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Archive for the ‘Hope Reformed’ Category

I realize that this post is a couple of weeks late, but the more I work through our lenten journey at our church the more importance Transfiguration Day takes.  I have come to appreciate the placement of the story of the Transfiguration in the Gospels in a completely different way since becoming a pastor.  A few days prior Jesus instructed the disciples concerning his death and resurrection.  Also, he instructed them about the life that they are called to live – a life of cross-bearing.  Surely, there was confusion and discouragement among the disciples.  This was not what they signed up for.  They left their employment to follow the triumphant son of David who was going to rid Israel of the yoke of Rome.  They didn’t follow Jesus that he might be killed.  So in some respects the Transfiguration before James, John, and Peter was an event of encouragement.  Coming down the mount meant the way of to Jerusalem, the way of the cross.  Thus, they needed to see that the one who was going to die, and who was instructing them to carry their cross as well, was the glorious One, the Son of God.  Only with witnessing this would their feeble hearts be able to continue the way to Jerusalem with Jesus.  And it was only in seeing this that they could have some idea of or confidence in Jesus’ words of resurrection.

 We too are as feeble as the disciples, constantly needing encouragement as we follow the way of the cross this Lent and everyday.  And the primary place that we receive our encouragement is to join with the saints in liturgy on Sundays (Resurrection Day).  Here the veil is slightly removed as we join in the praises of heaven, hear God’s Word, pray together and dine at the Table.  Maybe this is one reason Sunday’s are not counted in the days of Lent.  Sunday’s almost become little Transfiguration Days along the pilgrim way to the cross.

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A Summary of This Sunday’s Sermon

Texts: Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8, 2 Peter 3:8-13.

Israel and Judah were going to be judged for their disobedience and they’re turning away from the LORD and His ways.  This was referred to in Leviticus 26, thus showing that God’s word is more sure than man’s, as we fade but the word of the LORD stands forever.  Also, at the end of Leviticus 26 it talks about that if Israel confessed their sins and returned to the LORD, the LORD would forgive them and restore them because of the covenant He has made with Israel – He is always faithful to His covenant and promises.  Thus, the word of the LORD is sure in that God would once again comfort His people.  In the midst of their distress, though as a result of their own disobedience, they could be comforted by the fact that their God would again restore them – the Good News; that the LORD would “advent,” or come, to them and again be their God and shepherd them.   (more…)

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Yes, the Church is to be the primary means of caring for the poor.  Members are to cheerfully give to this cause.  In fact, a portion of the tithe was meant for this purpose.  Yet, things are complicated in a society where such a large portion of our income is taken from us by the government to fill their pockets, fight wars, and attempt to fulfill the task that the Church is called to do.  What complicates this more is that the Church in this environment can easily slip into an attitude of indifference toward the poor.  One could respond, “That is why I pay my taxes; let the government programs take care of them.”  Yet, as we look around it is clear that the almighty State is not living up to calling they have placed upon themselves (or that we might expect of them).  Maybe Malachi’s words should strike us at this point, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house (not the State treasury)…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (3:10).

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Why Sunday?

Why do Christians gather specifically on Sunday?  Yet, even here I realize that some churches don’t meet on Sunday’s.  The Seventh Day Adventists keep the Jewish Sabbath day which is Saturday.  Some Catholic churches provide a Saturday night Mass.  Some Protestant churches pick whatever day is suitable for the congregation and/ or people they are trying to reach.  But with this said there is something quite significant about gathering with the saints on Sunday; there is something that is unparalleled by gathering on other days.  And it is this point that I plan on pursuing. (more…)

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As a Call to Worship I have used selections from the book of Revelation and Hebrews 12:22-24 which link the worshipping community to the heavenly worship.  I often say something to the extent of, “As we gather here today, we are joining with the vast hosts in heaven and the saints that have gone before us in the worship that is constantly happening around the throne of God.”  Is that what the church does when it gathers together on the Day of Resurrection (Sunday)?  In a special way, is Heaven that much more real due to the Spiritual bond between God and His people on these particular occasions?  It seems to me that the Bible give great evidence to the point. (more…)

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I haven’t posted a schedule for the sermon, so I thought I would.  At Hope, we are looking at our worship service and the different elements contained in it.  In doing so, the hope is that we will dig into the depths and see the fulness of the Gospel, grow and be instructed as to our Reformed identity, and be pressed to live lives of gratitude and stewardship.  Below is the schedule. (more…)

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“Worship is nothing more nor less than love on its knees before the beloved; just as mission is love on its feet to serve the beloved” (9). – For All God’s Worth

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