September 17, 2010

On Pascha

O mystifying murder! O mystifying injustice!
The master is obscured by his body exposed,
and is not held worthy of a veil to shield him from view.
For this reason the great lights turned away,
And the day was turned to darkness;
To hide the one denuded on the tree,
Obscuring not the body of the Lord but human eyes.
For when the people did not tremble, the earth shook.
When the people did not fear, the heavens were afraid.
When the people did not rend their garments, the angel rent his own.
When the people did not lament, the Lord thundered from heaven,
And the most high gave voice ...
The Lord clothed himself with humanity,
And with suffering on behalf of the suffering one,
And bound on behalf of the one constrained,
And judged on behalf of the one convicted,
And buried on behalf of the one entombed,
Rose from the dead and cried out aloud:
"Who takes issue with me? Let him stand before me.
I set free the condemned.
I gave life to the dead.
I raise up the entombed.
Who will contradict me?"
"It is I," says the Christ,
"I am he who destroys death,
and triumphs over the enemy,
and crushed Hades,
and binds the strong man,
and bears humanity off of the heavenly lights."
"It is I," says the Christ.
"So come all families of people,
adulterated with sin,
and receive forgiveness of sins.
For I am your freedom.
I am the Passover of Salvation,
I am the lamb slaughtered for you,
I am your ransom,
I am your life,
I am your light,
I am your salvation,
I am your resurrection,
I am your King.
I shall raise you up by my right hand,
I will lead you to the heights of heaven,
There shall I show you the everlasting Father."

~St. Melito of Sardis, On Pascha

September 15, 2010

#ChurchWORDS - Worship

We started a new sermon series at Renovate (our Saturday Evening Contemporary Service you can read about here) entitled #ChurchWORDS (which you can read about here) a couple weeks ago. Here is my sermon outline from the fourth sermon in this series from 9/11.

#ChurchWORDS - Worship
Psalm 95:5-7

The Hebrew word for worship describes it in these ways...

(fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully

serve by carrying out religious duties

religious service, worship (of God)

"When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without
heart." ~Lamar Boschman

God must be the object of our worship
-God alone is worthy of worship
-Deuteronomy 6:13 says to “serve him only”
-The 1st of 10 commandments is to have no other gods
-"It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men." ~C.S. Lewis
-Worship is humbly recognizing it is not about me, which allows us to worship on a day like 9/11 or when life doesn’t make sense
-Keeping God as the focus of our worship keeps us from worshiping our traditions

Worship begins in our hearts
-Worship must be sincere
-Isaiah 29:13
-2 Kings 17:40-41

Our life is the action of our worship
-Romans 12:1
-This means worship can happen anywhere at anytime
-Worship is serving, and as Jesus said, “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me”
-"As worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life." ~Richard Foster

#ChurchWORDS - Sin

We started a new sermon series at Renovate (our Saturday Evening Contemporary Service you can read about here) entitled #ChurchWORDS (which you can read about here) a couple weeks ago. Here is my sermon outline from the third sermon in this series from 9/4.

#ChurchWORDS - Sin
Romans 7:14-20
Romans 5:12, 15, 20-21

“…every sin is the distortion of an energy breathed into us – an energy which, if not thus distorted, would have blossomed into one of those holy acts whereof “God did it” and “I did it” are both true descriptions. Killing a melody He would play with us as the instrument.” ~CS Lewis

“Any disposition contrary to the mind which was in Christ.” ~John Wesley

James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.”

We ask that question all the time don’t we? We ask it in a different way these days. We talk about “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” but rarely use the word ‘sin’. Why is that? Is it dated? Has it become trivial or silly?

There are times when Paul views ‘sin’ as an invading power…so I thought I would say a little more about it.

Sin is anything that interferes with our relationship with God
-Relationships, jobs, church...these things aren’t bad.
-Loving my wife is a good thing but not if I love her more than God.

We need to stop thinking about sin in terms of bad vs good or right vs wrong.
-This leads us to think that anything that is good is not sin.
-Who decides what is good or not? Typically you and I do, right? So that means that anything that I think seems good or feels good is obviously not sin.

Have thoughts on SIN? Share away...

September 6, 2010

#ChurchWORDS - Church

We started a new sermon series at Renovate (our Saturday Evening Contemporary Service you can read about here) entitled #ChurchWORDS (which you can read about here) a couple weeks ago. Here is my sermon outline from the second sermon in this series from 8/28.

#ChurchWORDS - Church

Let's start with a question: What comes to mind when you hear the word 'church'?

A specific time on a specific day?

Ephesians 4:1-6
Here Paul speaks of the unity of the Church (notice the capital 'C' which signifies the universal Christian church) that is found in the Oneness of the Triune God...Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Sometimes, however, people mistake Jesus for the Church, which can lead to hurt and frustration because Jesus is perfect and well, since the Church is made up of you and me, it is not perfect. We saw this mistake most recently with author Anne Rice who declared that she had "quit Christianity" because of her struggles with the Church.

This leads me to point out a couple things the Church IS and IS NOT.
Acts 2:42-47

1. Church IS NOT a building
Church IS where the lives of individuals intersect
*In order to be the Church, we must be intentional about coming together to worship, study and pray
*I like to think of it as living the life of a disciple of Jesus together

2. Church IS NOT a place to consume
Church IS a place of shared passion and purpose
*This leads to a willingness and desire to serve others
*In a culture that reminds us on a daily basis we are the consumer, this mindset can slip into the way we live out the Church
*Church has to be more than a social club, something must made us different

3. Church IS NOT about the individual
Church IS a family
*“Where 2 or 3 are gathered” (Matthew 18:20)
*You cannot be the Church in isolation, or a Christian for that matter
*I believe Jesus intends his Church to be a place of support, encouragement and community; a place where one can share the highs and the lows of life knowing there is love to be found in this family

September 2, 2010

A Prayer of Doctor Johnson

Almighty and most merciful Father, whose clemency I now presume to implore, after a long life of carelessness and wickedness, have mercy upon me. I have committed many trespasses; I have neglected many duties. I have done what Thou hast forbidden, and left undone what Thou hast commanded. Forgive, merciful Lord, my sins, negligences, and ignorances, and enable me, by the Holy Spirit, to amend my life according to thy Holy Word, for Jesus Christ's sake.

~From Doctor Johnson's Prayers edited by Elton Trueblood