Well here we are on the last day of May 2015. Today has been a wonderful day. The Spirit of God was evident in our service today. I had the opportunity to lead the worship service in full today with the exception that Pam preached. Our lead pastor is away and we both had the opportunity to do things in the service today. We had a great service – the worship team did well. We had a video that I would love to share about missions but there is some information on there about some of our missionaries in restricted countries. This Spring our church received a bequest to be distributed to foreign missions. It was cool to do that. I made a little video that showed where the money went.
This week I am working on another set of videos because next Sunday is graduation Sunday. I will be leading the worship service once again and preaching. My working title is 5 Things James (from the Bible) Would Say to Parkway. I am looking forward to sharing this message.
Things are a little stressful as we continue to seek God’s direction. At this point we have several leads…so we are continuing to pray for God’s wisdom and direction.
That’s about it for this week, I got to writing this too late and I want to get out for a run early in the morning. Seize the Day!
May 31, 2015
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship
Songs of Worship
All Creatures Of Our God and King
I Love You, Lord
Worship Through Prayer
Songs of Worship
Come Thou Almighty King
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment
Come As You Are
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Isaiah 6:1-8 and Psalm 29 • Romans 8:12-17 • John 3:1-17
1 Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
Here we are on the last Saturday of May – which is probably the last running day of the month. This has been a recovery month and I think I did pretty good coming in at 80 miles – still struggling to get up to that 100 mile a month average. Three of the weeks had at least 20 miles in them, so as long as I can do that next month I will be happy. Today was a tough run – hot, hazy, humid and slow. I gave up at 5 miles because it was brutal. Looking forward to a new month and new miles in June.
5 Reasons Lament And Praise Must Stand Together In Worship
Worship in our various traditions includes proclaiming God’s goodness, power, and majesty. With confidence we speak of God’s nearness to the brokenhearted, of His tender care, and His faithful presence. All this is deeply, profoundly, and ultimately true. But is it always true of our lived experience?
If we are honest, often God seems far away; He does not always answer when we call; His presence does not feel as close as we proclaim. Sometimes horrible things happen to us or to those we love, and the God of healing and salvation seems reluctant or slow to act. How should the community of faith respond when our lived experience does not correspond to our faith-filled proclamation?
Psalms Of Both Lament And Praise
A common and often helpful response is to continue to proclaim the truth of God’s character and to recount His past faithfulness during times of suffering and difficulty. The Bible certainly echoes this kind of response to adversity, where praise becomes an act of faith. But scripture is not limited to responding in this way. In fact the more common response in the Bible is to be very candid about the experience of adversity and to cry out directly to God for relief. This cry for help is most often and clearly seen in the Psalms of complaint or lament.
More than one third of the Psalms are laments, which makes lament by far the most common kind of song in Israel’s songbook. The disparity between Israel’s songbook and a modern worship notebook or hymnal is remarkable. In both you will find songs of adoration, exuberant praise, and bold declarations of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness. What is conspicuous by its absence in our worship corpus – modern or traditional – are songs of lament or complaint. Typically only a small fraction even gives a hint of our experience of adversity, weakness, and suffering. Few, if any, plumb the depth of suffering, or cry to God for justice like the lament Psalms.
“Whenever our RIGHT becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.”
— Oswald Chambers
During our six years here in Staunton, one of our traditions has been to attend the Memorial Day service at Gypsy Hill Park sponsored by one of the VFW Posts. It is always a meaningful service that honors those who have fallen in service to their country. I’ve included some pictures in a slide show.
In a couple of weeks, our churches will transform. They will feature blazing red colors. Various artworks depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit will be on display. Clergy will don their red vestments. Acts 2 will be read once more, and hymns featuring the Holy Spirit will be sung. Finally, the long Easter celebration is over. Let’s move onto something different – for an hour on a Sunday morning at least. All of the brouhaha that is Lent and Easter is over, and thus begins the long season excitingly dubbed The Season after Pentecost. Wow. Two millennia of Christian tradition, and after is the best we could come up with?
I always wondered why the Christian Church only celebrated Pentecost one day out of the entire year. Why did the Church not see fit to give Pentecost a season to call its own?