Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Preparing for Sunday – Psalms, Part 2

Below is the weekly post our church produces to help prepare our congregation for the Sunday morning gathering. Each summer, I take time to preach overview sermons through the Old Testament. We began last week in Psalms. This week we’ll look at a few more significant take-aways from this beautiful book. For those who live in the Kansas City metro area, we invite you to come to Summit Woods Baptist Church at 10:30 am. Carefully Think Last week we considered the book of Psalms as a whole. This week we will focus on how the Psalms affects our faith in God. Look through several headings of several psalms in each of the five sections of the book. List some of the musical terms that you see referred to (i.e.., “to the choirmaster,” “maskil,” “mahalat,” etc.). While it is difficult (if not impossible) to know what these refer to specifically, what do they indicate about the importance of music and how these psalms were to be played? Read through the following psalms: 7, 35, 58, 69, 85, 109, 137. What does the psalmist say about his enemies? Why does this not contradict the gospel of Jesus in the New Testament? Or does it? If you think so, explain. Read through the following psalms: 2, 8, 22, 69, 110. These are often referred to as Messianic psalms; those that speak of the coming of the Messiah. What characteristics do you learn about the Messiah? What indicators are there in each passage that this refers to the future Messiah and not someone else? Prayerfully Meditate  If the book of Psalms is an ancient...
Cap-Quotes: Calvin, His Pastors – Final Quotes

Cap-Quotes: Calvin, His Pastors – Final Quotes

Here are a few more quotes from Manetsch’s book Calvin and His Company of Pastors Regarding Spiritual Counsel and Consolation “Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is. . . . Surely with good reason the Heavenly Father affirms that the only stronghold of safety is in calling upon his name.” Through prayer, Christians are reminded of God’s providential care for them, experience God’s power to heal and help them, and receive assurance of God’s grace to forgive their sins and bring them into eternal life. In sum, Calvin believed, “it is by prayer that we call [God] to reveal himself as wholly present to us.” 290. Goulart’s ten principles to be followed by Christian pastors, or “consolers,” as they apply the medicine of Scripture to the needs of suffering men and women: The pastor should know and have true compassion for the person suffering. The pastor should encourage the ailing Christian to adore the judgment of God and be mindful of his mercy. The pastor should conduct a careful examination of the conscience of the suffering person, probing its condition, deportments, and passions, so as to apply the proper kind of spiritual consolation. The pastor should have at hand a variety of examples of faithful Christians who faced similar afflictions and yet trusted in the grace of God. The pastor should remind the afflicted Christian that other believers have remained faithful as they faced similar, or even worse, trials. The pastor should listen to and affirm what the suffering person says, while gently expanding upon or correcting opinions that are confused or inaccurate. The pastor should encourage the ailing...
Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 13:44-52

Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 13:44-52

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:44-52 List the parables described here. What are the similarities between each of the parables? What are the differences? What is the emphasis of the first two parables that do not have a stated explanation? What is the emphasis of the thrid parable that is explained? What are the new and old things that Jesus is referring to in the last parable (vv 51-52)? How is this final parable (vv 51-52) a good summary of the three parables before it? Of all the parables in chapter 13? Prayerfully Meditate How do you see your participation in God’s kingdom similar to the man who found the hidden treasure and the merchant who discovered the valuable pearl? The disciples could identify themselves with the parables (v 51). How do you personally identifiy with each of these parables? What is it about the kingdom of God that you find overwhelmingly, joyfully, compelling that you would give up everything to have it? How do you cultivate and maintain such a compelling joy in the things related to God’s kingdom? Intentionally Act Do you find anything in your life distracting you from the deepest joy in the kingdom of God? How can you focus your heart on the kingdom this week? What will you do? How will you respond? How could you use this passage as a means to encourage someone else? Who would that be in your life? Make plans in your heart and schedule to do that this week. Pray for those who will be in attendance Sunday do not love God’s kingdom like the man who finds...
Cap-Quotes: Other Ministry Tidbits from Calvin and His Pastors

Cap-Quotes: Other Ministry Tidbits from Calvin and His Pastors

Here are a few more notable quotes from Scott M. Manetsch’s book, Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609. On Church Discipline Calvin insisted that the power of the keys did not give the church the authority to pronounce damnation or salvation – that decision belonged to God alone. Instead, the church’s discipline was always provisional, intended to rescue the wayward in a spirit of mildness and gentleness. In this way, Calvin averred, reformed excommunication was to be distinguished from the Catholic pronouncement of anathema, for whereas the latter “condemns and consigns a man to eternal destruction,” the former warns the sinner of future condemnation and “calls him back to salvation 188-189.   Calvin, Beza, and their colleagues believed that ministers exercised the power of the keys in three primary ways. First, the spiritual authority to ‘bind and loose’ was exercised in a general way when ministers preached the gospel in their sermons, announcing God’s righteous judgment upon the wicked and God’s promise of salvation to those who turned to Christ in repentance and faith. Second, the power of the keys was employed more particularly when pastors and lay elders conducted annual household visitations to examine the character and doctrine of church members, or when they admonished sinners in private conferences. Finally, ministers and elders employed the power of the keys through the ministry of the Consistory as they confronted people who were guilty of moral failure and excommunicated from the Lord’s Table those who refused to repent of their error. . . . The power of the keys needed to be exercised with wisdom...
Cap-Quotes: Calvin and Preaching

Cap-Quotes: Calvin and Preaching

Last week I listed a number of quotations from Scott M Manetsch’s book, Calvin’s Company of Pastors on ministry and life during and just after John Calvin’s life. Here are a few more on the subject of how preaching was practiced and received in Geneva during the era of the Reformation: The Ministry of the Word …the pulpit stood at the epicenter of controversy and change in reformed Geneva. In the minds of Geneva’s ministers, the proclamation of the Scripture was God’s dynamic instrument for bringing about personal spiritual regeneration, the reformation of the church, and the transformation of society according to the righteousness of Christ. 146 Preaching in Calvin’s Geneva What was noteworthy . . . was not that Protestant leaders like Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin championed Christian preaching per se, but that they viewed the proclamation of the Word of God as the minister’s primary duty and restructured parish life in view of this priority. 148   The Ecclesiastical Ordinances (1541) envisioned that a pastoral staff of five men and three assistants would preach at least twenty sermons in the city each week. 148   The preacher was not the proprietor of a pulpit or the captain of his congregation: it was Christ who presided over his church through the Word. At least in theory, ministers of the Christian gospel were interchangeable. 150   For most of his career in Geneva, Calvin preached once or twice on Sundays, and every day of the week on alternate weeks, a schedule that demanded around eighteen to twenty sermons per month, or two hundred fifty sermons per year. In all, Calvin probably...
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