Sermon for June 25, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 21:8-21 and Ps. 86:1-10, 16-17 or Jer. 20:7-13 and Ps. 69:7-10, 16-18; Rom. 6:1-11; Matt. 10:24-39 Sermon by Ted Johnston from Romans 6:1-4 (drawing on John Stott's commentary) CHRISTIAN LIVING (THE LOGIC OF BAPTISM) Introduction In today's reading in Matthew, Jesus declared that his first disciples were to take up their crosses and follow him (Matt. 10:38). We have the same calling today---this is the life to which we as believers are called, empowered by the Spirit. In our reading today in Romans, Paul addresses the topic of Christian living. The passage falls within a section of Paul's letter where he addresses the unity believers have by virtue of their shared spiritual union with Christ. Chapter 5... Read the article

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Sermon for June 18, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 18:1-15 and Ps. 116:1-2, 12-19 or Ex. 19:2-8 and Ps. 100:1-5; Rom. 5:1-8; Matt. 9:35-10:8 Sermon by Martin Manuel from Matt. 9:35-10:8 JESUS SEES A HARVEST FIELD---DO WE? Introduction Though Jesus tried to contain his popularity, his reputation spread like wildfire throughout Galilee and on into Judea. Wherever he went, crowds followed, many hoping to receive healing and help from this miracle-working rabbi. In chapter 9, Matthew cites case after case of Jesus acting on requests for help from people around him. Amazed crowds (Matt. 9:8, 33) gathered wherever he went. Desperate people flocked to him. [caption id="attachment_4116" align="aligncenter" width="503"] Jesus Traveling by Tissot (public domain via... Read the article

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Sermon for June 11, 2017 (Trinity Sunday)

Scripture readings: Gen. 1:1-2:4; Ps. 8:1-9; 2 Cor. 13:11-14; Matt. 28:16-20 REJOICING IN GOD, THE HOLY TRINITY (Ps. 8:1-9; Matt. 28:16-20; 2 Cor. 13:14) By Ted Johnston Introduction Today is Trinity Sunday---the first Sunday following Pentecost. It's a day to rejoice in God, who is one in being and three in Person---the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is far more than a doctrine to be understood---it is the reality of the one, tri-personal God who is to be loved and worshipped. [caption id="attachment_1874" align="aligncenter" width="335"] Icon of the Trinity by Rublev (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)[/caption] Though it wasn't until Jesus came that we learned in detail that the one God is one in being and three in Person,... Read the article

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Renewing pastoral priorities

Here is the May "Equipper"---it continues our 2017 focus on renewal by looking at pastoral priorities. The articles and sermons are linked below. From Greg: LEAD-P (priorities for pastors) Greg Williams looks at five priorities for lead pastors. [caption id="attachment_4172" align="aligncenter" width="234"] "The Good Shepherd" by Greg Olsen (used with permission)[/caption] The priority of leadership: growing a strong leader CORE Randy Bloom addresses three characteristics of effective leaders. The priority of preaching: using the RCL Ted Johnston shows how using the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) brings renewal to our preaching. Clarifying Our Theological Vision, part 2 Gary Deddo continues to explore union with... Read the article

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Clarifying Our Theological Vision, part 2

Here is part 2 of an essay titled Clarifying Our Theological Vision by Gary Deddo, with an introduction from Joseph Tkach. The essay is being published serially here in Equipper. To read each part, click on a link: introduction, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. To read the full essay in one article, click here. For the related essay, Covenant, Law and God's Faithfulness, click here. Union with Christ, Christ’s vicarious humanity and the holy Spirit's ministry By Dr. Gary Deddo This article fills out what we covered in part 1 concerning union with Christ and the vicarious humanity of Christ. It then looks at the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the related topic of the biblical distinction between believers and non-believers. These topics are of great... Read the article

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Kids Korner: Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday (June 11) is a great time to teach kids about the Trinity. But how to do so? Here are some thoughts with related resources from Equipper Editor (and grandfather) Ted Johnston. My older grandkids (now 11 and 8) have asked me on several occasions about the Trinity. Explaining to adults that God is one in being and three in Persons is challenging enough. But explaining that to kids? One approach is to make use of illustrations. Though these can help, we have to be careful not to leave children thinking that God is like an egg, water, or a three-leaf clover! Perhaps the best place to start is to explain the truth that God is love, and that love involves the one who loves and the one who receives, then returns that love.... Read the article

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Sermon for June 4, 2017 (Pentecost)

Scripture readings: Num. 11:24-30; Psalm 104:24-35; Acts 2:1-21; John 20:19-23 PENTECOST: EXTRAORDINARY LIFE IN ORDINARY TIME (Acts 2:1-21) By Michelle Fleming Introduction Today is Pentecost, which marks the transition from the Easter season to what the liturgical calendar calls "ordinary time.” During the Easter season, we reflect on God’s redemption through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Following that, our focus switches to living out the mystery of the life of Christ. Doing so is impossible without what Pentecost commemorates---the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon humanity. Pentecost is the day on which we move from spectators in the gospel story to active participants. It is the day the church, the body of... Read the article

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Sermon for May 28, 2017 (Ascension Sunday)

Scripture readings: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:1-9 or Psalm 93:1-5; Eph. 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53 ASCENSION DEFICIT DISORDER (Luke 22:44-53) By Lance McKinnon Introduction Many Christians, it seems, suffer from "ascension deficit disorder." Perhaps that's because few churches celebrate Jesus' ascension, which occurred 40 days after his resurrection and 10 days before the sending of the Spirit on Pentecost. One of the benefits of following the lectionary in our services is it causes us to remember the important events of the story of Jesus, and his ascension to heaven is one of them. Today, in accordance with the lectionary, is Ascension Sunday (the Sunday following ascension day). And so today we'll look at Luke's account of that great... Read the article

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From Greg: LEAD-P (priorities for pastors)

Dear pastors and ministry leaders: One of the most frustrating things in any job is not having clear job expectations. I experienced that frustration during 15 years serving as a lead pastor---at times it felt like a 24/7 job that was not only a bit unclear, but never finished. Do I hear an “amen” echoing from the Atlantic to the Pacific? In Church Administration and Development (CAD), we work to provide pastors with clear ministry expectations, then equip them to meet them. With those goals in mind, this issue of Equipper addresses the renewal of the pastoral priorities that are essential in our work as under-shepherds in the ministry of the great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. [caption id="attachment_4172" align="aligncenter"... Read the article

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The priority of preaching: using the RCL

In the article below, GCI-USA Publications Editor Ted Johnston suggests ways to use the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), including RCL-based sermons provided each month here in "Equipper." In one of his GCI Weekly Update articles on The Church and its Ministry, Gary Deddo says this about preaching: The focus of preaching is to identify and remind ourselves of the nature and character of God as revealed in Jesus. The content of preaching will be Scripture as it points us to our Triune God and our life in him. Such preaching is not primarily about conveying information (as is the case with teaching). Preaching aims to strengthen and encourage in the hearers a response of faith, hope and love on the basis of who our Triune God has... Read the article

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