Sunday Night Thoughts

Happy Father’s Day – As most of you know, today is Father’s Day. This afternoon, I was able to call my dad. It was good to talk to him because I know there are those who can’t do that anymore. I am thankful for dad’s who leave a godly legacy.

It’s been a long weekend. Yesterday we headed north to Buffalo for District Conference. It was wonderful – a mix of reports, worship, voting, prayer. God’s Spirit was present. It was good to see some old friends – especially those I wasn’t expecting to see, like my friend Wayne Richards.

Friday began a three week break from major bus driving duties. I will be driving at noon for summer school, but it is a relatively short route. Most of this week will be spent preparing for Vacation Bible School. We are really looking forward to it.

I didn’t write a running update yesterday. This week I backed off on my mileage, hopefully I can ramp back up this week.

We had a wonderful service this morning – as we celebrated fathers – remembered Trinity Sunday and heard a report from District Conference. That’s about all I have for this week. Blessings….

Prayer for the Week

First Sunday of 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.

Trinity Sunday | June 16, 2019

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 and Psalm 8 • Romans 5:1-5 • John 16:12-15

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

John 16:12-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

Following on the heels of Pentecost Sunday, we come upon Trinity Sunday. The concept of the Trinity is as old as the church and yet, that doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle with it. We try to come up with human analogies for it and most of them – while they can give us an idea of what the Trinity is – they don’t completely describe the Trinity. Most of them fall apart at some point. The Trinity means that God is three-in-one. There are three distinct persons in the Trinity and yet they are one. All three persons in the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal. As finite human beings it is difficult to imagine this relationship. The three persons of the Trinity are God, the Father; Jesus the Son; and the Holy Spirit. There are not three parts of God, but one God – not three modes, but one.

Here in our passage this week, we get a peek into the Trinity. We see how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit work together and communicate with each other – as one – and yet each has a distinct role in the life of the believer. God, the Father is our creator – we know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were at creation because of Genesis (Genesis 1:26), “Let us make humans in our image.”

Jesus is the Word of God. He is God in the flesh. It is Jesus who came to earth to dwell, as Peterson puts it in The Message. “

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14 (The Message)

Jesus came to die – to make a way for those who are caught in sin (which is all of us.) Jesus shed His blood on the cross to pay for our sin. Three days later, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he rose again, freeing us forever from the power of sin.

The Holy Spirit – as we celebrated last week, came to dwell in the hearts of those who believe on Pentecost. The work of the Holy Spirit continues to this day – dwelling in the hearts of the believers.

The concept of the Trinity was important enough that the early church fathers met and put together key creeds: The Nicene Creed and later developed the Athanasian Creed. It is named after after Athanasius (A.D. 293-373), the champion of orthodoxy against Arian attacks on the doctrine of the trinity.  Apart from the opening and closing sentences, this creed consists of two parts, the first setting forth the orthodox doctrine of the trinity, and the second dealing chiefly with the incarnation and the two-natures doctrine.

Today we remember that God is God – a Triune God – Three and yet one!

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.

Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.

Now this is the catholic faith:

    That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
    neither blending their persons
    nor dividing their essence.
        For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
        the person of the Son is another,
        and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
        But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
        their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

    What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
        The Father is uncreated,
        the Son is uncreated,
        the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

        The Father is immeasurable,
        the Son is immeasurable,
        the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.

        The Father is eternal,
        the Son is eternal,
        the Holy Spirit is eternal.

            And yet there are not three eternal beings;
            there is but one eternal being.
            So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
            there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

    Similarly, the Father is almighty,
        the Son is almighty,
        the Holy Spirit is almighty.
            Yet there are not three almighty beings;
            there is but one almighty being.

        Thus the Father is God,
        the Son is God,
        the Holy Spirit is God.
            Yet there are not three gods;
            there is but one God.

        Thus the Father is Lord,
        the Son is Lord,
        the Holy Spirit is Lord.
            Yet there are not three lords;
            there is but one Lord.

    Just as Christian truth compels us
    to confess each person individually
    as both God and Lord,
    so catholic religion forbids us
    to say that there are three gods or lords.

    The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
    The Son was neither made nor created;
    he was begotten from the Father alone.
    The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
    he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
    there is one Son, not three sons;
    there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

    Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
    nothing is greater or smaller;
    in their entirety the three persons
    are coeternal and coequal with each other.

    So in everything, as was said earlier,
    we must worship their trinity in their unity
    and their unity in their trinity.

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Now this is the true faith:

    That we believe and confess
    that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
    is both God and human, equally.

     He is God from the essence of the Father,
    begotten before time;
    and he is human from the essence of his mother,
    born in time;
    completely God, completely human,
    with a rational soul and human flesh;
    equal to the Father as regards divinity,
    less than the Father as regards humanity.

    Although he is God and human,
    yet Christ is not two, but one.
    He is one, however,
    not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
    but by God’s taking humanity to himself.
    He is one,
    certainly not by the blending of his essence,
    but by the unity of his person.
    For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
    so too the one Christ is both God and human.

    He suffered for our salvation;
    he descended to hell;
    he arose from the dead;
    he ascended to heaven;
    he is seated at the Father’s right hand;
    from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
    At his coming all people will arise bodily
    and give an accounting of their own deeds.
    Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
    and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.

Sunday Night Thoughts

It’s been a beautiful weekend weather-wise and otherwise. We have three solid days of beautiful, low humidity weather. Friday was beautiful, so I got our grass cut. We haven’t had many rain-free days, but we have had a three day stretch.

Yesterday, our family went on a little road-trip heading over to Potter County. We looked for the Triple Continental Divide. It is the point of three rivers – the Allegheny – the Genesee – and Pine Creek (which ends up as the Susquehanna. These three rivers end up in the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Ontario, and the Chesapeake Bay. After that, we went to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, which is really a nice museum east of Coudersport. We had a great day.

We have been preparing for Vacation Bible School in a few weeks. This past week, I have continued my van drives and this coming weekend we have our District Conference. I also ended up with some summer school runs – which is nice.

This has been a good month on the exercise front – where I’m already at 41 miles.

This morning we had a wonderful, Spirit-filled service as we celebrated the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. The congregation really sang and we worshiped together.

That’s about all I’ve got – have a great week!

Prayer for the Week | Pentecost

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even Greater Works

Acts 2:1-21 • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b • Romans 8:14-17 • John 14:8-17, (25-27)

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:8-17, 25-27 New Living Translation (NLT)

Again we have a passage that comes from John. It seems like I have been here quite a bit lately. On Maundy Thursday, we looked at John’s Gospel from chapter 13 all the way through 17. During this Easter season, we have looked a select passages. This week, we look at Jesus’ words.

To set up this week’s words, at the end of chapter 13, we find out Judas will betray Jesus and Peter will deny Jesus – immediately after Peter and Jesus’ conversation, Jesus speaks, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me…” Jesus is speaking words of comfort to his disciples. They don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few hours and Jesus reminds them that there is a Kingdom beyond this world…but that they will have to remain here. Philip speaks up and asks Jesus to show the disciples the Father. Jesus replies, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

At this point, Jesus reminds us that He and the Father are one. It is now that Jesus tells us that those who believe in him will do the same works and even greater works, because Jesus is going to the Father AND sending the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminds the disciples that if we ask for things in Jesus’ name, He will do it. We often think that means just speaking the name of Jesus. But I believe it is much more. It is knowing that what we ask is what Jesus wants – that it is something that Jesus himself would do. If we do that, we have his power, because the Holy Spirit is coming – which we celebrate on Pentecost – which is tomorrow. The Holy Spirit will lead to all truth and he will be our counselor and guide – if only we follow His leading. The Holy Spirit comes so that we are not as orphans, but we are children of God. As we close out this passage, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit is promised and just as the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, he comes to us today – and we can do the same works – and even greater works than Jesus – if we follow him, love Him and obey His commands.

The Long Run

When I started running, our pastor at the time would give me his old copies of Runner’s World. It was often stated the importance of the long run. Since the beginning of the year, I have done running, but not much long running. Today I ran my longest run of the year – 8 miles. It took me an hour and a half. Wow, that’s a long way from when I could run 8 miles in about 66 minutes – but a long run is a long run and it doesn’t have to be fast and one of the things about a long run is that it helps your short distance runs. I’m hoping to get up into the 11 to 12 mile run game and do that on a regular basis. Interestingly enough my over all pace wasn’t far from my short run paces of late.

The first week of June has been a really good week. Since last Saturday, I have run and walked over 33 miles! Close to 75% of those miles are running miles – so I’m really excited about that. It is the first time I’ve had that many miles for a week and hopefully things will continue like that this summer. So I am encouraged with my long run and the progress I have made this week – Pressing On!

Over the past few years I have featured a D-Day remembrance. Today I share with you President Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer.

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. 

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. 

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. 

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war. 

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. 

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. 

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts. 

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces. 

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. 

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose. 

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. 

Thy will be done, Almighty God.