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Showing posts from January, 2018

With authority

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Mark 1:21-28 21Then they went into Capernaum. On the next Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22They were amazed at his teaching, because he was teaching them as one who has authority and not as the experts in the law. 23Just then there was a man with an unclean spirit in their synagogue. It cried out, 24“What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and after crying out with a loud voice, it came out of him. 27Everyone was so amazed that they began to discuss this with each other. They said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 28News about him spread quickly through all the region of Galilee. In the 1950s, when Christian Herter was governor of Massachusetts, he was running hard for a second term in of…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 5

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Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law John Bridges
Worship Theme: Though the call to faith is general and always miraculous in its capacity to create a willing following, it is also always individual. It comes to each in his own special or unique set of circumstances. Jesus both arranges and takes those circumstances into account when he calls us to follow him. He so rules over history that he allows and then overcomes the obstacles in each of us to heeding his call. Again he shows himself glorious, but hides the glory in apparent weakness.
Old Testament: Job 7:1-7 Isn’t man’s time on earth like being compelled to serve in the army? Aren’t his days like those of a hired man? 2Like a slave, he longs for shade, or like a day laborer, he waits for his pay. 3In the same way, I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of agony have been assigned to me. 4When I lie down, I think, “How long before I get up?” But the night drags on, and I am filled with restlessness until dawn. 5My flesh is clot…

God calls the ordinary to do the extraordinary

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1 Kings 19:19-21 19So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. Elisha was doing the plowing with twelve teams of oxen in front of him, and he himself was driving the twelfth team. Elijah crossed over to him and threw his cloak over him. 20Then Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah. He said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother good-bye! Then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said, “Go back! For what have I done to you?” 21So Elisha turned back from following him. Then he took the team of oxen and slaughtered them. Using the equipment from the oxen as fuel, he cooked the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he got up, followed Elijah, and served him. I am very grateful to all of you for your Pastor Appreciation and Christmas gifts. I used the monetary gifts to order a new alb for myself. The alb is the white robe that I wear for worship. The reason I needed a new alb is because this one is getting old, dingy and frayed. Most of all, though, is because ther…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 4

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The Possessed Man in the Synagogue James Tissot
Worship Theme: Why follow him? Jesus shows his glory by his triumph over the devil. In his own day he sometimes did that openly for many to see. He still does it just as effectively but in a less public, less obvious way. Just as his victory made manifest his glory then, so it does now. Just as then, so now, everything is accomplished through his Word.
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15–20 15The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brother Israelites. Listen to him. 16That is exactly what you asked from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly. You said, “Do not let me hear the voice of the Lord my God anymore, and do not let me see this great fire again, or I will die.” 17Then the Lord said to me, “They have done well by saying what they said. 18I will raise up a prophet for them from among their brothers, like you, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them everythi…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 3

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The Calling of Peter and Andrew Domenico Ghirlandaio
Worship Theme: Jesus shows his glory in the kind of people that he calls to serve him and in using the gospel to make them willing to follow him. This Sunday it is the epistle lesson that gives unity to the readings, since all of the other readings deal with specific calls to a full time following that leaves behind secular vocations. Jesus still calls such to the holy ministry. To all however comes the call to follow him with a willingness to abandon everything should faithfulness require it; the calls in these readings bid us have a mindset that has forsaken everything, even when we are not required to do it.
Epiphany is a time for Christ’s light and revelation. The readings and hymnody of the season follow a trajectory of glimpsing God’s will in Jesus Christ a little more every week. This week reveals the amazing power of the Word of God. When God’s Word is proclaimed, it changes lives. It does not return to God empty. God’s Word ov…