Saturday, May 31, 2014

Preparing for Worship - June 1, 2014 Obey the Law of Christ.

This Sunday is June 1, 2014. We plan to continue in the current teaching series from the book of Galatians.  We have worked our way through the book and today we arrive in chapter 6.  I have challenged our church family to read a minimum of one chapter a day for six days from the book of Galatians.  I hope you are reading chapter 6 today!

Pastor Jordan remains on paternity leave as we celebrate with them the birth of Kyle Jane.   

This Sunday we will look to our worship team to  lead us in worship of song using the iworship clips.

Here is the planned order of worship:

We begin with a welcome and opening prayer and stand to sing our praise unto the Lord.

Now we take time to greet one another and hear the announcements of opportunities to connect together and the serve the Lord outside the walls of our church!

As we bring our tithes and offerings in thanks to the Lord - the worship team will lead us in a great song to prepare our hearts for communion. 

We join in reading in unison:

With our hearts turned toward the Lord - we now hear the Word of GOD proclaimed:

Obey the Law of Christ                         
Galatians 6:1-10

In his letter to the Galatians churches, Paul tells them that they cannot reach God by following the old Law. But at the end of his letter, in chapter 6, Paul tells them to “obey the law of Christ.” It seems like Paul is contradicting himself here, simply giving a different set of rules to follow. But that is not the case! Rather, Paul is drawing the Galatians past the hopeless requirements of the old Law, to the freeing truth of what it means to follow Christ.

Tomorrow, Pastor Rick shares with us three ways to keep the laws of Christ.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Funny - You will enjoy this!

Here is today's Friday Funny.  Enjoy the humor of David Ferrell - from North Carolina. 

David Ferrell, clean comedian, offers a highly-interactive mixture of hilarious stand-up comedy and outrageous impressions. His comedy show is 100% clean and appeals to all ages and backgrounds. As heard on Sirius/XM "Laugh USA", David was named one of five "Hot Acts" by Events Solutions magazine. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to respond when you feel like giving up: Pound the ground!

We all start out so strong. Passionate with the message of Jesus and driven by the mission God has given us. But inevitably, it begins to fade. We start to slow down. We grow weary of the struggle and begin justifying an easier life; settling for simply surviving. How did we get here? And what are we missing out on in the life God planned for us? In this clip from the sermon "Pound The Ground," Pastor Steven teaches us through the life of Elisha, that there are still victories left to be won, if we are willing to keep pounding.

Elisha’s Final Prophecy   2 Kings 13:14 - 20

When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried.
Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands.
Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.”
 Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.”
 Then Elisha died and was buried.

How To Respond When You Feel Like Giving Up from Elevation Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Step into a New Normal and join us for prayer at 6:30 this evening.

Tonight we gather for prayer at NRN.  This is such an important time for our church and mission.  The Lord brought to my mind how important prayer is.  One day this week I had several important meetings on one day and to be honest, I was a little concerned about of  the meetings. Then I sensed the presence of God and was reminded that there is a prayer covering over me each time I step into an opportunity for ministry. 

Our prayers for one another are very important.  Praying with others is vital to enhance our time with God. 

I invite you to step away from the present normal of your life and join with others this evening at 6:30pm as we gather for prayer at NRN 

Here is a primer for our time together this evening:

Here are two ways to live "In Prayer":

1. Spirit of Prayer: This is a day by day, moment by moment awareness of God's presence -- maintaining a prayerful attitude throughout all the day's interactions.

2. Seasons of Prayer: Setting apart extended time to pray deeply. This may be a daily time of solitude with your Savior.  It also applies to getting away for a day (or half day, or two days, etc) for prayerful reflection -- hearing from the Lord.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The $20 purchase that changed a life

When three New York college students bought a $20 couch from a Salvation Army thrift store, they weren’t expecting much. In fact, they almost passed it over because it was so old and smelly, but it fit the dimensions of their home perfectly so they decided to get it anyway.

Once they took it home, however, they learned the couch’s wonderful secret:
SUNY New Paltz student Reese Werkhoven and roommates Callie Guasti and Lara Russo told WABC-TV they were shocked to find $40,000 in cash after deciding to find out why the used couch was so uncomfortable.

"At first we found the money but there was no name or anything, and we're bugging out, like, what kind of boat are we going to get, where are we going," Werkhoven said.
The trio found the money in envelopes stashed in different parts of the couch. They said they instantly started discussing the things they could do with the money, until they found a deposit slip, according to the WABC report.

"Next door, they actually thought that we won the lottery. Our walls are really thin between our wall and their wall," Guasti told the station. 

The students tracked down the woman whose name was on the envelope -- a 91-year-old who hid the money because she didn't trust banks. The woman's children donated the couch when she was in the hospital with a broken hip.
"It wasn't a debate, we immediately reached a consensus that this is her money," Werkhoven told the station.

The woman gave $1,000 to Werkhoven, Guasti and Russo as a reward for returning the $40,000, according to The Little Rebellion blog.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 - A tribute - Remembering my dad

On this Memorial Day 2014 - I am once again reminded that this holiday weekend is not really about mattress sales or simply a day off.  It is a day to celebrate our freedoms and remember those who gave their life to preserve these freedoms. 

A family activity today could be taken from Thanksgiving Day traditions.  As you have a meal today, why not take the time to say what freedom you are thankful for.

Here is a tribute to those who provide our freedom of speech and to gather for worship. 

Today I am remembering my dad 
             Paul Richard Hudgens.

I recently read over a copy of my dad's discharge form from the US Army.  Here is what caught my attention as I noticed his commendations. It reads simply:

Normandy  Northern France   Ardennes
Rhineland Ground Combat
4 overseas service bars  Good conduct medal
European - African - Middle Eastern
Ribbon w/ 1 silver battle star
World War 11 Victory Metal 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reflection of my message today at NRN May 25, 2014 What should our life look like in the New Normal?

     What should our life look like I the New Normal?

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.       
                                                                                                 Galatians 5:1-4 (NLT)

“A fundamental insight of Martin Luther was that “religion” is the default mode of the human heart.  So Luther says that even after you are converted by the gospel your heart will go back to operating on other principles unless you deliberately, repeatedly set it to gospel mode”      (Timothy Keller, 2008, pgs. 128-129).

How Does True CHANGE Happen In The New Normal?

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!                       Galatians 5:16-23 (NLT)

How change happens in the new normal:

1. The new normal happens GRADUALLY

Christian change is gradual, it's mysterious, it's seasonal, it's slow, it's almost invisible.  In other words, you have to be careful not to be impatient. But on the other hand, here's the hard side of this, Christian growth is inevitable. If you have the Spirit of God in you, there will be change...

ILL:  G. Campbell Morgan told a story that's probably my favorite example of gradual growth and the power of growth.  He said he was in Italy and he was in a graveyard and he saw that there was a huge marble slab over some man's grave, but an acorn had gotten into the grave, you know, about 600 years ago.  And out of that acorn came a shoot, and out of the shoot came a tree and out of that acorn had come a tree that had grown up so big and so tall it had split the marble slab in half.  Now, common sense will tell you, "Here's an acorn.  Here's a slab.  Who wins? 1,000 lbs. is down on the acorn.  Who wins?  It's a no-brainer. No contest."  That's right.  No contest.  The acorn will always win. 

2. The new normal is INEVITABLE for a believer.

If we are saved and the Holy Spirit lives within us spiritual growth in to the new normal is inevitable.  Our Father’s goal is for all believers to continually make progress toward Christlikeness. The most important decision in our life is that your relationship with God will deepen. If your relationship is not deepening – it will grow stagnant. This is what Paul is speaking about….  You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 

3. The new normal happens INTERNALLY
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.                         Galatians 5:19-23 (NIV)

4. The new normal happens SYMMETRICALLY
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.                                             Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

The chapter ends with these practical words for us:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful  nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.                                      Galatians 5:24-26 (NLT)

Today, 4 people responded to my invitation to the filled with Holy Spirit.  God is at work in our midst! 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Preparing for Worship on May 25 2014

Our church family has been on Baby Watch as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Pastor Jordan and Alana's little girl any time now.  The due date of May 20 has passed and we are in prayerful anticipation of her arrival. Alana is doing well and the waiting is underway. Watch our Facebook page and this blog for the announcement when the arrival occurs. 

We are pleased to announce that Kyra Jane Unfried was born on Friday May 23rd at 11:49pm.  She is a healthy    6 lbs. 8 ozs. and 20 " long. Everyone is happy and healthy!

Here is the planned order of worship.  
We make our plans, but God has the last word!  We will using the iworship clips to assist our worship today. The clips below are the ones we plan to use during worship tomorrow. 

We begin with a welcome and time of celebration for Pastor Jordan and Alana in the birth of their daughter.  Then we join in prayer; and stand to offer our praise to God in song:


We take a few moments to greet one another and enjoy a time of connection with our church family and new friends!  On this Memorial Day weekend we also pause to remember the price paid for our freedom.  Here is my favorite Memorial Day tribute:

We continue in our worship by bringing our tithes and offerings to the Lord.

And we now draw our attention to the preaching of the Word of God.

Galatians  Chapter 5

Becoming a Christian takes our entire lives. There was a point in the past when we started following Jesus, but it takes a lifetime to become more like him. We tend to get frustrated when we grow slowly. If being a believer is a new normal, why does it seem to take so long for us to change? The truth is, change happens every day, little by little. We will look tomorrow at four ways change happens in the New Normal! 

 I hope you will read Galatians Chapter 5 before you come to church tomorrow.

Now - give a phone call to that person you should invite to church tomorrow........     

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Funnies: Rev. Fun

One of my favorite web sites is for Rev. Fun.  Here are some of my favorite cartoons from the past year:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

14 predictions for America's churches

Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Author of 22 books, he is a frequent and insightful commentator on faith and culture.  The first week of January of this year, Dr. Rainer wrote a provocative piece titled, "Fourteen predictions for American Churches for 2014."  Here's his list:
    Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right. I know. I certainly don’t always get it right.
    But I don’t pull my predictions out of thin air. To the contrary, each of them has a reasonable explanation. For these fourteen predictions, I gleaned from several sources:
    ·         Data-based research, particularly LifeWay Research.
    ·         Trends that are already underway and gaining momentum.
    ·         Conversations with hundreds of church leaders.
    ·         My own experiences, based on 25 years of consulting and research of American congregations.
    This year I am adding a new feature, a confidence factor. For example, if I said I had 100 percent confidence that a prediction would become reality, it would mean that I have absolutely no doubt about it. None of these predictions have a 100 percent confidence factor. But none of them fall below 70 percent either. That means I have a fairly high level of certainty about each of these trends.
    The order of the trends is random. They are not ranked in any particular priority. Today, I will share the first seven, and then conclude with the final seven on Saturday.
    1.   Increased church acquisitions. Smaller churches will seek to be acquired by larger churches in increasing numbers. One of the big factors is simply personnel cost. Many smaller churches can no longer afford to pay a pastor a salary and benefits, particularly health care benefits.  (75% confidence factor).
    2.   Downsizing of denominational structures. Many denominational structures are becoming smaller because their churches are declining. Others are feeling economic pinches. This trend of smaller and more efficient denominational structures at all levels will only become more pervasive in 2014. (90%).
    3.   Decline in conversion growth. American churches that grow are more likely to get their growth at the expense of other churches. Evangelism is waning in many churches, and fewer non-believers are becoming Christians. The negative reaction to programmatic evangelistic methods has evolved into an overreaction. Too few churches emphasize personal and church-based evangelism. (75%)
    4.   More megachurches. The data are clear that there are more megachurches (average worship attendance of 2,000 or more) today than a year ago. There is also little doubt the trend will continue. The only uncertainty is whether or not the rate of growth of megachurches will continue to climb. (85%)
    5.   Greater number of churches moving to a unified worship style. For years a noticeable trend was churches offering different worship styles. The most common was the offering of two services: traditional and contemporary, though the definitions of each were elusive. In the next year we will we see a reversal of that trend, as many of those same churches decide to move to one common worship style. (70%)
    6.   Increased emphasis on high-expectation church membership. For decades American congregations as a whole lowered their expectations of church membership. One could be on a church roll in many churches and not even attend worship services for years. We will see a gradual reversal of that trend in 2014 as more churches move to higher-expectation membership. (70%).
    7.   Increased challenges for congregations to build and acquire land due to restrictive governmental policies. American churches will experience more frustration with governmental authorities as they seek to expand, build, and acquire land. Part of the reason will be due to the authorities’ concern about traffic and congestions. Another part is the underlying concern of losing a property tax base to a nonprofit organization. In a few cases there will be outright animosity and prejudice against Christians and churches. (80%)
    8.   More large churches will function like mini-denominations. These churches will have multiple locations. They will have one senior or lead pastor, and several other campus pastors. They are more likely to fund their own missions priorities, even if they are also contributing to a denominational missions fund. Many of them will write their own small group literature. Some will have their own church planting strategies. (70% confidence factor)
    9.   New worship centers will be built smaller. There will be a greater emphasis on smaller gatherings more frequently. This trend is being affected significantly by the preferences of the Millennial generation (born 1980 to 2000). A related trend is that many congregations will find ways to downsize their existing worship centers. (70%)
    10.  Increased emphasis on small groups. In 2014 we will see a decided shift from nearly two decades of the “worship revolution” to the “small group revolution.” Church leaders are rapidly discovering that members who connect to groups are the most faithful members in the church by a myriad of metrics. That is not to suggest that worship will become unimportant; it is to suggest that small groups will have a greater emphasis than the previous quarter century. (75%)
    11.  Longer pastoral tenure. There will be incremental but steady growth in the length of tenure of pastors at a given church. Part of the reason is the influence of the Millennials who do not view larger churches as their next step in ministry. Part of the reason is economic; moving in today’s economy is not nearly as easy in pre-recession days. Hopefully, the main reason is a sense of God’s call to stay rather than move. (75%)
    12.  Local churches increasing their roles as ministry training leaders. The role of ministry training in the past decades fell largely upon Bible colleges and seminaries. More churches in 2014 will partner with those colleges and seminaries to provide contextual training at a local church. (90%)
    13.  Church movement to the community. The posture of many American churches in the most recent decades has been to find ways to get people in the community to come to the church. That is shifting, perhaps dramatically. In more churches, the congregation will move to the community. Instead of a philosophy of “y’all come,” the dominant theme will be “we’ll go.” The congregants will be a more powerful presence in the community they serve, thus ministering to, influencing, and reaching more people with the gospel. (80%)
    14.  More multiple teaching/preaching pastors. In larger churches, there has been a decided trend toward having more than one teaching and preaching pastor. Now the trend is taking place in smaller churches. We will see more churches with attendance under 200, even some under 100, with more than one teaching/preaching pastor. Of course, not all of them will be full-time vocationally at the church, so there will be more bi-vocational pastors whose role is to be a second or even third pastor in these smaller churches. (85%)
    These fourteen predictions are not infallible. But there does seem to be growing evidence that most, if not all of them, will become a reality in 2014.
  Have you prayed for a great moral and spiritual renewal
in your heart and country today?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As we pray - stop and listen - God is answering prayer.

As a group gathers for prayer this evening at NRN, Sharron and I are scheduled to be traveling back from a training workshop near Richmond Va. I am asking the prayer group to remember several request, including praying for us as we travel.  God is at work in our church and our ministry. I also hope the group will take a few moments of silence during the prayer time is evening to listen to what God is saying.

Here is a primer for the time this evening:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Moment by Moment

The great devotional writer, Andrew Murray's favorite hymn was Moment By Moment:

Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.


Never a heartache, and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.


Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus my Savior, abides with me still.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pastors - When was the last time you had fun?

I continue to be haunted by a question Tim Rice, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, asked me at the Hunger Games (also known as the PCA Assessment Center). As one of our assessors, he asked me during our two-hour interview,

"When was the last time you had fun?"

Put differently, "When was the last time you took time out for yourself?"

For many, perhaps even most, that question provides no cause for alarm, but for me, as well as many other pastors, that question shakes us at our core.

Once the question was asked, I responded in a bit of amazement. It was not with words, however. I turned to my wife with a look of confusion; my mouth was still closed; she nodded in agreement as if to say, "I have been thinking the same thing." Since my wife knows me best, I could not escape the reality of Tim's question and the subsequent answer.

Apparently, I do not have fun. I do not take time out for myself.

What do I mean?

Pastoral ministry requires a lot of you.

Although our work cannot be measured in the same manner as other vocations (e.g., a real estate agent, construction worker, etc.), we, nevertheless, spend many hours on the job.

As a pastor, someone is always bidding for your time. Those unexpected visits at your study that turn into two hours, emails that need to be sent, counseling conducted, home visitations scheduled and executed, session meetings arranged, disputes settled, checks written, the scriptures properly interpreted (i.e., exegesis), prayer properly utilized, funerals conducted, marriages officiated, so-called important questions that people must have answered, and on and on.

This is only a part of pastoral ministry. There are many other aspects to it; nevertheless, all of the aforementioned, and more, are extremely time consuming.

You see, I enjoy what I do. Because of that, I do not mind putting in long hours. My vocation does not seem like work oftentimes.

Before my family awakes, therefore, I work. When they retire for the evening, I work. Like the navy, pastoral ministry is a 24/7 calling.

But unfortunately I have not learned that my work will always be there, and I need to take time out for myself.

When do I turn off my phone and go for a walk with my family?

When do I stop checking Facebook, Twitter, and email to take a drive and/or walk in the wilderness (in Virginia) and simply thank God for his creation?

Why don't I go to the neighborhood park to play basketball more frequently?

Why don't I set aside more time to take hikes, take my wife out for a date more often, travel ... have fun?

It is because I have developed a bad habit in pastoral ministry. I have not learned how to punch the mental clock-out card. And regrettably, if I keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny, for the sake of pastoral ministry, I will not be a pastor that long. I will burn out. My wife seems to agree.

Pastor, can you relate?

Perhaps if I put it differently you can. What is your off-day?

According to my session, it is Thursday, but what happens when Thursday arrives? I am still sending emails, making home visits, receiving phone calls and the like. Thursday really is not an off-day then. Perhaps I check my email a bit less and I do not feel pressured to put in as many hours, but I do work.

Yes, I do work, and even as I type this, Pastor Rice's question rings in my mind, "When was the last time you had fun?" When was the last time you took time out for yourself?

Pastor, can you relate? I hope you cannot, but my gut tells me you can.

In the past, I have tried to make sure I take a day off. That does not last long, however. I end up working. I am not sure what to do presently, but I am working on it. I hope that through counsel and actually implementing what I learn from older and wiser pastors, I can begin to have fun, that is, take time out for myself.

Pastor Rice, thank you for asking me this question. It still penetrates my heart. 

NOTE: This article originally appeared here on the Reformation 21 blog.

Leon is the Assistant Pastor of New City Fellowship of Fredericksburg. Leon is married to his wife, Rosalinda, and they have one child on the way. Leon served in the United States Navy from 1998-2008 and was the founder of the Evangelism Team parachurch organization from 2006-2010.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflection from my sermon today at NRN - 3 pictures of our relationship with God

I trust that today was a great day at NRN!  Thanks to Pastor Jordan for leading worship today.  Here is a reflection from my message today:

Have you ever had a distorted relationship with someone? Maybe it was a family member and it seemed like the primary method of communication between you was shouting. Maybe it was a friendship that soured. Maybe it was a work relationship based on fear and jealousy. What about your relationship with God? Do you see him as an irritable taskmaster, checking to see whether you are following the rules? Is he an indifferent observer, who doesn’t seem to care about you or your life? Or is he a loving father, who wants nothing more than for us to love him back? How would you describe your relationship with God? Here are three pictures that contrast images of our relationship with God.

First Picture: SON vs SLAVE               

Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything.  But he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.  So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world.  But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.  And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.                               Galatians 4:1-7

Second Picture: RULES   vs RELATIONSHIP

Galatians 4:8- 20
Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless basic forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?               Galatians 4: 12-15

Third Picture: CONTRACT vs COVENANT     
                                                     Galatians 4:21- 31
But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac. But just as at that time the one born by natural descent persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” of the free woman. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.                                                                                 Galatians 4:28-31 NET



A covenant says that “I will fulfill my end, no matter what.” So despite all of Abraham’s failings, despite all of his descendants’ failings, God remains faithful. The secret of our being faithful is dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Next week we move from theology to practical life application. Let’s be careful not to try to mix the Law and grace – it leads to a frustrated, barren Christian life. Living by grace, through faith, leads to a free and fulfilling Christian life. This is a step toward the New Normal.   


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Preparing for Worship on May 18 2014 - 1st draft as we are on baby watch

As we prepare for worship tomorrow at NRN I am sooooo ready to preach from Galatians Chapter 4.  God has been speaking to all week about this passage. I hope you have been joining me in reading one chapter a day from the book of Galatians. This will help to really make the sermon come alive for you.  God has shown me three pictures that contrast images of our relationship with God.

We are on "baby watch" with Pastor Jordan and Alana with great anticipation for their first child to be born.  With that - this order of worship is tentative.  At the top of every order of worship each Sunday are the words: "We make our plans but God has the last word." It a change occurs check back here this afternoon. 

Here is the order we have planned:

We begin with a welcome and opening prayer - then stand to sing one of my favorite songs to call us to worship and continue in our worship:

Now we pause to continue in worship by going to the Lord in prayer:

We conclude out time of prayer with an expression of faith to the Lord:

We now worship the Lord by presenting our tithes and offerings.....

Hear the Word of the LORD...