Pastor’s Message – September 2017

A Lectionary Lesson

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Psalm 105: 1 – 6

1  O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2  Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
3  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4  Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
5  Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
6  O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

The lectionary is a marvelous invention. It’s been around for centuries and is used by the Church universal; ALL Christians use it! Without exception.

I was introduced to it during seminary; ‘not sure why it hadn’t really been on my radar before then. It’s behind every Bible Study lesson in every denomination’s curriculum.

If you want to be a well rounded person in this life, you don’t focus on just one topic; you read widely. ‘Study different topics, listen to varying theologies, try to be open to divergent viewpoints. If we want to be well rounded Christians, reading scripture is the same way.

The lectionary was developed in the early church to ‘force us into the opportunity of reading ALL the Bible’. A preacher who preaches the lectionary, by design, will preach on all sixty six books….over the course of three years; that’s how the lectionary works. Every verse, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is included. Each day, the lectionary selects 1/365th of the verses (more or less) for study. It’s that simple.

A pulpit which ignores hell may be in danger of ‘being so open minded we let our brains fall out’. A teacher who has to balance the terrible judgment of Deuteronomy with the grace of James….has it more together. We are bettered in Christ, better balanced in God…when we have to put all scripture together….as was intended!

Revelation 22 ends…. “blessed is the one who recites the words of this book!” Or, as the Psalmist says in Today’s Lectionary Lesson (for September 1 st , 2017)…”Give thanks to the Lord; call on God’s holy name. Remember the wonderful works of God and rejoice!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. ….That’s the point.
After all….it is….God’s….Word.

I commend to you the reading of scripture for your every mood…and every need!

– Jeff


 

Pastor’s Message – August 1, 2017

Soaking in Scripture; A Hunger for the Word!

I was in college when I first became aware of how much I ‘longed for the Lord’. As I looked around me (at Oklahoma State University, 25 thousand student enrollment) I became slowly aware of how the student leaders (in the Student Senate and various organizations on campus) were almost, to a person…..Christian. And not just your average, easy to overlook Christians. These guys and girls were Christlike. Humble. Confident. Accomplished! As I got to know them better and also as I attended the church I joined in Stillwater, Oklahoma (First Presbyterian). I saw, more and more, how much Bible Study could guide me in the counsel of the Godly. That was the first time I looked around and sought an opportunity to read the Bible in the company of others and learn what scripture scholars think in theology.

Let me show you how easy it is. August 13, 2017 (for example) has the lectionary lesson of 1 Kings 19: 9 – 18 (among others; there are usually several readings from each of the two testaments). In part it reads:

9 And there (Elijah) went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?

10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.

11 Then (God) said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake

12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

You may have heard this passage before; we preach on it often enough. The truth is, the inspiring, still awesome, life-changing Truth is, God is in the ‘still, small voice’! Right? Right?? If you’re like me you like God’s declarations to be bold. Awesome. Un-missable! But sometimes (more often than not it seems). God speaks in a whisper. In a cloud. In the mysterious image of a dark mirror. Some of the most awe-inspiring people I know have had the most soft-spoken voices! I want to be more like Ruth and Virginia and Carol, like Dan and Danny and Kathryn. I hope, this month of August as the dry, heat of summer tends to boil your spirit to burn-out….you too will find a quiet place to rest. Relax. Rejuvenate in the still, small voice of the Spirit….quietly whispered on a cool, morning breeze. For, after all, God is still speaking.

Always!

Jeff


 

August 2017 – Sermons & Gists

August 6, 2017 – Food for Sarx and Soma

You have no doubt heard the wonderful adage: give a man a fish and he’ll feed himself today; teach a man to fish….and he’ll feed himself tomorrow. It’s good; it’s helpful. That sentiment has inspired some good mission in Christians. But insuring the body has something to eat…in order that we may witness to the soul, well: that’s much deeper, broader, more complex, and challenging. Or….is it? What can we do here (at FCCS) to feed the world and help the hurting? And how will it change us, feed OUR souls?

 

August 13, 2017 – Guest Preacher

Dick Hom will be joining us from First Chinese Congregational Church, San Francisco as guest preacher. He brings with him their men’s chior, The Dul Tones. Singing one or two songs in worship and a 30 minute set of doo-wop music in fellowship/coffee-hour afterwards.

 

August 20, 2017 – Guest Preacher

Guest preacher

 

August 27, 2017 – How Do You Point to Heaven?

Remember the famous question asked by our Evangelical siblings in spirit?

‘If you were to die tonight… would you be allowed into Heaven based upon your witness so far?’ 

Today we look at our destiny, our Eternal destiny. It’s a great question: could someone easily guess that you are a follower of Jesus? And what would it take for you to be bold in your witness… but so loving and gracious that you easily ‘win friends for the Lord’?/

 

 

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