Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12 NRSV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NRSV
[ Psalm 63 ] [ Comfort and Assurance in God’s Presence ] [ A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah. ] O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NRSV
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
Isaiah 55:6 NRSV
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless,
Philippians 1:9-10 NRSV
During September and most of October my sermons will be built around the Great Ends of the Church. This is a six point document that is part of the constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. Here are the Great Ends in their entirety:
The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
The maintenance of divine worship
The preservation of the truth
The promotion of social righteousness
The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world
Please read this brief list carefully and think about how our churches are or are not pursuing these “Ends” or goals. As we go forward together, it is important to articulate a clear understanding of what we are called to do as the church of Jesus Christ here in this place and time. Given the great diversity of churches that people can choose from these days, we must ask ourselves what is special about our mission. We Presbyterians have a great heritage of theology, church organization and mission, and we need to become more aware of that history and be clearer in our own minds about what we are called by God to accomplish now and how we should go about the work of the Kingdom. Studying and discussing the Great Ends will give us a good start.
Beginning in October, I would like us to learn a “memory verse of the month.” This will be a Bible verse that carries an important message for all of us. It will be printed in the bulletin for three Sundays and we will recite it during the service. On the fourth Sunday, we will not print it, and we will recite it from memory! Please help me select the verses by giving me your favorite two or three verses.