The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
God be praised for the manifestations of His Spirit and the participation of you His people in our Anniversary celebrations to date. As the under shepherd of the Lord here, my heart is gratified and encouraged. May God’s grace and peace be truly multiplied unto you.
Including today, nine Sundays or 51 days remain in the 2018 calendar year. There may be one or two more events acknowledging our 120 years; continue to support them. One special “happening” ahead is a focusing on the global face of our faith in Christ. This will take place on Sunday, December 9 at 10 am and 3:30 pm. Our challenge from the Lord is to be witnesses unto Him here and all over the world. I ask you to add this “happening” to your “must attend and participate in list;” more information will follow shortly.
In the meantime, each of the two months remaining has a regular moment of high calling. In November there is Thanksgiving Day. In December there is the observing of the Birth of Our Messiah. It is clear that the year does not wind down. It concludes in a crescendo of praise even as we would launch into 2019 with a renewed commitment to “push on” towards “perfection” in the Lord. We have not arrived, but we are propelled and attracted by our faith in God, our hope rooted in His promises and our love for Him and for each other.
Joy! We are one in the Lord.
God Creates People
Read: Genesis 1.26—2.7
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them . . . then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.
Genesis 1.27; 2.7 (NRSV)
There are two creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. In the first, we watch from a distance as God creates with the spoken word. In the second, we watch up-close as God shapes the creation by hand. The God of Creation is both above and beyond his works and below and among them.
In the first account (Genesis 1.1—2.3), the sixth day description is an announcement that reinforces the “Who” of creation: God is the sole creator who makes man, male and female, in the image of God (1.27). The word “man” in Genesis 1.26-27 is the Hebrew word “adam.” Here it is a generic term that is better translated as “mankind” or, to be more inclusive, “humankind.” Note that it takes both genders to reflect God’s image. Note also that it is people who look like God, not that God looks like people. We often describe God with human characteristics (God’s heart, eyes, hands) but those anthropomorphic approximations are for our benefit; God is more than human beings enlarged. In ancient times, the “image” referred to a stamp or seal that indicated ownership. Humans carry God’s image in the creation. They are commanded to “be fruitful and fill the earth” and to have dominion, i.e., to rule in God’s name. Humanity is not to waste or abuse the earth but to be stewards of it.
In the second Creation account (Genesis 2.4-25), we get a little “how” added to our ‘Who.” In this up-close, personal look at creation, God alone forms (or fashions or crafts) the man from the ground and then breathes God’s own breath (spirit) into him and Adam comes to life. Note that “adam” here is both the personal name for the man, “Adam,” and the word for the ground/clay/dirt out of which he is made (adamah, (2.7). Adam comes from adamah. Humans are not above the creation, we are an inexorable part of it. We were created to live in harmony, not discord, with everything that God made.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence
We gather today in a service of celebration which is well justified and incentivized by our history over 120 years. God's grace is the only factor that can explain our beginning as a congregation, our journey over mountain tops of growth and joy, and our preservation in and through valleys of trauma and testing. Amazing grace! Grace has surely brought us, saliently so. We sing as our celebration theme song "Through the Years I Keep on Toiling. . .Until!" God causes us to arrive at the points of His own planning and promising. Our cups of rejoicing overflow.
What a witness is incased in our years past. I am favored by God to have been a part of that testimony for better than one half of the years span. I marvel at what God has done. That witness, however, is not a finished one. God has preserved us to evidence His continuing presence and purpose in THE FLESH in the world now at a crucial point of its needs. We look with openness to His Spirit's leading us as we move beyond our 120 years into the future. Let us pray for each other that we will truly be one in Him and with each other.
Welcomed to our worship is the Reverend C.L. Bachus, a close friend of mine and the White Rock Family. We bless the Lord for His presence. Our hearts are open to the voice of God in/through his preaching.
Thank you, White Rock, for your response to our financial goal and to the summons to deepened spirituality in the faith.
"May God's grace and peace be multiplied unto you. . ."
God Creates Lights and Life
Lesson and Read: Genesis 1.14-25
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years”. . . And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”
Genesis 1.14, 20 (NRSV)
On the first three days of Creation, God made an environment for everything that would be in the creation. In this lesson we will learn what the sky and sea will contain.
The Hebrews believed the firmament or sky was a dome above the earth. It held back the waters that were once on the earth (Genesis 1.6). The sky was blue because there was water behind it. Later, when God opens the “windows” of the dome, water falls to earth (Genesis 7.11). The Hebrews saw the dome as a solid structure and on the fourth day, on that dome, God placed the greater light (which ruled and separated the day) and lesser light (which ruled and separated the night) and the stars. Though we call these luminaries “Sun” and “Moon,” the Genesis story refrained from naming them, knowing that other cultures named and worshiped them as deities. For Israel, those lights were God’s creations to set seasons, days and years; they brought the measurement of time to heaven and earth. On the fifth day, God commanded the waters to bring forth “breathing things” (nephesh) to swarm the seas and fill the air. Fish and sea creatures and fowl of every variety were further commanded to multiply and fill the waters and earth. And it was so, and it was good.
Days four and five provide the hearers and readers with more awesome pictures of God creating a world and then filling it with living things. Once more, the “who” of creation is unmistakable—God speaks and it is so! The “how” of creations is even more mysterious and thus open to inquiry from science and religion. The “Light” of Day One is other than the “lights” of Day Four. God’s role in the creation is at once logical and ineffable. God will not share the glory or even the “credit” for was has been done. The Lord God has done it all and owns it all. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalm 24.1-2).
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence