Monthly Archives: May 2017

Charisma

Confessing “Jesus is Lord” has implications for how we observe our daily lives.

Two-thousand years ago, confessing “Jesus is Lord” was akin to committing treason, especially in a culture that regularly confessed that Caesar was Lord.1 A modern analogy would be to confess: “Jesus is my President.” But this pales in comparison as Caesar considered himself not answerable to any human establishment (e.g. the Senate) nor even answerable to God.

Nonetheless confessing Jesus is Lord of all has real implications for how Christians must live our lives:

  • If we really believe in one God, then the whole of creation, the entire universe belongs to God and people are God’s creations, answerable to God to whom we owe our respect for the privilege of the gifts for creation. A prayer of thanksgiving at the beginning of a meal is a nice beginning, but our actions after getting up from the table are much more significant.
  • Gift boxesIf we really believe in one Spirit, then all talents are divine and in God’s eye, all people are equally gifted. Early Christians may have argued over the which gifts were more significant or which indicated that a person had truly received the Holy Spirit as evidenced by their gifts. If we claim that Jesus is Lord, then the question becomes how will we use the gifts or charisma that we have received to advance the Kingdom of Heaven?
  • If we really accept Jesus as Lord, then Jesus is Lord always and everywhere! Not merely on Sunday morning during worship is Jesus Lord, but especially on Monday morning and Friday night. Not merely in Church, but especially at work, at play, and in the voting booth. For if Jesus really is Lord advancing the Kingdom of Heaven must take precedence over advancing one’s nation, and especially over advancing one’s own career even over the laws enacted by earthly governments.

How do you use your gifts to advance the Kingdom of Heaven?

I will have more to say about 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 and gifts of the Spirit on Sunday, June 4th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church. Please wear red for Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit divided as tongues of fire among the disciples.
Robert Shaw, Pastor


1. For additional background on “Jesus is Lord” verses “Caesar is Lord” see: 
N.T. Wright, “Paul and Caesar: A new reading of Romans”

Witnesses

Each and every day, and increasingly in our connected world, we leave clues that some people can read and assemble into a portrait that depicts what we deem worthy of our time.

As a child might leave cookies to see if Santa had visited, many websites use digital cookies to track the pages you view. This site like nearly every other website uses cookies to track which pages you visit and carry information between pages, for example if you have logged in as a member or not. This helps us recognize important and popular pages so we can continually improve our content. While we do not intentionally track information about the actions of particular users, other websites remember which products you researched and use that information to show related advertisements even when you visit unrelated sites seeking to bring you back to their website.

What sort of picture do we generate about the importance of repentance and forgiveness of sins? If Jesus is central to our life, shouldn’t we leave crumbs about how Christ has made a difference in our lives or influenced the choices we make?

You are witnesses of these things.
— Luke 24:48

Do you share stories of exceptional examples of sacrificial love, someone’s willingness to forgive an outrageous misdeed, or even times when you experienced God’s mercy?

I will have more to say about Luke 24:44-53 and being witnesses of Christ on Sunday, May 28th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

Seeking Infinity

How can we be  in God and God in us?

On that day you will know that
I am in my Father,
and you in me,
and I in you.
— John 14:20

Can a three-dimensional object have only one edge and one side?

Try this at home. Put a half twist in a strip of paper then tape the two ends together forming a loop. This loop is called a Mobius Strip; a three-dimensional object with only one surface and one edge.

To prove that it has only one side, draw a line down the middle of the strip by sliding it under a marker. With a little patience you will come back to where you started and line now appears on both sides of the original strip. If you attempt to cut a third off of one edge, you will get a loop twice the diameter as the original loop plus the middle third of the original loop. Both of these experiments show that a Mobius Strip is three-dimensional object with only one side and one edge. Thus it should not be too much of a jump to thinking about one God being Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit; about one God being in us and our being in God.

But the best part of being in Christ and having Christ in us, is that we become an extension of Christ and Christ’s actions become an extension of Christ’s ministry in the world. When our actions reflect Christ, those that demonstrate Christ’s love for the whole world, we keep his commandments and the Father grants our petitions, for then we will be doing God’s will.

I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

— John 14:13

I will have more to say about John 14:12-21 and being in Christ on Sunday, May 21st at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

Building a Lasting House

Have you ever considered all of the expense that goes into building and maintaining a sanctuary, that part of a church building where we gather to worship on Sunday morning? A space that is difficult and expensive to heat or cool? A space that is seldom used during the week?

Since the first place of worship was merely an elaborate tent (see Exodus 26), what if instead of an impressive brick and mortar building that would only be used a few hours a week, we had a tent plus a few stacks of chairs,  a table, and a piano that could be rolled into place each week? Perhaps a tent we would inflate early Sunday morning then roll away that afternoon; for the church is not the building, but a people who worship together.

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NRSV)

For when a congregation is focused on shaping the living stones rather than maintaining brick and mortar, then their spiritual house becomes stronger as the living stones are hewn to fit exactly together, matching the shapes of adjacent stones supporting and provoking one another.

Yes provoking one another. Smaller congregations are particularly good at this. If someone misses worship, they either call ahead of time or someone will check on them, perhaps even before worship begins. And not merely Sunday worship, for living stones have many opportunities to be the Church of Jesus Christ in the world.

While large ornate cathedrals leave me wondering how resources might be used more effectively, I do recognize the value of a permanent place for worship over the labor and wear and tear to erect a tent every week, and how all that labor can be come a distraction to being living stones in a community.

How are you a “living stone”?

I will have more to say about 1 Peter 2:1-10 and living stones on Sunday, May 14th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

May’s Newsletter, The Skirl

2017-05 MAY The Skirl

BagpipperGet your copy of our monthly newsletter at the speed of light by clicking here!

In this month’s issue:

  • Spirituality: Seeking to experience God, rather than merely learn about God.
  • May’s book club selection
  • Donations to Alpha House for Mothers Day
  • See photos from our Seder Dinner
  • FREE Community BBQ and Wear It & Share It
  • Music Students Scholarship Fundraiser Luncheon
  • See our new members from Confirmation Class
  • Our congregation’s calendar.

Vacation Bible School – June 2017

All Roads Lead to Rome:
Paul and the Underground Church

Join Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church for Vacation Bible School, each morning 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. from June 5 through June 9. Children completing grades K-5 will enjoy songs movement, sports activities, crafts, and Bible stories about Paul and the underground church.  Please complete this registration form for each child attending.

Adult volunteers can also have fun and learn by helping with our activities, our market booths, or decorating our facility to resemble ancient Rome.

For more information, please contact Susan Sampson at susan@ttpresbyterian.com  or call the church office 813-988-3514.