Monday, November 25, 2013

We Are Thankful

This last Sunday I asked our congregation to write down something(s) that you are grateful for this year. I then read these things out loud to the congregation. I thought it would be appropriate to share these things with the world!

1) Family- 71 Times (particularly the health of family members)
2) Home- 12 Times (filled with love)
3) Plenty of Food- 12 Times (including Skittles, M&Ms, KitKats)
4)  Sense of unity that is coming back- 3 Times
5) Church- 14 Times
6) Great Harvest-13 Times (Even with the hail) (Safety)
7) Job-7 Times (the ability to put food on the table)
8) Kids-2 Times
9) Sunday school volunteers
10) New Pastor-12 Times
11) Health-21 Times
12) Friends- 35 Times (Old and New)
13) Love of God-6 Times
14) For Military (current and past) preserving our Freedom-3 Times
15) Spouse-8 Times (some of many years)
16) Peace
17) Transportation-2 Times
18) Grades
19) Neighbors
20) Birth of a Grandson
21) Jesus-4 Times
22) Teaching Sunday School
23) Rain-2 Times
24) School-2 Times
25) Doctors who Save Lives (God's healing power through the work of Doctors)
26) Safety- 5 Times
27) Loving Community
28) Still Alive
29) Clothes-3 Times
30) My best friend Paul watching over me!
31) Spending time with family during the Holidays
32) Good Employees
33) The care shown by people when the times are hard and feeling God's hand of grace in those times.
34) Moving of the Spirit in Salem
35) Music in the church
36) Salvation-2 Times
37) Grandchildren-3 Times
38) Sun
39) Sky
40) Grass
41) Dirt
42) The World
43) Almost Done with Nursing School
44) Unconditional Love
45) God's Grace
46) The strength to get healthier
47) God always providing whatever my family needs
48) Nature
49) Holiday Festivities
50) Pastor's Husband-2 Times
51) All the time able to spend with loved ones
52) All I was able to achieve through God
53) God strengthening my belief in Him
54) My Godly husband, loyal and true to his family & God's purpose in his life. He's enjoying good health & renewed strength to do his work. For all my spouse is and does.
55) Adult Sunday School
56) God's Blessing for ALL things!
57) Animals-2 Times
58) Mom
59) Siblings
60) Teachers and Coaches
61) Everything Else
62) God's protection- 3 Times
63) New Nephew

A Family Sized Outreach

Sunday, November 3 was another normal Sunday morning. Salem UCC gathered together for worship together. We shared in communion where we proclaimed together the Death of Jesus Christ. We went home to eat lunch.  Many then gathered together in the afternoon was for an event that defined the word "koinonia" or fellowship. Thirty people spaning seven different generations gathered together to "Rake the Town."

 It was an event that reached out to those who may not be able to rake their own yards. It was an event that allowed each to serve with the gifts that they have. It was an event that was fun!

After spending three hours raking the yards of 7 families, the group joined together for a meal of chili. Those families whose yards were raked were invited to join. There was then an option of two movies offered at the church.

Rake the Town was different, it was fun, it was family sized!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sermon: Worship Through Confession

Something went wrong in the recording of the sermon this last week. We have everything from the entire service, but the sound from the sermon. 

So here are my notes. They aren't exactly how I shared everything.

WHAT IS CONFESSION?    From Dictionary

1.   a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.

a.   an admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.

b.   a formal admission of one's sins with repentance and desire of absolution, esp. privately to a priest as a religious duty.

2.   a statement setting out essential religious doctrine.


Today we are going to look at 1 John chapters 1 and 2 and what they say about confession

1 John 1: 1-10

Verses 1-4 There are a few things that we can discover in the first four verses of this book. 

-         There is more than one person who is writing this book. John is the main author, but there are others this book is written on behalf of. You can see this by the use of the word “we” in each of these four verses.

-         They are writing to tell the people about Jesus Christ and what he has done.

-         This is not certainly a letter, although it is generally classified as one. It does not contain the greeting that other letters bear even 2 John and 3 John.  However it has language like a letter does, and so we read this book as a letter, but also as we would any proclamation of theology as well. 

-         The first four verses give a brief synopsis of the rest of the book. They are writing these things as a confession (to testify to it and proclaim it to you as seen in verse 2 and 3) to others. 

Verses 5-10

-         I have am terrified of the darkness. 
When I was a child, I disobeyed my parents. I was over at a friends house and watched a show that I wasn't allowed to watch at home. It was "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" In the episode I saw, there was a clown chasing the story tellers through a fun house. They escaped and went home. One of the story tellers was getting ready for bed, and the clown reached out from under the bed to grab his/her(?) leg. 
Because of this I became terrified of the dark and my bed. I had a bed downstairs in the main family room while we were finishing the rest of the basement. The light switch was on one side, while my bed was on the other. As I was turning off the light, I would get anxious. I would then proceed to run and launch myself 4-5 feet across the room into my bed. Now I would check underneath my bed before I turned out the lights, but I still found myself anxious. Even to this day I find myself anxious when the lights go out and I am not in bed. 
Perhaps you could say that I am not afraid of what is in the dark, but rather what hides in the dark. I am fine being in the dark when I know I am safe and my feet aren't touching the floor.

-         When we read these verses as part of the Confirmation retreat last week, the students asked me what verses 5-7 meant.

Light/Darkness- Imagine a building with its lights on like our church. There is something beautiful about a church whose lights are on shining in the darkness. The light pours out the windows and illuminates part of the darkness. However if you are standing inside the church, the darkness does not shine into the building. Imagine that. That is what it means for Christ to be the light, and in Him there is no darkness. The darkness cannot permeate the light. 

-         “If we say we have no sins, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” If we keep sin in the darkness, that is where Satan works. It is not the darkness that we should fear, but rather what is in the darkness. Satan. The Evil One. That is what hides in the darkness.

-         However if we bring our sin into the light, then Jesus can work with those who confess their sins. Remember my friend Pastor Al? He used to do terrible things to require a presidential pardon. But after confessing his sins and letting Jesus Christ take care of them, Satan cannot use those any longer for darkness instead they are redeemed for the work of the light.

So this morning we are going to take a moment of silence. We are going to take a moment to bring our sins to Jesus Christ who is the light. 

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, 
we confess that we have sinned against you 
in thought, word and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone. 
We have not love you
with our whole heart and mind and strength;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been, 
help us amend what we are, 
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.

It isn’t enough that our sins are just admitted. That isn’t what brings them into the light. It is because of Jesus Christ that any of our sins are able to be forgiven. The price for those sins has already been paid. We don’t do a single thing.

Chapter 2: 1-11- Assurance of Forgiveness

We find assurance because Jesus Christ the righteous advocates for us with the father. Not just us but rather the whole world.

We also find assurance as we proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ. 
We confess together that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the confession that is the profession

Hear these words from chapter 2 verses 12-14 (after removing the noun so that you hear them for you)
I am writing to you... because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
I am writing to you... because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you... because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you... because you know the Father.
I write to you... because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you... because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

John is writing these things because he believes these things. He finds it imperative to write these things because these things are an outpouring of his joy.

There are several places in scripture that echo a verse in Philippians 2- That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Did you catch that? Every knee will CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Today we have Apostles Creed to help us confess together our basic beliefs throughout the generations. The earliest form began in 150 AD in Rome. It was used to proclaim faith together as part of membership of the church. It was and is important to confess where we have our trust, our faith, and our hope.

So this morning…Together with generations of Christians we stand together with the Apostles Creed (found as #716 in our Hymnal) and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. 

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. 

ReBlog: Storming the Castle- Preparing for Worship

Every Sunday we take a moment to prepare our hearts for worship. This is intentional. Worship is something that takes preparation. One of the blogs that I follow touched on this earlier this week.
Find it HERE: Storming the Castle- Preparing for Worship

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sermon: Worship Through Prayer Alone

Sermon from Sunday, November 3, 2013
Scripture: Matthew 26:36-46

ReBlog: 7 Sabbath Killers (Resurgence)

What is Sabbath? It comes from one of the 10 Commandments.
Exodus 20:8
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the ear, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

Do you Sabbath? Really Sabbath?
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church shares 7 Sabbath Killers with you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sermon: Worship Through Prayer Together

Sermon from Sunday, October 27, 2013
Scritpure: Philippians 1:1-9 and 4:2-9

Sermon: Worship Through "Going"

From Sunday, October 20, 2013
Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8 and Matthew 28:18-20

The Gift of God's Smile

From Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado October 18

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Daniel 9:18

  If only, when God smiles and says we are saved, we'd salute him, thank him, and live like those who have just received a gift from the commander in chief.
   We seldom do that, though. We prefer to get salvation the old-fashioned way: We earn it. To accept grace is to admit failure, a step we are hesitant to take. We opt to impress God with how good we are rather than confessing how great he is. We dizzy ourselves with doctrine. Burden ourselves with rules. Think that God will smile on our efforts.
   He doesn't.
   God's smile is not for the healthy hiker who boasts that he made the journey alone. It is, instead, for the crippled leper who begs God for a back on which to ride.