FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap includes an assortment of items to help keep the Gospel in front of you throughout the week. Most are from the previous Sunday while a couple look ahead to next Sunday. As you read consider these questions. Did anything land with you during worship? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought:
Worship is a meeting at the center so that our lives are centered in God…. We worship so that we live in response to and from this center, the living God. Failure to worship consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every advertisement, every seduction, every siren. Without worship we live manipulated and manipulating lives. We move in either frightened panic or deluded lethargy as we are, in turn, alarmed by spectres and soothed by placebos. – Ed Clowney
Be not afraid for little grace. Christ sows his living seed, and he will not lose his seed; if he has the guiding of my [life] it shall not miscarry. Our spoiled works, losses, deadness, coldness, wretchedness, are the ground in which the [Lord Jesus labors]. – Samuel Rutherford
A week from today is election day. To be honest, as a pastor it is difficult to know how to speak to politics in general let alone an election season like the one we are in. Not because there isn't plenty one could say but because it's so tempting and easy to get mired down in a bog from which there appears to be no escape or hope. However, I am often reminded of Psalm 146 during times like this...
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!
A friend recently sent me this article written in 1996 by Richard John Neuhaus:"Against Christian Politics." Sometimes it's helpful to read something from a prior point in history to help gain perspective on the present. I think this article does an excellent job of doing just that especially for followers of Jesus trying to work out what it means to live a public faith especially in the arena of politics. Neuhaus, building on the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr writes, "Love compels Christians to seek justice also through politics, but we must never equate our penultimate judgments about what might serve justice with the ultimate truth that impels us to seek and serve justice in the first place."
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine forever.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Loving and gracious Father, the more we delve into the depths of our sin, the uglier and more heinous it becomes. If we promise to do better, we lie. If we try to clean ourselves up, we are frauds. If we give because we feel guilty, we are schemers. If we serve to feel good about ourselves, we are self-righteous. If we pray only to get what we want, we are self-serving. If we read your Word so you will be pleased with us, we are manipulators. The selfish motivations of even our best actions condemn us. They are un-holy, un-pleasing, and un-like the One in whose image we are created. Please forgive us and help us to look only to the life-saving, life-changing, life-giving power of your grace and mercy through Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Guest Preacher: Bill Boyd, Senior Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church
This past Sunday Bill Boyd preached for us. As many of you may have heard I got food poisoning this weekend and thankfully Bill was able to "pinch hit" for me with very little advance notice. I am very thankful for good pastor friends like Bill. If you missed it, you can listen to Bill's sermon here and chew on it with the questions below.
Sermon Text: Matthew 12:38-42
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- Why did the religious leaders ask Jesus for a sign?
- Why did Jesus refuse to give another "sign"?
- How does this passage teach you what Jesus meant in Luke 24 when he taught his disciples the whole bible is about him?
- How does the good news of the gospel shine through in the response of the Ninevites and the Queen of the South?
Confession of Faith: The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried:
he descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.