On Luther: Celebrating 500 Years of Freedom

October 26, 2017 2:38 pm

Every week I preach justification by faith to my people because every week they forget it. – Martin Luther Whether or not Luther actually nailed his 95 Theses to the Church Door at Wittenberg is a disputable matter. It’s certainly good theater even if it didn’t actually occur. I do know he sent them by post to his archbishop, along with a cover letter and an essay on indulgences, all dated October 31, 1517. That’s why the date is commonly held to be the start of the Reformations. I’m using the plural form intentionally for the simple reason that it... Read this post

Loving the Church in an Age of Disdain

October 23, 2017 11:36 am

I was born on a Sunday morning at 8:30, just in time for Sunday School. I’ve rarely missed since. I love the Church; I even love going to church. I know it’s a professional requirement, but I loved going before I had to go. I love the people, the hymns and songs, and the confessions; I love the sermons, the rhythm of the liturgy, the cadence of the church year moving from Advent to Pentecost; heck, I even love the announcements. Alas, my passion is a shrinking commodity in the US, even among Christians. A recent article in Mother Jones... Read this post

Beer on the Grounds

September 28, 2017 5:01 pm

So if you wanted to ask me why a church would include a Beer Truck at a Party, this is how I’d respond. The goal of Riverfest is to provide a great experience for our members, neighbors, and friends, whether Christian or otherwise. Many of our vendors are probably Christians though some may not be. One of the Christian vendors is the Casual Pint, owned by C3 members Ken and Kayla Franse. While it is not characteristic of most of the Christian world to view alcohol in a suspicious or sinful manner, we know that certain elements in the Southern... Read this post

The Spirit and the Scriptures: Message Notes for September 17, 2017

September 25, 2017 12:22 pm

The Spirit and the Scriptures John 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15; 2 Timothy 3:14-16; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Peter 1:16-21 September 17, 2017 Mark Twain: It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts I do understand. At least Mark Twain knew the Bible. That’s more than can be said for most people today, even people who claim to follow Jesus. Recent findings from the Pew Research Foundation indicate that while Americans revere the Bible that don’t tend to read it. In a related finding, it is equally clear that a shrinking number of people regard... Read this post

The Spirit and the Body: Your Church Isn’t Good Enough for Me – Message Notes for September 24, 2017

September 25, 2017 12:20 pm

For the Common Good: The Spirit and the Body 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-14 September 24, 2017 Drinking of the Spirit and Baptized with the Spirit go back to the words of Jesus: ‘If you’re thirsty, come to me!, he cried; ‘you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’, he told his followers. The Spirit was always central to the ministry of Jesus. The Spirit remains so. It is only by the Spirit that we even have contact with Jesus. “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.’ Yet the grace given... Read this post

A Couple Days with Bethel

September 22, 2017 9:52 pm

  A lot of people I know have spoken about the Bethel movement out of Redding, California. It’s a charismatic/pentecostal group but also highly controversial; some say it’s a cult. It’s obviously been a help to many people, but it’s also true that Bethel’s ways have harmed others. Their music is widely sung among those who benefit from and enjoy current worship music, and I like some of their songs as well. The harm done has to be noted too, but I do that with sympathy not only for the wounded but for the people in Bethel who are serving... Read this post

Power and Presence: Sermon Notes for September 3, 2017

September 12, 2017 11:21 am

Filled with the Spirit Acts 2:4; 4:31; 6:2-3; Ephesians 5:18-21 September 3, 2017 Those filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were filled again some weeks later. ‘Filled with the Spirit’ is not a one-time event we look back on but a continuous way of living which we receive. What being filled with the Spirit isn’t: – Focus on signs: No! Signs point beyond themselves to Scripture and to salvation in Christ the Savior – Mind turned off? – Lose control of body, emotions, and speech? – No, that’s drunkenness, the exact opposite of being filled with the Spirit!... Read this post

Power and Presence: Sermon Notes for September 10, 2017

September 12, 2017 11:16 am

Sealed with the Spirit: the Presence of the Future Ephesians 1:13-14 September 10, 2017 Sermon series on the Spirit. “I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn’t find it out for many months” ― A.W. Tozer, Tozer Pulpit Ephesians 1 as the anthem of praise to the Triune God: The Father Arranges The Son Accomplishes The Spirit Applies The presence of the Spirit in our lives is God’s living, breathing testimony to the redemption that is ours in Jesus. The Spirit with, in,... Read this post

Dark, Deadly, Demonic & Orthodox

September 10, 2017 12:33 pm

Consider the truthfulness and orthodoxy of the following statements and actions: “I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” – Mark 1 “He ran up and bowed down before Jesus…” – Mark 5 “She kept on shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God who proclaim to you the way of salvation.'” – Acts 16 Acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God: excellent. Bowing down before Jesus as the Son of God: excellent. Discerning that Paul and Silas are sent by God with his message: excellent. And in each case, demonic. Every word and action above... Read this post

The Purpose of Pentecost: Message Notes for August 27, 2017

September 1, 2017 2:22 am

The Purpose of Pentecost Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-8,12 August 27, 2017 Eclipse: Wonder, Emotion, Perspective From the Guardian: Dennis Cassia, a 65-year-old retired firefighter and high school science teacher who now lives in Monroe, Connecticut, was one of them. Cassia caught his first eclipse in high school and has traveled to Africa and the Caribbean to see others throughout his life. “It was so spectacular that I kind of got the bug,” said Cassia. “You find out, during a total eclipse, just how in tune with nature you are,” he says. “Your body tells you something isn’t right. It looks like... Read this post