Faithful Promises

Stephen_HIemstra_20210809

 

Wedding of Rui Ma and Stephen Kane, Boyds, MD

Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Have you ever thought about how our lives are shaped by the good promises we make and keep?

On the way to work one day I wondered who promised me that when I arrived at work that morning they would let me in the building. It was no small deal because the checks I received each month put food on the table and made sure that the mortgage got paid on time—I depended on that promise. I am not sure what I would do if that promise were not kept. I remember how unsettling it was to see one of my co-workers walked to the door because he lied on his employment application about being a college graduate. While management was totally justified in firing him, the experience of seeing him fired was unsettling because it reminded me of how fragile our lives can be. We depend on people keeping their promises.

Marriage is one of the most important promises that we will ever make.

It is no accident that the Bible starts with the story of Adam and Eve. Marriage is a reminder that we worship a God who is known for keeping his promises, good promises. Our reading in Jeremiah 29:11 makes this point:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The Bible promises us that the future is in Christ, we need worry about absolutely anything because we know the end of the story. We can take comfort in this knowledge. Imagine trying to study if you thought that the building you were in would collapse at any moment like the condominium in Miami—who could concentrate on anything? Our lives are shaped by the promises we receive and the promises that we make to one another.

This biblical promise is especially meaningful because it comes from the Prophet Jeremiah who witnessed the burning of Jerusalem and the carrying off of the people to Babylon—hence Jeremiah’s nickname, the Weeping Prophet. Interestingly, Jeremiah was the only Old Testament prophet to speak directly of the new covenant in Christ.

Marriage is one of the most important promises that we will ever make.

People love to read 1 Corinthians 13 at weddings. This chapter is the second of three chapters in 1 Corinthians that focuses on the nature of spiritual gifts. The key in interpreting this guidance on spiritual gifts is found in chapter 12: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:4 ESV) The Holy Spirit is the giver of these spiritual gifts that are not so much dropped on us from heaven as sought after in an active prayer discipline and an obedient life.

As I read 1 Corinthians 13 again, think about love as a spiritual discipline:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

What makes this description of love as a spiritual discipline so distinctive is that Corinth was a city famous for its temple prostitutes. The first verse in chapter 13 gives this context away: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor 13:1 ESV) Imagine attending a church where the prostitutes paraded by on the streets banging gongs and clanging cymbals—that was the problem in Corinth.

It is interesting that Corinth’s problem has become our problem. Our society has less and less respect for marriage as time passes, between the open promiscuity and attempts to redefine marriage itself. Think of the expression from the Mother Goose rhymes: rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she makes music wherever she goes.[1] Such music can be heard on our own streets. Given the Corinthian context and our own, it is important to think of love as a spiritual discipline.

Marriage is one of the most important promises that we will ever make. Let’s covenant together with God’s help to keep this promise. Amen.

Faithful Promises

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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The Spiritual Disciplines of Prayer and Fasting

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020

Sermon by Stephen W. Hiemstra on May 1, 2021

Mubarak Mosque, Chantilly, Virginia,  Ramadan Virtual Interfaith (Iftar) Online Program

Background

Good afternoon. Thank you for extending me the invitation join you in this Time for National Healing through Prayer. In my talk I will focus on the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting and share a prayer from my book: Everyday Prayers for Everyday People.

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author and a volunteer pastor. I have been writing about Christian spirituality now since finishing seminary training in 2013. During the pandemic I translated a second of my books into Spanish, started blogging in German, and drafted my first novella. Now that I am fully vaccinated I have started to catch up on other parts of my life.

My wife, Maryam, hails from Iran and considers herself a Muslim. We have been married over 35 years and have three grown children.

Invocation

Please join me in a word of prayer.

Loving Father, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 ESV) In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service that we might draw closer to you day by day. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Comments

Prayer and fasting are spiritual disciplines that serve to remove impediments to our relationship with God. God calls each of us into relationship with himself, but we are not always receptive to his call. The usual implements to this relationship can be described as sin and the worst of these is to reject God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Prayer removes the worst impediment to God’s grace and is the most theological activity that we ever engage in. Personal prayer is difficult because we often neglect our own hearts and find it easier to mimic other people’s prayers rather than sort out our own theological beliefs. It is hard to be honest with God if we are not honest with ourselves.

Other spiritual disciplines are best focused on our favorite sins, the ones that we secretly wrap our hearts around. Fasting is particularly helpful because by deliberately limiting our favorite sins—things like gluttony, sexual addiction, or lusting after power or money—we make room in our hearts for God.

In general, making room in our hearts for God is the focus of spiritual disciplines. When we forgive someone that has sinned against us, we empty our heart of the pain making room for God to enter. This benefits us even if the person sinning against us is unworthy and continues to sin.

Focusing on our worse sins in fasting has gotten more traction in recent years. It is accordingly popular today to have a technology fast or to limit our food consumption. Suggesting that Americans limit other sins tends to get less attention because first you have to admit that you have a problem. Among Christian counselors is often joked that Da Nile (denial) is not just a river in Egypt.

The season of Lent, the 40 days before Easter in the spring, is traditionally a time when Christians fast and pray most deliberately. As a Christian author, however, I can tell you that sales of my prayer books have been  strongest over the past year during periods when the pandemic was causing people the most pain.

On a personal level, I often pray most fervently when I am working out—while I swim laps or run outdoors—because my prayers remain uninterrupted. The stress of the pandemic and my need to keep mentally alert in my writing have motivated me to begin this spring to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall. My preparations include both my workouts and a serious diet. Although I am not quite as disciplined as a  good Muslim during Ramadan, I have lost about 20 pounds since March 10th when I registered for this marathon.

Closing Prayer

Please pray with me.

 

Almighty God,

We thank you for

the security of a roof over our heads,

gas to power our heaters, and

power to run our appliances.

Help us to remember those who lack these things.

 

We thank you

for the mercy of being born in a land of plenty

that gave us food to eat,

clean water to drink, and

sanitary plumbing to use.

Help us to remember those who lack these things.

 

We thank you

for the protection of honest police,

the care of competent physicians, and

the instruction of educated teachers.

Help us to remember those who lack these things.

 

Give us discerning minds,

tender hearts, and helping hands,

when we forget who we are and

how you have called us.

 

In the power of your Holy Spirit,

bridge the gap

between discerning minds and the ones we have,

tender hearts and the ones we have,

helping hands and the ones we have.

Forgive us, heal us, and save us from our gaps.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

10/16/2016

Reference

Stephen W. Hiemstra. 2018. Everyday Prayers for Everyday People. Centreville: T2Pneuma Publishers LLC.

The Spiritual Disciplines of Prayer and Fasting

Also see:

How do Christians Connect with God?

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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Travel to and Return from Egypt

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

El Shadai DC Church, Woodbridge, Virginia on 8 de Enero 2021

Prelude

Good evening. Welcome to the El Shadai DC Church. My name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author and volunteer pastor.

This evening we continue our study over the provision of God in our daily lives.

Today we study Matthew 2:13-23 where we see the escape and return of the Holy family from Egypt.

Invocation

Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father:
All praise and honor are yours because you have given us families who share our joys and pains and most important times in our lives.

Forgive us when we deceive our families and focus more on ourselves than those around us.

Thank you for family meals, vacations together,  and all the sort that our families offer.

Draw us now to yourself.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service.

In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Scripture

The text for today comes from Matthew 2:13-23. Hear the word of the Lord:

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”

 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt

 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”

 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.

 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

 (Matt. 2:13-23 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

What is the story of your life? (2X)

The Stories that we tell give meaning and direction to life. Where do we come from and where are we going and why?

When I worked as a chaplain intern at Providence hospital in Washington DC I learned to listen to the stories of the patients to understand better the emotions and challenges that they faced. Most of the time it was not easy to do this because we are complex people and we are a mystery to ourselves. In spite of this and in the middle of our confusion, we tell personal stories indirectly. The author, John Savage, cites five types of stories that are important in understanding our feelings.

  1.  Anniversary stories recall an event from the past, like a death, on a particular date. Christmas is an anniversary for many people because some very intimate can no longer participate in family celebrations–there is an empty seat.
  2. Transition stories are changes with three parts–before, during, and after. Hospital  visits have reasons why we come to the hospital, treatments we receive, and, God willing, lives that we return to–three parts.The spiritual part to a transition is the third one: what’s next? What have we learned from this experience? For example, what have we learned from this pandemic? Whats the next step?
  3. Reinvestment stories take the form of before and after. Economist becomes a past is a reinvestment story and is part of my story. Conversion is also a reinvestment story.
  4. A “I know someone who” story attempts to tell an embarrassing story without saying who. This type of story is well known among pastor who often tell stories of their own lives.
  5. A story from the past with present significance is your typical story from the Bible.

In today’s text we find this last type of story, a story from the past with present significances. The Holy family escapes to Egypt exactly like the original Joseph and the Nation of Israel.

What type of story is yours? What story from the Bible informs your story about the next step?

Message

In today’s text we find a faithful disciple who connects the present news and the pass stories from the Bible to the future by means of holy dreams. His name, Joseph, and his spiritual gift, interpretation of dreams, remind us of another of God’s servants, Joseph, son of Jacob, who save his family from starvation in Genesis 37-46. This salvation from hunger also requires a trip to Egypt that lasts 400 years. Consequently, we see the trip of the Holy family to Egypt parallels the story of Israel many years prior in scripture. This parallelism is a validation, a story from the past with current meaning, that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied by scripture. 

We know that Joseph is a faithful disciple not only because he interprets dreams, but also because he acts on what he learns and these actions are costly. Advised by his dreams, Joseph first marries a women carrying someone else’s child and later travels in the middle of the night to someone else’s country. Both situations imply risk, expense, and faith. It is obvious that Joseph is a faithful disciple.

Twice in today’s text we read that Jospeh had a dream–go to Egypt and return from Egypt–to fulfill scripture. The text does not say who connected these events to scripture. We know, however, that the threat from King Herod appeared and disappeared before these dreams, news that no doubt was real and obvious to everyone. Clearly, Joseph was a man sensitive to signs of the times. In an Old Testament sense, Joseph had the characteristics of a prophet. We can infer that Joseph was the first person to see the connection between the scriptures, his dreams, and his daily life.

Endgame

What do we learn from this passage? (2X)

First, we learn that it is important to understand our own stories. Second, we learn that many times we live, individually and as a community of faith, a story that parallels a Biblical story. To understand where we are going, we need to understand where we have been.

Consequently, to apply the Bible to our lives, we need to understand the important details of our own lives and the details of the Bible. And in the middle of all this, we need to pay for direction.

What is the story of your life? (2X)

Closing Prayer

Let’s pray.

Loving Father,

Thank you for the blessing of family. Teach us your path day by day in our relationship together.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, give us words of grace and helping hands for those closest to us.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

References

John Savage.  1996.  Listening & Caring Skills:  A Guide for Groups and Leaders.  Nashville:  Abingdon Press.

Travel to and Return from Egypt

Also see:

Sermón por El Shadai DC, Manassas, Virginia, 30 Agosto 2020

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

 

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Family and Spirituality

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Sermon given in Spanish at la Iglesia El Shadai DC, Manassas, VA, September 15, 2019.

Prelude

Good afternoon. Welcome to la iglesia El Shadai DC. For those that do not know me, my name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author and volunteer pastor.

This afternoon we continue our study of the family in Christ. This past week we reflected on Deuteronomy 6:7  and the necessity to teach our kids God’s commandments. Today we consider the relationship between our spirituality and the family.

Invocation

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

All praise and honor be to you for you give us family with whom we can share our joys and sorrow and who give life meaning.

Forgive us when we let our families down and focus more on ourselves than those around us.

Thanks for family meals, vacations together, and all the support that our families offer.

Draw us now to yourself. In the power of the Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen

Scripture

The text of the day comes in three different verses. Hear the word of God:

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27 ESV)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exod. 20:12 ESV)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

In what way is the family an important part of our spirituality?

In my last book, Simple Faith (2019, 52-53), I wrote:

What is an infant’s template for thinking about God? In an infant world, mom is the early model of God’s immanence because she brings him into the world and cares for him. Dad’s role as progenitor and provider is less obvious and serves as an early model of God’s transcendence.

Babies see their parents as their first vision of God and it is only with the passage of time that we as young people believe in God directly. For this reason, we have many responsibilities as parents to present a template of God graciously and clearly for our children, as Pastor Julio described this past week.

The Connection with Spirituality

Let’s return to our question of the day.In what way is the family an important part of our spirituality?

Our first verse is the key to this question, as we read:

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27 ESV)

Normally today we focus on the relationship between male and female in this verse because of our obsession with sexuality, but this focus distracts from the larger picture here.

Every person, man or woman, young or old, small or big, is created in the image of God, including those in our families (2X).

Our spirituality begins with the work of God in creation and is sustained by the Holy Spirit up to this minute in the teaching of scripture. Consequently, our relationships in the family are important in our spirituality as one of the first things because our families are the first neighbors in the Christian life and we are equal under God as the Apostle Paul wrote:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28 ESV)

Message

The importance of the family in scripture is obvious because the Bible begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve (Gen 2:22-24), and ends with the wedding feast of the Lamb of God and his church (Rev 19:7-9). But in daily life the blessings of family and its spirituality are most obvious to those that don’t have them (2X).

Our other scriptures of the day are a testimony of this image of God theology. The fifth commandment says:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exod. 20:12 ESV)

The Bible repeats this commandment eight times[2]which indicates its importance. The Apostle Paul reminds us that this commandment includes a promise: 

 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Eph. 6:3 ESV)

In the context of Exodus, this commandment points to the Promised Land, but a good relationship with parents is a blessing for every family.

The last part of the family that is frequently forgotten are the kids:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 ESV)

As we learned this past week, we need to teach our kids especially two things: discipline and instruction of the Lord. The discipline is important because life has many temptations and distractions against which we need God’s protection and guidance.

Something more difficult arises when we need to teach our kids things that we ourselves never learned. In this situation, we need to learn for ourselves before teaching our kids or, better, we need to learn alongside of them. In my case, ministry to my kids taught me the necessity to do more for the church. In other words, God called me by means of my own kids.

Final Words

In what way is the family an important part of our spirituality? God creates us together as a family and together we learn the way of faith. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Let’s pray.

Dearest father,

Thank you for the blessing of family.

Teach us your ways day by day in our relationships together.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, give us words of grace and hands for service for those closest to us. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen

Footnotes

[1] Exod 20:12, Deut 5:16, Matt 15:4, 19:19, Mark 7:10, 10:19, Luke 18:20, y Eph 6:2.

References

Hiemstra, Stephen W. 2019. Simple Faith: Something to Live For. Centreville: T2Pneuma Publishers LLC.

Family and Spirituality

Also see:

Prayer for Healthy Limits 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/TakingCare_2019

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Election for Salvation

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Sermon given in Spanish the July 28, 2019 at El Shadai DC, Manassas, Virginia.

Prelude

Let’s begin.

Welcome to El Shadai DC. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author and volunteer pastor.

This afternoon we continue our study of the assurance of salvation in Christ. In our first week, we talked about John 10 and the nature of eternal life. The following week we looked at Daniel 3 and the salvation of God provided to Sadrac, Mesac y Abednego from the burning furnace. This last week we learned that we are clay in the hands of the potter as described by the Prophet Jeremias in chapter 18.

Today we consider the question: what indicates that our relationship with God is secure? Who has been elected for salvation by God and how do we know? We learn that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

Invocation

Let’s pray.

Almighty God:

All praise and honor be to you because you have loved us sufficiently to send your son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and offer us eternal life.

We confess that your standard for love is too high for us because we are by nature sinners.

Draw us to yourself. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Scripture

The text for today comes from Genesis 12:1-3. Listen for the word of God:

“Now the LORD said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  (Gen 12:1-3 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

What does a good relationship look like? (2X)

Normally human life presents challenges small and great. There are quiet days and days with a lot of background noise. There is always something to do for someone. The idea that a relationship exists only when the sun shines, as many people believe, is childish.

In my case, early in my marriage, we had challenges in work and medical challenges. My wife was an immigrant educated as an engineer and for many years she could not work in her field because of her immigration status. She came from Iran and during the 1980s, as now, there were many political problems between the Iran and the U.S. As a consequence, Maryam worked for many years in a woman’s shop and later began teaching in the public schools because they were desperate for math and chemistry teachers. After our three children were born, she had breast cancer twice.

In the middle of all this and my own challenges at work, our relationship was tested and proven. Poverty and health problems were sufficient to destroy the marriages of people we knew. The ups and downs of life require a relationship that is both strong and flexible. One needs to share common goals and have patience to achieve them. It is the same with our faith. (2X). For this reason, we often describe faith as a journey, one that lasts a lifetime. (2X)

Context

In our text of the day, God talks with Abram. He asks Abram to make a trip leaving his country, tribe, and family. In other words, leaving every source of security in the ancient world. The situation for Abram is analogous to that of Hispanics today here in the U.S.

Interestingly, the Lord does not immediate say where to go, but we know from the previous chapter that his father, Terah, was traveling with the family to Canaan. Terah died in Haran halfway to Canaan. Genesis does not say a single word about Terah’s relationship with God, but we know that Abram continued with the same objective traveling to Canaan.

In general, we know also that frequently God speaks to us through other people, including those that do not know him. (2X) When was the last time that God spoke to you? Were other people directly or indirectly a part of this conversation?

Message

Our text of the day is known as the first covenant between God and Abram. In a covenant, both parties want something. God commanded Abram to travel to Canaan. For his part, God offered Abram a blessing:

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse,”

Who wouldn’t want this blessing?

The last part of this blessing is important:”and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  (2X) Here is our key to election. Our salvation becomes obvious when we bless others. There is no such thing as a Holy huddle far removed from the world. The church is blessed when it blesses the world in the name of Christ. We are blessed to be a blessing to others.

This is much like Pastor Julio has reminded us many times. Here at El Shadai DC we love God and other people. (2X) This is the sign of our own salvation when we do it.

It is like the Apostle John wrote:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
 
Because we are created in the image of God, whatever we see God doing, we should do too.

Amen.

Closing Prayer

Let’s pray.

Dearest father

Thank you for you blessing, especially the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Walk with us today and everyday as we share your blessings with others that we meet daily in our families, work, and neighborhoods.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us words of grace and hands for service for the people who do not know you.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Election for Salvation

Also See:

Value Of Life

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HotWeather_2019

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Assurance of Salvation in Jesus Christ

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Sermon given in Spanish at El Shadai DC, in Manassas, VA July 7, 2019.

Prelude

Good afternoon. Welcome to El Shadai DC. For those who do not know me, I am Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author. I live with my wife in Centreville, Virginia.

This afternoon we begin a new sermon series on the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ. In a world with so much uncertainty, only Jesus Christ does not change or let us down. Today we are going to start with the passage most famous for this subject, John 10, and I will focus on the nature of eternal life.

Invocation

Let’s pray.

Merciful father.

All praise and honor is yours for you hear our prayers, comfort us in our afflictions, and give us life eternal.

We confess that we not worthy of your affections and we thank you for teaching us to love.

Draw us now to yourself. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illuminate our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Scripture

Today’s text comes from John 10:27-30. Here the word of the Lord:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

Who knows someone who accepts no responsibility for themselves and is a constant pain in the neck? Unfortunately, for every one of us a different face comes into view. Normally, when I see someone who annoys me, I tell my kids: there goes another person who Christ died for (2X). This is a private joke in my family that gets frequently repeated.

This joke points to a image of Christ that is the opposite of a person who lacks fiber and is, as they say, a free spirit. By contrast, a shepherd is someone who lives with the sheep in the field and protects them from coyotes, wolves, and lions with only a rod and staff. This is respectable work, but it is also dirty and dangerous. It is an image of physical and emotional strength and is our picture of a natural leader.

Who is the perfect image of a shepherd in your life? (2X)

The First Sentence: Intimate

In the first sentence of our text of the day Jesus uses the image of a good shepherd to demonstrate that our relation with him is intimate. He simply says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Those that are saved listen and follow like sheep. This sentence is interesting because it is laconic—Jesus uses a minimum of words to describe deeply profound concepts—laconic.

In the middle of this sentence is an unexpected phrase: I know them. We expect: they know me. In context, we expect: My sheep hear my voice, and they know me, and they follow me. By means of this unexpected phrase, Jesus makes an important point.

Here we encounter unexpected familiarity—our heavenly shepherd knows us personally. God knows us sufficiently well to call us by name. This inference is credible because in real life, good shepherds call their sheep by name.

The Second Sentence: Secure

In the second sentence of today’s text, Jesus promises eternal life and explains that our relationship with him is secure. He says: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” It is impossible to understand this security without understanding first eternal life. Permit me to focus the rest of my time on this concept of eternal life.

Eternal Life

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul uses his famous metaphor of the body of Christ. (2X) Listen for the word of God:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (1 Cor 12:12-14)

Here Paul is speaking about the nature of the church, but a second interpretation is possible.

In Christian thought, we frequently speak about the soul that today we refer to as our identity. In Hebrew thought, this word soul implies the body, mind, spirit, and the people that we are in relationship with. (2X) When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit enters our life which is the means by which we come into relationship with God. Our souls change forever. Much like we become the body of Christ (as the church is described), we also become united with God, who is eternal.

Being one with God implies that our identity is now held in common with other believers from the past, present, and future. Because God is eternal, being one with God implies that our identity is also eternal. It is also complete because God knows us just as much internally as externally whereas our family and friends only know us from external things (2X).

Example

For those not accustomed to this notion of a shared identity and the soul, what happens to your identity when your mind becomes taken over by a disease such as Alzheimer’s? Do you stop being a person? Do you lose your identity because you no longer remember who you are? No way. When you encounter a person with Alzheimer’s, their identity is retained by the people around them who care for them, order their favorite meals, and tell their stories to other people.

It’s no different when we die. When we die, our identity is retained not only by the many people who have known us, but, in the case of Christians, by the Holy Spirit, who is eternal. God who created us from dust can easily re-create us complete with our identity, our souls, because we have a complete relationship with God.

Parting Words

In this explanation of eternal life, our relationship with God determines if we experience the assurance of salvation or not. When Jesus said: “no one will snatch them out of my hand.” It is clear that no one can interfere in our relationship with God. But, we must accept Christ into our hearts and give him priority in our lives every day. Everything else has been made possible by the blood of Jesus. (2X)

Amen.

Final Prayer

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Good Shepherd, Holy Spirit,

All honor and glory are yours because you love us and value our lives more than anyone else.

We confess that we do not deserve this attention and love.

Thank you for the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us a faith that will persist loner than any stress in this life. In the previous name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Assurance of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

Also See:

Value Of Life

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Pentecost_2019

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A God Who Listens

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

A sermon given in Spanish at El Shadai DC, Georgetown South, Manassas, Virginia, April 28, 2019 (Spanish link).

Prelude

Good afternoon. Welcome to El Shadai DC. For those that do not know me, my name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author and live with my wife in Centreville, Virginia. We have three grown children.

This afternoon we continue our series studying heaven on earth. Because we are created in the image of God, we want to do all those things that we see God doing. As the Bible says, we serve a God who listens. Follow a suggestion from Pastor Julio, I will focus on the example of the life of my father—the other Stephen Hiemstra as I often introduce him.

Invocation

Holy Father,

All praise and honor are yours, because you hear our prayers, comfort us in our afflictions, and rescue us from death itself. 

We confess that we are unworthy of your affections and we thank you for teaching us to love.

Draw us now to yourself. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In Jesus’ precios name, Amen

Scripture Reading

Today’s Reading comes from the Book of Exodus 22:21-27. Hear the word of the Lord:

You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless….And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

 The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

I often tell the joke that when we speak to God, secular people call that prayer, but when God speaks to us, they call it psychosis.

While Christians are accustomed to God listening, one of the most astonishing attributes of God is that he listens to us! (2X)  For example in the Book of Judges, we read:

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. (Jdg. 3:7-10 ESV)

In this passage we see a model known as the Deuteronomic Cycle, which has four parts: the people sin, they fall under subjugation, they cry out to the Lord, and God proves a savior (Deut 30:1-3).

Crying out to the Lord may sound like a strange prayer, but the point is that God listens to people who suffer, even when it is well-deserved. As the Apostle Paul writes: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Rom 5:8 ESV)

This example of the Deuteronomic Cycle that we see in the Book of Judges is especially interesting because we also read: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Jdg 17:6 ESV) This time was in many ways similar to our own and we know that maltreatment of immigrants, widows, and orphans can evoke the wrath of God (2X).

History of my Family

This passage has a special meaning for my family because my father devoted his entire professional career to nutrition and food programs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). My father worked as an economist in program like food stamps, the school lunch program. And women, infant, and children (WIC). My father was known as the father of the WIC program because he helped set it up. The primary beneficiaries of these program were immigrants (minorities), widows (single moms), and orphans (disadvantaged kids).

These days my father is eighty-eight years old, he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and lives with my mother in McLean. Virginia. In 2016, I published his memoir with the title: My Travels Through Life[1]before writing my own memoir to introduce other people to my father and to learn more myself about his story.

The Hiemstra family came to the United States in 1853 from Holland and the family spoke Dutch for about 100 years in the house and in church. My grandfather refused to teach my father and his brothers Dutch because he wanted them to think of themselves as Americans and because he believed that the Dutch in Holland gave up believing in God.

My father grew up in poverty on a small farm in southern Iowa. Up until the Second World War my grandfather worked the fields with horses and the house had no running water or an indoor bathroom. My father and his brothers attended a small country school. Much later my father graduated from Iowa State University as one of the first in the family to attend college.

My father was a brilliant student, he studied hard, and paid for his studies by joining Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). After graduation, the Air Force sent my dad to serve in Korea. Much later he completed his studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his doctoral degree in 1960 and the family moved to Virginia where dad began working for USDA.

Although we did not have a lot of money when I was growing up, our necessities were met, we had our faith, and we had each other. In every town we lived in, we found another church willing to receive us.

For many years in USDA my father traveled to set up new food stamp programs. He spent, for example, a lot of time in Puerto Rico where today two our of three persons received food stamps. When I began my graduate studies much later in Puerto Rico, I got to meet many of my dad’s collogues on the island.

A couple of years ago. I learned that as a yo9ung man my grandfather aspired to becoming a pastor, but he did not have the money to finance his studies so he went into farming. My father continued the tradition of working in agriculture while my uncle John became a pastor. In my case, I was an agricultural economist early in my career and later went o seminary completing both of my grandfather’s ambitions. As a young person, I was close to my grandfather but I did not know about his ambitions until after his death.  

Final Words

Finally, when I published my father’s memoir I was surprised that he did not say much about the impact of his faith on his career. He was a man of few words. But all through the years he always attended church on Sundays and supported the church with special interest in world missions. As a family, we are much blessed by his example.

We worship a God who listens to our cries for mercy and also listens to the aspirations of our hearts. As Prophet Jeremiah wrote: 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”(2X; Jer. 29:11-12 ESV)

This promise is real today as always in the life of those who receive it as in the case of my family.

Prayer

Let’s pray.

Holy father,

Thank you for your forgiveness and your presence in our everyday lives. In the power of the Holy Spirit, grant us the strength to listen more intensively to those around us every day. In the previous name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


[1]Stephen J. Hiemstra. 2016. My Travels Through Life. Centreville, Virginia: T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (Amazon.com).

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Joy in Salvation

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

Sermon given in Lenten Service, 7:00 p.m. April 3, 2019 at Centreville Presbyterian Church, Centreville, Virginia.

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prelude

Good evening. Welcome to the CPC Lenten series on the Hallel Psalms. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. Since graduating from seminary in 2013, I have been a Christian author and volunteer in Hispanic ministry.

This evening we focus on Psalm 116, a thanksgiving psalm that celebrates our personal salvation in the midst of a dangerous world.

Scripture

Psalm 116:1-4

Invocation

Let’s begin with prayer.

Merciful father,

All praise and honor are yours, because you hear our prayers, comfort us in our afflictions, and rescue us from death itself.  

We confess that we are unworthy of your affections and we thank you for teaching us to love. 

Draw us now to yourself. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

Story

What brings you joy? (2X)

In 2012 I worked at Providence Hospital as a chaplain intern and requested assignment to the Alzheimer’s unit in Carroll Manor. There I met a man who I will call Albert.

Albert spent his days wandering up and down the halls in the lock-down unit.  Albert would come up to you and attempt to talk, but could only blather incoherently, which disturbed him greatly. Other patients could talk; Albert could only blather.

One Friday afternoon, I recruited some patients to attend Happy Hour. Happy Hour was mostly a punch and cookie affair, but they often invited musicians to entertain the guests. 

So being the trouble-maker that I am, I recruited about a dozen patients, including Albert, and headed for the door. As I punched us out, a nurse ran up to me.

Steve, Steve. Where are you going? 

We’re going to Happy Hour.

But you can only take three patients.

So, I recruited several reluctant nurses and headed again towards the door.

Again, the nurse approached me. Wait a minute—you can’t take Albert. He will wander off.

I will keep a special eye on Albert!

So finally, with my dozen patients and the reluctant nurses I took the elevator up to Happy Hour.

Well, we had a blast. The jazz saxophonist playing that afternoon was just wonderful. My patients all got up and started dancing to the music, including Albert. Alzheimer’s patients, unlike other seniors, always have fun because they have forgotten what it means to be shy and embarrassed.

Before we were done, Albert had danced with at least three different women and he came back to the unit speaking in complete sentences. (2X) His awakening lasted another six weeks that I know about. His joy at hearing Jazz music again healed him of his former blathering, which I took as a bonified miracle. IT REALLY WAS A MIRACLE.

Well, if a little joy can bring the absent-minded Alzheimer’s patient back to earth, how much more can the joy of salvation in Jesus Christ change human lives, our lives?

Text

What brings joy to our psalmist this evening?

The first four verses of Psalm 116 tell his story—

I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 3The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” (Slide 1)

Verse one here explains his joy—“I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.” Actually, English translations insert the word, LORD, which does not appear in the original Hebrew or in the Septuagint Greek. The Hebrew simply reads: I have loved because he has heard my voice…We hear an echo of the original Hebrew in John’s first letter: “We love because he first loved us.”(1 John 4:19)

Moving on to verse two, the psalmist reiterates the importance of being heard and takes a vow: “Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” This vow is interesting because if you pray or sing this psalm, as is the custom, you also repeat this vow.

How many of us haven’t repeated this vow? I certainly have. My call story began back in 1992 when I cried out to the Lord in Georgetown University hospital over my ten-week-old son, Reza, as he waited for risky emergency surgery for a blocked kidney. God heard my prayer. The surgery succeeded; today my son works as an engineer in Phoenix and here I am as a testimony to answered prayer.

Why is listening so important to the psalmist? Verse three reiterates the answer three times: The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.” In other words,death had surrounded me; hell had opened its doors to pull me in; and I was terrified. The repetition assures us that the psalmist’s vow in verse two is not to be taken lightly.

Verse four then closes the loop by returning to the second half of verse one. Verse one talks of “pleas for mercy, while verse four cites the psalmist’s actual prayer: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”

So what brings joy to the psalmist? The Lord rescued him from death.  Commentators believe Psalm 116 is a crib notes version of Psalm 18 where King David recounts his own brush with death. Even more bone-crushing details can be found in 2 Samuel 22.

Reflection

Let me pivot at this point to reflect on the backstory to Psalm 116. In this respect, let me draw your attention to the pattern in Psalm 116 that relates to the promise of Moses in Deuteronomy 30. 

Hear the word of the Lord:

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.”(Deut. 30:1-3) (Slide 2)

This passage in Deuteronomy is known as the Deuteronomic cycle. The cycle can be summarized as committing sin, earning the curse, crying out to the Lord, and, then, being redeemed. This cycle appears repeatedly in the Book of Judges.

Probably the most familiar example in Judges is the story of Gideon. The cycle starts with sin and the resulting curse. In Judges 6:1 we read:

“The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.”(Jdg 6:1) (Slide 3)

After being persecuted by the Midianites, the people cry out to the Lord in verse 6 and the Lord sends an angel to call on Gideon, who is busy hiding wheat from the Midianites in a winepress (verse 11). 

Gideon then assembles an elite team of three hundred men to fight against the army of the Midianites described as too numerous to number, like locusts ravaging the land. Responding to a vision in a dream, this team woke the Midianites in the middle of the night with trumpets and torches (2X). Frightened in the night, the Midianites began slaughtering each other in the dark (Jdg 7:22). 

In this manner, the Lord freed the Israelite people from the oppression of the Midianites and brought them the joy of salvation.

Summarizing

Interestingly, the Deuteronomic cycle usually applies to the Nation of Israel as a whole and brought salvation from oppression. Following the pattern established in Psalm 18, however, Psalm 116 applies salvation to the individual rather than to the nation (2X).[1]

Note that the Deuteronomic cycle starts with the commission of sin—the curses of Deuteronomy are a consequence of disobeying the Mosaic covenant.[2]Thus, the cycle can once again be summarized as committing sin, earning the curse, crying out to the Lord, and, then, being redeemed.

Our redemption in Christ follows this same pattern. We sin; we get into trouble; we ask for forgiveness; Christ offers us redemption. 

The key to understanding this parallel is to see sin as a form of oppression (2X). We all experience besetting sins—addictions small and great–that we cannot shake on our own. If gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, it is also a besetting sin that can destroy our self-esteem, ruin our health, and undermine our relationships. Just like the Midianites oppressed Israel, we can be oppressed by besetting sins and we need to cry out to the Lord for our forgiveness and salvation.

Thus, Psalm 116’s personalized the Deuteronomic cycle and directly anticipated the New Testament and our salvation in Christ. In fact, if Jesus and the disciples sang Psalm 116 after the Last Supper, they took this very same vow and, in the resurrection, Jesus experienced God’s deliverance, as the Apostle Paul described in his letter to the Colossians:

“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”(Col. 1:18-19)

What brings you joy?

Closing

Let’s pray.

Merciful Father,

Thank you for listening to us, forgiving our sin, rescuing us in perilous times, and bringing joy to our lives. Be with us now as we return to our homes and daily work. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

References

Brueggemann, Walter. 2016. Money and Possessions. Interpretation series. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. (Review)

Groseclose, Win. 2015. The Egyptian Hallel Psalms: An Exposition of Psalms 113-118—Observations: Practical, Exegetical, and Theological. New Sewickley Township, PA (Review)

Tucker, W. Dennis Jr. and Jamie A. Grant. 2018. The NIV Application Commentary: Psalms, Volume 2. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Wenham, Gordon J. 2012. Psalms as Torah: Reading Biblical Song Ethically. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. (Review Part 1, Part 2)


[1]While in the Old Testament salvation focused on the Exodus from Egypt, in the Testament salvation focused on the return of the exiles from Babylon. Judea was a Babylonian vassal nation that had rebelled so the New Testament focus on salvation from the sin of rebellion, which was an analogy to the original sin in Genesis where Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s rule by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

[2]In the New Testament, the only citation of Psalm 116 appears in a context of persecution in 2 Corinthians 4:13.

Also see:

Blackaby Expects Answers to Prayer 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to connect:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/Transcendence_2018

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The Spiritual Discipline of Work

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Preached in Spanish at Luncheon for the Soul, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon, VA. February 27, 2019


Introduction

Good morning. Welcome to Luncheon for the Soul. My name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. My wife, Maryam, and I live in Centreville, Virginia and we have three grown children. I am a Christian author and volunteer pastor.
 
Today’s theme is the spiritual discipline of work

Invocation

Let’s pray.

Holy father. Draw us to yourself this morning. Open our hearts; illumine our minds; and strengthen our hands in your service. In the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Scripture

Today’s scripture reading comes from Colossians 3:23-24. Hear the word of the Lord:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Col 3:23-24 ESV)

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Story

What was your favorite job and what activity was totally horrible?

In my work as an economist, many times I have said that about one in three years were good. Two years in three were bad because of changes in management or conflicts among managers in the middle of a project. When priorities change in the middle of a project, it is impossible for the project to be a success from the perspective of leadership. It does not matter that the work was extraordinarily good because the office was constantly stressed out and promotion was nearly impossible over many years.

For this reason, today’s scripture reading is particularly meaningful to me. We work for the Lord and not for men.

What was your favorite job y what activity was totally horrible?

Lesson

Every time there is pain or stress in our lives, we have a decision: are we going to turn to God and give it over to Him or are we going to turn into the pain and we feel sorry for ourselves? This second alternative is sometimes known as idolatry.

The gravity of the sin of idolatry is obvious because our faith, time, energy, and money point to the things that we really worship (Giglio 2003, 113). The center of these activities may be in our work—in or out of the church; in or out of the home. Work can many times be a source of stress, fear, and anxiety.

Jesus understands (2X). At one point, he described a scene of lilies and kings. Afterwards, he advised:

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”(Luke 12:29-31 ESV)

In other words, work is important, but the Kingdom of God is more important.

As God designed it, work has dignity. The Bible begins showing a God who works—he creates (Welchel 2012, 7). God’s only son worked with his hands as a carpenter. Thus, when we work with our hands work also has dignity. Remember that almost all of the disciples worked as fishermen—do you think that they return home smelling like lilies? One of the most radicals things that Jesus did was to eat and drink with working people (Mt 11:19).[1]

Paul’s attitude about work was significant for two reasons. First, our work for human bosses is also work for God (Col 3:23-24). Second, many times we work for brothers and sisters in Christ—the family of God. Would you want to disrespect your family? (Phlm 1:16 ESV)

One of the most influential writers of the church historically was a veteran who worked in a kitchen. He did not write very much, but he dedicated his work daily to God in prayer. Brother Lawrence (1982, 23) wrote:

“We should offer our work to Him before we begin and thank Him afterwards for the privilege of having done it for His sake.”

He simply applied the advice of Paul to “pray without ceasing”(1 Thess 5:17) and the spiritual giants of his day beat a path to his door.

One method for spotting prospective idolatry is to ask about your identity. When you are introduced to a new neighbor or maybe someone at a party, how does your spouse introduce you? Is it by your marital status, favorite sports team or profession?

What keeps you busy? (2X)

Prayer

Let’s close with a Word of prayer.

Loving father, we praise you for giving us useful work to do. We praise you for equipping us for work in your church. Thank you for giving us new eyes to see our work, our bosses, and our responsibilities. The harvest is ready. Prepare us to assist the laborers. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


[1]This citation comes from the parable of the brats, one of my favorites (Matt 11:16-19).

References

Giglio, Louie. 2003. The Air I Breathe.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Press.

Lawrence, Brother. 1982. The Practice of the Presence of God(Orig Pub 1691). New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House.

Whelchel, Hugh. 2012. How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work.Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press.

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Monday Monologues: Sermon on Being Fully Present, August 6, 2018 (podcast)

Stephen W. Hiemstra, www.StephenWHiemstra.net
Stephen W. Hiemstra, 2017

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

In today’s podcast, I give a sermon on Being Fully Present. (Originally given in Spanish: Presencia Completa).

To listen, click on the link below.

After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

Monday Monologues: Being Fully Present, August 6, 2018 (podcast)

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/Sabath_2018

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