Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prayer for the New Year

O Lord, Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service, to Thy glory. Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from Thee, but may rely on Thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth Thy praise; testify Thy love, advance Thy kingdom. I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with Thee, O Father as my harbour, Thee, O Son, at my helm, Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails. Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to Thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free. Give me They grace to sanctify me, Thy comforts to cheer, Thy wisdom to teach, Thy right hand to guide, Thy counsel to instruct, Thy law to judge, Thy presence to stabilize. May Thy fear by my awe, Thy triumphs my joy. From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (p. 112)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

True Preaching

I like to give credit where it is due and I am a bit lazy and love to post what others have found and written on their blogs. Such is the case with Thabiti Anyabwile at his blog Pure Church. He has a wonderful post dated today (12/30) from D. A. Carson about preaching. Great stuff! Tolle Lege.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Prodigal God

I just finished reading this new book by Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian church in Manhattan. It is about Jesus' parable known as The Prodigal Son. Like Keller, I heard the late Edmund P. Clowney deliver a sermon titled the Parable of the Father's Welcome. Keller takes his cue from that sermon. You can read a full review of the book at Tim Challies website. Enjoy!

From Sir Winston S.Churchill

I'm a big Churchill fan and I came across this quotation in my reading of Richard Langworth's Churchill by Himself: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

Would that our incoming President and Congress understand this.

Friday, December 26, 2008

For Gwen

Our good friend Gwen H. passed away @ 1:00 am (MST) today. She is now cancer free and at home in the arms of her faithful savior Jesus Christ. She was raised on the Heidelberg Catechism. It is a great comfort to us today.

Question 1. What is your only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve Service

Here is the abbreviated Order of Service for Christmas Eve: Hymns are from the New Trinity Hymnal


What Child Is This, Johnson

I Wonder as I Wander, Barr

Advent Wreath

Call to Worship – “Let All Mortal Flesh”

Gathering Hymn – Once in Royal David’s City


Reading 1 – The First Promise, Genesis 3:1-15

Anthem – Sussex Carol

Reading 2 – The Prophets Foretell, Isaiah 7:10-14; 9:2, 6-7

Solo – For Behold (Recitative)

The People that Walked in Darkness (Air), from Handel’s Messiah

Reading 3 - Micah 5:2-5

Hymn #201, O Little Town of Bethlehem

Reading 4 – The Announcement to Mary, Luke 1:26-38

Anthem – He Is Born, The Divine Christ Child

Christmas Offering

Offertory, There’s A Song in the Air

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Reading 5 – Magnificat, Luke 1:46-56

Hymn #204, Away in a Manger

Reading 6 – Time and Place, Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-7

Hymn #213, What Child Is This?

Reading 7 – Luke 2:8-16

Anthem – Gloria in Excelsis

Reading 8 – Wise Men Seek Him, Matthew 2:1-11

Hymn - #195 Joy to the World

Reading 9 – The Incarnation, John 1:1-14

Anthem – And the Word Became Flesh

Candle Lighting

Hymn – #200 Silent Night


Postlude Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Hobby

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Eve

We celebrate Christmas Eve at Covenant Presbyterian with a Service of Lessons and Carols. Here is our explanation of the service:

A Festival of

Nine Lessons and Carols

This service, in its present form of nine lessons from Scripture with carols and anthems interspersed, goes back in history to late 19th century England. Lessons and Carols had its origin at Truro Cathedral (England) on Christmas Eve, 1880. The present format was introduced at Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, England in 1918. The BBC broadcast of the service each year helped popularize the service, and it was quickly duplicated by cathedrals and churches throughout the world. The Scripture lessons were chosen to illustrate the story of redemption, beginning in the Old Testament and ending in the New Testament. Originally, the readers formed a sequence, from the rank of chorister to Bishop. The carols were sung by the all male choir.

We have chosen to make some modifications to that format, while still following the basic progression. The heart of the service continues this day – that is, the retelling of the Christian’s story of faith from the fall of Adam to the coming of the Word Incarnate. This is a service of celebration and worship. The main theme is the development of God’s redemptive purpose through the words of the Bible. This is a corporate act of the Christian Community as we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Savior. We are summoned by the words of the carol:

“Come and worship, Come and worship

Worship Christ the newborn King.”

We welcome you to this service as we celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior.

“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”

I'll post a modified order of service tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Burn, baby burn!

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said during the Second Continental Congress: "We must all hang together or we will certainly hang separately." Our brother and sisters in Christ in Wasilla Alaska have suffered the burning of their building while folks were inside. Why? Perhaps it was because Governor Palin is a member; perhaps because of their stand for truth against the sodomite lobby; perhaps just because there are sinners who hate God. In any event it certainly was a 'hate' crime, but all sin against God is a hate crime. The gospel reminds us that God has dealt with our hatred at the cross. In that wonderful transaction our sin was transferred to Jesus Christ and his righteousness is our through faith in him. God's justice is satisfied and we are redeemed.

You may wish to help the church rebuild, here is the address: Wasilla Bible Church 1651 W. Nicola Avenue Wasilla, Alaska 99654

Sunday, December 14, 2008

As One With Authority

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, gave a stellar defense of preaching at the December 12, 2008 commencement at the seminary. You may listen to it here. As a preacher I found his address stimulating and reassuring. How about you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sin & Greed

The exceeding sinfulness of the human heart never ceases to amaze me. I know the depths of my own sinfulness and so in many respects nothing surprises me. Yet the case of Illinois Governor Blagojevich is breathtaking in its scope. It does lead me to question the integrity of and connection with the President-elect. Couple that with the death at WalMart on Black Friday caused by a greed stampede. But then, our sin sent the Savior to the cross; our sin of greed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remember Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, leading to the entrance of the Untied States in World War II. For several years I had the privilege of being part of a memorial service on the Sunday nearest December 7th. We held services on Ford Island and then laid a wreath on the Arizona. I was particularly struck by the fact that the Chaplain on the Arizona, I believe his name was Kirkpatrick, was among those entombed in the wreckage. Let us pray that God in his great mercy will keep us from any more Pearl Harbors or September 11s

New Denomination

On Wednesday December 3, 2008 the birth of the Anglican Church in North America was announced in Wheaton, IL. This comes about as a direct result of the un-Biblical theology of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. in consecrating as Bishop of New Hampshire an openly homosexual man. This is, as several newspapers rightly put it, a theological issue, and this will be a theological, not geographical, province. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh was elected as the first Archbishop. We wish them well and pray God's blessing on their theological fidelity to God's word.