sit down and gobble it all up in a few short minutes!  The duration of eating does not demean the import and glory of all of the preparations. It heightens it. It makes that moment of eating especially poignant.
       So, too, let us bring all the glory into this meal of a few moments. Jesus has drawn us here. He has cleansed us of sins. He has taught us His Word. He has knit us together through prayer and song. He has called us to a higher plane of living, even in His Kingdom and His palace. And now to prove it all to you, He has invited you to sit down and eat with Him and all those that belong to Him.
Remember all of that as you eat your bite of bread and drink your sip of wine.


Today I will give another annual sermon about liturgy. The point of this sermon is to cause us to remember why we do what we do. That is very important. Many of us have attended churches where we thought the liturgy, singing, scripture texts and prayers were wonderful, only to look around at a bunch of gloomy, hopeless, unbelieving people.  We face that very same danger and especially so as we pass our faith on to the next generation.
Our liturgy is beautiful. It is Christ-centered and biblical. But our liturgy will not save us. Jesus Christ does that. Our danger is to not see Jesus in the liturgy and fail to come to know and obey Him through it. If we are simply here to engage in a pretty one hour long ceremony, then we will be like those main line churches where we have attended, who like the dwarves in the stable, are eating King’s fare at a King’s table while only believing enough to think that they are eating scraps thrown out for the pigs.
          So, I exhort you today to wake up and pay attention. This is a glorious time in a glorious place with glorious people and a glorious God. If you cannot see all this glory because your are eyes have grown dim with darkness then repent and pray for light. Jesus is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Communion- Peace

This meal testifies that we are God’s people. Because we are God’s people, God’s children, then we are all related to one another. This is true whether we are acting like it is true or not.  So, it is vital that we tell the truth in our lives about what we testify at this table. We have sat down to eat with one another. Put aside all malice, any roots of bitterness and all of your ego. You are all seated at God’s table as God’s people. He allows no quarrelling here. No quarrelling between spouses, or siblings, or extended families or between households.  This is the meal of peace and the Father demands that you be at peace.
         Another wonderful truth is that this meal is a means of grace to bring peace. Just as over a regular special meal, the differences, arguments and pettiness of the family are set aside and the food and the drink draws you together to make you happy together at this special place. 
        How much more so the food that is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus? There is no better fare and no better company. Look around and rejoice that God has brought you here. Put aside all schism and be, you all, united in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Exhortation- Remember

This morning we are receiving new members into our church. We are thankful for this and not simply because we are glad to see the church growing but because we believe that this church will be a real blessing to these families.
         As I mentioned last week, one of our greatest sins is forgetfulness. We often use forgetting as an excuse but forgetting is the main problem.
         As we bring in these new members, along with their excitement about being here, we need to remember why we are here.
         God has blessed us mightily in this little congregation and if we do not choose to regularly remember this, we will forget, lose our gratefulness, grow cold, perhaps leave this church or much worse, even wander from our allegiance to Jesus Christ. God forbid that it should be so with you.
         So, why are you here? Is it because God put you in a body of other Christians that take the Bible seriously? Is it because we desire to have godly marriages and bring our children up in the Lord? Is it because we have leadership that believes in holding people accountable and will do so even to the point of church discipline? Is it because God has been kind to us in revealing glorious truths from His Scripture about His governance of all things, His promises to save the world and the covenant with us and our children? Is it because our worship is Christo-centric, biblically based and set against the decline of modernity? Is it because we honor the Lord’s Day and seek to have this day set the paradigm of how we are to live every day? Or, perhaps many other reasons, like simply having good friends, faithful leadership and a simple church lifestyle?
         Today is a good day to remember. If you have forgotten these things, confess your forgetfulness and choose to remember with thankfulness.