When Is The Sermon Done? 
Sunday, May 31, 2009, 06:00 AM - Sermon, Podcast
Posted by Administrator
Luke 19:1-10

How You Can Know God's Will

This message is available as a podcast recorded live at our worship service. Click the podcast image to listen now or right click the image and choose "Save As" to save this message in mp3 file format on your computer for playing later.

some ideas from “Christian Worship” in The Pastor's Bible Study Vol. 1 by Thorwald Lorenzen

Folks want to know if the sermon is done. I hope by the end of this sermon, you'll know the answer. Pentecost is the gift of the spirit to the church, the beginning of church or the birthday of the church. This is one way of understanding worship. It is something done at church time with other Christians and God's spirit. Yet, we know that Jesus worshipped God before Pentecost, and that a whole host of Prophets and Priests going back to Abraham and beyond worshipped God. Even at a birthday of the first spiritual celebration we know that church cannot hold worship.

Amos and Micah has some pretty strong words about worship. Even then, they were arguing about the meaning and purpose of worship. We will continue to do so until Jesus comes and set us right, for we struggle over important matters, and worship is important. The Prophets find worship in right relationship to God in all of life that is celebrated in worship, not limited to acts done in worship services.

Worship is not for personal edification. Worship isn't just the place where we go to get our souls cleansed, our spirits refreshed, our minds set right, and our bodies refreshed. Such an understanding ignores the world and the people that God loves as God's own children. We are not birds chirping for a holy worm, shoving out others to make sure we get the worm. The God who commands that we love others as ourselves, cannot approve of a church whose goal is to serve ourselves and ignore others. We need others with us in worship.

Worship is not just about the spirit. We are the incarnate religion, the body faith. We believe that God came and became human. We undo the bedrock belief of Christianity when we take God of out of body and divorce them, give ourselves over exclusively to the solicitude of spirit. We cannot soothe our soul on Sunday and ignore what we are doing in the real world through the week. We need to include the body and reality of the physical world in our faith work. We need the world with us in worship.

So Worship is in tension with the world. We cannot pretend that we can isolate ourselves from our connections with others nor pretend that the world does not concern us. God came in Christ to save the world, not take individuals out of the world one by one. The word “world” in Greek is Comos, the entire world, all the people, all relationships, arrangements, economic and political systems, everything together. As the world is not in harmony with God's salvation, it is not in God's intention. As Christ's followers, we are called to a part of his work, the healing of the world. When we do, we are worshipping.

Amos and Micah wants us to do God's will in the world in all our lives. We have Amos's concern for the justice and Micah's directions, “to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God”. How can we do God's will? Such an answer takes a lifetime, but here are some helps from Leslie Whitehead (The Will of God, p. 46-53) Intimacy with God, reading Scriptures, the voice of the church, the advice of friends, using common sense is the ways he recommends us finding God's will. How often do we do those things? It should sound familiar for I believe Whitehead has describe Sunday morning worship.

To find God's will we seek intimacy with God: in wondrous surroundings with fine art, glorious music, a special place set aside for time with God. Our worship includes prayers, quietness, and reflection as we strive to come close to God. Our prayer concerns invite each other into the intimacy. Sharing prayer is very intimate, we do that in worship in different ways of praying, read in unison together, recalled from memory, gathered in the prayers of the people.

To find God's will scripture from the Bible is read and shared. We have two or three readings that are highlighted in prayers, song and sermon as well as read aloud and lifted up to be read in the pews. The sermon attempts to lengthen and deepen our experience with scripture.

To find God's will we listen to the voice of the church. We have the voice of the church in doctrine, mission, and governance. The shape and form of our worship, the mission such as our Witness Offering and our leadership and service from session and deacons echo the experience and counsel of the church through the years.

To find God's will we ask the advice of friends. We might have some of that in the Passing of the Peace, or delayed in the sharing of prayers, but I know that significant exchanges take place in the gathering room, Sunday School rooms, and even the parking lot as friends ask friends for help and advice. I know I have gotten some over the years from my friends at Children's Message.

To find God's will we use common sense. Where is that in worship? I believe it might be in the humor, the forgiveness for missteps in worship, our announcements to do what we can with what we have. There is a good line in the movie staring John Lithgow as a minister, it is called Footloose, some may watch Kevin Bacon and the dancing, but the minister is the star. He has a line in there that is very much common sense. The deputy tells him that he did a good thing in allowing his daughter and the rest of the senior class have a dance. He replies, “I still not sure it was the right thing.” The deputy, full of common sense says, “It comes close.” Maybe that is common sense, when you are not sure it is the right thing, you come close by doing the good thing.

The author of our Pastor's class study says “what we do on Sunday mornings in church is the communal celebration and confession that this is God's world and the we have the honor of witnessing that God loves the world and seeks to be reconciled with it.” (Thorwald Lorenzen in The Pastor's Bible Study Vol. 1 p. 249)

Worship in all we do to make God's will for the world be real. In that way we continue to Christ's work as God with us, God who became fully human in the world with us to save the world. Worship is a way to connect with God's will for the rest of the week and the rest of our lives, as we do God's will in the world…then, and only then is this sermon done.

Advanced permission is given for non-profit, for-prophet use of the above at no charge as long as it is reproduced unedited with notices and copyright intact. Written copies are provided after they are preached as a courtesy for the personal, private, appreciative use of the congregation of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, their families and friends to support the ministry of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church and its pastor the Rev. J. Christy Ramsey. Join us Sundays! 9 AM Worship or 11 AM Song & Service. Sunday School for all ages is at 10 AM with a special Pastor's Class at 8:15 AM.

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Faith Driving 
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 07:27 AM - Extra Christy
Posted by Administrator
Trusting Others on Our Way

"You boys don't know how to drive. You gotta to have FAITH!" said Rev. Greg Thorn as he sped up and merged without looking onto the crowded expressway. It was the first and last ride with the preacher for me.

Rev. Thorn was already a pastor and a couple of decades older than the rest of the students in the car who were just beginning to learn to be pastors.

Actually, traffic moves in a grand dance of trust and shared goals. Incidents of road rage are news because they are rare. Almost all drivers drive on the agreed side of the road, drive in their lane, and merge with due regard for others.

I don't know if I'll ever drive like Greg, but I hope I pastor like him...trusting in the goodness and mercy of others as we merge together on our common way.

I hope you merge well into traffic today.

Going God's Way

"Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.- Matthew 22:16 (NIV)

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Making the Team 
Sunday, May 24, 2009, 06:00 AM - Sermon, Podcast
Posted by Administrator
1 Corinthians 11:17-34

How to have a real Memorial Day and life.

This message is available as a podcast recorded live at our worship service. Click the podcast image to listen now or right click the image and choose "Save As" to save this message in mp3 file format on your computer for playing later.

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Suicide Bridge 
Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 07:10 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
Posted by Administrator
When You're Not on
Solid Ground

Monday I walked the "Suicide Bridge" in Akron. The name on the signs is: All-American Bridge; which the locals pronounce "Y-bridge", (it splits in the middle)

According to the New York Times, since 1997 there have been 28 suicides from the bridge. Police are called to rescue would be jumpers about once a week. Akron is planning to use $1 million in stimulus funds to fence the bridge. I wanted to walk it before the fences blocked the view of Akron.

Crossings are the most dangerous times in our lives. Losing a job, family members moving in or moving on, illness, assault on our body or spirit, and the final crossing after death are times we need a secure bridge. There is solid, safe ground on either side of the bridge; you are safe once you get to the other side. It is the in-between times, when you are up in the air when you are at risk for falls.

I hope a faith community is a safe bridge in the transitions in your life. May you get safely across the chasms of life knowing that there is solid ground on the other side and solid people to hold you until you get there.

The Way Across

'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' - John 14:1-6 (NRSV)

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Follower of Christ 
Sunday, May 17, 2009, 12:19 PM - Sermon, Podcast
Posted by Administrator
Exodus 3:7-12 and Luke 9:57-62 Click to see scripture.

Being a follower of Christ helps shed the baggage that Christianity has acquired recently and throughout the centuries.

This message is available as a podcast recorded live at our worship service. Click the podcast image to listen now or right click the image and choose "Save As" to save this message in mp3 file format on your computer for playing later.

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