Monday, June 28, 2010
Yesterday I woke up after spending a few days sick at Grandma's house and made the drive from Louisville to New Washington. During the worship service my congregation got to participate in my commissioning service as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD) to the 219th General Assembly. Since I was not at the Presbytery meeting where the others received their commissioning, the Moderator came down and it was part of our Sunday morning worship. It was great because my pastor was preaching on the fruits of the spirit, something I hope to remember as I go into a busy week of prayer and business.
During the service I also received a wonderful gift from our Prayer Shawl Ministry, a green and brown prayer shawl that is beautiful, warm, and full of love.
Overall Sunday morning was a day full of excitement and reminders of the importance of remembering to be and remaining rooted in Christ as I venture off to the 219th General Assembly. It is an exciting time and I still have lots of preparing to do. This has all fallen into place for me in the last 4 weeks so I haven't had much time to prepare but I am doing my best to read through the material and prepare my heart and mind for the things that are to come.
I look forward to flying out of here on Thursday (even after my loving congregation decided to share horror stories of flying with me) and making it to Minneapolis to spend time with other Presbyterians discerning with the mind of Christ and making decisions together that will change the church. Together we are the future of the church and together we will press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
Exciting days ahead, I look forward to enjoying the next few days, then heading north to engage in conversation and fellowship with people from all over the world.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.-Max Lucado
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I love music, especially music that happens to make you stop and ponder the lyrics. Over the last week I have heard a song time and time again on the radio and the words have echoed through me even as I get out of my car and go on doing whatever I was out to do. This song is by christian artist Matt Maher, the title is Hold Us together and the lyrics below are of the chorus:
"Love, will, hold us together, make us a shelter to weather the storm. And I'll, be, my brothers keeper, so the whole world will know that we're not alone. 'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light, It's gonna be alright. "--Matt Maher, Hold us Together
Love, which binds all things together in perfect harmony will hold us together. Love, the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, will let the whole world know that we're not alone. Love it is the greatest gift we have to offer, because it was the greatest gift given to us in Christ.
Love will hold us together, love will push and pull us to want to be our brother and sisters keepers, then the whole world will know that we are in it together. Love will show the orphans that they are not alone but indeed they are loved beyond their imagination. Love will put together the cities around the world that have been destroyed by floods. Love will provide for a family who is facing hard times during the economic hardships. Love will stop in and visit the widow. Love will bring communities together instead of breaking them apart. Love will change the world one moment at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.
And these three remain, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. For God so loved the world that He sent his one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. And love binds all things together in perfect harmony. (1 Corinthians 13:13 ,John 3:16, Colossians 3:4)
Will you be your brother/sisters keeper? Will you love as you have been loved? Even in the dark we can still see the light, go, shine, be Christ to your neighbors, be Christ to the world. Go and light the way...It's gonna be alright.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
It has been a while since I've posted a blog but figured I would post a sermon from Preaching Camp. This was given on the last day and the three people who followed me were a part of this sermon as well. We all had individual sermons as well as a group sermon all in one. Great times at camp and this was how it ended. Peace,
Moses, Aaron, or an Israelite: The Common Ground of Standing in God’s Presence
Sermon by Krista Phillips
Text: Exodus 19:1-25, Deuteronomy 5:23-32
Friday June 11, 2010
Camp Kavanaugh, Crestwood, KY
Academy of Preachers Preaching Camp
Wednesday night there were a few of us standing around the campfire making s’mores, and talking theology. Christian kept making the comment that the fire represented an eternal flame of preaching. It was interesting to watch the different ways in which people approached the flame to roast their marshmallow, and it reminded me of the text that the four of us are preaching from this morning. You see, some were like Dr. Moody who represents the Israelites; he stood at a distance and never went into the fire. He respected the flame and stood behind the boarder that was set in place. Katie on the other hand, she was like Moses. Katie was in the fire moving the logs around and keeping it warm and at the same time respecting the power that the flame held. And then there were those of us like Darnell, who was like Aaron, he needed a little coaching to get in the fire. At first Darnell was standing around the outside, but not getting in the fire. After Katie coached him in he finally drew near to the fire and was able to roast a tasty looking marshmallow.
This s’more making scenario where we built a fire played a significant role in our weekend here at camp. It bonded us together but it also taught us about limits and boundaries, as well as a healthy respect for others, their opinions, their theology, and how fear cannot get in the way of things that are built on holy ground.
When we see fires, whether they be in a house, in a forest, or some other uncontrolled flame our response tends to be that we either high tail it out of there or we send someone else in to take care of it. For the Israelites this meant sending Moses up the mountain, for God had commanded them to set limits around the mountain and not to cross them, because it was holy. Wednesday night the flame where we gathered for making s’mores was holy. The conversations, the fellowship, and the sermon that the four of us have come to preach here today were all the results of standing together on holy ground.
Moses and the Israelites were on holy ground at the bottom of Mt. Sinai and this was nothing new for Moses. If we think back to the burning bush we remember that Moses was asked to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Fire throughout scripture has been representative of something holy, powerful, and transformative. Look to the book of Acts, at Pentecost the tongues of fire that rested over the Apostles provided a holy experience. Yet when we see fire in our lives we become afraid, we retreat, and we send someone else in to put it out.
God does not want someone else to go in and put out the fire. God told Moses in our text this morning not to let anyone else break through to go up to the LORD. Some of us are called to be the Israelites standing on the outskirts, behind the boundaries, respecting and fearing the fires of God, being faithful listeners, encouragers, and followers. Others are called to be like Moses, ascending the Mountain and eventually being sent back down to lead the Aaron’s back up the mountain with us.
The transformative, powerful, and holy encounters we have at the feet of the mountains that we face throughout our own lifetimes are scary. They are mountains that we wish we could send others up. The mountains come in many forms as they could be a call to preach the gospel, a call to stand up and fight against injustice, the mountain could be an unsupportive family, a lack of confidence, or a call to live in solidarity with the poor. The good news is, that no matter what mountain we face, God descends on our Mountain, God lights a fire that is more holy, more beautiful, more powerful, and more transformative than any uncontrolled flame of this world.
God’s flame is controlled; it consumes us from the inside out. God’s flame beams a light so bright that we cannot help but draw near to it and follow it, to follow the path it sheds the light on, to refuse to turn to the right or to the left. God’s flame is intimidating to our eyes because it is an unknown flame; it holds more than our life, for God’s flame holds our eternity.
God’s flame burns the aroma of Christ that is in us, to be a fragrance among all people. God’s flame is representative of God’s guidance and God’s presence. God descended upon the mountain and claimed it as holy ground. God descended upon God’s people and God has said “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD and holy.” God takes that which is broken, that which is challenging, that which is of this world and makes it holy in Christ. In 1 Peter chapter 1 we find a call to holy living where we are reminded that we were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ that was without defect or blemish. Through Christ we are born anew, we are holy and blameless before God.
God descended among God’s people creating an atmosphere for holy living. Our mountains become our own holy encounters with the Creator. We all share this common holy mountain of being young preachers of the gospel. Some of us have gone up the mountain, some of us are going down to bring others up with us, but all of us are standing on holy ground.
What do you see on this holy ground? How do you feel? Will you be an Israelite, standing behind the boundaries, not crossing the limits? Or will you be Moses ascending to God and going down for others?