And Can It Be

This is an older new arrangement of Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be.” I remember hearing this many years ago on a SongDiscovery CD.

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Sunday Night Thoughts

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What a gorgeous Sunday we have had weather-wise.  It started of rainy, but it was also unseasonably warm.  By this afternoon, we even got some sunshine.  Most of our snow is gone, even the snow that we got on Thursday.  We got about 4 or 5 inches of wet, heavy snow.  For the next few days we are going to have some unseasonably warm temps for late February and early March.

It’s been a busy week.  Our community clergy ministerium had the first of a series of Lenten Lunches. Our church and another partnered to provide the food and Pam gave the devotional.  The people really loved Pam’s devotional.  I led the musical worship for the luncheon.  Today I again led the rehearsal for our community choir.  Our preparation for our Palm Sunday concert is going very well.

One of the cool things this week, is that Pam was able to present a seminar at a Children’s Ministry conference.  She did a seminar called “Children’s Ministry on Little or No Budget.” She got several compliments about how practical the seminar was.

We had a good worship service this morning at McCrae Brook.  I presented a message as part of our “Who Is Jesus?” Lenten series.  We explored the humanity of Jesus and ended with a season of prayer and sang “It Is Well.”

This week we scale back a little.  I’m hoping to get in some mileage running after my little gout attack this week.  I hope you have a great week!

Prayer for the Week

cruz-2381213_640Second Sunday in Lent

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Counted Righteous

cruz-2381213_640Second Sunday in Lent (February 25, 2018)

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16  • Psalm 22:23-31  •  Romans 4:13-25  •  Mark 8:31-38

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Romans 4:13-25 New Living Translation (NLT)


 We continue our journey to the cross. It is the second week of Lent and we remember the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sin.

We are reminded that we are not counted righteous because of our obedience to the law of God. We are only reconciled to God because of our faith.  Abraham was counted righteous because of his faith.  Paul writes, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.” The promise is only received by faith.

Paul also writes, “Abraham believe in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.”

Paul makes the argument that Jesus died for our sins and that we are raised to life to make us right with God.  Let us be reminded that Jesus counts us righteous, not because of the good things that we have done, but because of our faith in Jesus who died for our sins and was raised to life.

Billy Graham Has Died

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One of the most influential gospel preachers of our century has gone on to His reward in glory.  Pam and I had just finished up our early van run and I was checking Facebook while waiting for the bank to open when we learned of his death.

Back in the early 90’s, Billy Graham came Philadelphia.  If I recall correctly, our church made two separate trips to Philadelphia. It was amazing to see Veterans Stadium filled.  Sandy Patti was the guest musical artist on a very warm Sunday afternoon.  It was amazing to here this man of God in person.  I do remember him making a comment on the heat radiating off the field and something about the Phillies.

Billy Graham preached the Gospel and many, many, many people came to know Jesus as a result.  It is reported that Billy Graham preached to more than 200 million people in the 185 countries.  Well done, you good and faithful servant.  

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

Billy Graham