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

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Glory Be to God 

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Thank You, God 

by e. e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Test Answers 

I don't expect to blog tomorrow, so you get your test answers early. Books by C. S. Lewis:
1. Letters from one demon to another. The Screwtape Letters
2. On this journey a bad little boy turns into a dragon. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
3. Named after the land of the green lady. Perelandra
4. Originally read on the radio, it was first published as three books before being combined to become perhaps the most popular presentation of Christianity ever written. Mere Christianity
5. By coincidence, one could mistake this book’s title to be about meeting Lewis’ wife. Surprised by Joy
6. This small collection of essays gets its title from the main essay, a weighty meditation on the future hope of Christians. The Weight of Glory
7. One could mistake this book’s title to be about a broken marriage. The Great Divorce
8. This novel retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Til We Have Faces
9. “How do I love thee?” In this book Lewis counts the ways. The Four Loves
10. His first full-length prose work and only excursion into allegory. The Pilgrim's Regress

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Cool Church History Site 

Check out this site on your Christian heritage: www.gty.org/~phil/hall.htm.

Kids! 

George Bowlin sent me this:

From Derric Johnsons' book, "LISTS, THE BOOK, VOL. ll :"

KIDS AND GOD

Q. What is the most important commandment?
A. Thou shalt not lie. Your mother and God will find out the truth anyway.
(Selena, age 9)

Q.Why do you think Job was singled out to be tested?
A. Maybe he was just next in line. That's how teacher's do it, they go by
who is next. (Cathy, age 6)

Q. What did God ask Abraham to do to his son Isaac to test his faith? A. Abraham had to change Isaac's diaper to prove how much love he had for
Him. (Shannon, age 8)

Q. What did the story of David and Goliath teach us?
A. Size doesn't matter as long as you have a fighting spirit and a few good
rocks with you. (Ernie, age 8)

Tip From Everall 

Everall Peele sent this link to a short audio commentary on C. S. Lewis: www.Recess.ufl.edu. It is an excellent presentation that surprisingly speaks of his Christian faith.

Give Thanks 

Give thanks today. Do it now. Give thanks for your salvation. Were it not for the shed blood of Christ, the initiative of God, and the effort of the Holy Spirit, you would be lost in your sins without hope of ever making restitution. You would be facing the prospect of eternal damnation. But that fearful prospect no longer exists. You have only to look forward to spending eternity in glory. Christ has made full payment for your sins. The Holy Spirit has sealed your salvation. God has appointed you to receive his inheritance. Give thanks to God. Bless his name.

Tuesday Test 

Last Saturday was the 40th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death. Lewis was the most popular Christian apologist and writer of the 20th century, one reason being the varied modes of writing in which he was published: philosophy, apologetics, children’s and adult fiction, poetry, essays, and literary criticism. How well do you know his works? Take the test.

1. Letters from one demon to another.
2. On this journey a bad little boy turns into a dragon.
3. Named after the land of the green lady.
4. Originally read on the radio, it was first published as three books before being combined to become perhaps the most popular presentation of Christianity ever written.
5. By coincidence, one could mistake this book’s title to be about meeting Lewis’ wife.
6. This small collection of essays gets its title from the main essay, a weighty meditation on the future hope of Christians.
7. One could mistake this book’s title to be about a broken marriage.
8. This novel retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche.
9. “How do I love thee?” In this book Lewis counts the ways.
10. His first full-length prose work and only excursion into allegory.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Sunday Highligts 

From Sunday's sermon on Psalm 100:

Worship is entering into the presence of God: Come into his presence with singing! Wherever we are, God is present. Nevertheless, when we come together for corporate worship, there is a special sense in which we have gathered together before God. And that understanding ought to control how we appear for worship...We are entering into God’s presence, and our first concern should be what he prescribes for worship....

Do you think God delights in our muttering hymns and songs that express joy for his greatness? Do you think he delights in our stern and indifferent expressions as we sing of his salvation? He is no different from us in this regard. We would rather nothing be said than to receive thanks from a person who is clearly going through the motions. If we are going to give thanks to God, then express it like we mean it....

But the real knowledge we possess that should make our thanksgiving greater is our knowledge of the cross. “What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?” What steadfast love is this that God would send his Son to die for the people who had rebelled against him, who, in truth, had become his enemies? Though the clues are in the prophesies, even in the psalms, how clearly could the psalmists understand that the Good Shepherd would become the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world?

40 Years After 

What do John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis have in common? They all died November 22, 1963. Huxley is the author of Brave New World. Click his name for a brief biography. Like George Orwell's 1984, it portrays a future state of mass slavery, except that, where Orwell's state used totalitarian force, Huxley's state effectively used pleasure. By removing pain and providing pleasure, the state could produce a population that in essence enjoyed slavery to the state. I encourage you to read it. You will see links to our present culture.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Christmas Carols 

From Reader's Digest, carols as heard by kids:
"On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me..."
"He's making a list, chicken and rice..."
"Noel, Noel, Barney's the king of Israel..."
"In the meadow we build a snowman, then pretend that he is sparse and brown..."
"Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hey..."
Others I've heard:
"Hark, Harold the angel sings..."
"Brown John Virgin, mother and child..."

Abercrombie and Fitch: Over Bounds 

When you have to be over 18 to be permitted by the store to look at its clothing catalog which comes in a sleeve to hide its contents (and one line on the cover says, Group Sex), I think one can conclude the store has stepped too far over the line. The store, after all, is not Victoria's Secret, but a regular clothing store geared for the young. Most clothing stores now subtly use sex to sell their mechandise. A&F evidently desires to make it its trademark.

Sunday Coming 

The best preparation for Sunday's worship is to be giving thanks to God for the things he has done for you. Can you at this very moment rattle off five blessings? Well? As your doctor, I prescribe you do that once more today, twice tomorrow, and once before coming to the service. You will then be in just the right spirit for worship. Me? 1) My salvation, 2) my family, 3) my brother and sisters, 4) I get to preach, 5) I get to spend today reading the Bible about thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Arts Resource 

Those of you interested in the arts should check out this site: www.artsreformation.com.

Welcome New Members 

The following joined the church last week at Session meeting: David and Amelia Nolen. Two preacher's kids who still ended up good! Roger and Coralyn Carey and their son Nick. They also have a daughter Becca who carries a tiger around with her. They moved from Las Vegas. Roger offered to double the church's income if we made him church treasurer!

Computer Woes Again 

Does anyone know how to reload a computer? I need it done for two computers. Could bring them to you.

Thanksgiving 

That is the message of Sunday's sermon on Psalm 100. Pollyanna was right; it is good to think of what we can be thankful for. When Ginger and I get down, we will play a game of thankfulness. We take turns naming things we are thankful for, usually up to 10 items. Try it with someone today. If you are grumpy over a person, name things having to do with him. Email me and let me know how it goes.

Thursday Test Answers 

Movie titles taken from my movie list of safe movies to watch. If you want a copy, email me. Over 330 titles:
1. Contains the most famous chariot race in movies. Ben Hur
2. A father who loves tradition, three daughters, and a violin player. Fiddler on the Roof
3. "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain." My Fair Lady
4. This little girl always tried to find something good in people. Polyanna
5. Singing and dancing while getting soaking wet. Singin' in the Rain
6. Bogart, Hepburn, and a boat. The African Queen
7. You can't think of this movie without thinking of its famous whistling tune. The Bridge over the River Kwai
8. These gunslingers were magnificent. The Magnificent Seven
9. This movie is why I must endure being referred to as the librarian. The Music Man
10. Robert Duvall was Boo in this Gregory Peck film set in the south. To Kill a Mockingbird

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

New Blog 

Check the new blog listed in the right column under "Glenn Teal." Good devotional thoughts and quotes.

Advent Sermons 

The Christmas season is around the corner. I will preach four advent sermons beginning November 30. They will be taken from Zechariah's prophesy over his son, John the Baptist. They are: Luke 1:68-71 - Covenant Fulfillment; Luke 1:72-74 - Covenant Mercy; Luke 1:74-75 - Covenant Service; and Luke 1:76-79 - Covenant Salvation. The titles are taken from verse 72 that speaks of God remembering his covenant. Because of the covenant, God's promises were fulfilled so that his people received mercy in order to serve him. That mercy was salvation. If you've been waiting for sermons that clearly present the gospel, here they are.

Church Issues 

The role of women in the church; proper observance of the Lord's Supper; the place of spiritual gifts in the church. These are the topics I will be addressing starting sometime in February. Should make for interesting conversation! It would be helpful to me to hear what questions you might have about these topics. Email me your questions and comments.

Tuesday Morning Babysitters 

Help! Two nursery keepers are desperately needed for the Tuesday morning ladies' Bible study (10-11:30). They have no one now. There is pay.

Mark Your Calendars 

The churchwide Christmas events have been set: Music Concert (14), Children's Pageant during SS (21), Live Nativity (21), Christmas Eve Service of course on 24th.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Mystery Person #2 

Another church attender is a former air traffic controller and log house builder. He also played guitar. Bill Branch

Radio 

Just came home from seeing the movie Radio with my family. It was great. Uplifting, funny. Go see it! Everybody will like it. Only two instances of mild profanity. You will get a lump in your throat and feel good when you leave.

Saith Paul 

On my tack board in front of me is a copy of the church newsletter on the page of the birthday list. Everyday I read a paragraph on that page. Maybe it's meant for me to share it with you:

Most of us have a long history of great conferences, retreats, books and tapes that inspire us, make us think and dream, but like dreams they fade away and as we look back, we realize that we haven't changed much. Our lives look pretty much the way they did a year ago, two years ago, or five. The truth is that we are never to stop growing or changing. If we aren't dead, we're not done! (Or God's not done with us!) Following Jesus is never ever a status quo situation. God is either changing us, changing others because of us, or both at the same time. Paul Emery

Birthdays 

Happy birthday to Mick Popp. Birthdays coming up: (20) Don Nilsson, (21) Adam Geary, (22) Tracy McLeod, Tara Ward, (26) Jorge Suarez, (28) Jen Roth, (30) Arnold Von der Porten.

Tuesday Test 

I mentioned yesterday that I am making a list of nonoffensive movies. Here are clues to a few of them.

1. Contains the most famous chariot race in movies.
2. A father who loves tradition, three daughters, and a violin player.
3. "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain."
4. This little girl always tried to find something good in people.
5. Singing and dancing while getting soaking wet.
6. Bogart, Hepburn, and a boat.
7. You can't think of this movie without thinking of its famous whistling tune.
8. These gunslingers were magnificent.
9. This movie is why I must endure being referred to as the librarian.
10. Robert Duvall was Boo in this Gregory Peck film set in the south.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Movie List 

You know the experience. You are enjoying a movie; great plot, good action; and then - the profanity and the skin/sex. Why did they have to throw those in when they were not even needed? Well, I've been working on a list (up to 324) of movies that manage without the added elements. I cannot vouch for the quality of every movie, and since I haven't seen them all, I cannot guarantee they are completely clean of the above, but I think you can watch them without the offensive surprises. If you want the list, email me (click "Email Pastor Clark" at top of right column) and I will send the list to you as an attachment.

The Mystery Person 

On Thursday I asked, Who knows this church member? Sewed drapes, built a plane, refurbished juke boxes, played guitar in a band, and built a sound system.
This accomplished individual is Dan Peterson, retired aviator and air traffic controller. Since we are on the subject, another church attender is a former air traffic controller and log house builder. He also played guitar. Any ideas?

Call for Help 

Tara Ward asked if I would post the following request for help:

Dear Faith Family,

Steve Matthews, a member of Grace PCA in Stuart, Florida, is applying to be on the heart transplant list at Shands. As part of the application process, he needs to supply a list of names of people here in Gainesville who would be willing to be called upon to help with local transportation for his mother who will be staying with him while he is here awaiting a heart. She does not drive and would need to be driven occasionally to the grocery store, errands, etc. He may also need to be transported from their apartment (near Shands) to appointments at Shands.

Generally speaking, an organ is available within 3 months, so volunteers could be called upon to help with transportation during a 3-month period. Agreeing to help in this way would not be any kind of obligation. It would simply mean you are willing to be called upon, but if you weren't able to help at the time, another person on the list would be contacted.

I (Tara Ward) was contacted about helping with this need because my mother is a member of Grace PCA and I have visited there many times. I have spoken with their pastor and told him I would be happy to tell my church family of this need. If you are led to serve a Christian brother in this manner, please call Joffre at the church office (377-5482) and let him know you would be willing to have your name on this list.

Sunday Sermon Highlights 

From Sunday's sermon (1 Corinthians 9:1-14, "Money and the Gospel")
Money and in-kind support can present obstacles. Evangelists and ministers are often accused of being in the business for money. I remember watching Billy Graham preach on TV; someone walked through the room, saw him preaching, and immediately said, “Give me your money.” That was his take on evangelists. Fair or not, the perception is real, and Paul wanted to avoid the charge. Another obstacle is that receiving support gives the impression that converts are paying for favor with God. Many people give to churches and to evangelists, thinking that they are doing good works that will earn them points with God. Others, particularly those who are able to give a lot, fall into pride, crediting themselves with the blessing of the ministry. Still others, think that their support gives them authority to have a say about the ministry, that the minister is obligated to them.

When you understand the mercy that you have received in the gospel, then nothing is more precious to you. Nothing. Do you know it? If you do, right now your heart is stirred with gratitude and love for God. I don’t have to be an eloquent preacher to stir your heart. The gospel is enough. If you don’t know this mercy, then I urge you as one who has grasped it, to make it your business above all things to know it. There is nothing, nothing more important in life, no greater gain, no greater joy than to possess God’s mercy found in Jesus Christ.

Wait Til Next Year 

Wait til next year, Gators. The Gamecocks will yet win a game.

40+ Champs 

The 40+ Team may now be called the 40+Champs after our breath-taking come from behind victory over the 40- "Bless-Their-Hearts" competition. The game was close throughout with the Joffre Team edging ahead midway, but they could not withstand the pressure of the Clark Team which only grew stronger as the game progressed. Thanks to Barry who came through in the clutch by figuring out that Joan had drawn the continent of Africa and not a head as everyone else interpreted her drawing. We would have won more easily had it not been for the impressive performance of Jonathan Ward and Nancy Carter on the other side.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Sermon Done 

I've just completed my sermon. 2,600 words. Usually I write 3,000 but cut down for communion Sundays. You don't miss anything, though, because I basically continue the message during the sacrament. It takes on average 8 hours to write the sermon. I'll spend another hour between now and Sunday turning the manuscript into note form. As typical, the ending was not what I expected, though hopefully it should seem obvious when you hear it.

Sunday Coming 

The sermon text for Sunday is 1 Corinthians 9:1-14. The title is Money and the Gospel. This is my dream passage where I get to tell you why you should pay me! Seriously, it brings up what is a delicate issue for ministers. We go into the ministry out of a sense of calling to serve God. Nevertheless, we must still support our families. How much ought one to earn? When are we letting money concerns interfere with our service for the gospel? It is easy for us to get out of balance on this matter - either to be overly interested in making money so that it seduces us or to be negligent and not provide properly for our families. Pray for me that I may properly proclaim the message of the passage this Sunday.

Tonight's the Night! 

Young and old, bring your games. Bring your friends. Food starts being served at 6. Let's have some fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Do You Know? 

Who knows this church member? Sewed drapes, built a plane, refurbished juke boxes, played guitar in a band, and built a sound system.

Trivia Bolivia 

Who said I didn't want to play Trivial Pursuit? Bring it on! As long as I've got the Pranges, the Wards, the Peeles, and the Taylors, my team cannot be stopped.

This From Joffre 

Pastor, my challenge still stands. And it's OK if you don't want to play Trivial Pursuit...that's cool. We (I don't know who we is yet, but I can attest to our character) can handle any game you throw at us.

The Lord's Supper 

We will celebrate The Lord's Supper this coming Sunday. To receive it properly you ought to have a right understanding of biblical doctrine. First, that you are a sinner who continually sins and that your only hope for salvation is in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Second, that the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient to remove the guilt of all your sins and to give you the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, even though you still sin, your sins are covered by Christ and you are allowed to come in the presence of God. Third, that the sacrament demonstrates the union you have with Christ. You are inseparably connected with him. Finally, that the sacrament demonstrates the union you have with your fellow believers. We are one, united in Christ. That is why it is essential that you confess and repent of any sin against your brother or sister in Christ. Then come and receive with joy the sign of belonging to your Lord and Savior.

Daily Devotions 

I am thinking of providing daily devotions. Perhaps start in the advent season, then do one based on reading through the Bible in a year starting in 2004. Is there interest? Let me know.

Game Night 

Tomorrow night is Game Night, starting at 6:30. Food provided. David's Team vs. Goliath's Team. Be doing your mental exercises.

Thursday Answers 

The answers from Tuesday test:
1. Three for All - slogan from The Three Musketeers: "one for all and all for one"
2. Out of Darkness - novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
3. Time and Circumstance - music composition "Pomp and Circumstance"
5. Real Miracle-Grow - plant fertilizer product Miracle-Gro
6. The Miracle Worker - title of the play about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan
7. Got Bread? - Got Milk?
8. Best Laid Plans - from the proverb "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, " which is adapted from a line of Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse"; "the best-laid schemes o mice and men Gang aft a-gley"
8. Pride and Service - novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. What Love Has to Do with Freedom - song "What's Love Got to Do with It" sung by Tina Turner

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Computer Woes 

Sorry I missed entering anything this morning. I am going through home computer woes. I've been told I need to erase and reinstall my operating system in both computers . Any knowledgeable volunteers?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Happy Birthday 

To Robert Craig. I missed noting recent birthdays of Kevin Horner, John Charlesworth, Pam Miller, David Wood, Kelly Meyers, and John Bradshaw, a notable list for certain. By the way, only 116 days to my birthday. I'll be sure to keep you notified.

Send a Card 

It has been over a month since Ruth Yohe went into the hospital for a ruptured appendix. She is now at Woodland Care Center for rehab and is discouraged at the slow progress she is making. I was thinking it would lift her spirits to receive a rush of cards from church members. She likes funny cards. She sends me birthday cards and they are always wacky. See if you can get one in the mail Wednesday so that she gets a bunch on Thursday and Friday. Address: Ruth Yohe, c/o Woodland Care Center, Room 114W, 7207 SW 24th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32607.

Tuesday Test 

Occasionally I get a little creative in my sermon titles and make allusions to books, songs, even ads and products. Can you pick out what these titles allude to? Answers on Thursday.

1. Three for All
2. Out of Darkness
3. Time and Circumstance
5. Real Miracle-Grow
6. The Miracle Worker
7. Got Bread?
8. Best Laid Plans
8. Pride and Service
9. What Love Has to Do with Freedom

Confederate Soldier's Prayer 

From a veteran we are indebted for a most wise prayer:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for - but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.

Found on the body of a Southern soldier, 1861-1865
Known but to God

Monday, November 10, 2003

Game Night Challenge 

My secretary, Joffre, is like the U. of Georgia. Because he wins a few games elsewhere, he thinks he can beat me. That's like Georgia beating Florida in football, as I intend to show. However, recognizing that anyone can get lucky one night, I am gathering players for team play. I was thinking of everyone under 6'9" being on my side, but thought the strongest team would be made up of players 40 years and over. As we will prove, the mind only ripens with age. We may play one game or several games, maybe several games at once (alternate each round). So, Joffre, what do you say? Does your challenge still stand?

Sermon Highlights 

If Coach Zook can have game highlights, I figure I can have sermon highlights! Here they are from yesterday's message (What Love Has to Do with Freedom, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13):

Paul’s response: Get real. Your knowledge is merely making you arrogant. You might be getting puffier, but you definitely are not getting taller in the faith. First, of all, if you had real knowledge, you would know how little you know. That is the mark of a truly knowledgeable person. Another thing you would know is that love, not knowledge, marks the Christian who has a real relationship with God. That is the mark of a truly spiritual person.

All that Paul is saying to the Corinth believers in this chapter is to let love be their guide in knowing how to use their freedom. How will their actions affect their brothers and sisters? Will their actions build up the faith of others, or will it harm that faith? The answer will provide the answer of knowing what to do.

When we love, we become wiser; we become wiser because, when we love, we share the heart and mind of our Father and of our Lord. As the apostle John said, God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16). Do you want real spiritual knowledge? Do you want to exercise your freedom in Christ to the fullest degree? Then practice love.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Encouragment 

Thanks to a number of you who through emails and actual face-to-face contact have expressed your pleasure with the blogsite. That encourages me to keep it up.

Did you know that George Bowlin cuts the church grass weekly?
That Anne Bowlin, Mary Singer, Pat Huntsman, and Aleta Griffin fold and stuff the bulletin every Friday morning? If you are looking for a fun way to spend a Friday morning, come join them, but don't be surprised if I come out to quiet you down, which I have to do at least once each Friday!

If Clemson... 

If Clemson can beat Florida State, can South Caroline beat Florida? Congratulations, Steve Lammers, RUF Minister and Clemson Alumnus.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Did You Know (Or Care!) 

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge. (No doubt discovered by a church member sitting through my sermon.)

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue. (Thus their courteous nature.)

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours. (They hate Annie's song "Tomorrow.") Actually, it is the mayfly, not dragonfly. Thanks to Ross for the correction.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. (My wife thinks I have goldfish genes.)

A snail can sleep for three years. (I think my daughters have snail genes.)

Butterflies taste with their feet. (I didn't know they had feet.)

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10. (Thus the reason women are compared to cats and men to dogs!)

Sunday Preparation 

Have you read the scripture for Sunday yet (1 Corinthians 8:1-13)? I'll be doing the whole chapter in one sermon. I don't think I've ever done that. Other scriptures that you will find applicable to the message are: Mark 12:30-31; Philippians 2:3-5; 1 John 4:20-21.

Gator Homecoming 

I am wearing orange and blue today to show support for my adopted school. Don't expect that next Saturday though. I am a loyal Gamecock despite the annual disappointments. "Wait til next year!" is our motto.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Got the Time? 

Is your watch or clock accurate? Check the Official Time. Just another service provided by your pastor.

Books on Tape 

Just completed The Vicar of Wakefield, by Oliver Goldsmith. Started off somewhat boring, but ended up being a pleasant read (or listening). Checked out Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn (a man) Waugh, about an English aristocratic family in the 1920s and 30s. Considered one of the great works of 20th century literature, its underlying theme is the hold of the gospel even on the scandalous and morally weak.

How's the Weather? 

Check the weather. Click "Gainesville Weather" on the side bar.

A Word from Martin Luther 

The first Thursday of each month, I host The Reformation Table, an informal gathering of ministers to discuss theology and pastoral issues. Today we are reading from Luther's The Freedom of the Christian. Here is an excerpt demonstrating one of the reasons faith alone is pleasing to God for salvation: Thus the soul, in firmly believing the promises of God, holds him to be true and righteous; and it can attribute to God no higher glory than the credit of being so....It cleaves to his promises, and never doubts that he is true, just, and wise, and will do, dispose, and provide for all things in the best way. Is not such a soul, in this its faith, most obedient to God in all things?

Test Answers 

Here are the answers to Tuesday's test:
1. Written in the 1600s by a street preacher with no formal education, this book is the most famous allegory written in the English language. Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

2. During one sermon, I read from this book written by a Dutch woman about her experiences with her sister in a Nazi concentration camp. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom

3. This is a collection of letters purportedly written by a senior demon to another demon on how to effectively lead a "client" into sin. The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

4. This series of children's books has it all: witches, talking animals, sea voyages, magic, and sword fights. And a lion keeps showing up. The Narnia Chronicles, by C. S. Lewis

5. _____ Christianity and ________ Christianity are the two most widely read books presenting (what else?) Christianity. One author is good for presenting the scriptures and the other for presenting philosophical arguments. Basic Christianity, by John Stott and Mere Christianity. by C. S. Lewis

6. This religious film received the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture in 1981. Chariots of Fire

7. More than 20 million videos have been sold featuring a talking food group. The Veggie Tales

8. "Can't we just learn how to get along?" This book, featured in one of my sermons on 1 Corinthians 6, is the most practical guide on how. The Peace Maker, by Ken Sande

9. This significant book's thesis is that our chief end is to glorify God "by" enjoying him. Desiring God, by John Piper

10. It is this book, taught in a Sunday School class that has stirred an interest in mercy ministry among church members. (Hint: The Kellers think highly of the author.) Ministries of Mercy, by Tim Keller

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Why the Secretary is Important 

The following bulletin errors demonstrate the importance of a good secretary:
1) Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

2) The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

3) Evening massage - 6 p.m.

4) The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

5) Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

6) During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

7) The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

8) Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

9) The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

10) The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."

Attitude 

Do you have an attitude? Actually, we all do, and I have been struck with the emphasis Scripture places on having the right kind. So much of the Corinth Church's troubles stemmed from having the wrong kind. They had a prideful attitude about wisdom, which led them to devalue gospel preaching. Puffed up with their spiritual gifts, they showed unconcern about immoral behavior, though they were quick to sue if they thought they were being taken advantage of. By having the right attitude of humble, contented service for the Lord, Paul shows in chapter 7 how they could handle various circumstances of life. In the next chapter, he will show how having the right attitude of love helps Christians solve yet another issue. With the right attitude, the thorniest problems can be solved, and decisions which seemed so complicated to make become easy. How is your attitude today?

Happy Birthday! 

Happy birthday to Kelsey Prange, Andrew Roth, and Burt Tjapkes!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Test 

Have you taken the library book test yet? I've already received one response. The individual got 7 and 1/2 correct answers. Can you beat that score?

Chapter 7 Theme 

I promised you the theme for chapter 7. It is to "serve the Lord in whatever condition one may be." Whether you are married or single; widowed or married to an unbeliever; whatever your age or circumstance, take the opportunity to serve the Lord.

Happy Birthday, Barbara! 

Happy birthday to Barbara Nilsson. Barbara is Director of Children's Sunday School. She and Don moved here from New York and joined the church two years ago.

The Answer! 

The common bond between a mountain, a football, and droopy pantyhose. They are all hiked.

Church Library Sunday 

This Sunday we are drawing attention to our church library. Amy Von der Porten will say a few words at each service and refreshments will be served in front of the Teaching Center with the hope that you will drop in to the library. Can you name these books and videos that are on the library shelves? Answers on Thursday.

1. Written in the 1600s by a street preacher with no formal education, this book is the most famous allegory written in the English language.

2. During one sermon, I read from this book written by a Dutch woman about her experiences with her sister in a Nazi concentration camp.

3. This is a collection of letters purportedly written by a senior demon to another demon on how to effectively lead a "client" into sin.

4. This series of children's books has it all: witches, talking animals, sea voyages, magic, and sword fights. And a lion keeps showing up.

5. _____ Christianity and ________ Christianity are the two most widely read books presenting (what else?) Christianity. One author is good for presenting the scriptures and the other for presenting philosophical arguments.

6. This religious film received the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture in 1981.

7. More than 20 million videos have been sold featuring a talking food group.

8. "Can't we just learn how to get along?" This book, featured in one of my sermons on 1 Corinthians 6, is the most practical guide on how.

9. This significant book's thesis is that our chief end is to glorify God "by" enjoying him.

10. It is this book, taught in a Sunday School class that has stirred an interest in mercy ministry among church members. (Hint: The Kellers think highly of the author.)

Monday, November 03, 2003

Church is Good for Your Health 

This excerpt comes from an article about the effect of faith on health. See Newsweek's article "Faith and Healing."

One nugget, however, “blew my socks off,” Powell says. People who regularly attend church have a 25 percent reduction in mortality—that is, they live longer—than people who are not churchgoers. This is true even after controlling for variables intrinsically linked to Sundays in the pew, like social support and healthy lifestyle. While the data were culled mainly from Christian churchgoers, Powell says the findings should apply to any organized religion. “This is really powerful,” she says.

Why longer life? In my opinion the primary factor is belonging to a community. What frightens or discourages us more than not belonging? We like to say that all we need is God, and yet it is God who said it is not good for man to be alone. He made us to belong, to want to belong, to a community. That is why the Bible tells us we cannot even love God without loving our brother and sister; we cannot love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, if we will not love our neighbor as ourselves.

Announcements Needed Early 

If you want something in the bulletin for this week, Joffre must get it by closing on Tuesday. Office will be closed Friday due to Homecoming.

Chapter Seven 

Seven sermons on chapter seven, but only one theme. Do you remember? I'll give the answer tomorrow. But I would be interested in hearing what you learned. Will post responses (the nice ones!). Let me know if your name can be included.

Children's Prayers 

3 year old: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some E-mail. Amen."

4 year old: "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

3 year old: "Our Father, who does art in heaven, Howard is his name."

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Reformation Test Answers 

1. What does a nail have to with the Reformation's beginning? Luther nailed his 95 theses on a door marking the beginning of the Reformation

2. What invention made the Reformation possible? the printing press in 1450

3. What act of nature should be credited with setting up the Reformation?
A thunderstorm. Luther promised God he would become a monk if he did not die.

4. What building project set the stage? St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. The pope needed money to finance the project and indulgences were sold as a fundraiser.

5. What pilgrimage disillusioned Luther? To Rome

6. What 2 NT books had the most profound impact on Luther? Romans, Galatians

7. What NT book would Luther had wished not been included? James

8. Worms and Luther: what is the significance? Where Luther defended his books and would not recant.

9. What town is the birthplace of the Reformation? Wittenburg

10. What famous Luther hymn will we be singing Sunday? A Mighty Fortress

Fall Festival 

The Fall Festival was great. Thanks to Mary Lee who oversaw the festivities and preparation, and to RUF college students (and just out of college) who prepared, set up, ran the festivities, and broke it down. Super job. Nancy Montgomery made the booklets the children had about the historical figures, as well as took care of much of the food. We had great booths and games.

Ruth Yohe 

Ruth has moved to Woodland Care Center for rehabilitation. Her room number is 114W and phone number is 333-0617. I don't know the address yet, but it is off Tower Road.

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