Sunday Night Thoughts

  • I was up early this morning to get ready for today’s service.
  • It was cloudy when we got up and now we are getting some heavy rain.  It’s cold enough that I want to curl up under a blanket.
  • We had a great service this morning — the choir did a great job singing.  It was a full service — handbell choir, regular choir, and communion, but it all worked well together.  Awesome job, everyone.  Thanks for all your hard work.

Time to go home and get some rest.  Have a great week and Seize the Day!

Sunday Set List

This week’s set list is a little different because our choir is presenting a wonderful musical. Blessings….

March 28, 2010
Sixth Sunday in Lent (Palm Sunday)
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship
Mountain Ridge Ringers
Let the Happy Hosanna’s Ring
Musical Presentation
Parkway Voices of Praise
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) Created by Dennis and Nan Allen
How Can I Keep from Singing? with
I Will Sing the Wondrous Story and I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
You Chose the Cross (Lost In Wonder)
Who Is There Like You
Nothing but the Blood
Amazing Grace with Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone and Grace Flows Down
Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone (Reprise 1)
Connecting in Prayer
Giving Back to God
Special Music
Mountain Ridge Ringers
Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Song of Worship
The Power of the Cross
Worship through God’s Word
Extreme Makeover: Holiness Edition
The Power of the Cross
Worship at the Lord’s Table
Communion with Jesus Paid It All
Musical Presentation
See What A Morning (Resurrection Hymn)
My Heart Is Filled
Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone (Reprise 2) with How Can I Keep from Singing (Reprise)

Weekly Lectionary Reading

Liturgy Of The Palms, March 28, 2010
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 * Luke 19:28-40

Liturgy Of The Passion, March 28, 2010
Isaiah 50:4-9 * Psalm 31:9-16 * Philippians 2:5-11 * Luke 22:14-23:56

4 The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.
5 The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
and I have listened.
I have not rebelled or turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me
and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.
I did not hide my face
from mockery and spitting.

7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame.
8 He who gives me justice is near.
Who will dare to bring charges against me now?
Where are my accusers?
Let them appear!
9 See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side!

This Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week or a week that follow Jesus to the cross and then to the resurrection. This is one of the few times during the church year that there is a reading for each day. We will be looking at those readings each day this week. I want to focus on the Old Testament reading on for the passion of Jesus. Many around the world will also be celebrating Palm Sunday – when we remember that Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The crowds that were gathered there were ready to crown Jesus king. Remember that just a few days before that, Jesus had healed Lazarus of death. The Pharisees were quite upset at this rebel. They didn’t like that his popularity was rising. They were afraid of rebellion – they were trying to keep the status quo. They didn’t want to upset the Romans – for if they did, they wouldn’t be able to worship and govern the Hebrews they way they did. The Pharisees were quite afraid. We find that out in John. Jesus popularity had gone way up after Lazarus was raised from the dead. John even records at the end of his description of the triumphal entry the Pharisees saying, “There’s no way we’re going to stop Him now – The whole world has gone after Him.” Immediately following this event, things go downhill in a hurry. John records a cleansing of the temple which greatly upsets the Pharisees and they put the evil plot in motion to kill Jesus.

My goal this week is to take us through the passion – through the eyes of the Old Testament – This will be something new for me. Which brings us to today’s passage in Isaiah. Here we get a glimpse of what Jesus is about to go through. In verse 7, Isaiah writes about Jesus and his face being set like stone. Luke records Jesus with his face determined to go to Jerusalem. Jesus was determined to do the work of the Father. Jesus offers up his life – to be abused at the hands of the Romans. Jesus even asks, “Where are my accusers?” They would soon be there, even though they had trumped up charges. We see that Jesus was determined to do the Father’s will, no matter the cost.

How is it with you today? Are you willing to do the Father’s will, no matter the cost? My challenge for you is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus this week. Follow the passion narrative – see the work that Jesus did for you. The Sovereign Lord is on our side, no matter what we may go through. When we think about all Jesus has done for us and was able to follow through – He is our example – let’s follow Him!

Sacraments: How Important Are They?

I had this question in the back of my mind since the spring of 2008. Can a person really be a Christian if they do not practice the sacraments? This journey started when I was writing a paper on the ministry of Catherine Booth, one of the founders of the Salvation Army. During my research, I discovered that The Salvation Army does not observe the sacraments. This led me to this question: “Can the church ignore the sacraments?” I’ll be the first one to admit, that I don’t have all the answers. But I do like the question and here are some of my thoughts.

Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said,” Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”

20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

If it was important enough for Jesus to tell us to do it, how can some Christians think it is not important for them to do it for their spiritual lives? Jesus also commanded us to baptize.

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Again it was important enough for Christ to tell us to baptize people. When I have the chance, I have asked my professors who are teachers of theology in the Wesleyan church this question about the sacraments. The last time I was at FLAME, we discussed the Sacraments. We looked at why our church traditionally has only celebrated communion once a quarter. It was for practical reasons, not for spiritual. In the Wesleyan Church, only ordained or licensed pastors can serve communion. The church could only participate in communion when there was one officiating the service. Our denomination consisted of churches with “circuit-riding” preachers – like many of the American churches in the 1800’s. Preachers would travel to churches that were part of their circuit. It would take a preacher several weeks or a month or two before they would return to a church, so the requirement was that a church should participate in communion at least once a quarter when the pastor was officiating the service. I During the modern post-war era, almost all Wesleyan Churches are not part of a circuit – meaning that the pastor preaches and leads worship each week. During our last General Conference, a memorial passed that recommended that churches consider having communion monthly. So, why don’t we take communion more often? I have heard at least two answers on a regular basis. 1.) We don’t take it more often, because it will lose its significance. 2.) We don’t take communion more often because we don’t want to look “catholic.” I know of several denominations – Roman Catholic, Anglican, Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ at least and a few others that take communion every Sunday. Communion is something Jesus told us that we must do. We are told as often as we observe it to do it in remembrance of Him. Not observing communion just because we think we might look like another church is not a good reason for avoiding communion.

The second reason also deserves to be look at as well. I can understand the point of view that by having communion, it might lose the significance or might lose its specialness. I read a book recently that put it this way. Our bodies need sustenance. Just because we always eat doesn’t mean that eating loses its significance. Our bodies still need sustenance on a regular basis. Another thing to consider is that we worship God each week through singing, prayer, reading the scriptures, and listening to the Word of God being preached and taught, and we don’t relegate these things to a once a quarter status to keep them special. In fact, if the church that you or I attended stopped preaching every week or stopped singing every week, we would think something was wrong with our church. Yet, when we only observe communion once a quarter, we think that’s the way it is suppose to be. I would like to challenge pastors to think about that.

The sacraments are a Means of Grace — that is they are a special channel in which God works in our lives. We believe that by observing the sacraments – our lives can be changed. The sacraments give us a way of touching the past and help us bridge us to the future in heaven. We should value the sacraments for what they are and the part they play in the life of a Christian.

Running Update

  • We had another beautiful day for exercising today.  Lots of sun and temps in the mid-60.  The flowering trees are blossoming — I love spring.
  • I ran 5.2 miles in 1:06:24
  • That comes out to a 12:46 mile.
  • In the last 7 days, I have run 20.2 miles 🙂
  • Pam has started walking and is doing great!

Pressing On!

Running Update

  • When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think there would be any chance of running today.
  • It was warm enough, but the on and off heavy showers would have proved difficult.
  • By eleven o’clock all that changed and we have beautiful blue sky with big fluffy clouds, with a nice breeze.
  • Pam went walking, while I ran — 3.9 miles
  • That makes 18.2 miles since Tuesday 🙂
  • I ran those 3.9 miles today in 48:12
  • That is a 12:21 mile.
  • The weather for the rest of the week looks very good.
  • I am hoping to get up to 5.2 miles Wednesday, even if I run a little slower.
  • I would be great to have in 20 miles over the next seven days

Pressing On!