As our service closed last night the worship team sang this song. Jesus is the Well.
Tonight I write to you from the comfort of our “cabin.” Night one of Refresh Retreat and Family Camp is in the books. It was an awesome night of worship. I put cabin in quotes because the Western New York Family Camp is on the campus of Houghton College. We are staying in one of the spacious two-bedroom apartments. Seriously, it is bigger than the house that we lived in Marion, IN. There is plenty of room for the four of us and we have internet access – so James can work on school work. He’s sitting on the couch behind me, while I sit working at the dining room table.
Houghton does a great job of hosting us. The musical worship tonight was wonderful, despite the fact that the presentation computer didn’t want to display the lyrics. Arthur Ward who just graduated from Houghton is the worship leader and tonight’s preacher was Justin Leininger. He preached a wonderful message on finding God in the wilderness. I loved this quote:
Remember, with Jesus your worst moment is never your last!
We had a good service this morning at McCrae Brook. I preached despite having a scratchy throat. I am thankful for the spirit’s presence as I preached a message about perfect love casting out all fear. We are almost through our series on 1 John and I am hoping to wrap it up next week – and we will be celebrating communion as well.
This week was a relatively easy week compared to the last few, this coming week, at some point I need to work on my sermon, but for now I want to enjoy sitting back and basking in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I hope you have a great week. Blessings….
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
10th Sunday After Pentecost (July 29, 2018)
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)
In this passage, Paul is praying for spiritual growth in the life of the church at Ephesus. He prays that the believers would understand God’s mysterious plan of Jesus Christ — that they would know the incredible love of God. He prays that they would know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. I chose the picture above to show a vast expanse. Back in 2010, I had the opportunity to go to the Navajo Nation in Arizona. We flew in and out of Phoenix. First I remember flying in and how long it takes to cross this great land that we live in. The other memorable moment was on the return trip. We had just gotten on I-40 near Holbrook, AZ. It is almost 90 miles from Holbrook to Flagstaff, but I remember seeing the San Francisco Mountains in the distance and we could see them for a very long distance. I think about the vast distances in our nation and then I think about how large our universe is. So big that distances are measure in light years – the time it takes light to travel in one year. The universe is huge and still God’s love is larger than the universe – how cool is that.
God has resources that cannot be measured and from those resources, he empowers us to live for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those resources are not like our resources – many of our resources on this earth are not renewable – but God’s resources are. These resources allow us to live as he has called us to live. These resources allow us to grow – to put our roots down deep – these roots grow down into God’s love and will keep us strong. This winter, we had many trees fall down in our neck of the woods due to snow and high winds. These trees fell because their root system was insufficient. We need to grow our spiritual roots deep into God’s love.
It is only then that we will truly experience the love of Christ – It is hard to describe the love of Christ – and to know it – our finite minds can’t wrap our heads around the love of Christ – the love that came, that died for us, that rose again – that kind of love – experience it – to the full.
God wants to work in us – to accomplish more – more than we can think or ask!!!! How cool is that? What a great prayer as we prepare our hearts for worship and meet with God’s people this weekend.
July 26, 2018
- Same Power
- How He Loves
- Reckless Love
- Come to the Table (Closer)
What is the chief end of man? Asks the Westminster Short Catechism. The answer: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “ To praise Him is the original desire sewn into every fiber of our God – designed humanity and into every aspect of our God -designed world. When we sing God’s praise, we join with the tune of the cosmos. Just pause. Isn’t this incredible?
We are going back a few years for this one.
It was many years ago that my first blog post was on a Sunday night and it was called Sunday Night Thoughts. Over the years, this has been the most regular feature of this blog. That very first post was about Homecoming at Preston Wesleyan Church in Martinsville, VA. It was short, about a paragraph. I bring all that up because this past weekend was our 80th Anniversary here at McCrae Brook. It has been an amazing weekend. We had a picnic yesterday and today we had a wonderful Spirit-filled and Spirit-led service. It was good. We had many family members return. There was over 80 people at our picnic yesterday and we had over 40 for worship this morning. We had the privilege of having our District Superintendent and Assistant District Superintendent in attendance.
Most of the week was spent in preparation for this weekend. Pam and I did some driving and both of us stayed consistent in our workout routine. At this point, I’m wiped out, so I’ll hang it up for the night. Have a great week.
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost | July 22, 2018
11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:11-22 New Living Translation (NLT)
This scripture is full of wisdom. I would encourage you to read it and read it again. It is a reminder that Christ came to save all – both Jew and Gentile. Interestingly enough, Gentiles were thought to be, in Paul’s words, “uncircumcised heathens.” The Jews were proud that they were the chosen ones. Gentiles were outsiders. BUT, because of Jesus Christ, the Gentiles have been united with Christ. This is good news! Jesus Christ came to bring us peace with God through His blood. One time we were far away from God, but now he has drawn us near to Him.
Christ brought peace and united the Jews and the Gentiles through the cross. I love verse 19:
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.