James S. Stewart taught Preaching at Edinburg University in Edinburg, Scotland and often lectured at Yale Divinity School, here in America. Stewart was one of the best known preachers of the 20th century. He was born in 1896. In 1980, when he was 84 years old, I wrote him to thank him for a book that he wrote about the life and theology of St. Paul, entitled, “A Man in Christ”, more than 20 years before. Much to my surprise, Stewart wrote me back, saying that my letter, coming in as it did, when he was more than a decade deep in retirement, was like “a bright light in the gloaming to a weary traveler nearing home.” I treasured those words, and for the next 38 years, I kept that letter on display in my study. I treasure something Stewart said in one of his Yale Lectures on Preaching even more. In his lecture, “A Faith to Proclaim,” Stewart wrote:
The central business of preaching today is to tell men and women (and boys and girls) that the same power that took Jesus Christ out of the grave is available to them right now, not just in the hour of death, but in the midst of life.
This morning I am continuing a short series of sermons on the Word of God. In the Bible the Word of God appears in three forms: 1) The Word of God Spoken, 2) The Word of God Written, and 3) The Word of God Incarnate or Made Flesh in Jesus Christ.
Last week, we talked about the Word of God, spoken. We saw that when God wanted to Speak to his people, he spoke through one of his prophets. More than 109 times in the Hebrew Bible we read, “The word of the Lord came to” one of God’s prophets, male and female. Thus God spoke to Isaiah saying, “I have put my words in your mouth.” And God spoke to Jeremiah saying, “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you will be as my mouth.” Continue reading
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We have a very excited Lent beginning with Communion in the Sanctuary between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Ash Wednesday, and ending with Holy Week and Easter.
Shrove Tuesday March 5th
Pastor’s Tea from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Downstairs Library. Ladies only. Arrive 15 minutes early to greet your friends., and expect the tea to be over precisely at 3:00 p.m. Contact the pastor if you want to attend and have not been contacted. Pastor’s Email: email@example.com
Wednesday March 6th
Drop by the church sanctuary from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. The pastor will be serving the Holy Communion to individuals and small groups every 15 minutes. You are invited to read scripture, pray and meditate until you are ready to receive the Lord’s Supper.
Most of our Lenten Programing will take place on Sunday night at 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. We will gather at 6:30 p.m. for fellowship and refreshments. Special programing will follow at 7:00 p.m., and we will be out by 8:00 p.m.
The Word of God Spoken
This morning I am beginning a short series of sermons on the Word of God. In the Bible the Word of God appears in three forms: 1) The Word of God Spoken, 2) The Word of God Written, and 3) The Word of God Incarnate in Jesus Christ. Today, I am going to talk to you about the Word of God, spoken.
109 times in the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament we read that “the word of the LORD came to” one of God’s prophets.
God uses a prophet to make God’s Self heard. Thus God spoke to the prophet Isaiah saying, “I have put my words in your mouth.” (Isaiah 51) And God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah saying, “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” (Jeremiah 15)
The prophet of God speaks the Word of God to the people of God in times of trial or crisis. Thus, in the days of Ahab the king, the prophet Elijah spoke to the people of Israel when they were flirting with the worship of Baal saying: Continue reading
Last week I told you that Jesus was a life long learner. In Luke 2:11 we read that, as a boy he grew in wisdom and knowledge, and in favor with God and human kind. And in Hebrews 2:9, we read that as an adult, by the grace of God, he tasted death for everyone. If I may borrow a phrase from Whittier, Jesus had “…knowledge never learned of schools.”
Every believer ought to be a life-long learner. John Calvin said that Christian maturity is based upon our maintaining a kind of perpetual adolescence. No matter how old we are, we have got to be ready to learn the lessons that God still wants to teach us, and ready to take-on the tasks that God still sets before. This is true for the youngest and oldest among us. We may retire from a life of labor, but as Christians we never retire. In Revelation 2:10 we read that it is those who are “faithful unto death” that receive “the crown of life.”
This morning, I want to point out that the author of Psalm 71 was a life long leaner. The psalmist reverses the logical flow of life, but he beautifully describes what it means to be a child of the covenant. In verse 5 he writes, “O Lord, you are my hope and my trust from my youth.” Remember the words, “hope” and “trust.” We will come back to them. Then in verse 6 he writes, “Upon you I have leaned from my birth.” Continue reading