This site is devoted to providing teaching, admonition, encouragement, and information to my people at Faith Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Florida. Pastor Marion Clark.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Sorry, Joffre 

The correct answer for "a walrus, milk, handlebars" is mustache, but run is not the answer for "a mountain, a football, droopy pantyhose." Anyone else want to try?

From Checker Barker 

Just got this email from Checker this morning.
Dear Marion,
I just checked out your new website. Great to read it. Even the game stuff. .makes me feel a bit connected back home...
Im in Taiwan right now with the Varsity soccer team at a tournament with our "Sister" MK school here, Morrison Academy. We won our first 3 games and are playing the final game tomorrow. We played 3 local schools here and the guys were great. Good ambassadors for our school and for the Lord too.
We head back to Manila on Sunday.
Give our love to Ginger and the rest of our "family" there at Faith Church. Love, CHecker

Preparing for Worship 

How can you prepare for Sunday worship? Read the scripture ahead of time (1 Corinthians 7:32-40) and be reflecting on it. For those of you in the 11:00 service, read also the responsive reading. This Sunday we are up to Psalm 98. Reading and contemplating scripture ahead of time allows for you to come to the service mentally prepared to receive from God his teaching. And that is the best way to honor God in worship. Anyone who has been a teacher knows that the teacher is most rewarded by students who come prepared to learn. And nothing makes the teacher feel better during the class than to have students who are intent on listening. Come this Sunday prepared to listen through the scripture read, the hymns and songs sung, the prayers, and the preaching of God's Word.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Harvest Festival 

Have you invited anyone to the Harvest Festival this Saturday night, 6-8?


Ginger and I just defeated Jean and Sarah in Tribond, a game in which you must figure out what three things have in common. We missed: a mountain, a football, droopy pantyhose; but we won the game with: a walrus, milk, handlebars. Answers later. Will give you time to figure them out. By the way, if I have Tara Ward and Joan Prange on my team, I'll take on any team in Tribond, Facts-n-Five, or Trivia Pursuit November 14 at Game Night.

Dutch Blitz 

Someone asked about the game. You can learn about it at www.dutchblitz.com. I'll borrow the deck from Sarah and bring it Game Night, Nov 14. Just keep teenagers, plus or minus 5 years, away. They play too fast.

Reformation Test 

This is the weekend we celebrate the Reformation. Let's see how well versed you are on the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther.

1. What does a nail have to with the Reformation's beginning?
2. What invention made the Reformation possible?
3. What act of nature should be credited with setting up the Reformation?
4. What building project set the stage?
5. What pilgrimage disillusioned Luther?
6. What two NT books had the most profound impact on Luther?
7. What NT book would Luther had wished not been included?
8. Worms and Luther: what is the significance?
9. What town is the birthplace of the Reformation?
10. What famous Luther hymn will we be singing Sunday?

Choir and Missions 

We had 25 people show up for the Christmas choir service. Seven men. I want to get it up to ten. Volunteers? Just a half hour on Wednesdays (7:30-8:00) Don't forget to be praying for Adam Geary who is on a mission trip in Guatamala. I am interested in your responses to the Missions Conference and Mo Leverette's messages. Email me. Mo's website is www.desirestreet.org.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


I appreciate already getting a response for a church member excited about the "blog." She asked if I would write about books and movies I am reading. I will, since she indicated an interest. What are you interested in? I'll try to respond. This is an opportunity to ask questions of the pastor about all kinds of topics. I'll keep you anonymous.

I am reading two books presently and listening to another. I'm reading With Reverence and Awe, by Hart & Muether (P&R), a book about Reformed worship. It considers how theology, particularly what we believe about God and the Church, should influence the manner in which we worship. Also reading More Than Words, edited by Yancey and Schaap (Baker), a collection of essays by contemporary writers on the writers (both religious and secular) that influenced them. Am listening on tape to The Vicar of Wakefield, a novel by Oliver Goldsmith.


Next Sunday, we finally complete the seventh chapter of Corinthians! It appropriately took seven sermons. But don't worry. This is not a pattern. I will not preach eight sermons on chapter eight. Only two. Then will break for Thanksgiving and Christmas season. For your info, here is the schedule through the end of the year.

11/2 1 Cor 7:32-40.....Single vs. Married
11/9 1 Cor 8:1-13.........What Love Has to with Freedom
1 Cor 9:1-13.....Money and the Gospel
11/23 Psalm 100.........Thanksgiving
11/30 Luke 1:68-71....Covenant Fulfillment

12/7 Luke 1:72-74......Covenant Mercy
12/14 Luke 1:74-75....Covenant Service
12/21 Luke 1:76-79....Covenant Salvation

Happy Birthday! 

Happy Birthday to Chad Preston. Chad is an elder of the church and served many years as deacon. He has been a member of Faith 24 years, which means he must have joined when he was six!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Dutch Blitz and the Florida Marlins 

Two events occured in October to restore belief that anything can happen and not to give in to fatalism - the Marlins winning the pennant and my winning a round in Dutch Blitz against both of my daughters. The playoffs were dismally moving along what I perceived the inevitable conclusion of the Yankees winning the World Series. First, the Braves lost, as everyone in the baseball world knew they would. Then the Cubs choked, of course. And finally, the Red Sox yet again ran into their brick wall known as the Yankees. I expected the Yankees to lose the first game to the Marlins. They like to toy with their opponents, raising their hopes, and then crushing them. But somehow the Marlins did not read the script and won. But even more amazing than that victory was my winning a round of Dutch Blitz. My older daughter owns the game, occasionally allowing a win by my younger daughter. Never, ever have I come close to even looking like I might win. But the moment came when I played the last card. It was good. I am at peace. And though the likelihood of a repeat performance is the same as the Cubs sweeping the playoff series, I have had my moment in the sun.

Restoring the Image 

In preparing my sermons I often come across helpful quotes that I do not include in the sermon because of the quote's length or complexity. I'll add them in the space for you to read if you want. In preparation for this past sermon, Philip Hughes' book The True Image was helpful in expressing the concept that our history/destiny is tied with that of Christ. The following is excerpted from the chapter "Christology and History."

Jesus is in absolute reality the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, of all God's purposes for mankind and for creation (cf. Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). What God started in creation he not only started in the Son, who is the Image after whom man is formed, but he also completed in the Son, who is the Image to whom all the redeemed are being conformed (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18). He took our nature to himself not only to redeem it but also to glorify it, that is, to bring it to the destiny that was always intended for it. Our nature, which is compounded of body and spirit, is the nature which by his suffering and death he has redeemed and also the nature which by his resurrection and ascension he has elevated and glorified. The incarnation did not cease with the cross and the tomb; it continues even now in transcendental glory. This means that our salvation from beginning to end is already complete and secure in him who is our crucified and exalted Lord. The destiny of our creation is already achieved in him who, together with our humanity still united to himself, is highly exalted and on whom the name which is above every name has been bestowed (Phil. 2:9-11). The incarnate Son, who for a little while was made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and honor, is for that reason the guarantee and gauge to us, who one with him by grace and faith, are still for a little while lower than the angels, that his present destiny of glory is also our future destiny.

Monday, October 27, 2003

From Sunday's Sermon 

"There are no more ages to pass through before the final day comes. Therefore make each day count for the kingdom of God. Make the spread of God’s kingdom with the anticipation of Christ’s return the motivating factor for living. Yes, you live in this world and are to carry out your responsibilities in this world, but keep your eyes on the kingdom of God. Live with a sense of urgency and with your priority being service to God’s kingdom.

"Don’t miss the point of both Jesus and Paul. Nothing, nothing is more important than the glory of God. No one is to take from our love for God. No one and nothing is to come in between our devotion to God. Jesus Christ has purchased us by his blood; we belong to him.

"Jesus has ushered in a new age in which we as his people are to grow into his image, live in selfless devotion to his service, and show what it means to belong to his kingdom. There ought to be something out of balance about us."

In writing this sermon, I was careful to avoid making Paul's and Jesus' words seem reasonable. It would have been easy to say that they did not really mean that our lives should be so radical. It also was tempting for me to give warning for us not to be hasty and out-of-whack about God's calling on our lives. Both in the passages I quoted from them, they were trying, especially Jesus, to wake people up to the reality of the kingdom demands. Our natural tendency is to accomodate, to realign the demands of the kingdom to fit into a comfortable lifestyle. Like The Matrix, we prefer the comfortable illusion of living as though this world is all that there is. Jesus wants us to make a choice of which kingdom we will give our allegiance to.

Fall Festival 

The Fall Festival is this coming Satuday, 6-8 pm. Now is the time to invite your neighbors who have children. There will be game booths, a moonwalk, and other fun activities for the children. Bring pre-wrapped candy to give as prizes.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Preparing for Worship 

How can you prepare for worship? For one thing, pray for me. The Shorter Catechism question 89 asks, Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

That places a high responsibility on my preaching and I covet your prayers to preach faithfully the message of the text and to preach sensitively so as to communicate well to my listeners.

Pray also that you will listen well. The next SC question reads: Q. 90. How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Take these words to heart and be preparing yourself now to receive in a responsible manner God's Word to you.

College-Singles Lunch 

College students and singles, plan lunch at Dan and Mary Lee Sonke's house this coming Sunday between 12:30 and 1:00. They live at 1026 NW 35th Ave. From the church head east to 13th Street, turn right. 35th Avenue will be the second left, just before you get to Park View Baptist Church. The house is two blocks down on the left.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Coming Sunday Sermon 

This Sunday the scripture text is 1 Corinthians 7:25-31. Read through it before Sunday in preparation. I will be bringing up the subject of eschatology - study of "last things" or the end times. Paul writes with the mindset of someone living in the end time. I'll discuss what that means. If you want to brush up on the various eschatology viewpoints, go to my sermons on Mark 13 at www.fpc-gnv.org. Click "Sermons" at the top of the page, then "Text" on the left column. You will find four sermons on the chapter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This coming Sunday night we are hosting the ordination service for Steve Lammers, the new RUF minister. It will be at 6:00. I will be giving the sermon; Rob Pendley is presiding over the service; Richard Horner is also participating. Please come. A minister's ordination service is as significant in his ministry as a wedding is for a marriage.
From 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 sermon: "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves to men" (v. 23).
Paul’s point is that you are only a slave if you are one in spirit. You can have chains on your feet, but if you are living as though Jesus Christ is your master, no one else can really have a hold on you. You are free. But if you cave in to what other people expect of you, and is not what Christ expects of you, then you are a slave indeed. Note carefully, the point being made is not that you are to be your own person, but that you are to be a person who belongs to Christ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Great book! I've just been reading an excellent, easy to read book on Presbyterian church government, Biblical Church Government, by Don Clements who has a ministry to small churches.
Excerpt from Sunday's sermon (1 Corinthians 7:17-24):
Here is God’s message to you. Wherever you are right now; whatever you are doing right now; whatever condition in which you live; right now is the best time you can serve God and you can be with God. Today, not tomorrow; here, not there, is the time and the place God wants you to live fully to his glory. Your condition cannot diminish your ability to glorify God, because God is to be glorified at all times and in all conditions....Today, not tomorrow; here, not out there somewhere; as you are now, not as you hope someday to be; now is the time to serve and to know your Lord.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Heads up: The Missions Committee plans to sponsor a project each month to give us opportunity to help in a work that one of our missionaries is involved in. September it was providing supplies for street children in the city of Kherson, Ukraine. They skipped October because of the mission conference. For November the project is assisting the school in Uganda that Dick and Barbara Johnson support. They will be asking for $25 donations that will provide a backpack and durable shoes for each child.
In my sermon yesterday, I suggested you post two questions somewhere in your residence where you will see them each day: How may I serve the Lord today? What will God teach me today? Well, how about it? Have you posted the questions? Did you address them today? I would be interested to hear back from you the answers to those two questions.

Today, today. If you are like me, you regret or wistfully reminisce about yesterday or else fantasize about tomorrow. Memories and dreams can be pleasant and helpful, but, still, it is today that we must live for the Lord. Talk to God. You don’t need to tell him what you are going to do for him; you need to ask him what he wants to do in you for him, and then listen and watch throughout the day. He likes to surprise you.

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