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Showing posts from July, 2015

Remember your leaders

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Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. … 17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. 18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon. 20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:7-8, 17-21)
As we consider this text, we easily take note of the exhortation to remember our leaders. …

Counterfeit Christianity – Enthusiasm – That you can find God apart from His Word

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Mark 6:7-13 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. 8 These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff-- no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them." 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
One of the darkest secrets of Christianity in America is that we are losing our kids. We hide it with paintball trips and Christian outings to baseball games, but it’s true. And it’s nothing new. It has been happening for more than fifty years. It is still happening right at this very moment. Worse than that, it’s not just happening to our kids. It’s happening to our colle…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 9

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Isle of Skye Artist: Richard Ansdell
Worship Theme: Last week we saw how Jesus gives the Bread of Life through faithful public ministers. This week we focus more on their message. Public ministers must faithfully proclaim God’s Word. When pastors do not preach the whole truth of God, they destroy faith and turn people away from Jesus, for “faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17).  Nothing else will do.
Old Testament:Numbers 27:12-23 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes." (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) 15 Moses said to the LORD, 16 "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this communit…

A warning from Amos

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Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: "Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. 11 For this is what Amos is saying: "'Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.'" 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don't prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king's sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom." 14 Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.' 16 Now then, hear the word of the LORD. You say, "'Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the house of Isaac.'…

Counterfeit Christianity – Rationalism – That you can find God in your mind

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Mark 6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! 3 Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. If someone would ask me to name the two most challenging places for a preacher to preach, I think I would say that preaching at the Seminary chapel in front of my classmat…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 8

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The Exhortation of Christ to the Apostles Artist: James Tissot
Worship Theme: Faithfully proclaiming God’s Word is hard. Public ministers serve as God’s representative to a sinful world, and the world does not want to accept God’s truth. The Old Testament prophet Amos found that out; Paul and Timothy found that out; Jesus’ newly-called apostles would find that out. Yet God has chosen faithful public preachers as a way he will have the good news of Jesus come to his chosen ones in all nations.  Thank God for faithful public preachers and teachers of the gospel!  By them Jesus gives us the Bread of Life.
Old Testament:Amos 7:10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: "Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. 11 For this is what Amos is saying: "'Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.'" 12 Then Amaziah said t…

Preach the Word ... no matter what

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Paul’s second letter to his co-worker Timothy is one of the pastoral epistles. Along with 1 Timothy and Titus Paul wrote these three letters or books to instruct these men on how to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in an effective and God-pleasing way. Rightly so, sections of this epistle reading are often used for ordination or installation services of pastors. So in the next couple of months we can expect to hear these words acclaimed and proclaimed from pulpits throughout our synod. Use them to remind parishioners how God gives ministers the tools of law and gospel to work saving faith.
Our epistle lesson for this Sunday is from 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5. Confirmation students are often asked to commit several verses from this reading to memory. Our ministries would be aided to have 2 Timothy 3:15-17 and 2 Timothy 4:2-3 firm in our mind.
“… and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scriptu…

We are strangers

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We Christians can be disappointed in the Supreme Court's ruling about legalizing same-sex marriage. However, we should not be overly upset and surely not surprised.
Unbelievers are going to live however they want to live. This is their world. Not ours. We keep forgetting that we are strangers and aliens in this world.

The residents here are going to live however they want. We are like visitors living in a foreign nation. The culture, the language, and the laws are theirs. We are living for a better country - a heavenly one (Hebrews 11:16).  
Sinners are going to sin. Haters are going to hate. Pagans are going to ... pagan. 
It is insanity for we Christians to think that unbelievers are going to live the way God wants them to live. The only way for that to happen is for the Holy Spirit to convert them first. 


Worship Helps for Pentecost 7

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Good news of deliverance Zaki Baboun
Worship Theme: Preaching the message of God is not a popularity contest. The size of the crowd and the level of cheering is not what it is all about, but rather being faithful in speaking God’s word to the specific people and situations. That may ruffle feathers. The unwillingness of people to listen humbles God’s spokesmen. May we always pay close attention of God’s message, no matter how lowly the messenger who brings it.

Old Testament:Ezekiel 2:1 He said to me, "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' 5 And whet…