FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
I will charge my soul to believe and wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it. – Samuel Rutherford
When I am tempted and feel the power of sin and its tug on my affections, the gospel gives me something to say: 'Christ bled and died for this sin—I will therefore have nothing to do with it. I am now united to Christ by the indwelling of the Spirit—how can I drag him into my sin? – Sinclair Ferguson
Check this out for a thoughtful reflection on the tendency for adults towhy we shouldn't ask children what they want to do when they grow up.
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Genesis 32
Praise to the Lord - Adoration
Jesus, Cast a Look on Me - Confession
Before the Throne of God Above - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Abide with Me - Response
My Helper is Forever Near - Communion
Doxology Old 100th
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.
This week check out The Way of Exile.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
God Of My Life To Thee I Call
God of my life to Thee I call;
Afflicted at Thy feet I fall;
When the great water floods prevail,
Leave not my trembling heart to fail.
Poor thou I am, despised, forgot,
Yet God, my God forgets me not;
And he is safe, and must succeed,
For whom, the Lord is sure to plead.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, we humbly confess our need of your pardoning grace. We shelter arrogance and pride in our hearts, believing that our efforts will secure what only you can give us. We are quick to judge and grumble when our plans, pleasures, and preferences are threatened. We are slow to offer mercy, both inwardly and outwardly, towards those you have placed in our lives and called us to love. Forgive our self-righteousness and our self-absorption. Fix our eyes on our savior, Jesus Christ, that we may become enraptured with Him, for it’s in his name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Genesis 31
The human drama
The divine drama
The Heart of the Message
Chapter 31 is the last act in the drama between Jacob and Laban which began back in chapter 29. It has been 20 years since Jacob left home, a season marked by disappointment and delay. And yet running throughout the story is God’s commitment to fulfill his word in Jacob’s life (28:13-15; 31:3,5,7,9,12,13,24). Therefore, chapter 31 highlights the intermingling of the human drama and the divine drama. The human drama is marked by deception, favoritism, competition, injustice and scheming. The divine drama is marked by God’s continued faithfulness to Jacob in, through or against the human drama and the decisions and actions of any given human character. At no point does the narrator vindicate or justify or explain away the actions of Jacob, Laban, Rachel, or Leah. Instead we are left with the discomfort of flawed human beings experiencing the unmerited grace and faithfulness of God. In fact, the end of the Jacob-Laban narrative leaves much to be desired. After all they’ve been through, the best they can come up with is essentially a covenant of separation (31:43-55). In other words, they agree to leave each other alone and go their separate ways never to bother each other again. Their covenant of separation stands in stark contrast to God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15, which serves as THE paradigm for God’s relationship with his people throughout all of scripture. God’s covenant is not a covenant of separation but of blessing at infinite cost to himself. In other words, the story of scripture is how the divine drama and the human drama come together ultimately in Jesus Christ. In Jesus we see God enter into the human drama in order to reconcile and redeem by getting right what we get wrong and enduring the consequences we deserve. While God is clearly at work throughout the Jacob-Laban story, it cries out for so much more! It cries out for the good news of Jesus.
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
How would you describe the human drama in this story…in your life?
How would you describe the divine drama in this story…in your life?
What’s your reaction to the conclusion of the Jacob-Laban story (v. 43-55)?
How can the story of Jesus become a permanent reminder to you that God is committed to fulfilling his word in your life? (re: Rom. 5:10 & 8:38-39) How do you wish this truth would change your week this week? Ask God to do it!
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648
Q. 14: What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.