News & Notes


Bulletin for July 21, 2024

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The Ten Commandments

This week, we’re going to get a start on the Ten Commandments and the Book of the Covenant in Exodus 20-24. The way I have it mapped out right now, this should take (not surprisingly) ten weeks. If you’ve spent some time with our catechisms (Children’s, Shorter, or Larger), you’ll know that the Ten Commandments feature prominently. The reason for this is that Christians have always understood the Ten Commandments to be a summary of God’s perfect law. If you want to know how God wants you to live, the Ten Commandments are the best place to find the answer. To that end, the 99th question of the Larger Catechism gives us 8 rules for interpreting the Commandments. I encourage you to be thinking about these as we study over the next few weeks. Here they are:

  1. The law is perfect and binds the whole person to observe it completely and, according to its standard, to be completely righteous, and perfectly obey every one of its obligations forever. On the negative side, the law forbids even the slightest or partial commission of any sin.
  2. Since it is spiritual, the law involves our understanding, our will, our emotions and all the other faculties of the soul, as well as our words, actions, and self-expressions.
  3. Different aspects of one and the same thing may be required or forbidden in several different commandments.
  4. When something is required, the opposite is forbidden, and where a specific sin is forbidden, its opposite is required. In the same way, when a requirement of the law adds a promise of some blessing for obeying it, that promise also includes a threat for disobeying it, and when a threat is added, an opposite promise is included.
  5. What God forbids must never be done at any time or under any circumstances. What he commands always remains an obligation, although every particular obligation of the law does not apply in all circumstances or at all times.
  6. The prohibitions against specific sins and the commandments to observe specific obligations are typical and so cover not just those particular sins or obligations but all others of the same kind. They similarly include all the contributory causes, means, opportunities, and appearances related to these sins and obligations.
  7. Since the provisions of the law apply not only to us but to everyone else, we must try to help others keep those provisions, in the context of our own position in life and theirs.
  8. Similarly, we must support others in keeping what the law commands them to do or not to do and particularly by not joining them in doing what is forbidden to them.

If you want to see the Scripture references, you can find them on page 80 of this copy of the Catechism.

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for July 14, 2024

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What is Reformed Theology?

This (very good) question came up on Wednesday night, and I gave a short answer. But I wanted to flesh it out some more. First, this is a short video covering basically what I said Wednesday. (I don’t recommend this YouTube channel in general, but this video is clear and accurate.)

Second, last Spring, I did a several week study called “Beyond TULIP” where I worked through several elements of Reformed theology. This first lecture explains some overview history and how we distinguish Reformed theology from other Christian traditions. Here’s the handout if you’d like to follow along.

Hopefully these are helpful!

Update

I just got off the phone with Ron Horgan, and we had a miscommunication about the date! He will be with us on August 17-18.

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin July 7, 2024

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Updates

  1. Wednesday Night Bible Study continues this week. We’ll be picking up in Romans 10.

  2. Mark your calendars for the last weekend of August! Rev. Ron Horgan, our presbytery Church Health Coordinator, will be joining us for the weekend. He’ll spend some time with us Saturday talking about church health, and then he’ll preach for us on Sunday.

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I’m excited to see you Sunday!

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for June 30, 2024

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A Song for Sunday

We’re singing a hymn Sunday that you may or may not know: O Word of God, Incarnate. This is a rich hymn that has several themes we find in Exodus generally, and in our preaching passage in particular. In Exodus 17:15, we get one of God’s unique names, Jehovah Nissi, which means “The Lord is My Banner.” The third verse of this hymn reflects on that name:

It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled;
it shineth like a beacon above the darkling world.
It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea,
‘mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ, to Thee.

Listen to the rendition below to get acquainted before Sunday.

Vacation Bible School

This week, we just finished VBS, and we had a great time! We had a great group of kids, and we spent a great time in Bible study and fellowship. Some of the decorations will still be up on Sunday, so be sure to look around. And if you get a chance, encourage one of the kids by asking them what they learned! I also want to thank all of you who made it happen, and if you weren’t able to join us, be sure to join me in that thanks.

Finally, be sure to be in prayer for those who are recovering from illnesses and surgeries, especially as we prepare to hear God’s Word on prayer this Sunday.

I love you all, and I’m very excited to be back with you this Sunday.

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for June 23, 2024

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EPC GA 2024

I’m writing this from Memphis having just finished the EPC’s 44th General Assembly. I know that many of you have been praying this week, so thank you! There were several hard questions being addressed, but I think we came out with some good solutions. Here are a couple of highlights:

  1. The Assembly adopted the Pastoral Letter on Racial Lament and Hope. If you would like to read it, I can get you a copy. After the presbyteries met in the spring and concerns were raised about the letter, the committee made major revisions, in my opinion, for the good. It’s also worth noting that a Pastoral Letter is an internal document intended to help churches navigate various issues. This letter is NOT the official position of the EPC, and it is NOT binding in any way. It is also only made available to EPC members, not the general public.

  2. The Standing Committee on Ministeral Vocation was able to knit together several overtures regarding human sexuality into one recommendation that was received by the Assembly. The various questions about this issue will be taken up by an Ad-Interim Committee for two years, and they will come back with their recommendations at the 46th GA in 2026. During that time, the GA has asked that no Session or Presbytery take on any actions that touch on this issue. To be clear, the EPC is opposed to homosexuality and all other forms of sexual perversion. We have a position paper on that if you’d like to read it. The question before the committee, then, is how to apply the Bible’s teaching on sexuality to ordination. One way to think about it: we’ve already drawn a line on this, but we’re simply trying to determine whether we want a chain-link or barbed-wire fence on that line.

If you have any questions about these two things or anything else, I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Tomorrow, I’ll be preaching at Highland Heights Presbyterian Church, so I appreciate your prayers both for me and the congregation here as well for Jonathan as he preaches for you tomorrow.

Finally, for your enjoyment, here’s a brief clip of clip of the Wednesday psalm-singing event hosted by Pastor Bryan Rhodes from Alexandria, LA. Do you recognize this psalm?

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for June 16, 2024

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Updates

Madeleine and I are off to General Assembly! I’ll put some updates here after it’s over. We appreciate your prayers as the Assembly considers several important topics. If you want to see some of what’s going on, see this page.

Also, remember to be praying for our upcoming VBS, and don’t forget your PROMISS bottles this Sunday.

Be sure to thank Jonathan and Mitch for preaching and leading our worship Sunday. We’ll miss you!

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for June 9, 2024

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Bulletin for June 2, 2024

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Is the Sabbath on Saturday?

Something I don’t have time to mention in the sermon this week on Exodus 16 is the timing of the Sabbath. We will talk about Sabbath principles, but another important question is “When is the Sabbath? Saturday or Sunday?”

In Exodus 16:23, we get the first appearance of the word “Sabbath” in Scripture:

[Moses] said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’”

Often, we think of “Sabbath” as referring to the seventh day of the week. The reason is that, over time, the seventh day of the week came to be associated with the word Sabbath. But Sabbath simply means something like “holiday.” A Sabbath is a period of time where work ceases.

Notice that in Exodus 16, God makes the seventh day a Sabbath, a holiday. It’s not unlike how the President can say the last Monday in May is a federal holiday. There’s nothing special about that Monday, but the President makes it special by designating it as Memorial Day. However, there’s nothing stopping him from moving Memorial Day to the fourth Tuesday in May. It’s not the date itself that is special; it is the President’s decree.

The same is true of the Sabbath day. There’s nothing special about the seventh day in itself. Seven is just a number. But when God made a law concerning the seventh day, then it became special. In fact, God applies the name of Sabbath to other days in the Old Covenant as well (see for example, the feasts listedin Lev. 23). And just as the President can move Memorial Day, God, as the lawgiver, can move of the Sabbath. In fact, he did just that. After the resurrection of Christ, God moved the Sabbath day to the first day of the week through the authority of the apostles (more on that another time).

If you want to read more about the Saturday to Sunday change, check out this article.

Updates

  1. Wednesday Night Adult Bible Study will be taking the month of June off. In addition to being out a couple of weeks, I’ll be working on several extra things this month. We’ll pick back up in July.

  2. Remember, we’ve got the new prayer request cards if you want to add someone to the bulletin. And thank you to those of you who filled one out Sunday. This is just to help keep me organized and to make sure no one falls through the cracks!

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for May 26, 2024

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For Whom Did Jesus Die?

On Wednesday night, we briefly touched on the doctrine of limited atonement or particular redemption. This is the doctrine that answers the question, “For whom did Christ die?” Reformed Christians have answered this question with different nuances, but the central thing we have to affirm is that Christ shed his blood for those whom the Father had promised him, not indiscriminately.

I mentioned a couple of key passages from the gospel of John, but we didn’t have time to dive into them. The following lecture/sermon walks through the passages and clearly explains them.

Announcements

  1. Don’t forget that our Parents’ Fellowship meets Sunday night at 5! We’ll continue working through Jonah.

  2. PROMISS bottles are due on June 16th. That’s also Father’s Day. If you haven’t picked up a bottle or want to do extra, there are some in the Fellowship Hall.

Your friend in Christ,
Reid


Bulletin for May 19, 2024

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Psalm 122

Our call to worship this Lord’s Day is a responsive reading of Psalm 122. This is one of the Psalms of Ascent which presumably would have been sung as God’s people made their pilgrimages to the temple in the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, we no longer go up the physical Temple Mount; instead, we ascend into the heavenly Jerusalem any time we gather for worship. Our Jerusalem is a spiritual city, as Hebrews 12:22 reminds us. So how does Psalm 122 direct us how to enter into God’s presence?

The Psalm starts this way:

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

Is this your attitude toward worship? When you alarm goes off on Sunday morning, are you delighted, or do you come to worship begrudgingly?

Furthermore, the Psalm reminds us that our purpose in worship is to give thanks to the Lord (v. 4). Often, we come to church looking to “get something.” Of course, God does give us something in worship. He gives himself in the promises of the gospel, in the Word and sacrament and prayer. But our first priority should be to give things. Is this your priority?

Finally, verse 9 reminds us that we are to seek the good of the house (meaning the household or family) of God. Our next priority in worship, after the thankfulness of God, is the love of our Christian neighbors. Once again, is this your priority?

Psalm 122, then, reminds us that we are to enter into God’s house with joy for the love of God and neighbor. As we approach this Lord’s Day, examine your own heart. Is this your desire?

If you want some music to help you reflect, here’s a choral setting of Psalm 122. The text is directly from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Your friend in Christ,
Reid