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Christian teachings:  Please feel free to download these files.  The files are offered in mp3 format.

 

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March 14, 2018                    David Franks                       mp3   

 

In My End Is My Beginning

 

Revelation 21:5-6               New International Version (NIV)        

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

 

Revelation 21:9-21 New International Version (NIV)

The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[d]thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

 

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Jürgen MoltmannThe Coming of God (1995), Preface, pg. x-xi:

 

In the end is the beginning: 

 

    But Christian eschatology has nothing to do with apocalyptic ‘final solutions’ of this kind, for its subject is not ‘the end’ at all. On the contrary, what it is about is the new creation of all things. Christian eschatology is the remembered hope of the raising of the crucified Christ, so it talks about beginning afresh in the deadly end. ‘The end of Christ – after all that was his tru beginning’, said Ernst Bloch. Christian eschatology follows this Christological pattern in all its personal, historical and cosmic dimensions: in the end is the beginning.

 

    That is how Dietrich Bonhoeffer took leave of his fellow prisoner, Payne Best, in Flossenbürg concentration camp, as he went to his execution: ‘This is the end – for me the beginning of life.’ That is how John on Patmos saw the Last Judgment of the world – not as annihilation, a universal conflagration, or death in a cosmic winter. He saw it as the first day of the new creation of all things: ‘See, I am making all things new’ (Rev. 21:5).

Wherever life is perceived and lived in community and fellowship with Christ, a new beginning is discovered hidden in every end.

 

T.S. EliotThe Complete Poems & Plays (2004), Four Quartets (1943)

East Coker (No. 2 of ‘Four Quartets’)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older

The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated

Of dead and living. Not the intense moment

Isolated, with no before and after,

But a lifetime burning in every moment

And not the lifetime of one man only

But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

There is a time for the evening under starlight,

A time for the evening under lamplight

(The evening with the photograph album).

Love is most nearly itself

When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers

Here and there does not matter

We must be still and still moving

Into another intensity

For a further union, a deeper communion

Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,

The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters

Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

 

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

 

March 7, 2019                      Tim Clayton              mp3

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

Biography Link   https://ctrnorthshore.org/father-tim-clayton/

 

February 28, 2019              Paul Atwater             mp3

Matthew 3:1-17                     A New Series: Surprised By Jesus

 

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

February 21, 2019              Mark Booker                        mp3               

2 Corinthians 5:1-10                      discussing the concept of Works

 

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

 

Acts 17:30-31 New International Version (NIV)

30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judgethe world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 

John 5:22-30 New International Version (NIV)

22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

 

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

 

February 14, 2018              David Franks                       mp3   

 

Revelation 21:1-4   New International Version (NIV)

A New Heaven and a New Earth

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

Shakespeare – Sonnet 116:

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 

Admit impediments. Love is not love 

Which alters when it alteration finds, 

Or bends with the remover to remove. 

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 

That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 

It is the star to every wand'ring bark, 

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 

Within his bending sickle's compass come; 

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 

But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 

If this be error and upon me prov'd, 

I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

 

Josef Pieper – Faith Hope, Love (1997), pg. 170-171:

 

First, let us remember that “the most marvelous of all things a being can do is to be.” Existence itself, “la présence effective dans le monde”, this simple “act” of being in existence – this being that is so completely incomprehensible and subject to no definition whatsoever, is conferred upon us and all other beings by love and by love alone. And precisely this is what we know and corroborate when we ourselves love. For what the lover gazing upon his beloved says and means is not: How good that you are so (so clever, useful, capable, skillful), but: It’s good that you are; how wonderful that you exist!

Second, the other element in these claims that remains true in spite of the seeming frenzy of the statements is this: that in fact the most extreme form of affirmation that can possibly be conceived of is creation, making to be, in the strict sense of the word. “Creation is the comparative of affirmation.” And I am convinced that no one more fully appreciates this, no one is more persuaded of it beyond all argumentation and proof, than the tru lover. He “knows” that his affirmation directed toward the beloved would be pointless were not some other force akin to creation involved – and, moreover, a force not merely preceding his own love but one that is still at work and that he himself, the loving person, participates in and helps along by loving. …  It is God who in the act of creation anticipated all conceivable human love and said: I will you to be; it is good, “very good” (Gen 1:31), that you exist. He has already infused everything that human beings can love and affirm, goodness along with existence, and that means lovability and affirmability. Human love, therefore, is by its nature and must inevitably be always an imitation and a kind of repetition of this perfected and, in the exact sense of the word, creative love of God. And perhaps the lover is not unaware of this before reflecting at all. How otherwise, for example, can we understand what is perhaps too rarely considered: that even the very first stirrings of love contain an element of gratitude? But gratitude is a reply; it is knowing that one has been referred to something prior, in this case to a larger frame of universal reference that supersedes the realm of immediate empirical knowledge.

 

 

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

 

February 7, 2019                 Jürgen Liias             mp3

 

A Series on Acts - #156       Paul Sails for Rome - The Storm & The Shipwreck

 

Acts 27:21-44

 

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

The Shipwreck

27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

January 31, 2019                Dr. Jeffrey Arthurs              mp3

Encouragement

Proverbs 18:21

 

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

3 Questions about Encouragement:

1 – What does it mean?

2 – Who needs encouragement?

3 – How can we give encouragement?

 

Biography Link:         Professor at Gordon-Conwell

 

January 24, 2019                Paul Atwater             mp3

John 8:2-11               Everyone Needs To Be Rescued

 

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

Biography Link   www.northriverchurch.org

 

January 17, 2019                Jürgen Liias             mp3

 

The Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep, 
Its own appointed limits keep.

Oh hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

 

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at Thy word,

Who walked on the foaming deep,

And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea!

 

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,

And bid its angry tumult cease,

And give her wild confusion, peace;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea!

 

Oh Trinity of love and pow'r,
Our family’s shield in danger's hour,
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us where so e'er we go.

Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea! Amen.
.

 

A Series on Acts - #155       Paul Sails for Rome - The Storm

 

Acts 27:9-26

 

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

 

Thomas Howard – “On Being Catholic”, pg. 180:

Divine worship is referred to in the word latria, from the Greek. Such veneration may be given to no creature, not the burning seraphim themselves, much less to one of us mortals. It is reserved for God alone. At the other end of things we find dulia, which refers to the honor we mortals justly pay to those among us who should be honored: monarchs; heads of state; our elders; our parents; our teachers; heroes; and so forth. Such honor, it may be remarked here, can take on lavish proportions and yet stay clear of idolatry. We need only recall the golden state coach, Windsor grays, arches, plumes, guards, trumpets, ermine, gems, and gold that are brought out to honor the monarch of England; or the ticker-tape parades through Wall Street for astronauts and other heroes; or the rites and observances brought into play in connection with the memory of, say, Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy. Mere dulia, then, often rises to sumptuous heights: but we do not call it idolatry, even though foolish people may indeed “idolize” such venerable figures. But the display itself is just and fitting, we claim.

 

link to Jürgen’s blog  jurgenliias.blogspot.com

 

January 10, 2018                David Franks                       mp3   

 

The Lesson: “The Sabbath of History”

 

Revelation 20:1-4   New International Version (NIV)

The Thousand Years

20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

 

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

 

January 3, 2019                  Mark Booker                        mp3               

Matthew 2:1-12                         Jesus: Ruler or Rival?

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

 

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

 

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