Author Archives: Kevin Greene

Aug 20 2017 Worship Recap :: In The Wilderness

::  Download the 8.20.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 8.20.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 8.20.2017 Sermon

image :: The Jews in the Desert, Tintoretto (1593, Italian)

Preparation for Worship on August 20 2017 :: In The Wilderness

“Lord, lead me through the wilderness,
I am a poor pilgrim
I don’t have strength or life in me,
I am lying in the grave.
Omnipotent is the One who brings me to the shore.” (William Williams, 1745)

“The story of the book of Numbers is written to a people whose lives are lived between the accomplishing of their redemption and its consummation, between the exodus and the Promised Land. The Lord has done what He promised Abraham in bringing his descendants out of their bondage – but He has not yet brought them into the Promised Land. They live in between the times, and their present experience is not one of the fullness of salvation but rather of the wilderness along the way.” (Iain Duguid)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for August 20 include ::

:: Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer (William Williams, 1762) CHART :: Be Thou My Vision (8th Century Irish Hymn) CHART :: On Jordan’s Stormy Banks (Samuel Stennett, 1787) CHART :: How Great Is Our God  (Tomlin, Reeves & Cash, 2004) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART

Call to Worship :: Psalm 105:1-2, 7, 11-13

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
He is the Lord our God… saying
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as your portion for an inheritance.”
They were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people.

Confession of Sin :: Jeremiah 2:11-13 & Psalm 79:5,8-9

Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But My people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for My people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken Me,
the Fountain of Living Waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
How long, O Lord? Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?
Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
let Your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,

Words of Encouragement :: Colossians 1:12-13

Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

New Testament Reading :: I Corinthians 10:11-13

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

Sermon :: Numbers 1:1-4

1 The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers.”

Aug 13 2017 Worship Recap :: Grace, Love and Fellowship

::  Download the 8.13.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 8.13.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 8.13.2017 Sermon Audio

image :: The Meals, Andre Masson (1923)

Preparation for Worship on August 13 2017 :: Grace, Love & Fellowship

“Christianity entered history as a new world order, a new social dimension. From the very beginning Christianity was not primarily a doctrine, but a community. There was not only a Message to be proclaimed, there was a New Community, distinct and peculiar, in the process of growth and formation, to which members were called. Indeed, ‘fellowship’ (koinonia) was the basic category of Christian existence.” (Georges Florovsky)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for August 13 include ::

:: Heal Us, Emmanuel (William Cowper, 1799) CHART :: May the Mind of Christ My Savior (Kate B. Wilkinson, 1925) CHART :: In Christ Alone (Getty & Townend, 2002CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART ::  Kindness  (Giglio, Reeves, Tomlin, 2000) CHART  //  AUDIO

:: Rejoice The Lord Is King (Charles Wesley, 1744) CHART

Call to Worship :: Psalm 65:1-4

Praise awaits You, our God, in Zion;
to You our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
to You all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
You forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those You choose
and bring near to live in Your courts!
We are filled with the good things of Your house,
of Your holy temple.

Confession of Sin

Almighty and merciful Father, You have called us to be Your desired followers and have made us one family. Yet we have not lived as one.  We have not loved You and one another as You command.  Selfish ambition has gripped us, and we have failed to look out for others’ interests above our own.  We have not treated one another as those in whom Christ dwells.  Conceit has gripped us, and we have failed to associate with and care for those who are different from ourselves.  Pride has gripped us, and we sought to control You, the Lord.  Forgive us for our sins against You.  Go on to subdue everything in us that is contrary to Your purposes.  By the power of your Spirit make us a community that is eager to do Your will and walk in Your ways.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Words of Encouragement :: Ephesians 2:12-13

Remember that you were once separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Old Testament Reading :: Deuteronomy 7:6-10

You are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.  The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.  But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.  But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.

Sermon :: II Corinthians 13:11-14

11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Aug 6 2017 Worship Recap :: Examine Yourselves

::  Download the 8.6.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 8.6.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 8.6.2017 Sermon Audio 

image :: The Mirror, William Merritt Chase (c.1883, American)

Preparation for Worship on August 6 2017 :: Examine Yourselves

“I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.”

 John Donne, from “A Hymn to God the Father”

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for August 6 include ::

:: And Can It Be (Charles Wesley, 1738) CHART :: God, Be Merciful to Me (Psalm 51; 1912 Scottish Psalter) CHART :: I Need Thee Every Hour (Annie Hawks, 1872) CHART :: Give Me Jesus (African-American Spiritual) CHART :: Be Still My Soul (Kathrina von Schlegel, 1855) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART

Call to Worship :: Revelation 15:3-4; 1:5-7

Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the ages.  Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed. To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom of priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.

Confession of Sin :: Psalm 139:1-2,7,23-24

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Words of Encouragement :: Heidelberg Catechism 1 (1563)

Christian, what is your only comfort in life and in death?  That I am not my own, but belong –  body and soul, in life and in death –  to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me whole-heartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.

Old Testament Reading :: Lamentations 3:22-27,40-41

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth…
Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!
Let us lift up our hearts and hands
to God in heaven.

Sermon :: II Corinthians 13:5-10

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

July 30 2017 Worship Recap :: The Weakness of Christ

::  Download the 7.30.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 7.30.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 7.30.2017 Sermon Audio

image :: Farm Garden with Crucifix, Gustav Klimt (1912, Austrian)

Preparation for Worship on July 30 2017 :: The Weakness of Christ

“Through the Cross the faithful receive strength from weakness, glory from dishonor, life from death. The power of His death once confronted our death. In the words of Hosea the prophet: “Death, I shall be your death; grave, I shall swallow you up”.  By dying He submitted to the laws of the underworld; by rising again He destroyed them.” (Leo the Great , 5th century)

“When really weak in ourselves, and conscious of that weakness, we are in the state suited to the manifestation of the power of God.” (Charles Hodge)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 30 include ::

:: Come, Ye Sinners (Joseph Hart, 1759) CHART :: Gloria Patri (2nd Century Hymn) CHART :: Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Julia H, Johnston, 1910) CHART :: Draw My Soul To Thee (J. Adams, 1838) CHART :: O Sacred Head Now Wounded (Bernard of Clairvaux, 11th century) CHART :: Crown Him With Many Crowns (Matthew Bridges, 1851) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART

Call to Worship :: Philippians 3:20-21

Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.

Confession of Sin :: from The Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone what we ought to have done, and we have done what we ought not to have done, and there is no health in us. Yet, good Lord, have mercy on us: restore those who repent, according to Your promises declared to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. And grant, merciful Father, for His sake, That we may live godly, righteous, and obedient lives, to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

Words of Encouragement :: Luke 24:44,46-47

Jesus said…“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Old Testament Reading :: Psalm 138. Of David

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Sermon :: II Corinthians 13:1-4

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

July 23 2017 Worship Recap :: In the Sight of God

::  Download the 7.23.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 7.23.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 7.23.2017 Sermon Audio 

image :: Closed Eyes, Odilon Redon (c.1894, French)

Preparation for Worship on July 23 2017 :: In the Sight of God

“The conscience, spurred by the devil, the flesh, and the fallen world, says, ‘God is your enemy. Give up in despair.’ God, in His own Fatherly love and through His Son’s grace and through His Word and through the witness of His Spirit and His people, says, ‘I have no wrath. You are accepted in the Beloved. I am not angry with you. We are reconciled!’” (Martin Luther)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 23 include ::

:: Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson, 1758) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART :: Psalm 126 (Bifrost Arts, 2013) CHART :: The Church’s One Foundation (Samuel Stone, 1866) CHART :: All Ye Refugees (Scott, Haddock & Paris, 2015CHART :: Before There Was Time (Caedmon’s Call, 2001) CHART

Call to Worship :: Hebrews 10:19-23

Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

Confession of Sin

Most merciful Father, we have sinned against and are guilty before You. Forgive us the sins of our tongues: For deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and tempers out of control. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes: For impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than You have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts: For hard-heartedness toward You and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against Your Lordship and doubting Your love. Now, Holy Father, kill our envy, remove our pride, melt our hearts. Give us grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, to labor for You and not for ourselves, to be transformed into Your likeness, to live wholly for Your glory. Take away our mourning and give us music; remove our sackcloth and give us Your beauty. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Words of Encouragement :: Micah 7:18-19

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Old Testament Reading :: Isaiah 29:13-14

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

Sermon :: II Corinthians 12:11-21

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

July 16 2017 Worship Recap :: When Weak, Then Strong

::  Download the 7.16.2017 Worship Study Guide and Sermon Notes
::  Download the 7.16.2017 Bulletin
::  Download the 7.16.2017 Sermon Audio

image :: Tiananmen Square, Charlie Cole (1989, American)

Preparation for Worship on July 16 2017 :: When Weak, Then Strong

“Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too.  We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness– the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord…. It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed.  When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, your sins, your virtue.” (Tim Keller)

“Learn to praise Him and, despair­ing of your­self, say, ‘Lord Jesus, You are my righteous­ness, just as I am Your sin.  You have taken upon Your­self what is mine and have given to me what is Yours.  You have taken upon Your­self what You were not and have given to me what I was not.’  Beware of aspir­ing to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sin­ner, or to be one.  For Christ dwells only in sinners.” (Martin Luther)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 16 include ::

:: Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber,1826) CHART :: Streams of Living Water Flow (Thomas Kelly, 1768-1855) CHART :: I’d Rather have Jesus (Rhea F. Miller, 1922) CHART :: Blessed Be Your Name (Matt Redman, 2005) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART :: In Need of Grace (Ross King, 1996) CHART

Call to Worship :: Isaiah 33:2,5-6

O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for You. Be our Arm every morning, our Salvation in the time of trouble. The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high. He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

Confession of Sin :: adapted from “The Valley of Vision”

Our Father, enlarge our hearts, warm our affections, open our lips to proclaim the glory of the Cross of Jesus Christ. There grace removes our burdens and heaps them on Your Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for us; There the sword of Your justice struck the God-man; There Your infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that we might be all joy, cast off that we might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that we might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that we might attain heaven’s best, stripped that we might be clothed, wounded that we might be healed, thirsty that we might drink, tormented that we might be comforted,
made a shame that we might inherit glory. Our Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from our eyes, groaned that that we might have endless song, endured all pain that we might have unfading health, bore thorns that we might have a crown of glory. Bowed His head that we might uplift ours, experienced reproach that we might receive welcome,
closed His eyes in death that we might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that we might forever live.

O Father, You did not spare Your only Son that You might spare us, All this action Your love designed and accomplished: Help us to adore You as we see our enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, Hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. Go forth, O conquering God, and show us the Cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

Words of Encouragement :: Romans 5:6,8

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Gospel Reading :: John 12:24-26

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.

Sermon :: II Corinthians 12:1-10

1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.