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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.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Getting Ready for Sunday 

The Jewish religious leaders will be featured in Sunday's sermon. The scripture text is Matthew 26:57-68. The responsive reading is Psalm 111. The closing hymn for both services is Ah, Holy Jesus. It is a beautiful and haunting song that expresses exactly the message that the movie is intended to convey - that it is my sins that condemned Jesus. To get the most of the sermon series Who is Responsible?, it is best if you consider how you could have committed the same sins as whoever is featured, in this case the Jewish leaders. If in their position, we also could have been scandalized by the teachings of Jesus; especially what he had to say about us. Our hope is not that we are better, but that we turn to God's grace.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Thursday Answers 

How well do you know the events of the Passion?
1. How many times did Jesus catch the disciples sleeping while he was praying in Gethsemane? 3
2. By what sign does Judas betray Jesus? a kiss
3. In the trial before the Sanhedrin, what was the one testimony that prosecutors were able to get a couple of witnesses to attest to that Jesus had said? he would destroy the temple and raise it again in three days
4. What did the high priest get Jesus to confess to that led to his condemnation? he is Christ, the Son of God
5. What was the charge against Jesus when brought before Pilate? he is the King of the Jews
6. To whom did Pilate send Jesus when he learned that Jesus was a Galilean? Herod
7. Who carried Jesus' cross? Simon of Cyrene
8. What psalm depicts the scene of the crucifixion? Jesus even quotes from it on the cross. Psalm 22
9. What damage occured in the temple during the crucifixion? the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two
10. According to Luke, what were Jesus' last words? Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

The Passion and the Second Commandment 

Does a movie depicting Jesus break the second commandment which reads: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..."

Here is my yes and no answer. God, in his divine nature is not to be depicted. God is spirit. He is all-present, and any representation of him will by necessity make him appear limited. Thus, images such as the depiction of God creating Adam in the Sistine Chapel is idolatry and gives people a false impression of what God is like. Furthermore, as God makes clear by denoting himself to be a jealous God, these false images in effect become false gods to us, competing with our devotion to him. Indeed, false worship is at the heart of this commandment, as the Larger Catechism explains.
Yet, there is the fact of the Incarnation. God the Son takes on human form. His image was beheld by human eyes and he still retains his human, though glorified, body. Furthermore, his taking on human form is critical to the redemption he accomplished. To contest that we are not to "imagine" this human form strikes against the value of the Son's Incarnation. Jesus, who said that God is spirit, was standing in the flesh as he spoke. He did not cover his face; he did not keep his form hidden. He even spoke of being lifted up and drawing people to himself, clearly referring to his being lifted on the cross. If anything, we need movies like The Passion to remind us that God the Son truly took on flesh. He lived, suffered, died and rose in the flesh. By refusing to consider images of him in his incarnation, we risk the error of devaluing what he accomplished by his incarnation and even of worshipping a false god, one who only appeared human, who only appeared to suffer. To regard God the Son as only spirit is false worship.
The real concern with art is giving the viewer the impression that it depicts the incarnated Christ as he really was. We do not know his facial features, nor the size and shape of his body. Nor do we know at any time his mannerism. An actor is merely rendering an impression of Jesus, and no doubt at times is widely off based. The same is for all pictures of Jesus. They are products of the imagination and nothing more. There is a real danger of idolatry when we meditate upon them and have them in our minds as we pray and worship. It is very easy to make the film and all images idolatrous, and indeed it is our bent to do so. But we cannot escape. With or without images, we commit idolatry more often than we realize, but that is another lesson.
If you believe it may be idolatrous to see the film, by all means do not go. Crossing your conscience is itself sin. But I believe the film can instill in you a greater appreciation of the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins, and thus is worth seeing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Passion 

I saw the movie today. It definitely is moving. Though violent, I would not describe it as gory. I get queasy at gore and there was nothing I could not watch. Ginger was with me and she was able to handle it as well. As to coming away mad at anyone, it would be the Roman soldiers hand down. Indeed, their cruelty is so highlighted, it would not occur to most viewers to think about anti-Semitism. The film is clear that Jesus laid down his own life to bear our sins. As Jesus tells Pilate in the film, whoever listens to truth, will hear his voice.

Daily Devotions 

We are already starting Deuteronomy, the last book of the Pentateuch. Steve Miller will take us through this book. Thanks to Dan Sonke for covering Numbers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tuesday Test 

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which is also the opening day of The Passion of the Christ. I will be seeing it at noon with Ginger. How well do you know the events of the Passion?
1. How many times did Jesus catch the disciples sleeping while he was praying in Gethsemane?
2. By what sign does Judas betray Jesus?
3. In the trial before the Sanhedrin, what was the one testimony that prosecutors were able to get a couple of witnesses to attest to that Jesus had said?
4. What did the high priest get Jesus to confess to that led to his condemnation?
5. What was the charge against Jesus when brought before Pilate?
6. To whom did Pilate send Jesus when he learned that Jesus was a Galilean?
7. Who carried Jesus' cross?
8. What psalm depicts the scene of the crucifixion? Jesus even quotes from it on the cross.
9. What damage occured in the temple during the crucifixion?
10. According to Luke, what were Jesus' last words?

Monday, February 23, 2004

Sunday's Highlight 

And this leads to the third lesson, which is the enormity of God’s mercy. All of the disciples, except Judas, was forgiven, and he only because he never did belong. How great is God’s mercy – is Christ’s mercy – that those who deny and desert him can be forgiven and restored. Remember that. Remember that the next time you deny and desert him as you have done and will do again. For every sin we commit is but another refuting of him as Lord. There will be times that you fail to speak up for Christ or fail to speak in his spirit. There will be times when you will speak in the name of Christ and dishonor him because of what you say. You will fail, but your failure cannot strain God’s mercy.

But what truly is the lesson we must learn is the power of Christ’s atonement. The disciples were forgiven because Christ atoned for their sin on the cross, just as he has atoned for ours. Our sins were placed on him, and he in turn gave to us his righteousness, so that instead of seeing us as sinners, our God regards us as his saints. That is the power of the cross. Christ died to turn deniers and deserters into saints; even betrayers can be changed if they but turn to the one who went to the cross.

Funny how it works out. We are given scripture that presents us with a sobering depiction of Jesus’ closest followers. We should be filled with dread, and yet their very failure becomes to us a sign of hope. But that is just like the gospel. It turns despair into hope, for our hope is in Christ whose mercy and power cannot fail.

Pray 

The Passion starts Wednesday. Our ad is already on the movie screen. Pray for the Holy Spirit's moving in the hearts of those who go to the movie and for the effectiveness of the website in communicating with inquirers. Pray for response, that we will receive visitors and be contacted, and that we may be so used to help all who come.

Up on the Roof 

Up on the roof is not the place to be this week to refresh one's mind. Nor, for that matter, is being under the roof. Roofers are above replacing the church's 20+ old roof. When you drive up Sunday, look up and admire the handiwork.

Still Alive 

We have a saying in our family - "It wasn't fun, but it sure was exciting." The stomach virus, which attacked me Friday night was neither fun nor exciting. But it is done. Thanks to everyone who filled in for me on Sunday.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Well, Pastor Clark is in Atlanta for the next two days at a Christian Education & Publication meeting, but I've been asked to post a couple of items.

First: Heads up! Starting Monday morning, we’ll be busy installing a new roof for the church. If you’re coming into the office, plan on a little noise.

Also, Pastor Clark was very excited yesterday when I showed him the Google pop-up blocker, which blocks most pop-up ads. It's easy to do: just visit Google's toolbar site and download. One of the Google toolbar's features is a pop-up blocker. Once the toolbar is downloaded (which is simple, just follow the on-screen prompts) you can control which sites you want to allow pop-ups on. It's easy! Even more effective than the Google toolbar is using a browser that won't allow pop-ups, but that's harder to get started, since you've got to download the whole thing. Still, if you'd like to try that, visit Mozilla.

Joffre

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

What Does Love Mean? 

These are shared with us by Barbara Stakely:

When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love. Rebecca, 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth. Billy, 4

Love is when my Mommy makes coffee for my Daddy, and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is OK. Danny, 7

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. Bobby, 7

If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate. Nikka, 6

Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well. Tommy, 6

News from Gay Greninger 

Here is the recent letter from Faith member and missionary Gay Greninger:

It is Monday morning, February 9th, 8:40 a.m. and I am sitting in the teachers' lounge writing to you because this morning my student teacher, Kim, is in my classroom teaching the 3rd graders! This is an exciting day for Kim. She is going to be full time in my classroom for the next two weeks. Please pray for as she completes this aspect of her student teaching that she would have God's wisdom and that she would effectively teach the students. Pray also for me that I will be able to use this time well.

The past month has been blessed in many ways. We had wonderful performances by the middle school and the high school drama classes last week. The high school play, "If the Good Lord's Willing and the Creek Don't Rise" was an amusing comedy and the middle school musical "The Solid Rock Cafe" had a wonderful message of turning our problems over to the Lord and watching Him answer based on the parable of The Wise Man and The Foolish Man. Praise the Lord for answered prayer.!

On Saturday Jan 31st OCSI hosted another international friendship exchange with a Japanese middle school. Approximately 200 Japanese 6th graders along with teachers and chaperons came from the southern part of the island for an afternoon of fun (and witness.) The Lord's hand was so evident in so many ways. In particular, the weather on that day was the only beautiful, sunny weather in a period of the last 3 weeks when we have been experiencing incredible cold and rainy weather!!! PTL ! In addition, for one of the craft activities, about a week earlier, one of the middle school teachers was able to obtain all the beads necessary for the students to make a "Good News" bracelet from a man visiting on island at her church. He "just happened" to have enough for 300 bracelets, so the students made one for themselves and one to give to a friend.

Please pray for God to "direct" us concerning which other school to allow to visit here on campus. We have frequent requests for such exchanges, especially since the closing down of the American bases after 9/11. We are especially glad to share in places where we know that there are Christians who can do follow-up. In the case of the Kanagusuku School, the president of the PTA is a Christian and he helped to arrange the Friendship Day.

The month of February is Missions Month in the elementary school. Students will be learning about sharing the message of Jesus with the various cultures in the 10/40 Window. They will be talking about Buddhism, which is one of the religions of the Japanese and Okinawans. Please pray for an effective presentation of the Truth of God's Word. Pray also for the Christian students to become more committed to sharing their faith.

Being able to incorporate photos into my newsletter has been a technical problem for some time now. I am happy to announce that along with this e-mail there should be a notification of some pictures that are online for you to see too. I hope you will enjoy seeing a few of the students' faces. When you open the site, you can click on "slideshow" and that will enlarge the pictures for you to view them. In the days ahead I hope to send other photos now that I think I have figures out how to operate my digital camera.

Please continue to remember Hadje Perete, a high school sophomore with a very aggressive form of cancer, in your prayers. He is undergoing his second round of chemotherapy beginning this week. Kris Boyes, one of the 4th grade teachers, returned to the U.S. to recover from her bout with mononucleosis and will not be back. Therefore, a replacement teacher is needed ASAP for her class.

Gay's email is teachesl45@yahoo.com.

Test Answers 

I will be away tomorrow and Friday, so you get your answers today. This test covers info that is found weekly in the bulletin:
1. You can purchase cassette tapes or CDs of the sermons for how much? $1
2. To get a prayer on the prayer chain, call these two persons besides the church office. Odessa George and Carol Peterson
3. What Bible study is held on Sunday nights out of town? Benson Cain's in Melrose
4. What room should parents with young children know about? the Crying Room
5. What financial figures are listed weekly? weekly and year-to-date income, and weekly and year-to-date budgeted income
6. What are the church office hours? 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
7. Besides that day's morning sermon, what other two sermon titles are given? the evening sermon and next Sunday's morning sermon
8. What is listed as happening every Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.? Keenagers meet for breakfast at 43rd Deli on 43rd St; join them sometime
9. What is listed as happening every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m.? the Ladies' Bible Study; free childcare; presently discussing The Purpose Driven Life
10. What other church's worship services are advertised? Gace Community

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Tuesday Test 

How well do you keep up with the church bulletin? This test covers info that is found weekly in the bulletin:
1. You can purchase cassette tapes or CDs of the sermons for how much?
2. To get a prayer on the prayer chain, call these two persons besides the church office.
3. What Bible study is held on Sunday nights out of town?
4. What room should parents with young children know about?
5. What financial figures are listed weekly?
6. What are the church office hours?
7. Besides that day's morning sermon, what other two sermon titles are given?
8. What is listed as happening every Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.?
9. What is listed as happening every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m.?
10. What other church's worship services are advertised?

Speaking of Hoaxes 

Here is another hoax that has been forwarded to me several times: The FCC may be banning religious broadcasting due to lawsuit from Madeleine Murray O'Hare's organization, including radio and TV. Shows like "Touched by an Angel" will be banned. Focus on the Family is urging Christians to take action.

There is no such suit or attempt. In actuality, Focus on the Family has been trying to stop the rumor that has circulated for years. Suggested hoax sites to use:
urbanlegends.about.com, snopes.com, and nonprofit.net/hoax.

False Information 

The story I printed yesterday about Captain Kangaroo is false. I thought I had learned my lesson, but failed this time. Usually when I receive stories that have been forwarded, I check their veracity. I type in "internet hoaxes" and go to one of several sites dedicated to researched stories that are passed around the internet, including warnings about viruses. Sure enough, this story appeared. Whenever a story seems too fantastic, check it out.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Sunday Highlights 

From yesterday's sermon:
Here was the Corinthians' problem. They approached each issue with this thought in mind: What is best for me? For some, the question took this form: What makes me the happiest? For others, the question seemed more noble: What gets me favor with God? Either way, the question leads them along the wrong trail in their thinking. The question should be: What glorifies God? And what glorifies God is what leads to thankfulness to God and puts the welfare of one’s neighbor ahead of oneself. If they think in those terms, as did Jesus and Paul, then they will catch on to knowing what is right conduct.

Do you bristle at that thought of accommodating your lifestyle for the sake of others? When you do, think again of the example of our Lord. He gave up heaven, literally, for our sake. He accommodated himself so as to submit to his parents, whom he himself created. He accommodated himself to become our servant – we were created for his glory. The King of Glory accommodated himself to die on a cross like a common criminal. Why? For the glory of God. For Christ, to live and to die, to serve and to lead, to eat and to fast – whatever the case may be – for Christ everything was done to the glory of God. May we, the recipients of immeasurable blessing in Christ, follow his example.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Ping Pong Blues 

Nine came to the table
Nine walked away.
Four more came
And they couldn't stay.
But then one returned
Determined to play
Determined to win
If it took all day.
Bravely I fought
But come what may,
The time had come
For me to give way.
Hats off to Christian Weiss
To whom I must say,
You won this time,
But I'll be back, OK!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Yet Again, the Impact of "The Passion" 

A News Anchor's Perspective on "The Passion of the Christ"
Jody Dean, Dallas/Ft. Worth anchor, CBS News
There have been tons of e-mails and forwards floating around recently from
those who have had the privilege of seeing Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The
Christ prior to its actual release. I thought I'd give you my reaction
after seeing it last week.

The screening was on the first night of "Elevate!" a weekend-long seminar
for young people at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. There were about
2,000 people there, and the movie was shown after several speakers had
taken the podium. It started around 9:00 and finished around 11:00...about
two hours in length. Frankly, I lost complete track of time - so I can't
be sure.

I want you to know that I started in broadcasting when I was 13-years-old.
I have been in the business of writing, performing, production and
broadcasting for a long time. I have been a part of movies, radio,
television, stage and other productions - so I know how things are done. I
know about soundtracks and special effects and make-up and screenplays. I
think I have seen just about every kind of movie or TV show ever made -
from extremely inspirational to extremely gory. I read a lot - and have
covered stories and scenes that still make me wince. I also have a vivid
imagination, and have the ability to picture things as they must have
happened - or to anticipate things as they will be portrayed. I have also
seen an enormous amount of footage from Gibson's film, so I thought I knew
what was coming.

But there is nothing in my existence - nothing I could have read, seen,
heard, thought or known - that could have prepared me for what I saw on
screen last night.

This is not a movie that anyone will "like". I don't think it's a movie
anyone will "love". It certainly doesn't "entertain". There isn't even the
sense that one has just watched a movie. It is an experience - on a
level of primary emotion that is scarcely comprehensible. Every shred of
human preconception or predisposition is utterly stripped away. No one will
eat popcorn during this film. Some may not eat for days after they've seen
it. Quite honestly, I wanted to vomit. It hits that hard.

I can see why some people are worried about how the film portrays the
Jews. They should be worried. No, it's not anti-Semitic. What it is, is
entirely shattering. There are no "winners". No one comes off looking
"good" - except Jesus. Even His own mother hesitates. As depicted, the
Jewish leaders of Jesus' day merely do what any of us would have done -
and still do. They protected their perceived "place" - their sense of
safety and security, and the satisfaction of their own "rightness". But
everyone falters. Caiphus judges. Peter denies. Judas betrays. Simon
the Cyrene balks. Mark runs away. Pilate equivocates. The crowd mocks. The
soldiers laugh. Longinus still stabs with his pilus. The centurion still
carries out his orders. And as Jesus fixes them all with a glance, they
still turn away. The Jews, the Romans, Jesus' friends - they all fall.
Everyone, except the Principal Figure. Heaven sheds a single, mighty tear
- and as blood and water spew from His side, the complacency of all
creation is eternally shattered.

The film grabs you in the first five seconds, and never lets go. The
brutality, humiliation, and gore are almost inconceivable - and still
probably does not go far enough. The scourging alone seems to never end,
and you cringe at the sound and splatter of every blow - no matter how
steely your nerves. Even those who have known combat or prison will have
trouble, no matter their experience - because this Man was not
conscripted. He went willingly, laying down His entirety for all. It is
one thing for a soldier to die for his countrymen. It's something else
entirely to think of even a common man dying for those who hate and wish
to kill him. But this is no common man. This is the King of the Universe.
The idea that anyone could or would have gone through such punishment is
unthinkable - but this Man was completely innocent, completely holy - and
paying the price for others. He screams as He is laid upon the cross,
"Father, they don't know. They don't know..."

What Gibson has done is to use all of his considerable skill to portray
the most dramatic moment of the most dramatic events since the dawn of
time. There is no escape. It's a punch to the gut that puts you on the
canvas, and you don't get up. You are simply confronted by the horror of
what was done - what had to be done - and why. Throughout the entire film,
I found myself apologizing.

What you've heard about how audiences have reacted is true. There was no
sound after the film's conclusion. No noise at all. No one got up. No one
moved. The only sound one could hear was sobbing. In all my years of
public life, I have never heard anything like that.

I told many of you that Gibson had reportedly re-shot the ending to
include more "hope" through the Resurrection? That's not true. The
Resurrection scene is perhaps the shortest in the entire movie - and yet it
packs a punch that can't be quantified. It is perfect. There is no way to
negotiate the meaning out of it. It simply asks, "Now, what will you do?"

I'll leave the details to you, in the hope that you will see the film -
but one thing above all stands out, and I have to tell you about it. It
comes from the end of Jesus' temptations in the wilderness - where the
Bible says Satan left him "until a more opportune time." I imagine Satan
never quit tempting Christ, but this film captures beyond words the most
opportune time. At every step of the way, Satan is there at Jesus' side -
imploring Him to quit, reasoning with Him to give up, and seducing Him to
surrender. For the first time, one gets a heart-stopping idea of the sense
of madness that must have enveloped Jesus - a sense of the evil that was
at His very elbow. The physical punishment is relentless - but it's the
sense of psychological torture that is most overwhelming. He should have
quit. He should have opened His mouth. He should have called 10,000 angels.
No one would have blamed Him. What we deserve is obvious. But He couldn't do
that. He wouldn't do that. He didn't do that. He doesn't do that. It was
not and is not His character. He was obedient, all the way to the cross -
and you feel the real meaning of that phrase in a place the human heart
usually doesn't dare to go. You understand that we are called to that same
level of obedience. With Jesus' humanity so irresistibly on display, you
understand that we have no excuse. There is no place to hide.

The truth is this: Is it just a "movie"? In a way, yes. But it goes far
beyond that, in a fashion I've never felt - in any forum. We may think we
"know". We know nothing. We've gone 2,000 years -used to the idea of a
pleasant story, and a sanitized Christ. We expect the ending, because we've
heard it so many times. God forgive us. This film tears that all away.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Site is Up! 

Go to www.gainesvillepassion.com and see the website.

No Postings Friday 

Sorry. I will be out of town at a presbytery meeting. Should get back just in time for Game Night and defense of my title.

Feminists for Life 

Thought some of you may be interested in this UF event:
Pro-Life Alliance and ACCENT will be hosting Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:30 pm in the New Engineering building, room 202. Her talk is entitled "The Feminist Case Against Abortion," followed by a question and answer time and refreshments. Come and and learn about abortion and what effects it really has on women, along with making the UF campus more supportive for pregnant and mothering women. For more information and more specific directions, see http://grove.ufl.edu/~prolife

Game Night 

Nine players came forward
Nine players walked away
One remained for another day
Awaiting another challenger to play

What can I say? (by ping-pong champ Clark)

Game night tomorrow night. Food ready by six, games begin soon after. Craig Carter promises a special Valentine dessert.

Pop Quiz Answers 

1. Charlie and I are going to the game tonight.
2. Frank gave Charlie and me tickets for the game.
3. He and Sally could not go. correct
4. She and he are going to a piano concert.
5. He called and offered the tickets to Charlie and me.
6. I will have to something nice for her and him sometime.
7. I will buy more piano concert tickets for them. correct

Thursday Answers 

1. This goddess of love was created from the ocean's foam. (G) Aphrodite, (R) Venus
2. This god of war was not popular among the other gods. (G), Ares, (R) Mars
3. The golden arrows of this archer inspired love. (G) Eros, (R) Cupid
4. The big boss of Olympius; took over from his dad, Cronos. Zeus
5. This god of death is described as "a creature of bone chilling darkness." (G) Thanatos, (R) Mors
6. The Norse god of thunder who drove a wagon pulled by two goats. Thor
7. The Canaan god of fertility whom the Israelites ofter worshipped. Baal
8. The Amonite god to whom parents would sacrifice their first-born. Moloch
9. This goddess of fertility appears twenty-one times in the Bible. Asherah
10. The Ephesians rioted against the Christians in defense of this goddess (Acts 19). Artemis

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

New Golf Pro 

Craig Carter is the newest golf champion, winning a local charity event this weekend. He had a little help from his partner Bubba Dickerson, for whom Craig has served as a golf mentor.

Making News 

Check the religion section of the Gainesville Sun on Saturday. Gary Kirkland is writing an article about churches' response to "The Passion." We most likely will be included. We hope to have the sight ready soon, possibly this weekend. Kendra is working hard on the site. Don Nilsson is helping me out with articles. David Young is preparing changes on the church site, and Joffre coordinating all the efforts.

Daily Devotions 

Today completes the readings in Leviticus. Thanks to Dave Darus for the devotions. Next, Dan Sonke will take us through Numbers.

Wednesday School 

Okay, class. It is time for a pop quizz. Please correct the five incorrect sentences. Answers tomorrow.
1. Me and Charlie are going to the game tonight.
2. Frank gave Charlie and I tickets for the game.
3. He and Sally could not go.
4. She and him are going to a piano concert.
5. He called and offered the tickets to Charlie and I.
6. I will have to something nice for she and him sometime.
7. I will buy more piano concert tickets for them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

From RUF Minister, Steve Lammers:
1) New students are being actively invited to RUF outreach activities and Tuesday night large group (studying 10 Commandments). Informal get togethers that include these visitors are happening and our students on leadership are growing in the area of outreach and evangelism. One freshman told me today that "fall semester I was nervous that non-Christian friends might not like me if I began talking with them about the Lord. This semester all I can think about is the thousands of freshmen in my dorms who don't know Christ. I am amazed at the conversations I have already gotten into this semester. I am no longer scared to share my faith.
2) Small groups have begun. The freshmen girls' study has about 10 students, the other two student led studies on Romans and Galatians have similar attendance. My "Stump the Chump" group that meets outdoors in the heart of campus has been a great time of exploring issues that students are facing in classes. The past few weeks several students have been asking questions regarding God's sovereignty. Since we meet outside we often have students eating lunch near us stop by and even participate in the discussion. Pray for more students to be prepared to lead small groups in the future.
3) HAITI Mission trip will be August 11-18. Jenna and I are taking 11 students and three church members with us. We will be teaching VBS, running a medical clinic, and working on Charles Amicy's house (missionary with MTW). Each student has to raise $1,200 to go. Jenna and I are planning to raise $3,000 extra this year in our RUF budget to cover our expenses, finanical aid for students, and supplies for the projects. This was a life changing trip for us when we went two summers ago and we are eager for our students to develop a vision for world missions. We have to raise all of our funds before April 30th. We would love to send you a letter with more detail about this trip as well as our team picture. If you e-mail me I can get you all that information. Checks can be made out to RUF (Re: Lammers-UF) and sent to the RUF office at : 1700 North Brown Rd, Suite 104, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.
4) Spring conference was last weekend with 70 students from Florida schools. They were encouraged by the talks on "The Sufficiency of Scripture."

Tuesday Test 

So, how up are you on gods and goddesses? Can you name these? For the first five you can give Greek or Roman names; bonus points if you know both.
1. This goddess of love was created from the ocean's foam.
2. This god of war was not popular among the other gods.
3. The golden arrows of this archer inspired love.
4. The big boss of Olympius.
5. This god of death is described as "a creature of bone chilling darkness."
6. The Norse god of thunder who drove a wagon pulled by two goats.
7. The Canaan god of fertility whom the Israelites ofter worshipped.
8. The Amonite god to whom parents would sacrifice their first-born.
9. This goddess of fertility appears twenty-one times in the Bible.
10. The Ephesians rioted against the Christians in defense of this goddess (Acts 19).

Monday, February 09, 2004

Sunday Highlights 

The word for “participation” is “koinonia.” It is a significant word used in other passages about Christian fellowship. In verse 16, the emphasis is on our participation, or communion, with the blood and body of Christ. What does that mean? It means that through the sacraments, we by faith participate in the benefits of Christ’s new covenant.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he referred to the cup as symbolizing his “blood of the covenant” (Mark 14:24). The sacrifice he would make by shedding his blood would serve to make and ratify a new covenant with God on our behalf. We then participate in that new covenant ratified by Christ’s blood. In the same manner, we share in the benefits of his body given for us.

Why You May Not Want to See the Movie 

Though I am excited about The Passion movie and intend to see it, some of you perhaps should not attend for a couple of reasons. One, all reports are that the violence is very graphic. I think the movie might even be R-rated because of the violence. It certainly is not appropriate for young children. You need to consider not only can you take the violence, but whether you can watch such violence being afflicted on your Lord. Two, many Christians in our Reformed tradition believe that visual depictions of Christ violates the second commandment not to make images of God. If your conscience is uneasy about this, then you ought not to attend, since Romans 14:23 teaches that acting against one's conscience is itself sinful even if the activity is not a sin. Before the week is out I will give my reasons for why I do not think visual depictions of Christ under certain circumstances do not violate the commandment.

The Passion Ad 

A change has been made in the Passion ad. We are going with our second choice which is also good: black background and the following text in gold - Why Did He Die?, underneath will be the site address www.gainesvillepassion.com. The ad will start its four week run on February 20, the movie begins the 25th. We will have the site up and running on the 20th. Kendra Skeene is designing the site. By the way, she does this for a living if you know of a business looking for a professional website designer.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Michele's Mother 

Michele Emery's mother is still in the hospital and has lost hearing in her only good ear, rendering her deaf. The doctors are not sure of the cause. Pray for it to be restored.

Recovery 

Arnold Von der Porten is recovering from surgery that he had yesterday. The doctor is pleased with the operation. Dean Gabriel is recovering from triple by-pass surgery. Both are in North Florida.

Bill Lawrence 

Bill Lawrence's father passed away Monday. A service was held in Jacksonville last night and the burial takes place today in Savannah.

Birthday Boy 

If you should call in to the church or email, be sure to wish Joffre a happy birthday.

Getting Ready for Sunday 

We are observing the Lord's Supper Sunday. How should you prepare? Scripture says to examine yourself. The context of that statement involves the manner in which Christians were treating one another as they came to the table. Thus, examine your relationships with fellow Christians, particulary those in the church. Do you need to repent of resentment? Of offenses you have committed? Of good you could have done, but neglected to do because of your attitude? Examine your relationship with God. In this sacrament you will be fellowshipping with God. Is there sin that needs to be confessed? Disappointment or anger with God? Confess it. You cannot hide it anyway. In the sacrament you want to come to God openly. It is then you can experience the forgiveness and healing that the sacrament is intended to convey.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Passion Previews 

If you would like a copy of the previews I quoted from, email me and I will email you back with the info.

The Passion Update 

We have procured the ad for the movie theatre. Kendra Skeene produced the layout: black with reddish tint background; includes a cross with red highlight behind it. The text reads:
WHY DID HE DIE?
www.gainesvillepassion.com.
It includes text from Isaiah 53: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
She did an excellent job with the graphics to catch the viewer's attention. The ad will run for four weeks beginning February 25. It will be seen 2-3 times before every movie on every screen. The theatre will have 20,000 viewers per week. Pray for the Spirit to guide us as a church in this endeavor and to so use our outreach to win the lost for Christ.

Thursday Answers 

I know I don't need to bother giving the answers to this test for those of you who listened to the sermon.
1. What was the sermon title? Temptation
2. What story was the example of the Hebrews committing idolatry? making the golden calf in the wilderness (Exodus 32)
3. What story was the example of their sexual immorality? adultery with Moabite women (Numbers 25)
4. What story was the example of their testing the Lord? Numbers 21 (the Lord sent snakes as a result)
5. What story was the example of their grumbling against the Lord? their response to the spies' report that it was too dangerous to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14)
6. What idolatrous practice was the Corinthians practicing? eating meals in the temples
7. What are we saying to Christ when we commit idolatry or sexual immorality? He is not good enough to meet our needs for security and happiness.
8. What does it mean to say that sin can be insidious? It seems harmless, but in reality causes great harm.
9. When confronted with temptation, we are to trust that God is faithful.
10. Why do we give in to temptation? We don't trust God to provide.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Daily Devotions 

Dave Darus is writing the devotions for Leviticus. Yes, he actually volunteered for the book! It is a tough book to read through; however, I think you will appreciate the connections Dave makes with Christ and his priestly work. If you have spare time, read the book of Hebrews when you are done with Leviticus. You will have much more insight into Hebrews after reading Leviticus and Dave's commentary.

Tuesday Test 

Our conference speaker, Dr. Kistler, said that the Puritan pastor would visit his church members and quiz them on the sermon. Well...
1. What was the sermon title?
2. What story was the example of the Hebrews committing idolatry?
3. What story was the example of their sexual immorality?
4. What story was the example of their testing the Lord?
5. What story was the example of their grumbling against the Lord?
6. What idolatrous practice was the Corinthians practicing?
7. What are we saying to Christ when we commit idolatry or sexual immorality?
8. What does it mean to say that sin can be insidious?
9. When confronted with temptation, we are to trust that God is _______.
10. Why do we give in to temptaion?

Monday, February 02, 2004

You Came Through! 

Faith Church came through and raised the $1,000 needed for "The Passion" ad campaign. Indeed, we have enough to cover incidentals and perhaps do more, such as a banner outside the church. Joffre is working on the project now. Here again is what we are doing. Chris and Kendra Skeene, Joffre, David Young, and Graham Rowan are working with me to develop an evangelistic website targeted to movie viewers of "The Passion of the Christ." Because of your generosity, we will advertise on the movie screens of the Regal Theatre which is showing the film (February 25 start). This ad will run for four weeks before every movie on every screen in the theatre. The ad will feature the website: www.gainesvillepassion.com. We hope to capitalize on the impact of the movie, offering an immediate and "safe" place for nonchurch people to check out who are moved by the film. Now the hard work of preparing the website begins. Be praying for that labor. Will keep you posted.

Jordan Money Raised! 

The money for the Jordans to pay for their daughter's funeral has been raised! Thanks to Grace Community Church which contributed generously.

Final Tally 

27 responded to my request to see how many are checking out the blogsite. I discovered that several people could not get to me by clicking the "Email Pastor Clark" line. I've since added the email address so you will know what it is. Thanks for responding.

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