In honor of Reformation Day, Martin Luther’s great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” as performed by the Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale – my alma mater.
A call to worship is directed to the people by God through the worship leader. It is an act that brings the worshiping community into being. The call to worship is directed toward the people. It is a call to focus mind, heart and intention on the worship of God. Therefore, it is brief and emotive, not lengthy and intellectual.
Robert Webber, “The Call to Worship,” in The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Vol. 3, ed. Robert E. Webber (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), 222
On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly “searching, rather than doctrinaire.” Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which asks: “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”
Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory [also attested as ‘into heaven’] springs.” He insisted that, since forgiveness was God’s alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.
The sale of indulgences shown in A Question to a Mintmaker, woodcut by Jörg Breu the Elder of Augsburg, circa 1530.
According to Philipp Melanchthon, writing in 1546, Luther “wrote theses on indulgences and posted them on the church of All Saints on 31 October 1517”, an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation. Some scholars have questioned Melanchthon’s account, since he did not move to Wittenberg until a year later and no contemporaneous evidence exists for Luther’s posting of the theses. Others counter that such evidence is unnecessary because it was the custom at Wittenberg university to advertise a disputation by posting theses on the door of All Saints’ Church, also known as “Castle Church”.
The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press. Within two weeks, copies of the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.
Luther’s writings circulated widely, reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519. Students thronged to Wittenberg to hear Luther speak. He published a short commentary on Galatians and his Work on the Psalms. This early part of Luther’s career was one of his most creative and productive. Three of his best-known works were published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian.
From our bulletin insert on Sunday:
The legendary account tells us that one cool October 31st in 1517, the priest Martin Luther defiantly nailed his protest notice to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. These Ninety-five Theses were a list of abuses and errors that he understood were a corruption of the purpose and mission of the Church. In reality, the Ninety-five Theses were most likely sent to his Archbishop. And the list was not really a defiant protest as much as it was a sincere call for the Church to begin addressing some of its problems that Luther felt had obscured the Gospel message.
In any case, Luther hoped that his Theses would be seen and discussed as a step toward renewal of the Church, so that people might know the truth about God’s forgiveness for their lives. The powerful passage from Romans 3:19-28 had fired his soul and he was so overflowing with joy after years of guilt and a need for forgiveness that he had to share the truth with all that he could. Little did he know the enormous impact on the world that his one simple act would have. His willingness to stand up to pope and emperor in the name of the Gospel of Christ changed the face of history, and the face and direction of the entire Christian Church.
Today we celebrate the movement of the Holy Spirit in our Church and our hearts. It is this movement of the Holy Spirit that brings us newness and renewal, both in our personal lives and in the life of the Church. When we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit!” we know that the whole Church is always in need of reform, and we each are always in need of dying again in Christ in order to be raised from the dead, so that we might be truly free by the grace of Jesus the Christ in our lives and Church. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)
For the next two Sundays our sanctuary will be decorated in Red which symbolizes the Holy Spirit and is the color of Pentecost. Red also represents fire and is associated with power and importance. Crimson red also symbolizes the presence of God and the blood of martyrs and is used on Sundays of great importance to the church.
As we worship today, especially in light of our current sermon series “Not A Fan,” let us remember to ask the Holy Spirit to work in us—to renew the work of God in us and in our hearts and to become a:
FULLY . COMMITTED . FOLLOWER
“God has our name on specific trials. They are designed for us, arranged with our weaknesses and our immaturity in mind.”
It’s going to be an interesting few days, but God has reminded me of his provisions. Today I want to share Casting Crowns, “Praise You In This Storm.”
Praying for all my friends (along with us) who are being affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Getting Ready for Sandy
This looks like it could be an interesting week, especially considering the weather. The last week has been nice, with the weather varying from summer like weather to fall like weather. This week it will feel like fall as Sandy makes its way inland. From the forecast, it sounds like it will mainly be a wind/rain event. They are calling for several inches of rain, with the possibility of snow. Most of the county school systems to our north and east are already closed for tomorrow as we get ready for what is being called an historic storm.
I’m really not too concerned except for power. We live high and dry here, unlike some of the other houses we have lived in. The only concern I have about power would be heat and (if it goes off for an extended time) the food in the freezer. We will see what this week holds.
The weather makes figuring our church’s annual event difficult. We plan on going through with it unless it is raining (and we may move it inside) or there is no power, in that case we will cancel. I really hope that we don’t have to do that because this is a huge outreach event for us.
By next Sunday night, I will be in Pickens, SC for the week to lead worship at FLAME. I am looking forward to being at FLAME. It’s always a great time of encouragement, fellowship and networking.
Danville Half Marathon
After running the half yesterday, I am really encouraged by my training, although I have a nagging injury that has come back on my heel. If I can, I’d like to get out tomorrow and run – at least a few miles (3 or 4) just because, I may not get out till Thursday if I don’t. Yesterday was amazing and I get to see the official results tomorrow.
Jesus I My Cross Have Taken
I had to learn this song this past week. As I looked at the songs that God was leading me to use during worship today, I was drawn to this song. Several of our older people knew it. It was cool to teach an old song. The worship was warm and sweet today. It was one of those days when it didn’t feel like I was leading – I simply got up and worshiped and the congregation followed. Next week we have our Celebration Sunday and I am looking forward to it, even though I will miss the dinner following it to get to Table Rock.
That’s about all I have for the night. Keep the people in the Mid-Atlantic States and Northeast in your prayers.
October 28, 2012
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Songs of Worship
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Mighty to Save
Worship Through Prayer
Song of Worship
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Worship through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Not A Fan
Luke 9:23; 57-62
Song of Commitment
Whatever It Takes
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The day has finally arrived and just as quickly is gone. It is amazing how fast 13 miles flies by 🙂 I was up by 5:00 this morning – for one I couldn’t sleep – and two, we had to be in Danville, VA this morning to pick-up my racing packet. The nice thing is the race didn’t start until 10, so we weren’t up and at’em as early as we could have been.
The trip down was uneventful, except for the fog on Afton Mountain. If you live in the area, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is always fog on the mountain. In fact, they have installed special lights in the roadway, when the fog gets dense. The crazy thing about this morning, is there was nothing, and then, all of a sudden, a very thick, dense fog. It so happens that the top of the mountain is our exit and going back down the mountain, we didn’t have the special fog lights leading the way. As quickly as the fog enveloped us, it went away. It still is amazing how long it stays dark in the morning. We were almost into Lynchburg, before we had any significant amount of daylight.
We got to the race area – had some trouble finding the registration area and then had to wait for about an hour until the race started. This was a little un-nerving for me and I had to keep telling myself “trust your training” and “trust your instincts.” To add to the uneasiness was the fact that my ankle injury was really acting up this morning. Several doses of ibuprofen helped and then running and working away the stiffness helped some, but the stiffness never really went away, so I ended up running with it.
Finally it was time to start the race. I jumped out to a quick start – almost too quick. Although my breathing really didn’t indicate that. When I reached the first mile post, I looked at my watch and almost fainted. An 8:00 minute mile – that was not a sustainable pace, I pulled back a little and the next mile registered at 8:16 – still a little fast. After that, I settled into a nice pace that didn’t waiver more than 10 seconds either way off my final pace.
So how did I do? I am excited to report that I finished the half-marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:50:30. Which gave me an overall pace of 8:25/mile. Like I said, except for the first mile, my pace was 10 seconds + or – of that pace, which means I really nailed that pace. Why am I so excited? Not only did I set a new personal record (PR), I crushed the old PR of 2:01:04. I was over ten minutes faster. We stayed for the awards ceremony and I narrowly missed getting an award for placing in my age division. The third place finisher, finished in 1:47 something. Not bad for a guy who only took up running three years ago.
One other cool factoid comes from comparing my performance in the Staunton 10 Miler two years ago (which was two weeks earlier.) That day I completed 10 miles (on a much hillier course) in 1:55. Today my 10 mile split was 1:24:17 – taking a full 30 minutes off that time.
My goal(s) for next Saturday:1.) Finish in less than 2 hours (this is a 9:06/mile pace) and would also give me a PR (Personal Record for the distance of 13.1 miles.) – The way my training runs have gone, I have a fairly reasonable chance of making this goal. Still, there’s any number of things that can go wrong, so there are no guarantees.
2.) Finish in less than 1:55:00. I have been running in the 1:55 type pace over the last few weeks.
3.) Finish in less than 1:50:00. If everything is perfect, I may be able to get this, but that’s why you set multiple goals
Now for the runner geek in me and for my journaling, here are my splits.
Mile 1 – 8:00
Mile 2 – 8:16
Mile 3 – 8:26
Mile 4 – 8:23
Mile 5 – 8:30
Mile 6 – 8:31
Mile 7 – 8:31
Mile 8 – 8:25
Mile 9 – 8:34
Mile 10 – 8:36
Mile 11 – 8:38
Mile 12 – 8:23
Mile 13 (plus the .1 mile) – 9:28
Edit: (Added 10/30/2012) Here are the overall results – I finished 38th overall out of 172 runners and finished 5th out of 11th for my age group. My official time is the same as what I clocked on Saturday.
Proper 25 (30) (October 28, 2012)
2 “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! 11 Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.
12 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. 14 He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.
16 Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren.17 Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.
Isn’t is amazing when we realize that God is God and we are not? This is the point that Job has finally reached. Job realizes that he has no answers for God’s questions. Job repents of his attitude – Job realizes who God really is.
It’s even more amazing that after all the trials that Job goes through, God not only restores him – restoring everything Job lost, but doubled up on what Job had lost.
About a week ago, I wrote about negative splits as it is related to running, which means that you run the second half of a race faster than the first. In Job’s life, he ran the second half of his life better than the first half of his life. I encourage you to press on – even when the going gets tough.
Job died an old man with many children and grandchildren – living a full life. Pressing On!