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Thursday Morning Men’s Breakfast

 

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Christian teachings:  Please feel free to download these files.  The files are offered in wma (2017, 2016) and mp3 (all years) formats.

 

Links to Years:

2017  2016 2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  

2001  2000  1999  1998  1997  1996  1995  1994  1993  1992  1991  1990      spreadsheet

 

November 9, 2017                    David Franks                mp3

 

Revelation 11:1-14   The Two Witnesses

 

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days,clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts,because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

 

quotes from Richard Wilbur – Advice to a Prohpet

  When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,   

  Mad-eyed from stating the obvious, 

  Not proclaiming our fall but begging us 

  In God’s name to have self-pity, 

 

  Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,   

  The long numbers that rocket the mind; 

  Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,   

  Unable to fear what is too strange. 

 

  Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.   

  How should we dream of this place without us?— 

  The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,   

  A stone look on the stone’s face? 

 

  Speak of the world’s own change. Though we cannot conceive   

  Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost 

  How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,   

  How the view alters. We could believe, 

 

  If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip   

  Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy, 

  The lark avoid the reaches of our eye, 

  The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip 

 

  On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn 

  As Xanthus once, its gliding trout 

  Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without   

  The dolphin’s arc, the dove’s return, 

 

  These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?   

  Ask us, prophet, how we shall call 

  Our natures forth when that live tongue is all 

  Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken 

  

  In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean   

  Horse of our courage, in which beheld 

  The singing locust of the soul unshelled, 

  And all we mean or wish to mean. 

 

  Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose   

  Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding   

  Whether there shall be lofty or long standing   

  When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close.

 

mentioned during questions: The Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

November 2, 2017                    Jürgen Liias                 mp3

 

Collect for All Saints’ Day

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion

and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord:

Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living,

that we may come to those ineffable joys which thou hast prepared for those

who unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with

thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #143            Acts 24:27-25:12           Two Years Later: Paul Speaks Before Festus

 

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus,but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

25 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way.Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”

After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.

Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

 

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

Matthew 22:15-22

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

 

John Piper – A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (1995):

“When you know that all is God’s, then anything you render to Caesar you will render for God’s sake. Any authority you ascribe to Caesar you will ascribe to him for the sake of God’s greater authority. Any obedience you render to Caesar you will render for the sake of the obedience you owe first and foremost to God. Any claim Caesar makes on you, you test by the infinitely higher claim God has on you.”

 

from (at-the-time U.S. Senator from Illinois) Barack Obama's keynote at the Call to Renewal's Building a Covenant for a New America conference in Washington, D.C., in 2006.

… secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

October 26, 2017                      Paul Atwater                mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Deborah is a “Courage-Giving” Leader

 

Judges 4:1-16

 

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehudwas dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramahand Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoamfrom Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.

16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left.

 

Traits of a Courage-Giving Leader:

- They listen to God even when others do not

- They built solutions based on the wisdom of God

- The follow God’s commands completely

 

Judges 4:17-24

 

17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite,because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

19 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

20 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.

23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

October 19, 2017                      Mark Booker                mp3

2 Corinthians:1:12-2:4 Why does Paul make the decisions he makes?

 

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

 

Proverbs 28:1

The wicked flee though no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

October 12, 2017                      David Franks                mp3

 

Revelation 9:20-21

20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons,and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts,their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 

Revelation 10            The Prophet As Light In Darkness

 

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll,which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth,but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

 

quotes from T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves

Waited for rain, while the black clouds

Gathered far distant, over Himavant.

The jungle crouched, humped in silence.

Then spoke the thunder

Da

Datta: what have we given?

My friend, blood shaking my heart

The awful daring of a moment’s surrender

Which an age of prudence can never retract

By this, and this only, we have existed

Which is not to be found in our obituaries

Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider

Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor

In our empty rooms

Da

Dayadhvam: I have heard the key

Turn in the door once and turn once only

We think of the key, each in his prison

Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

Only at nightfall, aethereal rumours

Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus

Da

Damyata: The boat responded

Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar

The sea was calm, your heart would have responded

Gaily, when invited, beating obedient

To controlling hands

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

October 5, 2017                        Jürgen Liias                 mp3

 

from The Litany

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and

flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine;

Good Lord, deliver us.

From all oppression, conspiracy and rebellion; from

violence, battle and murder, and from dying suddenly

and unprepared;

Good Lord, deliver us.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity;

in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,

Good Lord, deliver us. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #142            Acts 24:10-16                Paul Speaks Before Felix

 

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guardbut to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus,but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

 

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

September 28, 2017                  Paul Atwater                mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Deuteronomy 34:10-12

 

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lordknew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

 

Paul mentioned The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman

 

“Following” can be the pathway God wants us to follow.

 

Joshua can be seen as a “Relay Leader” – Following in the footsteps of a Legendary Leader

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

September 21, 2017                  Mark Booker                wma                 mp3

2 Corinthians: Comfort and Affliction

verses 1.1-11

 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

September 14, 2017                  David Franks                mp3

 

Revelation 8:13

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

 

Revelation 9

 

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months.And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpionwhen it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were releasedto kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.

17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons,and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts,their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 

quotes from C.S. Lewis – The Problem of Pain

 

“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt.”

 

“And pain is not only immediately recognisable evil, but evil impossible to ignore. We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities; … But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

September 7, 2017                    Jürgen Liias                 mp3

 

Collect

Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. 

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by

patience and comfort of thy Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the

blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #141            Acts 24:10-16                Paul Speaks Before Felix

 

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment….For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God….His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

 

also in the :

from John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Letterto the Dukes of Norfolk,” V, in Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching II (London: Longmans Green, 1885), 248:

Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise….[Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a viel, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

August 31, 2017                       Tim Leary                     mp3

Acts 7 – Tim had men read the entire chapter, which can be accessed here:

 

link to Acts 7

 

Be Competitive,

Be Intense,

Be Soft-Hearted.

 

Tim is the Park Street Church director of grad student ministry. He personally leads a group at MIT Sloan (MBA’s) and BU Law students and internationals. He has worked full time in ministry for 18 years for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He has 4 children and lives literally on the line between Milton and Quincy.

 

August 24, 2017                       Paul Atwater                mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Joshua 2:1-7

 

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

 

4 marks of a “Turning Point Leader”:

-          an awakening that recognizes God’s Great Power

-          an abandonment of old loyalties

-          an attachment to those who follow God closely

-          an appropriation of God’s blessings for the sake of other people

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

August 17, 2017                       Mark Booker                mp3

2 Corinthians: Introduction and Authority

verses 1.1-11

 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

 

Helmut Koester (1926-2016) wrote:

 

Christianity did not start out as a unified movement. We have to remember that the disciples were probably dispersed at a very early time.... That is, at a time where there was no fixed formulation what the set of Christian beliefs should be. What Christian rituals should be. What they should think about Jesus or what they should tell about Jesus. The sources that we have tell us that Christianity started as a very diverse movement, as the founding of churches... moved into very different cultural and language contexts....

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

August 10, 2017                       David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 8   The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

 

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people,on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and firemixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

August 3, 2017             Dr. Tom Pfitzenmaier               mp3

Sainthood – Your Primary Vocation

 

John Eldridge – Waking the Dead:

 

God endowed you with a glory when he created you, a glory so deep and mythic that all creation pales in comparison. A glory unique to you, just as your fingerprints are unique to you, just as the way you laugh is unique to you. Somewhere down deep inside we’ve been looking for that glory ever since.

 

Leviticus 19:1-2

 

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israeland say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

 

Thomas Merton – The New Man:

 

Fallen Man “is conscious of everything trivial, remembers everything except what is most necessary, feels everything that he should not feel, yields to demands that he should never even hear, looks everywhere, pays attention to every creaking board and rattling shutter in his haunted house.  For his soul and body, created to be a temple of God, cannot help but seem a haunted place after the desecration that has evicted its only rightful dweller.  It is of no avail to try to exorcise the accusing silence by turning the place into a den of thieves.  No amount of business prosperity and luxury can hide the abomination of desolation within us.”

 

John 17:17-19

 

17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

2 Corinthians 3:18

 

18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

Tom is the Dean of the Hamilton Campus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary              GCTS biography

 

July 27, 2017                Mark Booker                mp3

Creation and Preservation                    Psalm 104

 

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.

He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 
They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
    the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
    the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 
You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 All creatures look to you
    to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
    they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
    they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
    they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord
 rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Praise the Lord.

 

Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (late 19th century Dutch theologian 1854-1921)

 

regarding the Doctrine of Creation:

 

“No right relation to God is conceivable apart from this basis; it positions us in the proper relation to God. It is therefore of eminent practical value, serving to bring out the greatness, the omnipotence, the majesty, and the goodness, wisdom, and love of God. The teaching of creation therefore strengthens people’s faith, confirms their trust in God, and is a source of consolation in their suffering; it inspires praise and thanksgiving; it induces humility and meekness and makes people sense their smallness and insignificance before God.”

 

regarding the Doctrine of Providence:

 

“The doctrine of providence is not a philosophical system but a confession of faith, the confession that, notwithstanding appearances, neither Satan nor a human being nor any other creature, but God and he alone--by his almighty and everywhere present power--preserves and governs all things.

 

Such a confession can save us both from a superficial optimism that denies the riddles of life, and from a presumptuous pessimism that despairs of this world and human destiny. For the providence of God encompasses all things, not only the good but also sin and suffering, sorrow and death. For if these realities were removed from God's guidance, then what in the world would there be left for him to rule?”

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins poem – “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”:

 

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

 

I say móre: the just man justices;

Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;

Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —

Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men's faces.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

July 20, 2017                Paul Atwater                mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Exodus 3:1-12a

 

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you.

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

July 13, 2017                David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 7   144,000 Sealed / The Great Multitude in White Robes

 

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.

16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

 

quoting from Hans Urs von Balthasar, Dare We Hope “That All Men Be Saved”? , the epigraph:

“Too often we think of hope in too individualistic a manner as merely our personal salvation. But hope essentially bears on the great actions of God concerning the whole of creation. It bears on the destiny of all humanity. It is the salvation of the world that we await. In reality hope bears on the salvation of all men – and it it only in the measure that I am immersed in them that it bears on me.”

~ Jean Danielou, S.J., Essai sur le mystere de l’histoire

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

July 6, 2017                  Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

The Collect for Independence Day

O Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won

liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations

then unborn: Grant we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this

land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and in

peace; through Christ Jesus our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and

the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #140            Acts 23:11-34                The Plot to Kill Paul / Paul Transferred to Caesarea

 

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than fortyof them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him,but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governorand handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

June 29, 2017               Tim Leary                     mp3

A Changed Life  – Acts 22:1-22

 

“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”

When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ 

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

 

Tim is the Park Street Church director of grad student ministry. He personally leads a group at MIT Sloan (MBA’s) and BU Law students and internationals. He has worked full time in ministry for 18 years for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He has 4 children and lives literally on the line between Milton and Quincy.

 

June 22, 2017               Paul Atwater                wma                 mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Genesis 12

 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

 

 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister,so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his householdbecause of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

June 15, 2017               Mark Booker                mp3

What Is Your “Anchor”?              Mark 14:26-31

 

26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[b] you yourself will disown me three times.”

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

 

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874    verse 2:

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

June 8, 2017                 David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 6   The Keys to the Kingdom

 

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder,“Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creaturesay, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake.The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g]wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

 

quoting from Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 45, c. 29 (PG 36, 662-64).

There were at that time all kinds of miracles: God on the Cross, the sun darkened … the veil of the temple rent …water and blood flowing from his side, the earth quaking, stones breaking, the dead rising. … Who can worthily extol such wonders? But none is to be compared with the miracle of my salvation: minute drops of blood making the whole world new, working the salvation of all men, as the drops of fig-juice one by one curdle the milk, reuniting mankind, knitting them together as one.

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

June 1, 2017                 Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

The Collect for Pentecost

O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful

people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant

us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and

evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of

Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in

the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #139            Acts 23:6-11                  The Immortality of the Soul, and the Resurrection of the Body

 

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee,descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

 

The Faith of a Physicist by John Polkinghorne (1994), pg. 163-164:

 

“… The Christian hope is, therefore, for me not the hope of survival of death, the persistence post mortem of a spiritual component which possesses, or has been granted, an intrinsic immortality. Rather, the Christian hope is of death and resurrection.  My understanding of the soul is that it is the almost infinitely complex, dynamic, information-bearing pattern, carried at any instant by the matter of my animated body and continuously developing throughout all the constituent changes of my bodily make-up during the course of my earthly life.  That psychosomatic unity is dissolved at death by the decay of my body, but I believe it is a perfectly coherent hope that the pattern that is me will be remembered by God and its instantiation will be recreated by him when he reconstitutes me in a new environment of his choosing.  That will be his eschatological act of resurrection.  Thus, death is a real end but not the final end, for only God himself is ultimate.  Although there have, of course, been strands of the Christian tradition which have used the language of the survival of an immortal soul, I believe that the tradition which is truer, both to New Testament insight and to modern understanding, is that which relies on the hope of a resurrection beyond death.

 

If this psychosomatic understanding is correct, then it is intrinsic to true humanity that we should be embodied. …”  “… Our Hope is of the resurrection of the body.  By that I do not mean the resuscitation of our present structure, the quaint medieval notion of reassembling of bones and dust.  In a very crude and inadequate analogy, the software running on our present hardware will be transferred to the hardware of the world to come.  And where will that eschatological hardware come from?  Surely the ‘matter’ of the world to come must be the transformed matter of this world.  God will no more abandon the universe than he will abandon us.  Hence the importance to theology of the empty tomb, with its message that the Lord’s risen and glorified body is the transmutation of his dead body.  The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning within history of a process whose fulfilment lies beyond history, in which the destiny of humanity and the destiny of the universe are together to find their fulfilment in a liberation from decay and futility (cf. Rom. 8.18-25).”

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

May 25, 2017                Mark Booker                mp3

Walk by Faith                Luke 8:40-56

 

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

 

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (Caravaggio, c. 1601-1602)

File:Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

May 18, 2017                Paul Atwater                wma                 mp3

A New Series: Leaders, and Leadership Gifts                  Genesis 50:18-20

 

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

 

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

May 11, 2017                David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 5   Victorious Victims

 

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lionof the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,

for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

May 4, 2017                  Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

A Series  on Acts - #138            Acts 23:6-11      What does Jesus teach about “Life After Death”?

 

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee,descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

 

Click on Year 2001 above to get to Jurgen’s teachings on

Christian Paradox: Death: Heaven, Hell, or Asleep   (May 3, 2001)

Christian Paradox: The Resurrected Body of Jesus  (May 17, 2001)

Christian Paradox: The Resurrection of our body      (June 14, 2001)

 

John Donne quote:

“One humour of our dead body produces worms, and those worms suck and exhaust all other humour, and then all dies, and all dries, and moulders into dust, and that dust is blown into the river, and that puddled water tumbled into the sea, and that ebbs and flows in infinite revolutions, and still, still God knows in what cabinet every seed-pearl lies, in what part of the world every grain of every man's dust lies; and sibilat populum suum, he whispers, he hisses, he beckons for the bodies of his saints, and in the twinkling of an eye, that body that was scattered over all the elements, is sat down at[ the right hand of God, in a glorious resurrection.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

April 27, 2017               Mark Booker                mp3

The Fourth Servant Song

 

The Servant Songs of Isaiah: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

 

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

13 See, my servant will act wisely[a];
    he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him
    his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
    and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
    and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
    and what they have not heard, they will understand.

53 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide
 their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment
 that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the
 Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb
 
to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring
 and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied[h];
by his knowledge[i] my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore
 the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

April 20, 2017               Paul Atwater                wma                 mp3

Just Keep On Forgiving

 

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

April 13, 2017               Tom Harrison               wma                 mp3

Thoughts on Luke Chapter 15 (“The Prodigal Son” parable)

 

Luke 15:1-3

 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: 

 

Luke 15:11-32

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinnedagainst heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your propertywith prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

 

Tom mentioned The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

 

Tom Harrison has been a regular attender of the Thursday Morning Men’s Breakfast for many years.  He is a general business and real estate attorney, and is Of Counsel with the firm of WaltersLacey LLP.  He advises clients on sales and acquisitions of real estate and businesses, commercial loan transactions, commercial leasing, and general business matters, including creation of business entities and preparation and review of contracts and agreements.  Tom also enjoys teaching.  He is a Visiting Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College and the Director of its Pre Law Program.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at Boston University School of Law.  Tom and his wife Kathy live in Norwell.  They are proud parents of Sarah Curtis (husband Josh), Lauren Hokenson (husband Erikk) and granddaughters Katie and Emma Curtis.  Tom served on active duty in the Navy and in the Naval Reserve for 20+ years and retired as a Commander, USNR.

 

April 6, 2017                 John Daniels giving the Corning Pevear Memorial Service Award       mp3

 

April 6, 2017                 Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

A Series  on Acts - #137            Acts 22:22-30

 

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

 

Numbers 11:10-17

 

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

 

Acts 23:1-10

 

1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a]

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee,descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

March 30, 2017             Tim Leary                     wma                 mp3

Go And Do Likewise – Luke 10:25-37

 

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

Tim is the Park Street Church director of grad student ministry. He personally leads a group at MIT Sloan (MBA’s) and BU Law students and internationals. He has worked full time in ministry for 18 years for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He has 4 children and lives literally on the line between Milton and Quincy.

 

March 23, 2017             Paul Atwater                wma                 mp3

Terms we sometimes use to describe ourselves:

Christians – Disciples - Evangelical

 

Mark 8:34-36

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

March 16, 2017             Mark Booker                mp3

The Foundation of the Servent’s Life is the Life-Giving Word of the God of Life

 

The Servant Songs of Isaiah: Isaiah 50:4-9

 

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

March 9, 2017               David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 4    The Politics of Praise

 

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpetsaid, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emeraldencircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatureshad six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

 

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.”

 

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

 

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

March 2, 2017               Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

Collect for Lent

Almighty and Everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou

hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:

create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily

lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness may

obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and

forgiveness: through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth

with Thee and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

 

A Series  on Acts - #136            Acts 22:12-22

 

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ 

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

February 23, 2017         Dr. Kenneth J. Barnes              wma                 mp3

How Should Christian Businessmen Handle Wealth?   Romans 12:1-16

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 

Ken is the Mockler-Philips Associate Professor of Workplace Theology and Business Ethics and Director of the Mockler Center for Faith & Ethics in the Workplace, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary     http://www.gordonconwell.edu/news/Kenneth-Barnes-Appointed-Workplace-Theology-and-Business-Ethics-Chair.cfm

 

February 16, 2017         Mark Booker                wma                 mp3

The Servant Songs of Isaiah: Isaiah 49:1-7


The Servant of the Lord

49 Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
    
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
    and my reward is with my God.”

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength—
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    
to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

This is what the Lord says—
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised
 and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
“Kings
 will see you and stand up,
    princes will see and bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

 

1 Corinthians 4:8-13

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

February 9, 2017           David Franks    (I apologize, no recording)

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

February 2, 2017           Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

Collect for The Feast of The Presentation

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as Thy only-begotten Son

 was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and

clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Right-Brain thoughts on Simeon and his point-of-view – Luke 2:22-38

 

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

January 26, 2017                      Paul Atwater                wma                 mp3

In The World, But Not Of The World – John 17:11-19

 

11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world,and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[a]your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[b] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them,for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[c] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

January 19, 2017                      Mark Booker                mp3

The Qualifications and Responsibilities of a Leader

 

Isaiah 42:1-4

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit
 on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

 

Mark is the Rector of Church of the Cross, Boston           http://www.cotcboston.org/home.html

 

January 12, 2017                      David Franks                wma                 mp3

Revelation 2:8-29    Making an Option for Love, not Power

 

To the Church in Smyrna

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful,even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new namewritten on it, known only to the one who receives it.

To the Church in Thyatira

18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds,your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’[b]—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

David is a Theologian and Ethicist, and his blog/website is www.newcityrising.com

 

January 5, 2017                        Jürgen Liias                 wma                 mp3

 

Collect for The Feast of The Epiphany

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the

peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where

we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one
 God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

A Series on Acts  #135              Acts 22:8-13

 

“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

 ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

 ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

 

Abraham Heschel:

The beginning of faith is not a feeling for the mystery of living or a sense of awe, wonder and amazement. The root of religion is the question what to do with the feeling for the mystery of living, what to do with awe, wonder and amazement.

Religion begins with a conscienceness that something is asked of us.

It is in that tense, eternal asking in which the soul is caught and in which man’s answer is elicited.

Religion consists of God's question and man's answer.

 

C.S. Lewis – The Weight of Glory

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

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