Posts Tagged ‘great ends of the church’

This is the fourth post of week 2 in a series where I will be journaling through the Consultations on the Common Texts while preaching a sermon series on the “Great Ends of the Church”. Here’s the plan.

Today’s scriptures are Psalm 8, Proverbs 3:13-18, and Ephesians 1:17-19. Today we are looking towards the scripture for Sunday (Romans 5:1-11)

Psalm 8

Another one of the aren’t we awesome scriptures…and…by we, I mean the God that we believe in. If God gave us dominion over the works of God’s hands and all things have been put under our feet, what does that say about climate change, celebrating profit over relationship, and the unwillingness to follow God? One of my parishioners asked this question and I had never thought about this in this way, “If we are supposed to have dominion, is God mad that we haven’t learned to control tornadoes yet?” What do we mean when we say dominion, does that mean we’re in control, but God is in control, but when is God calling us to control? Questions, Questions, Questions.

Proverbs 3:13-18

My daughter’s name is the Greek word for wisdom, so I like the scripture. It makes me think about preservation of the truth and the difference between knowledge and wisdom. You can know a lot of stuff but if it doesn’t affect your life it certainly isn’t wisdom. That idea draws me to people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and others giving away a lot of their money to help others. That seems wise to me, even biblical, if only everyone lived by the knowledge they had.

Ephesians 1:17-19

Another prayer for wisdom and revelation. I can only imagine that you don’t have wisdom without revelation. If there is no “AHA!” moment, then I’m not sure there can be understanding of or acknowledgement of the greatness of God and others.


Pastor Greg


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This is the third post of week 2 in a series where I will be journaling through the Consultations on the Common Texts while preaching a sermon series on the “Great Ends of the Church”. Here’s the plan.

Today’s scriptures are Psalm 48, Numbers 24:1-14, and Luke 1:26-38. Today we are reflecting on the scripture from Sunday (Acts 2:1-21)

Psalm 48

I think we might have enough towers and ramparts to consider as we pass on to the next generation. The great ends of the church, for me, are more about relationship work than construction work. To be sure there are places that I regard as holy, but I know that those places are holy because of the experiences and the people I have shared with in those places. Whether that’s Mountaineer Field (a holy place for sure), the sanctuary of Lithonia Presbyterian Church (where I learned what the community of God is like, it’s closed now), or the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis (where I stood before God and my “family” saying vows to my wife.), the list goes on and on, beer garden at GoodLife, softball field at Skyliner, Bluestone, all of these places have one thing in common they are where I shared with others. When we proclaim the gospel, shelter the children of God, perserve the truth, promote social righteousness, maintain worship, and exhibit the kingdom we do it with people, the place is secondary.

Numbers 24:1-14

This reminds me of the “preservation of the truth”. A lot to times people want you to reinforce their understanding of scripture or particular issues. In my case, a lot of the time my understandings are based on cultural norms and misinformation. It sucks when people don’t tell you what you want to hear but tell you the truth. This is a delicate balance sometimes as a pastor. Sometimes you are living inaccurately, sometimes your people are living inaccurately in both those situations someone needs to stand up and say something. If you’re going to sell out, sell out for the gospel.

Luke 1:26-38

When we accept the great ends of the church, or buy into them, start to live them out it may seem to be a litte strange, maybe even impossible. (I use a lot of commas) Impossible like a virgin giving birth, impossible like a small church changing the historical documents of a denomination (I like to dream big). Verse 37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Well, let’s just see.


Pastor Greg

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[DISCLAIMER: So I like to take my time off and I like writing my sermon on Thursday, it’s my rhythm. I am realizing though that I may only be blogging Monday-Thursday every day. I will post the sermon from Sunday as well. I’m still figuring out how all this works but I’m liking the reading, I hope you’re liking the reflection.]

This is the second post of week 2 in a series where I will be journaling through the Consultations on the Common Texts while preaching a sermon series on the “Great Ends of the Church”. Here’s the plan.

Today’s scriptures are Psalm 48, Ezekiel 11:14-25, and 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. Today we are reflecting on the scripture from Sunday (Acts 2:1-21)

Psalm 48

Alright so today I’m in a better mood I think. Talking about God’s citadels and their power to protect fits right in with “the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.” Yesterday, I think I was just over people using power and holding it over others. I’m really not into that, except when I am. (that’s another blog).

Ezekiel 11:14-25

In this, Ezekiel’s vision God explains that God is creating a shelter for the people of Israel and that God will “remove from it all its detestable things and abominations.” (v. 18b) Ouch. I feel like this is a great verse for Zionists would pull out to justify the nation of Israel’s attacks on Palestinians (ie those detestable things and abominations that were supposed to be removed). Pretty sure that’s not what the PC(USA) had in mind when they said a great end of the church was “the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.” Maybe I’m not in a better mood today.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Jeez, this week’s readings. This makes me think of arrogant Christians who fight, literally and figuratively, about the TRUTH. So I guess this fits right in “the preservation of the truth”. I think there’s a big difference between the big “T” truth and just “truth”. Most of it has to do with me telling you what you should and should not believe and that if you don’t believe the way that I do then you must be “unspiritual” or dumb. I have been labeled arrogant, I know what’s it’s like to demand that someone agree with you. This is not my call. I have my beliefs and I think they are pretty good, but I love those moments (and by love I mean, “I wish I had thought of that.”) when someone who I think might not have the right education, the right experience, or whatever is able to live out the “spirit of God” WAY more than me. This is another one of those passages that in the wrong hands (see I didn’t it again) can be dangerous.


Pastor Greg

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This is the third post in a series where I will be journaling through the Consultations on the Common Texts while preaching a sermon series on the “Great Ends of the Church”. Here’s the plan.

Today’s scriptures are Psalm 29, Ezekiel 3:12-21, and Luke 9:18-27. Today we are reflecting on the scripture from Sunday (Acts 16:16-34)

Psalm 29

Verse 7 says, “the voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.” In terms of the upcoming Pentecost Sunday I’m intrigued by Psalm 29’s varied expressions of the voice of the Lord and how that relates to proclamation of the gospel. St. Francis of Assisi has a famous quote, “preach the gospel always, use words if necessary.” As we are called to proclaim I wonder if we limit how we do that or what proclamation even means. Is a casserole delivery or a hug just as much proclamation as any sermon? I think it is, but in a different way. In our world that is ever changing and the lecture style of communication is waning, how do preachers and the church own and intentionally proclaim the gospel to the world?

Ezekiel 3:12-21

Wow! No pressure! God lifts Ezekiel and takes him to live with exiles to tell him that if he doesn’t proclaim God’s word to people they will die and so will he. Yikes! It makes me think of that Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It seems that God is telling Ezekiel if you here something from me, you MUST share it, even if it’s not going to be easy. That’s a challenge. How to tell people things without them thinking you’re a self-righteous jerk or crazy. I know that’s a little extreme, but as someone who stands in a pulpit and proclaims the gospel weekly it’s hard.

Luke 9:18-27

“Who do you say that I am?” That’s a tough question. If you look in the media it might appear that Jesus is judgmental, hateful, violent, and aggressive. There’s a saying, “You might be the only Jesus someone ever meets.” As we proclaim the gospel our actions do the talking, if we say one thing on Sunday morning and do something else on Monday that says something about we say Jesus is. Those that are able to be consistent every day of the week are the one’s Christ is talking about in verse 27, “But truly I tell you, there are standing here who will not tast death before they see the Kingdom of God.” The Kingdom of God is around us always and we can have glimpse of it, if we look and we can share that message with all we meet.

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[DISCLAIMER: Young energetic pastor is about to completely nerd out and invite you along.]
Over the course of the next six weeks we will be looking at, dissecting, and celebrating the Great Ends of the Church that are lined out in the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA). They can be found in the Book of Order, here they are:

F-1.0304 The Great Ends of the Church

The great ends of the Church are:

the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;

the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;

the maintenance of divine worship;

the preservation of the truth;

the promotion of social righteousness; and

the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

We will be taking one end each Sunday, this Sunday, May 19 is also Pentecost we will be looking at “the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind.”
Over this period of time, the Men’s Bible Study (Thursday, 6:30 AM at Janie’s Confections) will be diving head long into this subject. We will be following a book called Consultations on Common Texts engaging daily with the Bible. We also will (or those that would like) be journaling through these texts as we read them with the Great Ends of the Church in mind.
I invite you to join with us on this quest to look at the history of the PC(USA) and the calling to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. I will be posting the readings for the week each Monday morning so you follow along. I will also attempt to journal here through the texts. I will also be cross posting this on my blog (NebraskaBolt.wordpress.com) and would welcome any comments or thoughts as we travel this journey together.
The way the scriptures are set up, the selections for Monday-Wednesday reflect on the previous week and the selections from Thursday-Saturday are preparing for the upcoming Sunday. (I know it’s a little confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it.)
The scriptures for this week are:

Monday, May 13

Psalm 29,

Exodus 40:16-38

Acts 16:35-40

Tuesday, May 14 

Psalm 29

2 Chronicles 5:2-14

Acts 26:19-29

Wednesday, May 15

Psalm 29

Ezekiel 3:12-21

Luke 9:18-27

Thursday, May 16

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Isaiah 32:11-17

Galatians 5:16-25

Friday, May 17

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Isaiah 44:1-4

Galatians 6:7-10

Saturday, May 18

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

2 Kings 2:1-15a

Luke 1:5-17

Sunday, May 19 Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21

John 14:8-17 [25-27]

My plan for Sunday, May 19 is to preach on Acts 2:1-21.

I think this could be a great opportunity for us, as a church body, to learn and study together.


Pastor Greg

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