Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
You know of my great affinity for the Psalms. I recently came across a blog post that expresses how invaluable the Psalms are to the Body of Christ, to each believer in the Body of Christ, particularly as they are sung. The Psalms are, after all, our God’s “hymnbook” for His people. Here’s the blog post.
You should read the Psalms like a balm for your soul. I don’t mean work your way through it like a textbook, I mean to dwell in it like a home. Athanasius spoke of the psalms in such poetic terms that he seemed almost hypnotized by its marvel. For him, it “yielded special treasure” again and again. It was like a “garden that grew every kind of fruit.” Further, the Psalm writers were so indwelt (there is that word again) by the Spirit that they couldn’t help but to speak and sing of the harmonious message of all the Bible that Israel’s God reigns forever and ever.
You have probably heard me talking about singing the Psalms and at this point, if I make another reference to singing the psalms I am afraid you will unfriend me or curse me with imprecations. So, I will spare talking about how psalm-singing changes and forms us into better human beings, flourishing in the poetic garden of Yahweh; I will spare you the talk about how singing the Psalms heal our souls in times of grief, and I will spare you the conversation about how singing the psalms with friends bind us together in a more profound way than anything I’ve ever seen. Again, I don’t want to bother you with my fascination for the Genevan Psalms. I simply don’t want you to think about how the psalms frighten demons in the Bible. That would be too much to talk about and as I said, I don’t want to be that guy that annoys people with all this psalmic talk. It would be too much for you to bear such a friend. So, I won’t say any of those things.
This Lord’s Day we will be giving consideration to the third and final noun from our Vision Statement that serves to identify the means by which we may reflect the glory of God. We exist to reflect the glory of God in our passion for, our devotion to and exaltation of Lord Jesus Christ. We will be addressing the question, “What does the exaltation of Christ look like or sound like…what will it entail?” The Order of Worship is attached.
Next Lord’s Day will be the final sermon I will preach to you from this pulpit as your Pastor. I’m still struggling mightily with what to say, with what I want to leave with you. Please pray that the indwelling Holy Spirit might lead me in the right direction…that He might give me just the right words to say to all of you who I love so dearly.
Please be sure to pray for Pastor Tim. This evening he will be meeting with the Presbytery of the Southwest, seeking permission to have his credentials transferred to the Presbytery of Ohio as well as their concurrence for him to take up the call from CCOPC to be its pastor. This is the next to the last step in Pastor Tim’s journey to becoming the next pastor of CCOPC. The final step is a service of installation for Pastor Tim. We have selected a tentative date of August 30 which will coincide with the week in which he intends to move to the area.
On a related note, Pastor Tim and Anlle are planning to travel to Sheridan on July 19 for a week or so of house hunting. They are not sure how long they will stay but are willing to stay through July 28. John and Cornelia have graciously invited Tim and Anlle to stay in their home for that week as they are on vacation for that period of time. I’m sure they would be delighted to have dinner with any of you who would like to invite them for an evening. This is a chance for us to once again display our Hoosier/biblical hospitality. Here is Pastor Tim’s cell phone: 479 – 799 – 2227. His email is email@example.com
· July 14–Young Adults Fellowship Group
· July 16–Ladies Night Out
· July 21–Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· July 28–Neighborhood Fellowship
· August 4–Fellowship Meal
· August 4–Season of Prayer
· August 11–Young Adults Fellowship Group
· August 18– Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· August 25–Neighborhood Fellowship
God can look sourly, and chide bitterly, and strike heavily, even where and when he loves dearly.—Thomas Brooks
A man’s contentment is in his mind, not in the extent of his possessions. Alexander the Great, with all the world at his feet, cries for another world to conquer. —Charles Spurgeon
A weak faith can lay hold on a strong Christ. —Thomas Watson
If we could hear all that is said of us, it would not flatter us much. —John Newton
Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.–John Piper
Your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for all. —Thomas Brooks
Reformed confessional theology was written not to pick a fight but to protect the church in the battles she already faces and to nurture people in the truth. —Joel Beeke
I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate “the pearl oyster.” A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but “cover” it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us. —Charles Spurgeon
Three other R’s: Scottish evangelicals of the 19th century can teach us about revival, reformation, and reunion
In 2012 Manhattan could boast of 31 developments in which a 2,300-square-foot condo would sell for at least $5 million. Seven fat years later, that number has more than tripled. Some are in parts of the city where neighbors a block away are at least relatively poor, so development owners are creating ways for residents not to have to leave their buildings. READ MORE…
Growing Up in a World Like This
A short time ago I shared some resources meant to help parents as they prepare to have “The Talk” with their children. But even after looking at those resources I had some questions I wanted to ask, so I spoke to Dr. Chris Richards, who together with Liz Jones has authored Growing Up God’s Way, a book with editions for both boys and girls, that helps prepare young people and their parents for adolescence and adulthood. Dr Chris Richards is a Consultant Paediatrician in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the Director of Lovewise, which produces material for teaching about marriage and relationships from a Christian perspective in schools and church groups. He is married and has four children. He is a deacon at Gateshead Presbyterian Church. Here is what he had to say about preparing children to grow up in a world like this. READ MORE…
Redefinition is definitely on-trend in our culture. Words, phrases, and concepts are generally fluid, and are often the tools of a non-democratic process which draws new lines between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ at will. Other linguistic changes seem to simply happen, usage and over-usage leading to their decommissioning and devaluation. One of those words is ‘kindness’, and the shift which has taken place here is symptomatic of wider changes in society and community. In this post I want to probe kindness a little bit, suggesting some subtle ways in which our expectations around this word have altered.
Random acts and covenant kindness
Over the past decade or so our culture and, to a certain extent, the church have bought in to the idea of kindness as an isolated act, as a randomised impulse that ought to be acted on. Paying forward a coffee, passing someone a handwritten note of appreciation, calling someone out of the blue and asking how they are, have become popular ways of showing affection and concern. For many people this is how kindness is now universally coined – it is a brief burst of benevolence, a momentary debit on our energies, resources, or social awkwardness, a credit to our sense of altruism and engagement.
Whatever benefit such acts accrue, they fall far short of how the Bible frames kindness, with its family likeness to ‘grace’. In Scriptural terms, kindness is inherently relational and essentially covenantal, it bespeaks commitment and a long-haul mindset. READ MORE…
The Most Radical Mission For Christians May Be The Most Mundane
Christians must not conceive of mission as only that which takes us far from home or into harm’s way. Too often, would-be missionaries are energized by the possibility of going across the world to minister to unreached people groups but are not energized by the prospect of going across town to engage in cross-cultural mission with local unreached immigrant or minority communities.
Young, restless church leaders are writing books and attending conferences about urban ministry in London, New York or Buenos Aires. But who is getting excited about planting churches in Midwestern suburbia, rural Appalachia or the tiny towns that dot the farmland in flyover country? Arguably these forgotten, unsexy frontiers of mission are some of the places where gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered church planting is most needed. READ MORE…
Lay Aside Your Misplaced Fear
If I feared less, I would love more — both God and people. But it is just as true that if I feared more, I would love more — both God and people.
I’ve been praying for a while for God to align my affections and desires with his. And, based on my decades of experience pursuing God, one of the telltale signs that he’s answering my prayers is that I’m forced to face numerous situations and decisions that incite fear — the kind of fear that makes me want to withdraw from the bold words and deeds of love in Jesus’ name that these situations and decisions require. I’m learning that facing such fear, as much as I dislike it, is precisely what I need.
I could almost wish I was a fearless Christian. But there is no such thing as a fearless Christian. READ MORE…
More About Jesus I Would Know
I have found that if you mention theology around some folks they will head towards the door. A lot of people are not interested in how their salvation works. They just want to be end-users. They want to be saved but do not want to know the ins and outs of that salvation. They just want to believe in Jesus and be good. Often I think this is what churches have catered to in their teaching and programs.
My childhood church taught me the simple basics of who Jesus is and that He died for me. They taught me the need to surrender my life to Jesus and trust in Him. What I did not learn was how to express that faith or the theological underpinnings that uphold our faith. While I can remember lessons about the Bible stories and some theological truths like repentance, there was little focus on who God is or how Jesus’ death and resurrection really saved us from our sin. We knew that faith in Jesus saved us, but we had no understanding of how Jesus saved us. A lot of people have the same ideas about their cars. They know how to make them work. They know how to start them, drive them, and turn them off, but they really do not have any idea how they operate other than they use gas. READ MORE…
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.” J. Gresham Machen
“When Christ calls a man – he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer