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Confession and Sacrifice: A Communion Meditation

Confession and Sacrifice: A Communion Meditation

The time was nearing the confession of sins in church. The young lady filled with pride said to herself: “I don’t need to confess anything, so I will just mumble through these words.” After the confession, the people arose, and the minister said: “Your sins are forgiven!” The young lady said to herself: “I don’t need any sins forgiven, I am just fine.” Then the Lord’s Supper came, and the minister repeating Christ’s words said: “This is my body which is given for you.” Again, the young lady said: “Given! I don’t need anything given. I take what I want.” Later that afternoon the young lady was going for a run with her wireless headset cherishing her favorite tune and undistracted enough to not see a car running through the stop sign and coming rapidly in her direction. Just then a good Samaritan grabbed her by the hand and drew her back just in time to avoid the certain tragedy. She took a second to recompose herself after realizing what happened. The good Samaritan looked at her and said: “You could have died.” “Yes,” she said. Thank you for saving my life.” At that moment the young lady realized that life is not about possessing, but receiving with a grateful heart the gift of a life-giver.

Indeed we come to this table having our sins forgiven and lives rescued in Jesus Christ. We now taste of his sacrifice. Let us come not proud, but with humble hearts for God has delivered us from sure death.

As we come to this supper, let us remember that we are a body of believers who belong to one another in a biblical sense. This belonging means we don’t assume the worst of one another but seek to esteem others better than ourselves.

“I do not want to be noticed”

“I do not want to be noticed”

One of the most interesting comments I have heard from visitors over the years came from a young man in his 20’s. After he attended our church for a couple of weeks, he came to me after church and said, “I am going to look for another church.” Sheepishly, I asked why. He said, “I am looking for a church that I can attend without being noticed.” My response, which may have shocked him a bit was: “Well, I hope you never find such a church.” Thankfully, we had the opportunity to talk about this at a later time. But when you think about that rationale, we are to be shocked about what it is communicating. The Church ought to be a place where you are noticed, not only that but where you are edified and challenged.

The Lord’s Supper invites you to be noticed this morning. It invites you to taste and touch the means of renewal in bread and wine. In fact, as you come to this table, be grateful that you are noticed and rejoice that God has set his eyes and affection upon you.

Nordic states and the Left

Nordic states and the Left

This piece from Kevin Williamson is a clear picture of how the left deceives itself in their interpretation of so-called socialist expressions:

The American Left doesn’t seem to follow very closely the Nordic states it claims to admire. Beginning in 1991, Sweden embarked on a decades-long campaign of privatization and reform that made the scholars at the Heritage Foundation envious. It sold off state-owned enterprises and interests in the liquor, pharmaceutical, and banking sectors, expanded private alternatives in health-care and retirement programs, eliminated state monopolies in pharmacies and vehicle inspections, and much more. This began under a center-right government and continued with a reduced scope under the Social Democrats, who stopped short of privatizing the Swedish postal service and state-run utilities. Denmark is a country with a long history of free trade, strong property rights, and liberal labor markets. Most of the Nordic states have no legislated minimum wage; as in the case of Switzerland, they generally rely on industry-by-industry labor agreements that vary greatly by sector. They are different in many important ways from the American model, but they are not socialist.

Love Suffers Long

Love Suffers Long

One day a child came to her mother and said, “Mom, I simply don’t love my brother.” The mother—who generally knows all things and heard the two arguing earlier–looked at her daughter and said, “Sweetheart, you are confusing your lack of love with one behavior you didn’t like from your brother. But love is long-suffering. It is patient. What you meant to say is that you are frustrated with your brother.” The daughter went away pensive and thought long and hard about what her mom said. She later came to her mother and said: “Mom, if love suffers long, how long must love suffer?”

Our Lord Jesus daily shows his longsuffering toward us. Were it not for long patience, we would never come to his table. But today, he gives us the same answer. His love is longsuffering. Thanks be to God.

CREC Statement on Sexuality

CREC Statement on Sexuality

July 16, 2018

The CREC affirms the Bible’s teaching on the creation of man and woman and the establishment of the marriage relationship as only between one man and one woman. There are two sexes, male and female. We stand against all attempts to confuse the Bible’s clear teaching in this area.

The CREC believes that Christians who struggle with various sexual temptations should receive ongoing pastoral care, including those who are tempted to engage in sexual perversions. At the same time, we believe that any teaching that combines LGBTQ identity with identity in Christ is completely unbiblical.

 We believe that encouraging Christians who face certain sexual temptations to identify as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, whether in sexually active relationships or not, is unbiblical, and further, that this teaching will have destructive effects in the long term, both for individuals who follow it and for any Christian bodies that accommodate it.

 We exhort all ecclesiastical bodies to declare the Bible’s full and clear teaching on sexual behavior, whether in desires or actions, and to encourage individuals to repent of sinful desires and sexual behavior as they turn to Christ to resist temptation.

 We encourage patient pastoral care for struggling individuals who repent of their sins and seek to be obedient to Jesus.

We exhort the broader Christian Church, and particularly Reformed Churches, to hold their churches and pastors accountable to faithful biblical doctrine and practice in all areas of sexuality.

Virgil Hurt

Presiding Minister of Council

Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC)

Handout for Lecture on the New Heavens and Earth with Dr. Steve Jeffery

Download the handout

Heaven, Pensacola – Handout – letter, cut final appendix

 

The Parental Voice

The Parental Voice

We do live in an age of luxurious education. We have well equipped teachers, well developed programs, insightful on-line training. But the danger of such luxuries is that we as parents think we are doing our job by simply exposing, dropping off, or turning on something non-harmful. We are wrong to think this way. Our children’s knowledge is to be fundamentally formed by our parental understanding of the world. We can’t replace others’ affection for our affection, others’ words for our words. Our children need to hear from us that Joseph was a faithful servant, that Ruth was a loyal bride, and that Jesus is the greater king. Others may say all these things, but we need to be the central communicators of those realities daily. We must be constantly communicating and challenging their loves and habits. In the end of the day, it’s our voices speaking truth in love they need to hear most.

Mr. Trump, give Christians what they want!

Mr. Trump, give Christians what they want!

Party loyalists who overlook the president’s moral failures, his lack of political coherence on certain affairs, his discombobulated tweets and his incessant hunger for uproars need to check their principles.
 
The Christian does not think as a party-aficionado first, he thinks as a biblical image-bearer. He needs to see evil and wrong and opine against such deeds whether it fits our narrative or not. I believe any conservative who understands political history and theory is capable of seeing many faults in our current president. In fact, the wise conserver(tive) of truth see untruths whether from the lips of a Republican or a Democrat.
 
At the same time, it is clear to assume that the president’s unorthodox ways have shaken liberalism’s tree leaving it partly naked. I think it is right and good for liberalism’s anti-christian agenda to be exposed for what it is. It is like the seat of the scornful full of deceit and lies. Among the many lies articulated is the lie that life in the womb is disposable; a product of a male and female misfortune that now must suffer a painful death. This devilish lie needs to be revealed as a sacrament of paganism.
 
At this stage of history, we need to see that our current president is at a position to pick someone to the Supreme Court of this country that will likely shape moral, legal policies for a generation. Let’s refuse to play this neutrality game where we simply ask for a conservative judge (see O’Connor). Conservative presidents of the past have nominated judges who ended up swallowing the false premise of neutrality and have made disastrous decisions. My prayer is that Trump will honor the pro-life cause nominating someone who will uphold the fundamental principle of life; for, without life, the concepts of liberty and justice are mute.
 
Personal Salvation as the First of All

Personal Salvation as the First of All

What the modern evangelical has done is to place all his efforts in the “I am going to heaven” basket while forgetting the “on earth as it is in heaven” basket. The result of this is the catastrophic overemphasis on one dimension of salvation and an underemphasis on the bigger salvific plan God has for the world.

The Bible speaks of the importance of personal salvation, but not as the end all, but the first of all. In other words, personal salvation means immediate incorporation into the work of God in the world. God’s earth is to imitate the quality of life in heaven. This heavenly life cannot be fulfilled unless we look into the entire premise of salvation which is to place a man into a new war-zone. Before he fought for a serpent-king, but now he fights for a savior-king. And this king is eager to see this world made into the glory of the next. Heaven, then, is a glorious resting place. The new heavens and earth is our eternal dwelling place. Our work now is to work as redeemed humanity for that reality in every area of our lives.

The Danger of High Standards

The Danger of High Standards

Demanding high standards for our children is a noble thing. Demanding high standards while frustrating them in the process is foolish. In other words, our high standards need to be loving standards. We need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins lest we sin attempting to love.
In parenting, we need a healthy dose of humility. This is hard in an age when grades matter more than godliness; external obedience more than internal motivation. We cannot, however, allow our high standards to usurp the proper place for training in love. We need an end result where our children desire the good, true, and beautiful because they are infinitely better than the alternatives. It is possible that in our high standards we lose the purpose of the law: to direct our children to the God of the law.