Grateful, Grace-filled and God’s Guidance

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION      We approach God’s Word and seek the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds understand its Truth. Join me in a spirit of prayer.

Jesus who brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, we come to listen and learn from your Holy Word. Spirit of God, enlighten our hearts to the reality of divine presence in our midst. Let our worship be pleasing in your sight, so that our gathering is an experience of deep communion with you and one another. In the name of Jesus Christ, this is our prayer. Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING      Psalm 37      Exhortation to Patience and Trust Of David.

Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

We pray that the Lord will bless us with these Holy Words.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN# RED 494   “Step by Step”

SECOND SCRIPTURE     2 Timothy 1:1-14        Thanksgiving and Encouragement

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:  Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

THE MESSAGE        “Grateful, Grace-filled and God’s Guidance”

On World Communion Sunday, we remember that we are not alone. Around the world, Christians gather at the Lord’s Table and remember our common connection with others who follow Jesus. Christians celebrate together as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ that we are NEVER ALONE. We hold in common, no matter where we are that Jesus, who gives us confidence for our eternal rest will be with always to the end of the age.

As the Apostle Paul, prepared to leave Ephesus on his missionary journey, he left Timothy and the elders to keep calm and carry on. Ministry would not end just because one leader was moving on. The local leadership would maintain and sustain the mission with God’s guidance. Paul expresses his confidence in Christ, the elders of the church, and the faith of the people to spread the Gospel. The Apostles confidence may not have been shared by Timothy and the others, so Paul wrote words of encouragement in a letter.

Like Paul, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve Christ together for these past seventeen and a half years. I arrived in May of 1999 a week after Columbine, shaken by my experience at my first church. I possessed little confidence in my ability as pastor. You welcomed me and encouraged me. Together with Christ, we accomplished many acts of love and grace to one another and in our community. I remind you of your sincere faith in Christ not in me as pastor. In 161 years of mission and ministry, pastors have come and gone. As I depart to new adventures, Christ will continue to do a good work through you, right here. The Lord will send new leadership who will lead you in faithful service according to God’s purpose and grace.

I’m grateful for your love and support of me and my family. You’ve watched me grow in God’s grace, make mistakes, share wild ideas, and struggled with challenges of a changing culture. God appointed me a herald of the Gospel and you’ve listened to around 900 sermons, I’ve taught over 1000 Bible Studies and Sunday School lessons.  I’ve officiated at 158 funerals, 29 weddings, and 44 baptisms (includes 9 adult). And I won’t venture the number of meetings to plan, discern, and implement acts of kindness for the Kingdom. Yet, God’s grace arrived before the ages in Christ who died that we might have life. This heavenly gift and light of the Gospel will remain until we meet in the immortal presence of Christ when our time on earth is complete. We will remain grace filled through the work of the Holy Spirit who inspires our Christian walk as disciples.

Do not be ashamed of your faith. You’ve been entrusted with God’s grace revealed through Scripture. Our Reformed heritage reminds us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, from Scripture alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Do not be ashamed as you hold to a traditional faith unmarred by cultural accommodation. Trust that Almighty God remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be ashamed of the testimony of Christ’s activity in your life and in the ministry of First Presbyterian Church. The Holy Spirit will guard you as you trust the God’s guidance into the next chapter on your faith journey. Hold to the standard of sound teaching, you’ve heard from Holy Scripture, accept no imitations. Remain grateful for the time we shared together. Open your hearts to be grace-filled through the ministry of another herald who the Lord will send in due time. Wait and trust God’s guidance for your future. Listen for the Truth of the Gospel. Rely on the Holy Spirit to encourage you. Live by faith and do not fret. Do good in Christ’s name, take delight in the Lord’s journey and enjoy the security of God’s love and grace. Pray and listen for God’s guidance. Commit your way to the Lord as you move forward in faith, truth and love. Be grateful and grace-filled now and always. Guard the good treasure of love and grace entrusted to this congregation.

TGBTG. Amen.

  January 2018  
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