It’s America

Normally on Monday’s I post a worship song, but since today is Memorial Day, I thought I would post this song by Rodney Atkins called “It’s America.”

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Gettysburg Address

pic_giant_062913_SM_Battle-of-Gettysburgh-4This was quoted during the Memorial Day Program this morning:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Memorial Day

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Today is the last Monday of May, so that means it is Memorial Day.  Many people consider this to be the unofficial start of summer.  There will be many activities today.  But the most important activities will be those which remember those who died in service to this great country.  Many men and women have fought and died for our freedom.  Today is their day – a day to remember them.

Our family will be part of the activities here in Eldred.  There is a parade and then a Memorial Day service following.  I encourage you to find something similar in your area so that you can remember those who died in service to their country.

Sunday Night Thoughts

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Summer has arrived – well at least summertime temperatures have arrived.  It’s hard to believe how things have changed in two to three weeks.  The grass is growing like crazy – meaning we have to mow grass every couple of days.  I’m hoping to get out tomorrow after all the festivities.

I’ve had some adventures with lawn maintenance.  On Monday I bent the blade on our lawn tractor.  While using the weed eater, I ran out of string – and there was none on hand.  So, it took my from Monday to Thursday to get everything done.  We should be good for this week.  I have less bus runs this week as the school year is starting to wind down.

I have been getting out for runs.  I need about 15 miles to beat last May.  This will keep me ahead of last year with a couple of tough months to beat in the summer.

This past week, I had the honor of performing a wedding for a young couple.  It was so fun to see their excitement – their nervousness, and their love.

We had a good time of corporate worship this morning.  We had some people who hadn’t been there in a while – so that was really good and we had a good little crowd.

Tomorrow we are participating in our community’s Memorial Day parade.  I am looking forward to it.  Last year we were planning on it but due to some circumstances, that didn’t happen.

That’s about all I have for this week.  Blessings…

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Trinity Sunday

Isaiah 6:1-8 and Psalm 29  •  Romans 8:12-17  •  John 3:1-17

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Romans 8:12-17 New Living Translation (NLT)


Today is the first Sunday after Pentecost.  That means it is also Trinity Sunday.  On this day we explore the wonderful mystery that is the Trinity – that God is Three and yet One.  Our finite minds have trouble grasping this concept.  We try to come up with earthly metaphors and all of them fail at some point to adequately grasp how the Trinity works.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we get a glimpse of how it works.  Paul has just written that as believers we are not controlled by our sinful nature, but by the Spirit of God – the same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead – and this Spirit lives or dwells – is incarnate – in us.  Because God raised us from the dead – just as he did Jesus – we too have life.

So Paul tells us we have no obligation to do what our sinful nature – an old word for that is carnal nature.  A couple of weeks ago, I used the word hedonism during my message and it is a philosophy that the human body is simply here for pleasure.  It we live by the dictates of our sinful nature, we won’t have that life, but we will die a spiritual death.  The Holy Spirit leads us to be children of God.  I love how Paul puts all of this together and it is such an encouragement.  We have been adopted into the family of God.  We are his children and we can literally call God our Daddy!  He is our Father – and his Spirit – the Holy Spirit joins with our spirit to let us know that.  Because of that – because of the way the Trinity works – we can share in God’s glory.  How cool is that?  I may not know how it all works, but I take this assurance.

11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.

12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prayer for the Week

trinity-diagramFirst Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday

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.

Aldersgate Day

quotes-while-he-was-describAldersgate Day is celebrated on May 24 (or the Sunday closest) to commemorate the day in 1738 when John Wesley experienced assurance of his salvation.  Wesley reluctantly attended a group meeting that evening on Aldersgate Street in London.  As he heard a reading from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, he felt his “heart strangely warmed.”   Wesley wrote in his journal that at about 8:45 p.m. “while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Charles Wesley only a few days before had also had a conversion experience in the same place. The building where the meetings took place no longer exists. Aldersgate Street has been shortened by common Methodist usage to simply Aldersgate. The word has come to represent both the place and the experience.

Charles Wesley, John’s brother, wrote this hymn on the occasion of his own heart warming experience.