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   Traditional Style - 9:00am

   Blended Style - 10:30am

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    Pastor's Posts

    Pastor David's Blog

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    2009 October 01

    "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs."  Psalm 100:1–2 (NIV)


    The more things change, the more they stay the same. I don’t know who said that first, but there is a certain amount of truth connected to it. We go through life, hoping that some things will change, but usually they don’t. The things we don’t want to change usually do. I guess it keeps us on our toes, and it keeps us from getting too complacent.

     

    Ministry, like life, is full of unexpected changes. As we enter the final quarter of the year, I have some news to share with the congregation. Recently, Vikki Gallien, our Director of Music Ministries, informed me of her intent to retire before the year’s end. As you know, I think our choir is second to none and we have been blessed by those who have dedicated their Thursday nights in preparation for Sunday worship under the leadership of Vikki.

     

    Some of you have already begun asking what we will do. I will tell you. We will move forward celebrating the time Vikki spent directing our choir while we wait upon the Lord to direct us to the person who will carry the music program forward.

     

    When I first arrived at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Lyn Snyder was the resident minstrel. When she announced her retirement, we all grieved and wondered who could ever take her place. The answer was that no one could. We didn’t try. We waited upon the Lord, and He brought Maurice to us. After a brief sojourn with us, Maurice departed to further his education, and Vikki stepped up to the plate and continued on in the faithful tradition of her predecessors. We are not likely to find another Vikki Gallien, nor should we try. We should wait patiently for the Lord to bring us the next person, whom we will embrace into our family and watch him or her work with the choir to continue bringing outstanding music to our worship services.

     

    As you all know, we now have three worship services, with three different approaches to music. The challenge that faces us is finding someone who can lead and give direction to all three worship services. To that end, the Session has voted to expand the position from 20 hours to 30 hours a week, in hopes that the Lord will bring someone to our church with a love of traditional choral music as well as an appreciation for the 10:30am blended service music and the 5:00pm contemporary praise service music.

     

    We already are putting together a group of people from Session and the Chancel Choir to define the position so we can start looking for the person God has in mind for this special ministry. Your prayers are particularly appreciated during this time, not only for the process of discovering who the new director will be, but also for Vikki and her husband, Rick, as they finish their time here and prepare to relocate to Lake Tahoe, where family eagerly awaits their return.

     

    In the meanwhile, please let Vikki know how much we have appreciated her leadership of the Chancel Choir and Hand Bell Players these past five years.

     

    Blessings to all,
    Pastor David

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    2009 June 01

    "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." II Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
    Listen To A Reading Of This Scripture»

     

    This past week, I was asked to participate in an informal online survey that asked the question, “What do you think is the greatest need in the church today?” These were the response options:

     

    1  Life Skills Management 
    2  Doctrine / Theology / Bible Training
    3  Spiritual Growth 
    4  Ministry Development / Spiritual Leadership Training 
    5  Church Health and Multiplication


    After some thought, I selected the second option—doctrine, theology, and Bible training. While I could argue for the benefits of any one of the other three options offered, it seems to me that, without a solid biblical foundation, without a basic understanding of why we believe what we believe, an important piece would be missing from the other options. Grounding ourselves in the Word of God will provide us with the tools for accomplishing the other goals, but without that knowledge, our hearts and our wills too easily can lead us astray.

     

    On May 27, I had the opportunity to participate in our Awana Awards Night. I wish all of you could have been there. The sanctuary was filled with children who were excited about “hiding God’s Word in their hearts.” Over the past year, these kids have memorized scores of biblical passages, studying these verses in context and learning applications for these verses in their daily lives.

     

    The letters in the word Awana stand for Approved Workers Are Not Ashamed, taken from II Timothy 2:15, which admonishes all believers to show themselves as approved workers who correctly handle the Word of God.

     

    The older we are, the harder it is for us to pack things into our long-term memory, which is why this program is so important for the future. As these kids grow and continue to learn and memorize God’s Word, they will have the foundation for cultivating good life skills. They will have developed patterns for continued spiritual growth. Statistics show that children who grow up with Awana are more likely to be involved in ministry, both professionally and as volunteers. These are the future church leaders who will help create healthy churches that are growing.

     

    It has been said that we cannot give to others what we do not possess ourselves. Therefore, I’d like to challenge all of you to memorize some Scripture. Starting with this issue, at the end of each of my Kirk Visitor articles, I will include two verses for you to memorize. You will have the entire month to do so, which should be no trouble, if you merely write down the verses and repeat them out loud once a day. If you take my challenge, I invite you to recite your verses to me some time during the month, to let me know that you are working to show yourselves to be Approved Workers (who) Are Not Ashamed, correctly handling the Word of Truth. Below are the first two verses.

     

    Jun 1–14 I Peter 3:15
      But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
       
    Jun 15–30 John 3:16
     

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

     

    Blessings,
    Pastor David

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    2009 May 01

    "If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well." 
    John 14:7 (NIV)  View Theological Commentary»

     

    On Maundy Thursday, my Homily asked the question, "Do we know Him?" I proceeded to wonder if the disciples knew Him . . . really knew Him for who He presented Himself to be. Or were they merely projecting their own desires upon Him? I concluded that it was the latter—that they projecting their hopes, their ambitions, their goals onto Jesus, without really taking a look at who He was presenting Himself to be.

     

    Do we do the same thing? Does that color the way we see Jesus? How can we be sure we know Him, really know him? I submit to you that the way to really know Jesus is through the Word, which hopefully connects our heads and hearts, and then finds application through our hands.

     

    When I say we can really know Jesus through the Word, I mean the whole Word. While the Gospels are an important source of information regarding the life of Jesus, by themselves they are insufficient. Jesus didn’t just appear in a moral and spiritual vacuum. He told His disciples that He came, not to do away with the Law or the prophets, but to fulfill them! Therefore, we must read the Gospels in the context of the Law and the prophets.

     

    But that is not enough, either. We must also look at the application given to us from Acts through Revelation. (Granted, application from Revelation is a bit tricky, but still present!) Jesus can, and must be known within the whole counsel of God.

     

    To that end, Jody showed me a list she received at Community Bible Study, and it fit so well with this topic that I decided to share it with you. Where can we find Jesus? The same place we find God—in every book of the Bible. God bless.

     

    Jesus in Every Old Testament Book of the Bible
    In Genesis, Jesus is the Ram at Abraham's altar. 
    In Exodus, He's the Passover Lamb. 
    In Leviticus, He's the High Priest. 
    In Numbers, He's the Cloud by day and Pillar of fire by night. 
    In Deuteronomy, He's the City of our refuge. 
    In Joshua, He's the Scarlet Thread out Rahab's window. 
    In Judges, He is our Judge. 
    In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer. 
    In I Samuel and II Samuel, He's our Trusted Prophet. 
    And in Kings and Chronicles, He's our Reigning King.
    In Ezra, He is our Faithful Scribe. 
    In Nehemiah, He's the Rebuilder of everything that is broken. 
    And in Esther, He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate.
    In Job, He's our Redeemer that ever liveth. 
    In Psalms, He is my Shepherd, and I shall not want. 
    In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He's our Wisdom. 
    And in the Song of Solomon, He's the Beautiful Bridegroom.
    In Isaiah, He's the Suffering Servant. 
    In Jeremiah and Lamentations, it is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet. 
    In Ezekiel, He's the Wonderful Four-Faced Man. 
    And in Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace.
    In Hosea, He is my Love that is forever faithful. 
    In Joel, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. 
    In Amos, He's our Burden Bearer. 
    In Obadiah, our Savior. 
    And in Jonah, He is the Great Foreign Missionary that takes the Word of God into all of the world.
    You go on and you see in Micah, He is the Messenger with beautiful feet. 
    In Nahum, He is the Avenger. 
    In Habakkuk, He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival. 
    In Zephaniah, He is the Lord mighty to save. 
    In Haggai, He is the Restorer of our lost heritage. 
    In Zechariah, He is our Fountain. 
    And in Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings.

     

    Jesus in Every New Testament Book of the Bible
    In Matthew, Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God. 
    In Mark, He is the Miracle Worker. 
    In Luke, He’s the Son of Man 
    And in John, He is the Door by which every one of us must enter.
    In Acts, He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus. 
    In Romans, He is our Justifier. 
    In I Corinthians, He is our Resurrection. 
    In II Corinthians, He is our Sin Bearer. 
    In Galatians, He redeems us from the law. 
    In Ephesians, He is our Unsearchable Riches. 
    In Philippians, He supplies our every need. 
    And in Colossians, He’s the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily.
    In I Thessalonians and II Thessalonians, He is our Soon Coming King. 
    In I Timothy and II Timothy, He is the Mediator between God and man. 
    In Titus, He is our Blessed Hope. 
    In Philemon, He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. 
    And in Hebrews, He’s the Blood of the everlasting covenant.
    In James, it is the Lord that heals the sick. 
    In I Peter and II Peter, He is the Chief Shepherd. 
    In I John, II John, and III John, it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love. 
    In Jude, He is the Lord coming with 10,000 saints. 
    And in Revelation, lift up your eyes, Church, for your redemption draws nigh;
    He is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

     

    Blessings.
    Pastor David

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    2009 April 01

    "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”  Luke 24:5–6 (NIV) 
    View Theological Commentary»

     

    In every area of our lives, we mark special days for celebration, and those celebrations become traditions which establish foundations for relationships and families for years. Celebrations are a time to reflect and rejoice at what happened in our past and to anticipate what the future holds. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. You name it, we celebrate it.

     

    For Christianity, Easter is a most important celebration—perhaps the most important celebration—for it is truly the benchmark and foundation of our faith. Paul said, "If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain." Easter is a day to celebrate, but, not without understanding, not without reflecting and rejoicing at what happened almost two thousand years ago, and not without anticipating what the future holds.

    Those who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry knew they were on to something big, but I do not think they realized the full scope of who Jesus is or why he came. If we look at the behavior of Jesus' followers after Jesus was arrested, we see that they withdrew, scattered and hid from the authorities. If Jesus had been arrested, his followers must have reasoned, surely they would be next.

     

    When the news of the Resurrection reached them, they were dumbfounded. It was after their encounter with the risen Jesus that their lives were radically changed. For the first time since God began to be revealed to the nation of Israel, the intention of God to redeem humanity was understood. Jesus was the link between a chasm that separated all of humanity from Divine love, forgiveness, compassion and mercy. The door was opened wide by Jesus Christ, and all who believe in Jesus are invited in to fellowship with God.

     

    The radical transformation of the disciples began a process in history that continues down to this very day. As we believers celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday, we stand with almost two thousand years of Christian tradition that not only remembers what happened that morning but also celebrates the hope of eternal life with God. If we are a people who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, then we also know that the best is yet to come.

     

    Can you imagine the excitement of the disciples when Jesus showed up in their midst after the Resurrection? That had to be a celebration like none had ever seen. I am convinced that that celebration will pale in comparison to the celebration we will share upon the return of our Lord. He is risen!


    Blessings.
    Pastor David

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    2009 March 01

    "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
    Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV) View Theological Commentary»

     

    It is Monday night, two days before Rick Moore and I head to Ethiopia to visit the Afar Population, and I am trying to get caught up on some things before we fly out. As I scurry about trying not to forget anything, I catch myself thinking about how blessed we all are to be used by God in advancing His kingdom. If you ever wonder if God is at work in the world today, you need only look at the mission projects we are involved in as a church. From supporting work among the urban poor in the greater San Diego area, to partnering with missionaries in Paris, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church is a significant participant in world mission.

     

    I can only imagine how grateful Paul was to have the support of the Philippian church. The trials and tribulations associated with Paul and his missionary work could fill volumes, but the support of the Philippian church filled Paul's soul with joy. The significance of the Philippian contribution to Paul's mission work probably will never be fully understood this side of eternity. The Philippians understood, though. They knew that God was doing something in their time that would change the course of history. They were right.

     

    We are in no less an important time today. The trials and tribulations in advancing the kingdom of God will always meet opposition. But, I am convinced that God is doing things in our time that is altering the course of history as we participate in the expansion of the kingdom through our mission support and participation.

     

    What a privilege it is for me to represent you on this upcoming excursion. I am told that the desert is blooming and lives are being transformed because we care enough to see beyond our own facilities. Where there was once only heartache and despair, there is now hope and encouragement. I am also excited that Rick Moore is going with me! I can’t wait for him to share with you his experiences. They will confirm what I have been telling you all along. We make a difference. That is one of the reasons I thank God every time I remember you.

     

    We have received all our shots. We are taking medication to prevent malaria. We have our industrial-strength insect repellent. The cameras are ready, and our hearts are excited. I only wish that all of you could come and see what is happening. Well, there is always next year!

     

    By the time you read these words, Rick and I will have returned, but I know that many of you will have prayed for us and for that, I am grateful. Stay true to the convictions of your beliefs, and let’s watch God do something special in all our lives. May God richly bless you all as we strive to honor Him in all we do!

     

    Grace and peace,
    Pastor David