Thanksgiving (Responsive Reading)

Give thanks to the Lord call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

And his courts with praise;

Give thanks and praise his name.

Glorify the Lord with me;

Let us exalt his name together.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise,
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,

And his righteousness endures forever.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;

Come before him with joyful songs.

Sing to him, sing praise to him;

Tell of all his wonderful acts.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy,
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being,praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?

I will sacrifice a thank offering….

And call on the name of the Lord.

Sunday Set List

November 22, 2009

Pre-Service Video – Presidential Prayers (Thanksgiving)

Welcome and Announcements

Mountain Ridge Community Bell ChoirChimings of Thankfulness/arr. Dan Edwards

Call to Worship – Thanksgiving

Songs of Praise and Worship

Forever (Tomlin)

Come Ye Thankful People Come (Alford/Elvey)

Give Thanks (Smith)

Connecting Through Prayer

Songs of Worship

For the Beauty of the Earth (Pierpoint/Kocher)

Thank You, Lord (Sykes)

Worship Through Giving

Special Music – Mountain Ridge Community Bell Choir

Love (Hollander)

Worship Through God’s Word

Remember and Be Thankful

Deuteronomy 8:1-5; 11-20

Song of Commitment

When I Think About the Lord (Huey)


Running Update

A Walk in the Park?  I Think Not!

Yesterday’s rain is gone and this morning was absolutely beautiful.  I knew that I would like to run this afternoon in the park.  We have a great city park here in Staunton — lots of runners (usually) and walkers — great scenery.  It’s a great place to run and train because there is a road that loops around the park and it is 1.3 miles.  Several weeks ago when I ran the 5K there, we ran the course backwards, which is the easier way to run it.  I decided, no pain/no gain, so I went back to the regular way around.  I’ve been trying for 5 miles lately, so at 4 laps — it became a 5.2 mile run.  Something about Gypsy Hill wears me out.  I finished the run exhausted — plus I am trying to improve my time.  I finished the 5.2 miles in 70 minutes and don’t feel too bad.  Pressing on…

Weekly Lectionary Reading

Reign Of Christ
November 22, 2009

2 Samuel 23:1-7 * Psalm 132:1-18 * Revelation 1:4b-8 * John 18:33-37

Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.

All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

We’ve come to the end of another church year.  This Sunday marks the end of the liturgical church calendar.  It is on this Sunday that we remember that Christ is the King who will reign forever.  This Sunday may also be known as Christ the King Sunday.  The scripture above comes from the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John.  I call this John, John the Evangelist.  He is the one who wrote the gospel of John and the three letter (epistles) of John 1, 2, and 3.  Here in this passage in Revelation chapter 1, we are reminded of who Jesus is and that his Kingdom will be a forever Kingdom.  This passage serves as a great reminder of those who are suffering for their faith.  This world is not our home — this world is not the end.  There is a Kingdom coming that is an everlasting Kingdom and Jesus will be the ruler.  I love the fact that this passage not only mentions Jesus’ death on the cross but also his resurrection from the dead.  We are reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega — the beginning and the end — that he aways was, he aways is, and he always will be.  What a great comfort to those early Christians who were being persecuted by the Roman Empire — what a great comfort for those saints through the ages — what a great comfort even for us today.  It is a great comfort to know that those who follow Christ — obey his commandments — love him will all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves — even when they drive us crazy — will be with Him as he reigns forever — Jesus Christ has risen and will reign forever.  All glory and power to him forever and ever!  Amen.

PS.  This post marks the end of a three year journey through the lectionary, but not the end of my posting.  I started this three years ago on the First Sunday of Advent in 2007. The first time around, I pulled from the different passages — sometimes trying to pull them all together, sometimes focusing on the one that spoke to me the most over the past week.  I’ve been thinking of how I might do the three year cycle this time around and in the future.  I figure there are four readings each week — Old Testament, Psalm, Gospel, and New Testament.  This could actually work into a 12 year series — Three years in the Old Testament — Three years in the Psalms and so on.  I like the idea of a challenge, especially with the Old Testament and Gospel writings.  So, I encourage you to continue along with me on this journey.  Blessings….

Seeing the World Through Different Eyes

Last week I took the Global and Intercultural Ministries class at FLAME. It was designed to teach us how to minister in a different culture than the one we grew up in or live in. An interesting thing happened to me.  As we were studying how other cultures may see the world, it became a mirror that helped me see the people the person I am.  It was a difficult class at some points because it was hard to see our failures as a person. Well, not really my failures, but how I view the world.  We looked at things like racism and sexism. We faced the truth that there is a sin called human trafficking where little girls who are as young as 5 years olds are being sold for sex industry. We also talked about the world is changing and how Muslims are taking over the world.  In addition, we talked about the hope that we have and the hope that we can give others in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The class was diversified in that we had 10 people in the class and many came from backgrounds. It was a safe place to talk about our experiences.  Like all of my FLAME classes, it was a growing experience and hopefully I will not forget what I learned about me and the world around me.

Wednesday Night Update

Cloudy, Cool, Rainy — Very Fall Like

We are heading into late fall here in the Shenandoah Valley.   Most of the leaves are off the trees, although here and there, there are leaves.  The days continue to get cooler and this afternoon, it began to rain and cool down.  It was rather dark tonight on our way home from church.

Running Update

In spite of the weather, this morning was fairly nice — 40 degrees and cloudy.  I was able to get in a 5.2 mile run.  I am averaging a 13:15 minute mile right now and continue to try to pick up the pace.  That was about the pace that I ran the 5K at several weeks ago.  I’ve discovered that my weight has leveled off — I’ve been at the same weight for three weeks.  Hopefully we can change that by next week 🙂

Thanksgiving Dinner

We had Thanksgiving Dinner at church tonight and had a very good crowd.  I would say that we were well over 100.  The ladies and probably some men did a great job cooking.  The food was wonderful.  It was great to hear what everyone was thankful for.

Worship Arts

The highlight of the night was our rehearsal for Sunday.  Our team is growing stronger each week.  Tonight we worked on a song we have done one other time and the team nailed it — including the harmonies.  We had a great time as we not only rehearsed, but worshiped and fellowshipped.

Tomorrow involves some clean up from tonight and a board meeting — All things that are part of building God’s Kingdom.  Seize the Day!

Do You Know Which Way to Go?

One of my past times is being a road geek.  I didn’t even think there was a name for it when I discovered that there are many websites dedicated to the various roads of the United States.  A picture like the one might be featured on one of those sites and the above picture would be an example of a multiplexed route — that is when two or more numbered routes follow the same roadway.  This sign is located about 2 miles from the church on southbound US 11.  Just south of this sign, US 11 splits into several routes — US 11 bypass, US 11, and US 11 Truck.  For the newbie to town, this creates some confusion and we have spent time being lost in Staunton.

Pam and I discovered this sign standard about the time that Pastor Barry was preaching a series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in John’s gospel.  The week we found it, Pastor Barry was preaching from John 14:6 where Jesus declares he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  There are signposts in our culture that are just as confusing at first glance as the signpost above.  When we come to those signposts, it’s easy to take a wrong turn.  Our culture would lead us to believe that all the religions are the same and that there are many paths to God.  Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 is pretty exclusive.  Jesus claims to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can come to the Father (God) except through him.  Jesus reminds us in this statement that we need to keep our eyes on him.  Jesus said that we need to love the Lord, our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves.  So to put it another way, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and love him with all we have — part of that is to obey his commandments and to treat those around us as we would want to be treated.  In that way — we won’t get lost or lose our way.  So, do you know which way you are going?

Should Have Known Better

That’s at least one title for today’s post.  It could have been “I Wish I Hadn’t” or “What Was I Thinking.”

Here’s what happened yesterday.  As I wrote in my running update yesterday, I was able to run a full four miles before a blister short circuited me.  Monday is grocery shopping day in our family.  After I finished up my run and got a shower, Pam and I went out for the week’s groceries.  There was banking to do as well.  We were preparing to go shopping, when both of us realized we were hungry and it’s never a good idea to go shopping when you are hungry.  We debated for a moment where we should go.  We headed toward “the corner” for lack of a better name.  On this corner in Waynesboro there is a McDonalds, Burger King, Arbys, Subway, Blimpie, Pizza Hut, a local steakhouse, Long John Silvers, A & W, and Hardees.  We chose Hardees, for one it’s been awhile since I had a bologna biscuit.  That in itself was not my mistake.  It came when I saw the country potatoes loaded with cheese and sausage gravy and then added a sweet tea.  Way too many carbs — way too much sugar.  All of that gave me a headache and made me miserable for the rest of the morning.  Like I said, I should have known better.  By the way, I’m not knocking Hardee’s food, I’m knocking my own self control.

Self-control — that’s the whole point of this post.  I think about it in my physical life and we can just as easily move it over to our spiritual life.  Many times when we move into areas of sin — we wish we wouldn’t have done it or we should have known better or we may even ask, “What was I thinking.”  So here is the question of the day and something to think about.  Are there areas in your life that you need to get control of?  Better yet, are there places in your life that you can surrender to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you avoid?  Maybe then both of us can avoid the should have known better syndrome.  Seize the Day!

Running Update

Run for the Prize

We woke up to a beautiful Monday morning here in the Shenandoah Valley.  The air was clear — the sky was blue — the sun was beginning to crest the mountain behind our house.  As Pam and James left for school, I began my run.  I really wanted to get back out there this morning.  Last week was the first time I ran only 6 miles since I started.

Getting on my running shoes was no problem — so that looked good and so I set off for a 5 mile run.  It was a cool 37 degrees so I ran with shorts and my long sleeve running shirt and baseball cap.  It would have been good to have the gloves for the first 10 minutes of the run, but I quickly warmed up by the 1 mile mark.  Getting to the 2-mile mark was interesting because there was alot of traffic — so I ended up on the gravel shoulder most of the time.  The nice thing about the five mile run is it has two miles of sidewalk running, where I don’t have to fight any traffic — miles three and four were all sidewalk running.  Just after I passed the three mile mark, my shoes or socks started irritating my foot and before long, I was working on a blister.  I had a good pace going (for me) and was on target to hit four miles at the 50-52 minute mark, but I couldn’t make the irritation stop so as I began completing the fourth mile, I called Pam and she hadn’t passed me yet on the way home.  She stopped and picked me up.  So I completed 4 miles for the first time in a week 🙂 in close to a personal best time.

One of the things that I had to do was continually remind myself of how good I would feel when I finished today — and it was true — I felt so good despite the blister on my foot.  I’m going out to get some new socks this afternoon — to see if we can take care of that problem.  But I have learned to keep my eyes on the prize — that if I continue to run — I will feel better and also lose some much needed weight.

What prize do you need to keep your eyes on?

Can You Believe?

ChristmasMusicAs I was driving James to school this morning, I began channel surfing on our Sirius Satellite Radio — Our new van came with a three month complimentary subscription.  As I was channel surfing, I pressed one of the presets and what came out of the radio was Christmas music.  Christmas music in November, before Thanksgiving? I have really liked having the satellite radio because of all the options in listening to music.  However, I wasn’t pleased to hear Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  As I drove I keep saying to myself, “who would be crazy enough to want Christmas music before Thanksgiving?” So finally I did what any sane person would and quickly changed the setting on my radio. I change the Love Channel to 80’s music.  Perhaps it is a reaction against the commercialism of Christmas and that even Christians have lost their focus.  Let’s first spend time being thankful…Our church will be celebrating Thanksgiving this Wednesday evening with a meal.  Christmas has become a holiday which people feel free to indulge and getting things that they really don’t need, and we totally forget a holiday which reminds us of being thankful for all we have.  It seems that we are never happy with what we have and we are always looking for the next big thing.  Perhaps that is the reason we are in the financial shape that we are in.  Let us put Christmas back to where it belongs and give Thanksgiving a bigger part of the year.