July 27, 2008
11th Sunday after Pentecost
Call to Worship – Psalm 105
Song of Worship – The Love of God (Lehman)
Installation of Local Board of Administration
Song of Worship—Find Us Faithful (Mohr)
Worship through Prayer
Worship through Giving
Song of Worship — Sound the Battle Cry (Sherwin)
Responsive Reading—The Armor of God
Worship through God’s Word –
Proper 12 (17)
July 27, 2008
Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
This week’s readings contain perhaps one of my favorite passages of scripture. Again we will look at Romans 8:
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I love this description of God’s love. It reminds me of a favorite gospel song “The Love of God.”
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.
What a great thought!
God has given me this scripture this week. I believe He is prompting me to preach this scripture on Sunday. Dr. Graham alluded to this scripture during our Power Rally last week. From Ephesians 6″
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[c] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[d] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[e] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[f]
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.[g] 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
Finally, a good report about Mosaic. If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that our Wednesday night ministry to students had hit some serious speed bumps. I was excited when I got to church tonight to find eight messages on the answering machine. Several of these messages translated into multiple students attending. When we gathered them all in 15 showed up along with seven of the finest student ministry volunteers you will find, for a whopping total of 22 (This is a major Praise the Lord!) I really hoping our student ministry is back on track. Not to say that all went well, because they were wired tonight, especially one girl on the ride home.
I also thank God for His traveling mercies — we had severe thunderstorms in the area while we were picking up students. God kept us safe. As an added bonus, we had a “make your own sundae” night that the students really enjoyed. I am praying that the good response to Mosaic continues. Seize the Day!
One of my pastor friends sent this to me this morning. He pastors a Wesleyan church to the west of here and is part of the southern cluster of the Shenandoah District. Be encouraged by these thoughts inspired by Isaiah 40:27-31:
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Do you sometimes question your relationship with God? This doesn’t mean that you are questioning your salvation. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where we do not feel like doing things. Maybe we are overwhelmed with temptation. Some days we just feel lazy. Other times we have a dislike towards something that someone has done. It is easy to get loaded down with the cares of this world. But as Isaiah says, we gain new strength when we leave those things in the hands of the Lord. We can’t base our faith on feelings. We can’t base our relationship with Christ on how we feel from day to day. We get tired, we feel resentment at times, sometimes we wonder why are we even bothering. Are you in an area of ministry that seems dry? Are you going through a trial that is taking everything out of you? Wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength.
Today, I’m going to share a clip from our District Conference Power Rally. Rebecca recorded it from her digital camera. The video is a bit shaky, so I apologize. This is a great thought — “Lord, You are good and your mercy endures forever!”
This was our first Sunday following District Conference. As I mentioned earlier this week, we had a great time and I just learned that Dr. Anthony Graham will be back next year to preach. He is a dynamic preacher who also pastors a church in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to all that, our District Superintendent came today for his annual visit. I introduced Rev. Greg Reynolds as my pastor and as their district pastor. He confirmed that that’s what he liked to be called at our board meeting following worship. Pastor Greg brought a great message (unfortunately the CD didn’t record — I have no idea why) from Luke11:33-36. The key idea was make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.
Following worship, the normal procedure is for the DS to meet with the board and we did that. Afterward, our pastor took our family out for lunch. He asked what was available in Martinsville and the kids replied, “Mexican, Mexican, and Mexican.” We do have an abundance of Mexican restaurants in Martinsville, so it was Mexican for lunch. One of the things I appreciate about Pastor Greg is that he is a PK (or Pastor’s Kid.) While we were at lunch, he goofed around with our kids. He especially enjoyed teasing the girls about dating other PK’s in the district. He had Anna and Rebecca going pretty good. One of the funniest moments was when Pastor Greg asked what time it was. He had a pastoral installation at 6:00 PM. Rebecca said, “It’s time for you to go.” It was so funny and we all got a laugh out of it including Pastor Greg. I love Pastor Greg’s heart for the pastor’s kids. He also has a heart for the children and teens across the district. He spent several days at both our Children’s Camp (complete with a pie in the face) and our Youth Camp.
It was a fairly short afternoon, and this evening we took a diversion from our Beatitudes study and looked at Romans 8:12-25. If you want to see where I was going with it, take a look here. It’s time to wrap this up, so have a great week.