October 31st is Reformation Day. On the thirty-first day of October, 1517, at twelve o’clock Martin Luther nailed to the doors of the castle-church at Wittenberg, ninety-five Latin Theses. The Theses of Luther reverberated the themes of the Reformation.
Martin Luther had experienced salvation by faith not works.
Luther received the answer to life’s most important question. How can a man be just with God? Years earlier, when Luther went to Rome, he ascended on bended knees the twenty-eight steps of the famous Scala Santa (said to have been transported from the Judgment Hall of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem), thinking he might secure the indulgence attached to this religious performance, but at every step the word of the Scripture sounded in his ear: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).
Luther said, “But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood these words – The just shall live by faith; The just shall live by faith! – then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God!”
Dear Church Family,
With great expectation, I want to urge your attendance on Sunday, October 2 at 10:15 A.M. for the observance of the . I trust that everyone will come and remember the precious blood of the Lord Jesus through this ordinance. Our supreme aim is to honor Jesus Christ.
I pray that the observance of the Lord’s Table will be a highlight of our Christian experience this year. Please come early and be on time from 10:00 – 10:15 A.M. for a time of prayer and reflection. The service will be observed with some special additions that you will not want to miss. All the children who have received Christ and been baptized will want to be in this service in the Sanctuary with family members.
Now, please spiritually prepare your heart. Spend much time in prayer. The preparation materials available next Sunday contain some helpful Bible verses to assist you as well as a section to teach the children. Bring the whole family to church on that Sunday.
Consider these Scriptures:
Lk. 22:15 [MSG]. And said, "You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering.
1 Cor. 11:28 [NIV]. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
May God bless you as you prepare to come to the Lord’s Table.
Paul T. Murphy, Pastor
P.S. In accordance with an ancient tradition, when we depart the service an offering for the poor and needy will be received. This will go to our World Hunger Fund.
Setting Goals for the Future.
A spiritual goal might be defined as an aim, objective, or purpose toward which God directs a believer to strive.
2 Cor. 5:9 [NCV]. Our only goal is to please God whether we live here or there.
Without goals, people tend to drift.
Job 6:11 [NLT]. But I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have a goal that encourages me to carry on.
A spiritual goal does not mean visioning, dream-ing, or engineering any design apart from the Lord.
Prov. 16:9 [GNB]. You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.
A spiritual goal might be interrupted and reshaped by God at any time.
Prov. 16:1 [GNB]. We may make our plans, but God has the last word.
Jesus walked without deterrence toward the cross God determined for Him.
Eph. 1:10 [NCV]. His goal was to carry out his plan, when the right time came, that all things in heaven and on earth would be joined together in Christ as the head.
Paul lived the Christian life with the goal constantly in mind.
Phil. 3:14 [Weymouths]. With my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus.
Setting Goals for this Summer. This summer we will organize our efforts around the theme SUMMER SURGE. We hope to surge not slump in Sunday School, Stewardship, Singing, Sharing, and Serving. I will bring a special series of studies around the disciplines of the Christian life, which we will call Summer Camp.
I look forward to a great day this Sunday!
Mt. 26:28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
“There ought to be such a preparation for any meeting with God, in any of His ordinances.”
“The bride decks herself with her garments for the bridegroom. We are to do so for the meeting with Christ in this ordinance, — to stir up all the graces God hath bestowed upon us, that we may be decked for
Christ.” (John Owen)
Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper the night of the Passover feast (Ex. 12:1-28). For Christians this new ordinance symbolizes the atoning blood and the applied blood of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7). In the Lord’s Supper believers symbolically remember the body of Christ (Acts 2:46) and remember the blood of Christ.
Only baptized believers properly participate in this ordinance. A believer partakes of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner (1 Cor. 11:27) by discerning the great sacrifice of the Lord’s body (Heb. 10:29) and the precious blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19). In preparation for the
Lord’s Supper, a believer should ask “Lord, is it I?” Through this self-judgment and the confession of known sin, a Christian makes spiritual preparation to take the Lord’s Supper.
“And on the Lord’s own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. And let no man having his dispute with his fellow join your assembly until they have been reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled; for this sacrifice it is that was spoken of by the
Lord:” (The Teaching of the Apostles, 14; c.a. A.D. 125)
Let us break bread together on our knees, (on our knees)
Let us break bread together on our knees. (on our knees)
Let us drink the cup together on our knees, (on our knees)
Let us drink the cup together on our knees. (on our knees)
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.
W. H. Griffith Thomas once wrote a concise volume entitled Christianity Is Christ. Thomas wrote, “CHRISTIANITY is the only religion in the world which rests on the Person of its Founder. Christianity is so inextricably bound up with Christ that our view of the Person of Christ involves and determines our view of Christianity. Does it not inevitably suggest that the connection between Christianity and Christ is so close as to be inseparable? Christianity is nothing less and can be nothing more than relationship to Christ.”
To increase as the body of Christ, a church must have love (Jn. 13:35). A church can overcome any barrier if love permeates the
fellowship (Acts 2:44).
Paul described a kind of love called agape. Jesus demonstrated this kind of love by His sacrificial death at Calvary (Jn. 3:16).
This kind of love exists in a Christian home when a husband cherishes the wife (Eph. 5:25). This kind of love also exists in
the Church when the believers sacrifice for one another (Jn. 15:13). Spiritual gifts alone will not build the church – love builds
the church (1 Cor. 8:1).
In 1890 Henry Drummond wrote the famous book on 1 Corinthians 13 entitled The Greatest Thing in the World.
A church which practices the love pictured in 1 Corinthians 13 will become the greatest church in the world.
Service to God is empty without love. A church will not be evangelistic and missionary without love. Men extracted and buried David Livingstone’s heart in Africa because of Livingstone’s love for that land.
Love endures forever because God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). John Wesley said, “And when you are asking others, ‘Have you received this or that blessing:’ – if you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong. . .
Settle it in your heart, that. . . you are to aim at nothing more, but more of that love described in the thirteenth of Corinthians.”
In the mid 1950s polio struck my older brother. He spent many days at the Children's Hospital in Birmingham. During those long hospital stays, he acquired several silver dollars as gifts. I kept one of the silver dollars that he shared with me.
At the Christmas season about the age of eight, I heard the genuine appeals from the pulpit for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions. This touched my heart. I took one of the envelopes for the mission offering and gave my only money–the one silver dollar. I gave that offering with a pure heart.
Thirty years later as a pastor, God placed that simple story of giving in a sermon of mine at Christmas time. I appealed to the people to give from the heart to this same offering for foreign missions. That week I received this letter.
December 5, 1993
I was deeply touched when you related your story to us concerning the silver dollar you gave to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering when you were a boy. I too had a similar experience when I was in high school. Therefore, I could relate very well to your experience. I believe the Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions is a great and wonderful Christian initiative to reach the lost in foreign lands, and I have always supported it with my prayers and offerings.
Over the years I have collected and traded coins as a hobby. I found this silver dollar hidden back in one of my dresser drawers. I remembered your story from last Sunday, and I decided that it would be nice to replace the silver dollar you gave to the Lottie Moon Offering. Now, if you decide to contribute this one to Lottie Moon, make sure you convert it in today's currency because they are now worth twenty times the one you donated. However, I would like for you to keep this one and possibly use it as an example in one of your sermons.
Two years later, I did repeat this story in another Christmas sermon for missions. Now, I added the truth of Luke 6:38 to the story. Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Little did I expect to receive this letter.
Dear Bro. Paul,
I listened with interest when you read the letter the other day. It reminded me of something I had really forgotten about. In fact, when I went to look for these dollars, I couldn't find them in the first few places I looked.
Several years ago, the Treasury issued some silver dollars with one percent silver. I purchased as many as I could and from time to time or special situations, I would give one away. When I got down to the last ten, I decided to horde and keep them. But, now I would like to give one to you.
This is in no way meant to replace the special gift and thought or to take from the other kind person. But, as we all know sometimes the Lord pays back two fold for our generosity.
The next year I hesitated to update the story lest someone think I only wanted another silver dollar! Yet, I did want the church to know the truth of Philippians 4:19. Paul said, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." So I brought the two coins to church and told the story to the children.
A year later with another mission trip just completed, I preached the Christmas sermon on missions with no reference to the offering or the silver dollars. God surprised me. God touched a lady to come and place a third silver dollar in my hand. She had a passion for missions in her heart and explained the touching reason why. God does call some to go, but all can give. She asked me to write this story and tell it again.
God will multiply a sacrificial gift. At Christmas, we remember that God gave His Son, the only Son of His love. Maybe, God will touch another heart to give this Christmas that someone in the world may know Jesus. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."