Monthly Archives: May 2017

May 26 – The Faces of the Day

Our spring sermon series has been built around the texts of some of the great hymns of the faith. Members of the church suggested the hymns, and seven with strong Scriptural references were chosen for the weeks between Easter and the beginning of the summer season.

One of the requested hymns is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and it will provide the theme for this Sunday’s sermon with the preaching text from Revelation 14 and its image of the grapes of wrath.  Come Sunday as we explore our lives and our times lived out in the realities of wrath and grace.

In preparing for the sermon, I put together a short video designed to remind us of the hymn and its context.  You may view the video here (or scroll down to the bottom of this post). Continue reading

May 19 – Body and Soul, In Life and In Death

This week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.

The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

We answer, “That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Yes, this week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.  Body and soul, in life and in death, we belong not to ourselves, but to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pam and Casey Huckel, along with Mackenzie, Scarlett, and Felicity, welcomed Clementine Violet into their family on Tuesday.

Marilyn Franzi and her family said good bye to Marilyn’s mother, Betty, who died at age 94 on Thursday.

Clementine and Betty both belong to God. Continue reading

May 12 – Praise for the Potter’s Projects

    But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand. – Isaiah 64:7

Becky and I are celebrating graduations this month.  On Saturday our son Christopher will receive his Master of Divinity degree from Gordon Conwell Seminary near Boston, and then on Monday our daughter Katharine’s Master of Fine Arts thesis project will receive final review at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. As a distant learner, she will not walk in a commencement ceremony, but by the end of the month the two masters will be done with academics and beginning next legs of their journeys.  For Christopher that means a pastoral internship at a large Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the Midwest – can’t say exactly where quite yet.  For Katharine it means continuing as an adjunct professor at Hillsdale College, but with new possibilities to explore with the MFA in hand.

We are proud parents, and absolutely proud of Katharine’s and Christopher’s accomplishments.  We’re so thankful for Katharine’s husband Ryan’s and Christopher’s wife Katie’s amazing love and support as Katharine and Christopher hacked their ways through some pretty dense academic and work load thickets. Continue reading

May 5 – What Jazz Taught Me About the Gospel

Music and I have a difficult relationship.  On the one hand, I like music very much. Hymns and psalms and spiritual songs speak to my heart as they tell of God’s love and sing of his grace. Hardly a highbrow, I appreciate the works of Bach and Handel.  And while I may not be able to tell a Chopin from a Schubert, I think I like them both. I am all but illiterate when it comes to contemporary pop music, but I’d probably be able to name that Simon and Garfunkel or Beatles tune from the 60s or 70s.

As for jazz, I’ve never cared much for jazz.  I don’t think I get it.

The fact of the matter is that music and I have a difficult relationship. I need to take responsibility for a lot of the difficulty. I haven’t spent much time developing my friendship with music. The presets on my car radio aren’t preset, and the CD player is rarely used. I don’t worry much about the storage used by the music library on my smart phone; it’s not a large library.  I find the sounds of silence often to be more soothing than music on my playlists.

There’s not a single piece of jazz on any of my playlists. Continue reading