Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Approach to the Lord...

Why do you see a bulletin cover here? Because man does not live by C.S. Lewis alone. In constructing my handwritten journal from day to day over a four-month span, I gave myself the freedom to make brief interludes. My pastor, Dr. David A. Booth, stands as a star in those interludes, not only for sermon quotes but also for succinct points on the Assurance of Pardon. Almost two years ago my denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (, changed their service order to what I think is the most godly and sensible arrangement I have yet come across in any church:
  •  Approach to the Lord (includes Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon)
  •  Hearing from the Lord (mainly the Sermon)
  •  Responding to the Lord (includes Hymn, Confession of Faith, and Prayer)
  •  Communion with the Lord (every week and the best bread everhooray!)

The Approach to the Lord is a very strong start since it promotes humility and encourages the humble. In commenting on 1 John 1:9, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins," last December 4 Pastor David made the profoundly simple point that God forgives all the Christian's sins not only because He is gracious but also because He is just. To state an aspect of this truth mathematically:
  •  Mercy = God not giving us what we deserve
  •  Grace = God giving us what we don't deserve
This past New Year's Day, in giving an Assurance of Pardon based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, Pastor observed that merely providing healing without forgiveness is like dealing with weeds by mowing them down. Divine forgiveness pulls up sin by its roots. He titled his message that day "God's Fellow-Workers" (1 Corinthians 3:5-9 sermon). I learned we are to focus on the Gardner, who makes things grow, not on the garden implementsthe rakes and shovels, although we certainly appreciate their usefulness. Remembering it is God who causes spiritual growth will affect our prayers: rather than asking Him to bless our plans, we earnestly seek His plans. We trust Him to act first and then enter into His plans. God never fails. How much stress this relieves!

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