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Showing posts from April, 2015

The under-shepherd of the Good Shepherd

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1 Peter 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. On this Sunday where the Gospel speaks about our Good Shepherd, our first lesson containing the words of St. Peter and the second lesson containing the words of St. Paul, speak of the roles of the under-shepherd – your pastor. What makes a pastor a pastor? Going to school for eight years, learning Greek and Hebrew, and having fancy diplomas written in Latin does not make someone a pastor. There is no extraordinary DNA or astonishing superpowers that makes …

Worship Helps for Easter 5

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I am the Vine Eastern Orthodox
Worship Theme: Through faith, we are connected to Christ as a branch is connected to a grape vine. The result of being connected to Jesus is that we will now bear fruit. The fruit of a Christian is a life of love. Out of thanks for God’s love, we now seek to love our fellow man by sharing God’s message of love with him. As believers we seek to show love not only in what we say, but also in what we do.
First Lesson:Acts 16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God…

Your pastor, your shepherd

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The apostle Paul, in Sunday’s first Scripture lesson, speaks about the ministry of the pastor to the flock in his spiritual care. “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32 Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:28-32).
Professor Brug also has some interesting comments for a pastor: “It is certainly a great thing to be able to give new life to a dead baby with water and words. It is certainly a marvel that after you speak a few words, C…

We are the aroma of Christ

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2 Corinthians 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? We all know a bad smell when we come across one. Our nose may twitch once or twice before the full force of the smell hits us. Whether it is rotting food or being downwind of a pig farm or the hint a baby needs to be changed, our nose tells us that something unpleasant is nearby. We try to identify the source of the smell and remove the scent. We can also smell the pleasant scents of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or brats on the grill or Easter lilies in church. We enjoy these fragrances and want more of them. In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, the apostle Paul talks about Christians being the “aroma of Christ…

Worship Helps for Easter 4

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Christ the Good Shepherd Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1660
Worship Theme: Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We are his sheep. Our Good Shepherd loves us so much that he gave his life for us. He knows us all by name. He protects us from our enemies. He gives us courage and strength. He continually brings more sheep into his fold. He promises heaven to all who believe in him. How great is the love that God has lavished upon us!
First Lesson:Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which …

Jesus opens minds

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Jesus showed his disciples his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.  He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. - Luke 24:40-45
“Ahhh!  Not like that! Why don’t you get it?!” shouts the older brother to his five-year-old little brother.  “I told you to put the pieces together like this.”  In a house full of children, squabbles like this are quite common.  Patience is not just a virtue but is also daily put into use. 
Patiently we instruct young children.  Patiently we train a teenager learning to drive a car.  Patiently we train a new employee.  Patiently we assist our elderly grandparents.…

The smell of victory

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“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. … Smelled like ... victory. Someday this war’s gonna end.” That line from “Apocalypse Now” is ranked #12 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations.
I have no idea what napalm smells like. But to the Americans, it did smell like victory. To their enemies, it smelled like death.
Your Christian faith is being challenged … every day … all around you. What are you going to do about it? You face the very real temptation to compromise your beliefs, to conform to the pressures of society, to accommodate for all kinds immorality on TV, in music, with your children. You face the very real appeal to not give off too strong a smell so that others will not sense your Christian scents.

This Sunday we smell the aroma of Christ. To those who are perishing, it is the sickly smell of death. To those who are being saved, it is the sweet fragrance of life. Join us this Sunday for a whiff of victory in Christ Jesus.

Worship Helps for Easter 3

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The Incredulity of St. Thomas Benjamin West
Worship Theme: Does telling others about Christ intimidate you? Do you fear how people will react? Today we see that Jesus’ death and resurrection give believers confidence. Our sins have been washed clean in his blood. We have forgiveness for any and all sins. Such truths give us the courage to witness boldly to the lost about Christ’s love and the rescue we have in his name.
First Lesson:Acts 12:1-19 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly prayi…