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August 17, 2014


Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

For a number of reasons Ecclesiastes 7:2 grabs my heart. Especially so this week. “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” The author means to tell us, I think, that tragedy brings clarity. In the tragedies that we witness around us, the persecution of believers, violence in the streets, in the battles faced by dear friends, there is a kind of a rude awakening that shakes us out of drowsy slumber that smothers so much of life. When we come face to face with tragedy, small and insignificant things finally seem their right size, small and insignificant. And we wonder how in the world, and why in the world, we meander after the things that do not matter at the cost of the things that do. Tragedy. Thus, clarity.

On any given Sunday so much of worship service in America is indistinguishable from easy comedy. Laughs come easily, and the little droplets of tears from laughing too hard are cheaply shed. But comedy will not make us see clear.

On the other hand, worship as Scripture teaches us is steeped in tragedy: of the Fall, sin’s curse, hearts in bondage to deception, the blood of the slain sacrifice, which all help us to see everything else in life clearly and in their right size. But when worship is thus tragic (and only then), it can lead to true joy. For God answered our tragedy with the tragic death of his Son, and in that heart-breaking history we find the reality of joy amidst our sorrow, hope in despair, and life in the midst of death.

An old jazz standard is called “What the world needs now is love.” I think we can do better. What the world needs now is tragedy—the tragedy of the cross that is the dawning of true joy.

Call to Worship

Psalm 22:1–21 (p. 457)

TH #87 “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Revelation 21:1–8 (p. 1041)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” (Revelation 22:14)

TH #319 “Day of Judgments! Day of Wonders!”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 5:7–11 (p. 1013)

The Promise That Gives Hope

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #708 “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”

(stanza 4 to be sung in between stanzas 3 and 4 in the Trinity Hymnal)

_Blest inhabitants of Zion, Washed in the Redeemer’s blood!

Jesus, whom their souls rely on, Makes them kings and priests to GOD:

’Tis his love his people raises Over self to reign as kings

And as priests, his solemn praises Each for a thank–offering brings._

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check it out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 65. First Catechism Qs. 126–127. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 88. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we study the means that God has given us to grow in deeper communion with him.

Upcoming Events and Notices

Children’s Bible Lessons will be on summer hiatus, and will resume in September.

August 16 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship at the Carr home.

Nursery Volunteers

August 17: Liza Beede & Janny Ligtenberg

August 24: Michelle Kay & Amanda Severns


August 10, 2014


Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

We have been hearing reports of violence and persecution against Christians in Iraq. The details are sketch, which is itself infuriating. The mainstream media will cover ad nauseam the slightest homophobic slur, and protest ad infinitum the slightest imagined offense against political correctness. But the media remains tellingly silent at the slaughter of Christians, and in its silence complicit in the atrocities committed against Christians.

Some days, I am really tired of this world. I know you understand.

We live in darkness. It is the darkness of the Fall. Yet we do not despair. The Fall is real, and its aftermath is also undeniably real and tragic. Yet our God is not merely the Creator of all things, who watched helplessly as man and the world he created fell in sin. Against all reason and expectation, the Creator became the Redeemer. Our God declared war against Satan, his kingdom, and his power. Satan at first drove a wedge between the Holy God and man. Yet God overcame that chasm in the breach-healing, peace-restoring life-death-resurrection of his Son. Then Satan sought to persecute the believers into oblivion. But Christ so bound himself to his persecuted people, that when Saul was on the road to Damascus to persecute the believers, Christ’s words to him were, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” In other words, Jesus more than took personally all the grief and pain of his people. His union with his people is such that any attack against his people is an attack against him.

There is also another aspect to our union with Christ. For what power can rage against Christ and live to tell the tale? Indeed, it seems to us that God is not doing anything. But understand that that is not so. Although we do not have the capacity to hear it presently, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” There is not a word strong enough to describe the Lord’s contempt for those that rage against him and his people. He is not doing nothing. He is ready to charge. And he “shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Amen. Come quickly, O Lord, and rescue your people. Return soon, and show your power.

Call to Worship

Psalm (p. 448)

TH #313 “Unto My Lord Jehovah Said”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Acts 9:1–5 (p. 917)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

TH #521 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 5:1–6 (p. 1013)

Wisdom for the Last Days

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #708 “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #707 “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check it out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 64. First Catechism Qs. 124–125. For adults: Shorter Catechism Qs. 86–87. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we study what biblical faith and repentance are. Could you describe what they are to someone? We encourage you to read this week’s lesson.

Upcoming Events and Notices

Children’s Bible Lessons will be on summer hiatus, and will resume in September. August 10 (Lord’s Day): Please join us at the Live Oak Park for fellowship meal. Sloppy joe will be provided, as well as drinks, buns, & condiments. Paper goods will be provided as well. Please bring a side dish to share, and some lawn or folding chairs in case we cannot get enough table seating for everyone. Remember the parking fee is $3.00, self service at the booth.

August 16 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship at the Carr home.

Nursery Volunteers

August 10: Yoori Han & Mari Nienhuis

August 17: Liza Beede & Janny Ligtenberg


August 3, 2014


Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

We sang “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” during last week’s communion. This beautiful hymn has its origin in not so beautiful circumstances. George Matheson wrote this hymn on the eve of his sister’s wedding. Some twenty years before, when Matheson was twenty years old, be became totally blind while studying for pastoral ministry. Upon learning this, his fiancée broke off the engagement and left him. Matheson never married.

One thus wonders what was going through Matheson’s mind on the eve of his sister’s wedding. A life that could have been? Anger at the woman who abandoned him? Self pity? We may never know what torrent of emotions swept upon him in the course of that night. Yet we do know, thanks to this hymn that he wrote that evening, what light finally dawned on him, what truth had the last word. He wrote:

O Joy that seeks me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

and feel the promise is not vain

that morn shall tearless be.
 

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

and from the ground there blossoms red

life that shall endless be.

Life in this fallen world is often cruel. Yet in this fallen and cruel world we are comforted. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:18) This, surely, is the truth that rings out in “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go,” and the truth that will ring out in our worship this Lord’s Day. Life in the fallen world is hard and cruel. But “the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.”

The second passage is John 19:31–37. We note that John 19:36 is quoting Psalm 34:20, a part of our first passage. Thus we realize how the LORD comes near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit—through the death of his Son. So we look to Jesus, and we are saved, first from the curse of death, then throughout life from the fear of death, and finally, the power of death. For “from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.”

Call to Worship

Psalm 34:18–22 (p. 464)

TH #708 “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

John 19:31–37 (p. 906)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” (2 John 3 ESV)

TH #507 “Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat” [stanza 6] Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still, My promised grace receive;” ‘Tis Jesus speaks - I must, I will, I can, I do believe.

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 4:13–17 (p. 1013)

The Wisdom of Short-Term Thinking

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #647 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #30 “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check it out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 63. First Catechism Qs. 122–123. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 85. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we study what biblical faith and repentance are. Could you describe what they are to someone? We encourage you to read this week’s lesson.

Upcoming Events and Notices

Children’s Bible Lessons will be on summer hiatus, and will resume in September.

August 2 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship at the Ligtenberg home.

August 3 (Lord’s Day 9:30 AM): Please join us for prayer meeting.

August 10 (Lord’s Day): Please join us at the Live Oak Park for fellowship meal. Sloppy joe will be provided, as well as drinks, buns, & condiments. Paper goods will be provided as well. Please bring a side dish to share, and some lawn or folding chairs in case we cannot get enough table seating for everyone. Remember the parking fee is $3.00, self service at the booth.

Nursery Volunteers

August 3: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers

August 10: Yoori Han & Mari Nienhuis


July 27, 2014


Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

The word “important” is one of the most overused words. Virtually all junk mail that I get (both the physical and e-mail variety) are emblazoned with “Important,” often in attention-grabbing color and size font. Yet, ironically, the word “important” is so overused that it tends to have the opposite effect upon me. Whenever I see the word “important” my first instinct is to say, “Yeah, right!” and I throw it straight into the trash (both the real and the virtual kind). I see the word “important” and my brain tells me, “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

Can it be that when the trivial and the false claim the title of “importance” we lose the very concept of importance? Is it possible that the endless stream of fake importance has deprived from us the ability to sit up and take notice when something is truly important?

Well, sit up and take notice now. For Scripture tells us it is very important to understand our relationship with God in terms of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. God is our Creator in whom we live and move and have our being. But through Fall mankind has put himself in enmity against his Creator. Then, against all logic and expectation, our Creator became our Redeemer. And the Redeemer keeps his unto Consummation, the fulfillment of every last promise God has made, including crushing Satan under foot, and possession at last of our eternal glory. These four things, Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation are so important that when they disappear from our worship and thinking, we are bound to go amiss. Yet if we will keep them at the center of our faith, will give us stability, joy, and hope. This coming Lord’s Day we will particularly focus on Creation and keep it at the center of our worship.

Call to Worship

Psalm 8 (p. 450)

TH #114 “Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Colossians 1:15–23 (p. 981)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3–4 ESV)

TH #55 “To God Be the Glory”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 4:11–12 (p. 1013)

The Wisdom of Sweet Speech

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #708 “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #705 “I Know Whom I Have Believed”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check it out!

This week we have three new books on the book table. The first is C. J. Mahaney’s The Cross Centered Life (Kindle Edition), a short and sweet book about “Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing.” Second, J. Mack Stiles’ Evangelism (Kindle Edition), an easy to read and encouraging book that aims at equipping the entire church for the work of sharing the good news. And, finally, Carl R. Trueman’s Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Kindle Edition), a book that helpfully explains the main drives of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, and how the lessons of the Protestant Reformation can serve today’s church. All three are short and easy to read, but at the same time substantive and biblical.

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 63. First Catechism Qs. 122–123. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 85. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we study what biblical faith and repentance are. Could you describe what they are to someone? We encourage you to read this week’s lesson.

Upcoming Events and Notices

Children’s Bible Lessons will be on summer hiatus, and will resume in September.

August 2 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship at the Nienhuis home.

Nursery Volunteers

July 27: Michelle Kay & Amanda Severns

August 3: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers


June 29, 2014


Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

The Han family has been living through a mild inconvenience of sorts. Due to a water leak under the sink that went undetected, much of our kitchen needed to be demolished and reconstructed, along with areas connected with the kitchen. Now that the work of reconstruction is in full swing, we have been treated to some spiritual lessons. When we moved into this house in 2008, we found Roman Catholic saint medals taped to every single window sill in the house. The previous occupants, apparently, were very superstitious. It seems they placed these medals at every window, perhaps, to ward of evil spirits.

This week the workers have been removing our damaged floor. In the process they have discovered Roman Catholic saint medals placed in the hollow chipped out of the concrete slab beneath the floor. They have also found more taped behind the baseboard at various places around the house. Interestingly, they have also found some coins with Chinese inscribed in them. I can only guess they are amulets of some sort. I guess they weren’t such devout Roman Catholics, after all; they were hedging their bets! Or, maybe they were great Roman Catholics; Roman Catholicism has always had syncretistic bent, adopting, and adapting to, prevalent customs and habits of its surroundings. Indeed, one of the reasons Roman Catholicism has spread so widely is that it never challenged too seriously the native superstitions and faiths, but instead absorbed and incorporated them into its piety and practice.

In contrast, the heirs of the Protestant Reformation have insisted on the utter superiority of Christ over all faiths and religions. In this regard we are utterly inflexible, and therefore hopelessly out of touch with the mores of the present culture. We insist there is no salvation apart from Christ. It also means we do not hedge our bets. While the world runs after the trendiest guru and expert, we know that when we have Christ, we have everything. Yes, the exclusivity of Christ means utter sufficiency of our Savior. If we have him, we have him. He is not a half-savior, but the complete and sufficient Savior.

Call to Worship

Psalms 71:17–21

TH #94 “How Firm a Foundation”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Romans 1:16–17

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4–7 ESV)

TH #77 “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 2:20–26

Faith Alive? Don’t Be An Airhead

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #56 “When All Your Mercies, O My God” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #731 “Doxology”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 60. First Catechism Qs. 116–117. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 81. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we consider the Tenth Commandment, or, doing all things for Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Events and Notices

June 27 (Friday 7 PM): The Session will meet at the Summers’ home.

July 7 (Lord’s Day 9:30 AM): Please join us for prayer meeting.

Nursery Volunteers

June 29: Michelle Kay & Amanda Severns

July 6: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers


Marcia Hoel Update (April 15, 2014)


Dear Church,

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (Psalms 116:15 ESV)

Marcia Hoel entered into glory 12:40AM, April 15.

As I sat beside Marcia and saw Marcia in decline, I often thought about the hymn "A Debtor to Mercy Alone." This hymn ends with the line:

Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv'n;
more happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heav'n.

How full of the gospel comfort is this song! The "earnest" is the Holy Spirit, who was given to help us in our weakness. When Marcia became too weak to speak or to pray, the Spirit interceded for her with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26ff). And the Spirit in you was praying through you for Marcia as well. As your pastor I am grateful for your prayers, and the Spirit who dwells in us.

The hymn also speaks of the saints in heaven as “more happy, but not more secure.” This is a great encouragement for us as we fight our daily battles. So often it feels as though we are perishing. But the glorious truth is that God holds us faithfully in this life, and we are as safe and secure as the glorified spirits in heaven.

And how sweet for Marcia. For she is now a glorified spirit in heaven. She is now, indeed, “more happy.”

We all loved Marcia and we mourn her suffering and death. Yet we do so with the sure knowledge that Marcia fought the good fight until the very end (I saw with my own eyes), trusted and loved her Savior, and has entered into her reward and rest. Jesus comforted Marcia through her last trial, and may he now comfort all of you who loved her.

I had a chance to visit with Marcia’s family today. Most of Marcia’s children live in Colorado, and need to return. Thus it seems best to the family to hold a memorial service for Marcia in a few weeks’ time. Marcia’s family is deeply grateful for all your prayers and offers of help.

I will forward details concerning the memorial service, and what help we can offer her family, in due time.

In Christ,

Pastor Ken