Tag Archives: Hebrews

Who Is He?

Lighted angels at Rockefeller Plaza
Do these angels herald Christ or herald Rockefeller Center?

We live in a world full of stars:

  • sports stars
  • entertainment stars
  • political stars
  • glitzy stars of sparkle season

No wonder people want to portray the star of Bethlehem like a search light from above lighting a straw filled manger from which the arms of a baby reach. We want to give God dazzle greater than we might give our cultural heroes: Top billing on a dazzling marquee, fireworks lighting up the sky, a star embedded on the walk of fame, social media buzzing about the latest word, and more.

The writer of the book of Hebrews had a similar agenda, except the heroes of his age were prophets and angels and he lifted the Son up in ways that his culture could only imagine. Not merely as the best of all of the prophets nor even the most holy of all the angels but to a whole new and complete revelation of the God.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
“You are my Son; today I have begotten you”?
—Hebrews 1:5

The challenge for us in this sparkle season is to not be dazzled by the spectacular lights, but to be totally and thoroughly lit up from within by the “reflection of God’s glory,” the Son! So that the Word of God might shine from within us not merely in this season but every day of our lives.

This worship service will include the lighting of the fourth Advent candle and a beautiful duet by Olivia Shaw and Cameron Troyer.

I will have more to say about Hebrews 1:1-12 at 10 a.m. on the fourth Sunday in Advent, December 24th, 2017, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church. Christmas will still be thirteen hours away when this worship service ends.

Our message for young disciples on this fourth Sunday in Advent will focus on God telling Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus as told in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel in verses 26-33. Recently a child of this congregation was astounded that we would expect a baby to be our savior. Parents might help their child have this amazement of God’s power by pointing out the kind of support that babies need.

Later on this Christmas Eve we will offer two additional services:
5:30 p.m. No Rehearsal Christmas Pageant.
8:00 p.m. Lessons and Carols with Communion and candle lighting.

Prayers for Good Friday

On Good Friday, the day Christians remember Jesus having been betrayed, arrested, quickly tried and convicted, then crucified and buried.

On the Friday between Palm Sunday and Easter our sanctuary will be open from noon until 3 pm for anyone interested in quiet meditation and prayers. Should you be unable to come here, we offer the following for your family or personal devotions.

Welcome

The ancients called this day “Triumph of the Cross” reminding us to gather not to mourn this day, but to celebrate Christ’s life-giving passion and thus find strength and hope in the tree of life.

As you consider these readings, listen carefully for signs that
affirm
God is Good.

Throughout this day, as you ponder these readings, members of our Worship Committee or Congregational Care Committee or the Pastor will be available to sit with you and pray alongside you.

Please silence all cell phones and other devices to enhance your time with God.

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Invitation To Worship Isaiah 53:4

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
All the while we thought
that his suffering was punishment sent by God.

But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.

We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received.
All of us were like sheep that were lost,
each of us going his own way.
But the LORD made the punishment fall on him,
the punishment all of us deserved.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God,
for our sake Christ Jesus allowed us to betray him,
and allowed himself to be given into angry hands,
and allowed himself to suffer death on a cross;
look with mercy on your people again,
may we confess our sins, turn back to you,
and receive your overflowing love.

Moment of silent reflection…

This we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus the Christ,
who now lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever and ever. Amen!

Scripture Readings:

John chapters 18 and 19

In these two chapters, John summarizes Jesus’ arrest, trial, conviction, crucifixion, and burial.

Some cultures consider a rooster to be a Christian symbol.
How have you responded when “the rooster” called for you?

Psalm 22

Mathew and Mark record Jesus reciting the first verse of this Psalm as he hung from the cross. At that time, before chapter and verse numbers were invented, merely citing an opening verse indicated reading of an entire Psalm or chapter.
How does this Psalm offer hope in the face of trial?

Hebrews 10:16-25

Having gained complete restoration through Christ,
how have you encouraged one another?

Prayers From and For the People and The Lord’s Prayer

O crucified Jesus, Son of the Father,
conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary,
eternal Word of God, we worship you.
You came into the world not to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through you,
so that all who trust in you
might be delivered from the power of sin and death
and become heirs to eternal life.

Hear our/my prayers for the whole Church:
for its witness and service wherever it is found,
for its leaders and the people whom they serve,
increase your love and preserve your peace in it.

Silence

Hear our/my prayers for all nations and all peoples:
for those in authority and those who seek office,
and for all who serve for the common good.
Assist them, O Spirit,
that they may seek your justice and truth
so all people may live in peace and harmony.

Silence

Hear our/my prayers for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit:
for the hungry and the homeless,
for the destitute and the oppressed,
for those suffering persecution, doubt, or despair,
for the sorrowful and bereaved,
and especially for …
Comfort and relive them, O Father,
grant them knowledge of your love,
stir up in us/me patience and desire to minister with them.

Silence

Hear our/my prayer for all who have not received your Good News:
for those who have never heard the words of salvation,
for those who have lost their faith,
for those who have become indifferent to Christ,
for those who are enemies of your cross and your disciples.
Open their hearts to truth, O Christ,
teach us/me how to lead them to faith and obedience.

Silence

Eternal God of unchanging power and light,
look with mercy upon your whole Church.
Bring completion to your saving work.

Hear us/me now O Lord as we pray the prayer you taught us/me to say:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
Amen.

Committed to Worship – Tuesday

Let’s also think about how to motivate each other
to show love and to do good works.
Don’t stop meeting together with other believers,
which some people have gotten into the habit of doing.
Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

(Hebrews 10:24-25)

You may be tempted to live your life as a solitary Christian. You may believe church gatherings are empty forms of religion and are of little spiritual benefit. But that simply is not true.

Christians gather each week to do more than sing songs, offer prayers, and hear a sermon. They come together to become holy and to imagine new ways of evidencing for others God’s work of redemption, which has been accomplished in Jesus Christ. We are to “think about how to motivate each other to show love and to do good works.” We do not gather simply so that we, as individuals, obtain benefit. We gather so that we might bless one another and the city, township, or village within which God has placed us.

Community should serve the purpose cited by the writer of Hebrews, to “motivate each other to show love and to do good works.” When that purpose is being served, we exhibit health, and when the worshiping community engages Jesus in this way, doing what he commands, then holiness follows.

God, help me to live in community and worship you alongside others. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Bible Reading – Saturday

Therefore, let’s make every effort to enter that rest
so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience,
because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword.
It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit
and the joints from the marrow.
It is able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.
(Hebrews 4:11-12)

God’s word found in Scripture is powerful. The philosopher Emile Cailliet once called the Bible “the book that understands me.” As he read through the Bible, he was amazed at how the stories and commands recorded in Scripture cut right to his heart, exposing his wrongful motives, challenging his assumptions, and inviting him to a good and beautiful way of life.

The writer of Hebrews described God’s word as “living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” God’s word cuts through the fluff. When you read the Bible, don’t simply read it to understand what it says. Let it read you, so that through reading it you can better understand yourself. Let it not only be the book you understand, but the book that understands you.

Father God, as I read the Bible I find words that convict me deeply.
Help me take action; make me new.
Help me discern every wrong motive and root it out.
Put in me a new heart,
a heart that desires to do as you have commanded in the Bible. Amen
.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.