Pentecost Sunday was a fantastic day. It was a privilege to take part in Lily Rodriquez’s dedication as David and Kelly stood before us committing to raise her in the Lord. We also recalled the story of Acts 2, the coming of the Holy Spirit. We collectively prayed for God’s continual Holy Spirit empowering of our church. What a great time to be together!
This coming Sunday is also a special Sunday. It is both Trinity Sunday and Father’s Day. This year, we will consider God’s call for fathers from Ephesians 6:1-4. I hope you will read this passage as you prepare for worship on Sunday.
In my sermon preparation for our Revelation series, I came across a new translation by New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright. I have found the language both helpful and fresh. I will include this week’s passage in this translation. It is called The New Testament for Everyone. I hope you have a wonderful week and anticipate seeing you on Sunday.
(Ephesians 6:1-4 NTE) Children, obey your parents in the Lord. This is right and proper. ‘Honour your father and your mother’ – this is the first commandment that comes with a promise attached! – ‘so that things may go well with you and that you may live a long life on earth.’ Fathers, don’t make your children angry. Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
This past Sunday, we discussed the implications of Jesus’ ascension. Certainly, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are essential to our living in the Kingdom of God. As Jesus departs, he teaches his disciples how he has fulfilled the law, the prophets and all that God has been doing since the beginning of time. But there is more to the story. Jesus told his disciples,
(Luke 24:49 NIV) I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
This week, we come to the story of Pentecost. For 10 days, the disciples have followed Jesus’ instruction. They have been waiting, worshiping. And then in Acts 2, we read what happens next. Join us on Sunday as we explore the story of Pentecost. Let me encourage you to read the story as you prepare for worship on Sunday. Since the text is long, I will include a link to the passage.
Read Acts 2:1-41
As we continue to make our way to Pentecost Sunday (June 9), we come this week to Ascension Sunday (June 2). Over the past few weeks, we have been talking about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. This week, we consider his ascension. I hope you will take a few minutes to read the passage before Sunday’s worship service. Also, just a reminder that we will be serving a light lunch downstairs following the late worship hour to celebrate the baptisms that will take place on Sunday. We hope you will plan on joining us.
(Luke 24:44-53 NIV) 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. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
During this Easter season, we have discussed several of the resurrection appearances of Jesus. Last week, we considered the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus did not boldly appear; he allowed the disciples to express their doubt and confusion before revealing himself. In this week’s study, we will explore Jesus’ interaction with his disciples. The interplay of conversation in these appearances teaches us about God’s purpose and mission in the world. I hope you will join us on Sunday and read Luke 24:36-49 in preparation for worship. (Luke 24:36-49 NIV) While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them 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. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all...
This week’s story is one of my favorite in all of Scripture. I love the dynamics of the story. Followers of Jesus are surprised when they encounter the risen Christ. But it is the way the story plays out that intrigues me. While they seem to have been very close to Jesus in his ministry, they do not recognize Him when he shows up on the road to Emmaus. Let me encourage you to read this story ahead of time as you prepare for worship on Sunday. As we work our way toward Pentecost (June 9), we will be looking at several of Jesus post-resurrection encounters. (Luke 24:13-35 NIV) Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t...
Just in case you need a reminder, Sunday is Mother’s Day. This year, we will be going all the way to Genesis as we consider God’s creation of mothers. In a world where gender and sexuality debates are commonplace, we will consider God’s design in Genesis 2. Let me encourage you to read ahead as you prepare for Sunday’s worship. And don’t forget to recognize the special women in your life.
(Genesis 2:18-25 NIV) The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
As we move through the Easter season, we will find ourselves moving from story to story. We will also have a special sermon next week on Mother’s Day about Adam and Eve. This week, we find ourselves in the book of Acts. Peter is a key leader in the early church. In Acts 10, he is surprised by the movement of God. As we study the story of Peter and Cornelius, we are challenged in our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives. Sometimes we hold tightly to “the way we do things”. Let me invite you to read Acts 10 as you prepare for worship on Sunday. Since it is a longer passage, I will link to it in this entry. See you on Sunday.
Acts 10 from Bible Gateway
One of the most familiar passages in all of the New Testament is Matthew 28:16-20. We refer to this set of verses as the Great Commission. Books have expanded on these verses to describe Jesus’ intention for church growth. Church mission statements have often highlighted these instructions. This week, we conclude our study of Matthew with this reading. Let me invite you to take a few minutes to survey Matthew 28:16-20 as you prepare for worship. See you on Sunday.
(Matthew 28:16-20 NIV) Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It was wonderful to gather together this past Sunday. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch and assembled as one church body in worship. We journeyed with Jesus and his disciples into the city of Jerusalem considering the events that transpired throughout holy week. This coming Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, we come together to celebrate the most significant event in all of history. We have been in Matthew’s gospel since the first Sunday of 2019. This week, we come to the final chapter. Just a reminder that we will be gathering in two services (9:15 AM and 10:45 AM) this week. Let me encourage you to read ahead you prepare for worship. (Matthew 28 NIV) After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then...
As we move toward Easter, we will gather together this Sunday for a combined worship service. You are invited to join us downstairs at 9:30 AM for a brunch. We will then worship together at 10:45 AM in the sanctuary. The brunch and combined service is a wonderful way to connect with those who worship at different times. I hope you can make it. As we gather together, we will be studying Matthew 21:1-17. We might remember the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. But there is much to this story that we might miss since we are not first century Jews. As we journey with Jesus just prior to his arrest and crucifixion, we will discuss how these events impact all that will happen over the next few days. Let me encourage you to read ahead as you prepare for worship. (Matthew 21:1-17 NIV) As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road....