Monday

Righteous or Self-Righteous

Text: Luke 18:9-14

This is our last sermon on worship, and we are going to look at how 2 people, a Pharisee and a tax collector, come to worship the Lord. I picked this passage because one is justified before the Lord and the other is not. It is obvious that we all want to be like the tax collector, but unfortunately most of us are probably like me and are self-righteous. To me this makes the Pharisee more interesting, since it gives me an opportunity to examine myself.

Years ago, I asked myself the question for this Pharisee, what did it feel like for him to be wrong? Shockingly, it felt exactly like being right. This is the great challenge of examining our own self-righteousness. We feel so right in the exact areas where are most wrong.

There is a solution to this impasse, but it requires love, humility, and a caring body of believers. Every human who ever lived has the ability to spot self-righteousness and sin in other people. We are good at this, and, in truth, this skill contributes to our own foolishness. The secret is to harness this skill for the good of the kingdom and help each other to humbly identify where we fail.

Sunday

Bible Trivia - August 26

To whom did Jesus say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life?"

Answer next week!

Answer to August 19 question

Last we asked what did Amos see in the hand of the Lord when he saw the Lord standing by a wall.

Monday

Increase the Harvest of Your Righteousness

Text: 2 Corinthians 9 and Acts 6

This week we continue our sermon series on worship by continuing our examination of the tithe. Last week we looked at the tithe in Deuteronomy 14. There we saw that there were two tithes. The first was a celebration of the Lord's blessing. The second, and harder, was the one that was given away to the needy. We are going to look at that more difficult tithe.

As we begin I want to point out to you something that I have learned about people in my visitation. People will share with me all kinds of details about their lives. I have listened to tales of canker sores in people's mouths and more than anyone really wants to know about pus and infections. People have proudly displayed the staples in their chests following heart surgery. I know all about broken relationship and troubles with children. However, I can count on one finger the number of times people have opened up about their finances, whether they have need or plenty. In fact, many people are very secretive about their finances. We have a strange relationship to our money.

In order to have a proper tithing ministry, it requires a congregation - members of the Body of Christ, to do something that is very difficult. It requires a vulnerability and openness that is scary. For the needy the frightening part is being open enough to share their need and risk being rejected and left in needy. For the one who has the danger comes in asking, "What do you need?" and coming under obligation to help.In order to have a proper tithing ministry requires a congregation - members of the Body of Christ, to do something that is very difficult. It requires a vulnerability and openness that is scary. For the needy the frightening part is being open enough to share their need and risk being rejected and left in needy. For the one who has the danger comes in asking, "What do you need?" and coming under obligation to help.

In a healthy church though both are humble enough to open up to each other. However, once this begins to happen, the church begins to be transformed. Needs are met. Thanksgiving is multiplied, and there is "an overflowing of thanksgiving to God."In a healthy church though both are humble enough to open up to each other. However, once this begins to happen, the church begins to be transformed. Needs are met. Thanksgiving is multiplied, and there is "an overflowing of thanksgiving to God."

Imagine the transformation in a congregation like ours as we build the community and unity within the Body of Christ, as we submit ourselves to the Gospel of Christ. Imagine the transformation in a congregation like ours as we build the community and unity within the Body of Christ, as we submit ourselves to the Gospel of Christ.

Sunday

Bible Trivia - August 19, 2012

The prophet Amos has a vision of the Lord standing by a wall. What does the Lord have in his hand?

Answer to August 12, 2012 question

Last week we asked what three things does Jude describe as eternal.

The answer is:

  • Eternal chains (verse 6)
  • Eternal fire (verse 7)
  • Eternal life (verse 21)

Monday

A Worshipful Tithe

A Worshipful Tithe

Text: Deuteronomy 14:22-29

This week we continue in our sermon series with a two part sermon on gifts. Traditionally when preaching on gifts or tithes, the goal of the sermon seems to be to shame the congregation into giving more to meet the needs of the church. I am going to try to avoid that.

In this passage from Deuteronomy we read about the tithe in Israel. If you are not familiar with the passage, it is shocking, because it seems to indicate that there are 2 tithes. One that is celebrated 2 of 3 years, and one that is celebrated every 3rd year. It also looks like that first tithe is eaten by the person who worked for it so "that you may learn the fear of the Lord."

That is not something that you hear often in the church. Bring your tithe to the church and eat and drink before the Lord so that you may learn to fear the Lord. God does not require the saint to surrender this tithe to the church. The only requirement is to remember the Levite who lives in your town. Absolutely shocking.

So what is going on here? The tithe is more that one family could eat, so it becomes a shared meal with friends and family. Last week we saw the people leave from reading the Law in Nehemiah 8 and go home to eat what looks like one of these tithe meals. Eating, drinking, and fellowship have always been central in the worship of the Lord's Chruch.

Next week we will look at the 2nd tithe because it is ultimately the one that led to the establishment of the deacons in the early church.

Joy Deal comes to Pamlico Presbyterian

Joy Deal
On Saturday night, Pamlico Presbyterian had our monthly covered dish dinner. As always, the food was great and plenteous. Bert brought one of his famous pound cakes fresh and warm from the oven. We should have taken some pictures of all the yummy food, but...

Each month we have a program and this month Joy Deal, a registered nurse who goes around the world on medical missions, came to tell us about a recent trip to India. In all missions work flexibility is key. When they arrived in India that were not allowed to do any medical work. The authorities said that helping the people medically and telling the about Christ was bribing the people to convert.

They had a number of adventures. At one point after sharing the Gospel and teaching at a local church, their hotel was surrounded by protesters. They had to have a bus load of police brought in to get back into their rooms, before quickly leaving. The incident was big enough that it made it into the local news which made the rest of their work more difficult while there. We do not often think of India as a closed nation, but they did ask foreign missionaries to leave back in the 90's.

Keep joy in your prayers as she continues to serve the Lord around the world.

Sunday

Bible Trivia - August 12, 2012

Jude, in his short book, describes three things as eternal. What are they?

Answer next week!

Answer to August 5 question

Last week, we ask the question about how John describes someone who hates his brother in I John. Here is the verse I was thinking about.

Monday

Amen, Amen

Summary of the Sermon - August 5, 2012

Text: Nehemiah 8:1-12

We continue in our series on worship this week. We have been gradually becoming more specific. We began by answering what it means to give glory to God and calling on the name of the Lord. Then we looked at the importance of our personal relationships and their impact on our worship. Then last week we studied a litany, Psalm 136, as a tool for worship. We have also seen that all of these ideas have their source in the mighty acts of God and what He has done for his people.

This week we are going to look at a particular worship service and see what happens, kind of the nitty-gritty of the theoretical that we have been looking at so far.

The first thing that we need to see is when this worship service happens. It is the first day of the seventh month. The month of the Passover. The Passover, like the Lord's Supper, is a remembrance of what the Lord has done, and it is designed to teach the faith of the fathers to the children. The Passover is two weeks in the future. While not explicit, it seems that the people want to make sure that they celebrate this festival as the Lord commanded. They want to renew their relationship with the Lord now that he has delivered them from captivity for a second time.

Second, this worship was initiated by the people. They told Ezra to bring the "Book of the Law of Moses." They wanted to hear everything that the Lord had commanded Israel. Too often the "professionals" take over every aspect of worship. But here as in all true revivals of true religion, it is a bottom up expansion as the people renew their faith and put aside their foolish idolatry and worldliness.

Third, it is interesting who stood to hear the Word read, "all who could hear with understanding." Men and women gathered together as one to hear the Word of the Lord read from morning until midday. As these people renew their faith, they do not rely on the memory of the stories told to them by parents or grandparents, or even their own reason. They go back to the source of revelation, the Scripture, and conform themselves to that.

Fourth, there was a group of several men who went through the congregation to help the people understand. Scripture is not always easy to understand. It often requires study and effort, and those who have already done the work are to aid the others who seek the knowledge of God.

Fifth, following the reading of the Book of the Law, the people went home to celebrate this holy day. They celebrate because they understood the words that were spoken to them. They also gave to who had nothing prepared. When the church has a proper relationship with its Lord, it naturally works out in human relationships.

Last, there are several instances during the course of the reading that the people respond physically to the reading. Before the reading the people cry, "Amen. Amen" while lifting up their hands to the Lord. They also bow their head with their faces to the ground. They weep when they heard the law read. We have souls, but we also have bodies. What impacts the one, impacts the other.

Sunday

Bible Trivia - August 5, 2012

In I John, how does John describe someone who hates his brother?

Answer next week!

Answer to July 29's question

Last week we asked the question, Where will you find a verse that tells us that Jesus was tempted in all ways, even as we are, and yet without sin?

The answer is Hebrews 4:15. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (NKJV)

Thursday

The Great Thanksgiving

Summary of the Sermon - July 29, 2012

Text: Psalm 136

In our examination of worship over the last several weeks, we have looked at what it means to give glory to God and what it means to call on the name of the Lord. Last week we fleshed out the importance our relationships with each other in our worship. We have discovered that the unifying concept behind those ideas is our response to what the Lord has already done or promised to do.

This week we are going to examine an Old Testament liturgical response of the congregation of Israel in its corporate worship of the Lord. Psalm 136 is in the form of a litany, which is a call by a worship leader and the congregation.

Leader: Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good

People: For his mercy endures forever.

In this psalm the congregation is remembering the mighty acts of God that brought them out of Egypt, the land of slavery, and into Israel, the land of promise.

The people in our congregations are desperate for a real worship experience at a Sunday service. Many leave feeling disappointed and empty. We desire the spine tingling god-experience and attempt to get it many ways. We do this sometimes through symbols of real worship, incense to represent our prayer, or beautiful stain-glass windows, or vaulted ceilings to remind us heaven. However, these will fail to substitute for a true experience of the Lord's grace and mercy.

Johnson Oatman, Jr. Got it right with his hymn, "Count Your Blessings."

Wednesday

Trivia - July 29, 2012

This week's trivia question.

Where will you find a verse that tells us that Jesus was tempted in all ways, even as we are, and yet without sin?