We stayed home today and went to worship with my mother-in-law as she was left alone by a husband who went a-hunting.  So we decided to keep her company (as if the past three days of a house full of 20+ people weren’t enough).  Little did I know the landmine of a sermon I would get!  It was “dedication” day for the church.  There were four families who brought their children to the front for dedication.  The pastor made an effort to challenge us to think of this as a dedication of the parents rather than of the infants (splitting heirs, I know!) and gave a good challenge to be active in raising children to faith.  However, as an opening to his sermon he gave some effort to argue against those of the “other” persuasions who see that more than mere dedication is needed (pssst!  That would be we PCA-ers [Oh!  And the more errant group and not-too-far-from-We-PCA-ers!]). 

He began with these three points:

1)  NOT Biblical!

2)  NOT Historical!!

3)  NOT Sacramental!!!

(end marks mine!!!!!)

To the first, he gives the typical baptist retort, “There is no NT command to baptise babies.”

To the second, he says that there is no historical evidence for any practise of paedobaptism until the 4th century (and even then we don’t know why they started!!) [end marks mine again]

To the third, he defines a sacrament as a way “to earn God’s grace” and then uses(!) the Lord’s sanction of the Supper (Do this in rememberance of me) as evidence that baptism is a mnemonic device.  That is, baptism is not a sacrament whereby God’s love and favour are communicated to the recipient (by faith) but merely a way in which the believer remembers what Jesus did for him. 

Now, I tried my darndest not to be critical of the sermon and to take with me what the Lord would have me hear….BUT I couldn’t help think of our (PCA) own views on this blessed occasion.  I was led to think of these questions that I will pose to you for discussion. 

1)  How would you have reacted to this sermon had you been present? 

2)  Would you have questioned your church heritage?  (BTW, not to be challenged in any way would be an act of sheer arrogance and ignorance at the same time.  One must always be evaluating his own position in order to better defend and establish it.)

A)  Would we disagree with any of these points?

B)  With what would we differ?

C)  How is what we do and say in our sacramental worship any different than a Baptist “baby dedication”?

What say you?

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In lieu of…..

November 11, 2007

Since I didn’t show up for City’s Gate worship this morning but stayed in the area to attend my in-laws’ church (they were serving piping hot smashed spuds and all the fixins afterwards), I thought I would pontificate a bit on a conversation I had with a friend yesterday.

We were talking (at one point) about decision making.  “How does one know what God wants one to do about….”  Now, these were not moral issues of right or wrong but of indiscriminate issues of “this job” or “that wife.”  Now that last one needs clarified, right?

My premise is sustained by Augustine.  He says to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and then to…..do whatever you want.

Let that sink in.  Do you feel the “kabod”, the weight, the glory?  As in the words of Marty McFly, “Whoa, Doc, that’s heavy!”

My friend was asking, How do I choose a job?  whether I do this or that? which girl for a wife?

My answer was simple: do what you want.  Do you want that job?  Do you want to move?  Do you like her enough to…?

Is it that simple?  I say, yes.  It is that profound.

What would you say?

November 7, 2007

If you were visiting a church from out of town and the session required visitors to give evidence of their faith before communing, how would you answer their query?

Why do you want to celebrate the Eucharist (Good Grace or Gift)?

Jesus: The Real Thing

November 5, 2007

Please stand for the Gospel reading…..just kidding.

John 6

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”  Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”  Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

Again, Elder Perrin preached this word from God last Lord’s Day, “Upon what do you feed or drink that does is not true bread and true drink?”

Last week no one took the opportunity to open up so we’ll try again this week.  To be honest with you, Jesus’ words in another chapter in John always give me trouble.  Look back to John 4 where Jesus is talking with the woman at the well. He speaks to her in much the same way as here but with more success in his reaching her.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

These words here often plague me whenever I read this passage.  What does Jesus mean here?  How is it that we will never thirst again after coming to his fountain?  You see, I thirst still.  I still long to drink the waters of the flesh.  Yes, I drink from Christ, too, but that’s not what he said.  Jesus said that whoever drinks of his Spirit will never be thirsty again.  But thirsty in what way?  I take him to mean the old pie-in-the-sky promise of tasting something so wonderful that to eat of anything less is disastisfying.  Drinking from the water Jesus gives will take away the taste for lesser drinks.  But….but I still like the other stuff.  I still return to the other stuff.  I still thirst.  And I still drink from the wrong fountains. 

How bout you?  What are your thoughts here?

Here is a great song about our need for Jesus.  It’s called, 

Jesus Is For Losers


If I was driven
Driven ahead by some noble ideal
Who took the wheel?

If I was given
Given a glimpse of some glorious road
When was it sold?

So caught up in the chase
I keep forgetting my place

Just as I am
I am stiff-necked and proud
Jesus is for losers
Why do I still play to the crowd?

Just as I am
Pass the compass, please
Jesus is for losers
I’m off about a hundred degrees

If I was groping
Groping around for some ladder to fame
I am ashamed

If I was hoping
Hoping respect would make a sturdy footstool
I am a fool

Bone-weary every climb
Blindsided every time

Just as I am
I am needy and dry
Jesus is for losers
The self-made need not apply

Just as I am
In a desert crawl
Lord, I’m so thirsty
Take me to the waterfall

And if you’re certain
Certain your life is some cosmic mistake
Why do you shake?

And if you’re certain
Certain that faith is some know-nothing mask
Why do you still ask?

They don’t grade here on the curve
We both know what we deserve

Just as you are
Just a wretch like me
Jesus is for losers
Grace from the blood of a tree

Just as we are
At a total loss
Jesus is for losers
Broken at the foot of the cross

Just as I am
Pass the compass, please
Jesus is for losers
I’m off about a hundred degrees

Just as I am
In a desert crawl
Lord, I’m so thirsty
Take me to the waterfall

Good News

November 3, 2007


Dave Matthews Band

Grey St

Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street

She thinks, Hey,
How did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world,
But I can’t get out of this place

There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

How she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears he doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her he might

She says, I pray
But they fall on deaf ears,
Am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place

There’s loneliness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

There’s a stranger speaks outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
It’d take the work out of the courage

But she says, Please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door,
I live on the corner of Grey Street and the end of the world

There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart

She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
It breaks her heart
To grey 

Am I Ever Gonna Change? I’m tired of being me,
and I don’t like what I see,
I’m not who I appear to be
So I start off every day,
down on my knees I will pray,
for a change in any way
But as the day goes by,
I live through another lie,
if it’s any wonder why

AM I EVER GONNA CHANGE
WILL I ALWAYS STAY THE SAME
IF I SAY ONE THING,
THEN I DO THE OTHER
IT’S THE SAME OLD SONG,
THAT GOES ON FOREVER
AM I EVER GONNA CHANGE
I’M THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME
WHEN I THINK I’M RIGHT,
I WIND UP WRONG
IT’S A FUTILE FIGHT,
GONE ON TOO LONG

Please tell me if it’s true,
am I too old to start anew,
cause that’s what I want to do
But time and time again,
when I think I can,
I fall short in the end
So why do I even try,
Will it matter when I die,
Can anyone hear my cry?

AM I EVER GONNA CHANGE
TAKE IT DAY BY DAY
MY WILL IS WEAK
AND MY FLESH TOO STRONG
THIS PEACE I SEEK
TILL THY KINGDOM COMES

Who Cares? Tell me, Jesus,
are you angry?
One more sheep has,
just gone astray
A hardening of hearts,
turning to stone
Wandering off,
so far from home
So many children,
losing time
Walk in darkness,
looking for a sign
Chasing their rainbows,
the future looks so bright
Slowly we’re losing,
Sight of the light

WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?
TELL ME WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?

All alone,
out in the cold
Can’t look back,
am I growing old
I chose a path,
is this my fate
Am I finding out,
the truth too late

Here I am,
a naked man
Nothing to hide
with empty hands
Remember me,
I am the one
Who lost his way,
your Prodigal Son

WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?
TELL ME WHO CARES?
WHO CARES?

AM I EVER GONNA CHANGE
WILL I ALWAYS STAY THE SAME
SAY ONE THING
THEN I DO THE OTHER
SAME OLD SONG
GOES ON FOREVER
RISE, RISE ‘N SHINE
A NEW DAY IS COMING
YES IT IS!