Easter Sermon Notes

April 16, 2017 11:05 am

Amazed Easter 2017 The Lord be with you. I love all the decorations and feasting, all the hallmarks of joy we rightly share today. Easter is beautiful. But the truth is that if we wanted to be really Biblical and recreate the ambiance of the first Easter, we’d have to decorate with tombstones and sepulchers. The ladies in the passage, after all, were on their way to a cemetery. In the dark. Kind of creepy, really. And they were anxious. They were on the way to anoint the body of their dead teacher according to their burial customs – things... Read this post

John Updike: Make No Mistake

April 16, 2017 11:00 am

Make no mistake: if he rose at all It was as His body; If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit, The amino acids rekindle, The Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, Each soft spring recurrent; It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the Eleven apostles; It was as His flesh; ours. The same hinged thumbs and toes The same valved heart That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered Out of enduring Might New strength to enclose. Let us not mock God with metaphor, Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence, Making of the... Read this post

What Does it Mean? Aslan Explains the Deeper Magic

April 16, 2017 10:58 am

The rising of the sun had made everything look so different – all colours and shadows were changed that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan… “Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it magic?” “Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it... Read this post

He Descended Into Hell – An Explanation from Joel Miller

April 16, 2017 10:56 am

We read in the Apostle’s Creed that Jesus “descended into hell.” Some Christians are unsure about this idea today. A couple years back Matt Chandler preached a popular sermon series on the Creed. “Even to this day,” he said, “there are large swaths of evangelicals who read the creed but leave out ‘descended into hell’ because we don’t believe He actually went to the place of hell and did that. Right? The Bible certainly doesn’t teach that.” The explanation I heard as a teen said the line referred to Christ’s agony on the cross. That’s the angle Reformed Protestants have... Read this post

He Descended Into Hell

April 15, 2017 1:07 pm

If you find yourself in hell today – and perhaps it’s even a hell of your own making – let me remind you of Holy Saturday and the words of the Apostle’s Creed: “And he descended into hell.” If you’re in hell today, know Christ has gone before you and conquered the most terrible and fearful and darkest of realms. He rose again. He will yet raise you. And as you make this journey, even through hell, he is with you. “If I make my bed in hell, you are there” (Psalm 139). Do not fear. Do not despair. We... Read this post

Rest You Well – A Poem for Holy Saturday, by NT Wright

April 15, 2017 12:42 pm

On the seventh day God rested in the darkness of the tomb; Having finished on the sixth day all his work of joy and doom. Now the Word had fallen silent, and the water had run dry, The bread had all been scattered, and the light had left the sky. The flock had lost its shepherd, and the seed was sadly sown, The courtiers had betrayed their king, and nailed him to his throne. O Sabbath rest by Calvary, O calm of tomb below, Where the grave-clothes and the spices cradle him we do not know! Rest you well, beloved... Read this post

Good Friday Homily

April 15, 2017 2:49 am

This service is very unusual, isn’t it? It’s uncomfortable. We are used to walking into this room with handshakes, hugs, high fives, and even a holy kiss or two. But tonight we gather in silence and in darkness. Why? A Question at Passover: Why is this night different than all other nights? We could ask this question of tonight’s gathering too. We could wonder why the darkness, why the silence, why the somber tone, and why all the focus on the cross? We need this focus desperately. Why? We forget how great our need is. We forget how great our... Read this post

Prayer Guide for Lent, Week 2

March 13, 2017 11:09 am

Hunger “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have beheld you…” – Psalm 63:1 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; they shall be filled” – Matthew 5 Given that one of my life heroes is Julia Child it will come as no surprise that preparing and serving exquisite food for friends is a singular delight. So is eating that food! Imagine spending several hours preparing a menu, shopping for the... Read this post

Prayer Guide for First Week of Lent

March 5, 2017 1:10 pm

C3 Lenten Prayer Guide First Week of Lent Dependence “Bow down thine ear O Lord and hear me, for I am poor and needy.” – Psalm 86:1 “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 5 “No, I’ve got this.” I will never forget those words. They were said by a man I visited in a hospital many years ago. He was about to endure open-heart surgery, and this was at a time when the outcome of such operations was far less certain – and far more painful – than it is today.... Read this post

Building with Burned Stones – Sermon Notes for March 5, 2017

March 4, 2017 1:16 pm

Building with Burned Stones Nehemiah 4:1-3 March 5, 2017 Background and Review Nehemiah revealing Jesus: coming to us in our disaster to restore and revive us (Leaving the throne room, coming to our ruins, rising after three days to build). There is a Jesus-authored building project – the Church (Matthew 16). Peter tells us that you and I are ‘living stones being built together…’ (1 Peter 2) Does this surrounded by his enemies Restoration and Revival Renewed life and faith together with mending and renewal of service We are aware of the rising numbers who’ve given up on the Church.... Read this post