Monday, June 29, 2020

Services Recapped for June 28 2020

Well, another week, another batch of services put together, done well by our worship team, and then…you get me preaching. Since I am not a manuscript guy, the sermons do differ from one service to the next.

Here is what you’ll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You’ll also find the embedded YouTube videos of each sermon.

If you’d like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here:  for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: (or )

The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here:

Sermons are stockpiled here:

This week I actually liked the second service sermon better, so you get the YouTube embed first.

Here’s the audio: (podcast subscription is here)

First Service from Facebook:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Service Recap for June 21

Well, another week begins. Here we are, working through the COVID and the consequences of it for churches. There are a few things present here:

1. The Facebook-based embedded video of the whole service is right here (there’s a weird hiccup at the end because the Internet at church got overwhelmed and cut out, then it just picked back up instantly):

2. Because the YouTube systems are behind in processing free videos (and we want to stick with FREE videos), this week’s service isn’t here yet, but you can check the channel at this link: and look for it. It will be titled… Sunday morning Worship, June 21.

(Maybe it’s here:

3. Here is the audio and slide combination on Faithlife:

4. Wednesday night is here:

A few other notes:

Every morning we do The Morning Reflection from our house. It’s sometimes long, sometimes short, but a prayer, a thought or two, and a reading from the Psalms as we start the day. It’s on FB on the church page and Ann and I share it (after the fact) on ours.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Services Recapped from June 7

Well, we actually had people physically present in the building for church services for the first time since March 15. It was…strange and nice and familiar and odd all at once. It’s amazing how quickly you can form a habit.
Here are the services. First embed on the AM service is to Facebook but should work for anyone, but in case it doesn’t, we’re going to start streaming the second service onto YouTube, so that embed follows. For the incredibly bored, watch both services and compare/contrast the sermons :) I would recommend the music on the YouTube morning, because the guitar intro on the first song can be heard better.

Evening Service, Live from the Living Room:

Wednesday Night:

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Overflow with Love

We’re due for the next TTWB segment, but I wanted to hit 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 briefly and comment on the American situation.

First, the comment: it’s a mess out there. First, you have the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. (I’d use “murder” but that is a technical, legal term and it is possible that one of my three readers could be in a jury pool if the folks who pulled the trigger ever go to trial. I don’t want to contaminate the pool.) Then you have ham-fisted responses to these killings by the local authorities, essentially trying to paper over these misuses of power. Now you have protests, some of which were handled appropriately and others were mangled in the government response (see the video of authorities in Minnesota shooting tear gas or something at people ON THEIR OWN FRONT PORCH, for starters), and questions. Lots of questions.

With that in mind, believers, let’s take a look at 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.

Verse 11 is Paul’s prayer that God would bring him back to the Thessalonians. That’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? There is a good example to be found here: we ought to love the people we have served God with enough that we’d like to go back and see them again. There is plenty of theology and Christology to be had here, but we’ll set that aside for now.

Verse 12 is the high-point here: the prayer that our love increases and overflows for one another. Where are we on that?

Where are we within the church? With all of God’s people?

I think we need to really pray through that before we answer it.

Verse 13 wraps it back up: blameless hearts before God our Father, so that at the coming of the Lord Jesus, when we see judgment come on this world like a flood, we are ready to be in the presence of God’s holiness.

Now: what do we do?

Every action you take, every word you speak, all belong to God’s lordship and will fall under His judgment in due time.

What will you do? You do not need me or another preacher or an author or anyone else, really, to tell you what to do that you haven’t already heard: open your Bible, listen to God speak through His word, by His Spirit, and do what He said: love your neighbor as yourself.

And if you want to define “your neighbor,” simply find the people who your people have hated for 400 years. That’s who the Samaritans were to the Jews. Oh, and probably they didn’t use the term hate. Generally, they just appreciated that they were Jews and not Samaritans, and preferred to avoid them.

So….who is your neighbor?

I think you can answer that question. I think you should answer that question: too often, we want our answers spoon-fed to us, so that we can then blame the messenger for getting it wrong, or when it gets hard, we can say, “Well, that was his idea, anyway, so I’ll leave it.”

You will face the Almighty God at some point and will answer for how you have loved His people. And if you are a follower of Christ, it may be the saddest moment of  your life as your Father in Heaven asks why you never loved your own family.

I pray that we all overflow with love for our brothers and sisters.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Services Recap through May 31

Good morning! Here are the videos from our last week of services. We will be back with live, in-person morning worship on June 7 at 9 AM and 11 AM, but will also continue live-streaming the morning service.

May 24 Morning Service:

May 27 Wednesday Night:

May 31 Sunday Morning:

May 31 Sunday Evening:

And if you’re interested, the Morning Reflection:

(Follow the link there to see all of those videos.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Worship Service Recaps for May 17

We’ve done another week of worship-via-Internet-connectivity. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for this to be over.

That covers Sunday and last Wednesday! I’m still working on better distribution for those who avoid Facebook, but you should be able to view here without a Facebook account.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Encouraged: 1 Thessalonians 3

In Summary:
Paul opens 1 Thessalonians 3 giving his side of recent events, about how he reached a point where he needed to know what was happening with in Thessalonica, so he sent Timothy to check on the believers there. Here, it is helpful to remember the chronology from Acts 17, that Paul was only in town for a few weeks before being run out by the angry mob. He then went to Berea, and then on to Athens.

I see no reason to think that the recollections Paul makes here, of sending Timothy to the Thessalonians from Athens, are from any other time frame. It is, of course, possible, but the simpler solution puts the origin point there in the narrative. Of course, one should note that everything that happened in the life of Paul or Timothy is not recorded in the text, so we cannot make it an absolute claim. But let’s let the simple be the solution.

Having pointed out his personal concern for the church, he goes on to remind them of what he had told them in person—which is noteworthy, considering how little time they had together. There is something here to be considered, briefly: if you took a 3-week slice of any of your relationships and only had that to call on, what would your relationship have? Specifically, in your Christian relationships: do you go more than 3 weeks without encouraging other believers? Pastors and teachers, if someone took a 3-week slice of your teaching, how much would it help?

On track again, we wee Paul is concerned that the Thessalonian believers have been swallowed up by temptation in the absence of encouragement and teaching, even though he had warned them about the coming affliction that both he and they would suffer. The chapter ends with a benediction-type statement, a prayer that reads very much like it should be the end of the message. Paul, however, being a Baptist preacher, still has 2 chapters left to go…

In Focus:
Put 1 Thessalonians 3:7 in your focus for the time being: Paul is encouraged by hearing how the church is responding, even as he faces distress and affliction.

What affliction? Well, since Thessalonica, where Paul was run out in a riot, he’s been run out in a riot in Berea; he’s faced the philosopher’s guild of Athens and been cold-shouldered; he’s now most likely in Corinth—where he’ll be for over a year, but not without trial and difficulty.

Yet hearing from those he loves is an encouragement. Hearing from the ones he has taught is a positive for him.

In Practice:
Well, the first thing to do “in practice” is to keep the faith with what you have been taught! Not that this means we do not grow, develop, and change, but we should separate core truth from other understandings. Knowing that Jesus really lived, really died, really rose from the grave is crucial; your understanding of how to observe the Lord’s Supper is a secondary matter and can change. The first thing we should practice is keeping the faith.

The second thing we should practice is sharing with those who have taught us how we’re doing in keeping the faith. Sometimes, it’s obvious: if you are still face-to-face (or even Internet-to-Internet) with your teachers and mentors, they should be able to see it normal life. Although it’s also valuable to communicate directly about the impact someone has had in your life, you should also be obvious with it. If you are distant—send a note, an email, a card—there are ways.

The third thing we should do is keep in touch with those we have taught: how are you encouraging those who you have taught and moved away from? That’s a challenge for me, personally, as I’m wrestling with what it means for someone who has preached and taught in several churches in the last few decades: how do I make sure to reach back and encourage? Not because those churches need me, but because I should continue to carry a burden for them. (And I do. Somebody damaged the calm of one my previous pastorates, and I think I was almost as aggravated as their current pastor)

In Nerdiness: 
I have taken the assumption that Paul writes the Thessalonians from Corinth, where Timothy was able to rejoin him after checking on the church. Other options exist—and I’m not a New Testament scholar, so you’ll have to check out some of the good resources on Thessalonians for that.

I also would note John Chrysostom’s comments on v. 3 (found in The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture): Paul notes that his sufferings are the glory of the church, because God showed His love for the Thessalonians by allowing one of His servants, Paul, to suffer on their behalf. What would become of us if we thought that way? How much does God love us that someone suffered for our faith? How much does God love others that we should suffer for them?

Services Recapped for June 28 2020

Well, another week, another batch of services put together, done well by our worship team, and then…you get me preaching. Since I am not a m...