The next (scheduled) webcast is Wednesday Evening, 6:30 p.m. Central.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

"Valuing Public Worship As Jesus Does" — this week's pastoral letter (with Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – April 4, 2020

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It’s the Lord’s Day tomorrow, and again we are “only” having public worship.

We long to have that fellowship that is peculiar to keeping the day together, which is not available to us on other days. We miss extra times of study and informal worship. We feel it hard to have do without (or with less, or only on our own terms) these excellent parts of keeping the day.

Yet, if we do think of it as “only” public worship then I wonder if, together with all of the other things that the Lord is doing in these days, He might be calling something big—indeed, something infinite—to our attention: the difference in quality and kind between that called, congregational, Lord’s Day assembly and all other types and times of worship.

We saw it in the general principles of His worship. How God seeks to gather in congregations on earth to the assembly in glory. How regarding Him as holy, and drawing near to Him with our hearts, means worshiping only as He says and not getting creative with it. How the assembly that is led by Christ personally is the culmination of His redeeming work, and the reason that God refers to it as the act of “those who love Me” (and manmade embellishments as the act of “those who hate Me”).

Then, we began seeing it in the specific actions that He has commanded in this worship.

Preaching in which Jesus Himself speaks from heaven through a sent-preacher.

Singing, in which Jesus Himself sings His Father’s praise through our mouths in the assembly, as sustained by the accompaniment of His grace in our hearts, filling us with His Spirit, and indwelling us richly with His Word.

Praying, in which the House of Prayer that Jesus has built for all nations is a building constructed for public worship—constructed first of all upon Himself as a living stone, chosen and precious, to which He adds other living stones, a kingdom of priests, people set apart for public worship.

The Supper, which He commands the covenant assembly to eat as an assembly, in the way He instituted, feeding upon Him Himself, and both assured and obligated by the covenant in His blood.

In short, it is good and right to miss other blessings of the Lord’s Day, but how grateful we ought to be that the Lord has yet maintained unto us His public worship! We are out of synch with the mind of Christ concerning public worship if we view it as “only public worship.”

Some of us have been in congregations that had this public worship morning and evening on the Lord’s Day—and have we grown accustomed now to feeling that once is “enough”? That we who are led by our Forever-Priest should be content by a smaller helping than those who were led by the sons of Aaron?

And all of us, even your author (God have mercy upon him!), have often been wearied by public worship. Or distracted in public worship—our minds running to what came before or was coming after, or even just lulled into thoughtlessness. Or indulged a preference for the other things of the day above the holy assembly.

Many times, the Lord has taken His public worship from His people that they might discover that it is not “only” public worship. If He is threatening that again, or at least teaching us the lesson, then I wonder: are we listening?

The Lord grant us hearts that value His holy assembly the way that He does, and then bless to us that desire with great fulfillment by His Spirit,

Pastor


LORD'S DAY – April 5, 2020

Lord’s Day worship (and Wednesday prayer meeting) are live-streamed at http://bit.ly/harpclive

 Often, the audio of the pastor’s family worship is also streamed at that link, as well as at facebook.com/hopewellarp. The facebook page archives the full audio session, and recordings of just the teaching times can be found at https://bit.ly/harpcFW

 11 a.m. Morning Worship

Children’s Catechism for April 5
Q23. What covenant did God make with Adam? A. The covenant of works.

 Shorter Catechism for April 5

Q31. What is effectual calling? A. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

 

 Hymns and Psalms

+ SONG OF ADORATION — TPH336 "O Sacred Head Now Wounded"           

+ HOLY SCRIPTURE PUBLICLY SUNG — ARP119N "Your Word’s a Lamp"

+ SONG OF RESPONSE — TPH424 "All Authority and Power"

 

Basis of first portion of worship service

2Corinthians 5:18–6:3

 

Scripture Readings

Old Testament – 1Samuel 4:1–11

Epistle – Ephesians 1:9–10

Gospel – Luke 3:21–38

 

Sermon Scripture text and topic

We will be hearing from Matthew 28:16–20 that because church members may be unsaved like Judas, or doubting like some of the other eleven, Jesus marks the church that He has set apart to Himself with a sign of His authority to strengthen our confidence in His salvation and commitment to His commandments. It must be in the covenant assembly that the Covenant Lord displays His covenant signs, with His covenant Word, as a mark upon His covenant people, by His officers, applied to those whom He is adding to the number of His covenant assembly.

 

No formal/organized gatherings other than public worship. Heads of households are encouraged to find other ways of helping their families keep the day.

WLC 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?

A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

 

Hopewell this Month

 

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for April:

Madison-Monrovia ARP in Madison, AL

 

April Psalm of the Month

ARP119N Your Word’s a Lamp

 

Upcoming Events

•April 13, Monthly Session meeting 6p.m. via “Zoom” teleconference

•October 2-4, HARPC 200th Anniversary Celebration

 

Please rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn:

The Rouden family has had to say goodbye to Jordan’s dad, who fell asleep in Jesus on Wednesday.

Jordan and Atlanta Goodwin welcomed new baby twins, Hew and Charlotte, also on Wednesday. Hew has had times of struggling to breathe on his own and is in the NICU at Maury regional

▫Karen also passes this along: Valerie was born on Monday to a young couple (Joe & Lauren) in our church (Heritage) who are also very dear friends to all of us. She was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and had her first heart surgery yesterday. While in surgery the surgeon found out that her coronary arteries are much smaller than normal. He tried to enlarge them but was unsuccessful. He doesn't think the arteries will be able to sustain blood flow to her heart as she grows, so that is obviously a huge concern. They are working to figure something out.

 

Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)

▪ Lord’s Day worship/study, Daily worship/discipleship/evangelism in homes and community

▪ Pray with the Reformed sidewalk-counseling group @PP in Nashville for their Wednesday and Friday ministries

▪ Early Rain Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church, Christians in Nigeria, and other persecuted churches like them; Pastor Wang Yi in prison.

▪ R&C H ministering among Muslim refugees in France w/children H&D

▪ Alan McClelland and his ministry at Ft. Rucker

▪ Repentance of the Church and the Nations, as well as comfort and strength through the advancement of the gospel against the backdrop of SARS-CoV-2 and its accompanying panic, especially joining the rest of the ARP at 9a.m. central every day

▪ Valerie, newly born to Joe & Lauren from Heritage CPC in Centerville, with heart abnormalities

▪ Comfort and provision for the LeeAnn Billings family as they grieve, especially for new work, as the university just eliminated her position from the department

▪ Rebecca Sterling’s new shunt and tube to properly drain brain fluid

▪ Pray for the Jeffers family, whose granddaughter Isabelle (14) and then her mother Norma both attempted suicide; there’s a long way to go medically, financially, and especially spiritually for all involved; please keep praying for them and for Sue’s ministry to them

▪ Pray with D&V F for rapid, full recovery

▪ Pray for Kacey and family, going through difficult trial

▪ Pray with D&L L for her 85yo mother and her heart issues

▪ Pray with S&D B for Andrew’s medicine to help his body to stop eliminating his protein

▪ Pray with KC for her acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son; and, for sister Diane and her husband Frank, who need a living faith in Christ; and for friend Patty, a believer, that she will continue to do well after treatment for uterine cancer

▪ Pray with D&M G that her mother would continue healing well and not smoking; for Sean; for Jeremiah and Julianna; and PRAISE for Jordan and Atlanta’s new baby twins, Charlotte and Hew—pray for full recovery for all, especially that Hew would strengthen to breathe will without needing any help

▪ Pray with W&C G for her mother’s health and caregivers; and for spiritual (and total) well-being of son Greg

▪ Pray with J&H H for his father’s cancer and recovery from open-heart surgeries; and sweetness in his parents’ remaining time together; for his youngest brother; for sister-in-law’s recovery from cancer treatment

▪ Pray for James Heard to make good choices and to walk with an serve the Lord in this next phase of his life.

▪ Pray with H&K H for their health (especially Karen’s back, which keeps getting reinjured, and their schedule which it affects) and for many of their loved ones; needing Christian fellowship: her grandmother and father, widow Hope w/4 children, Brown family of 7 (wayward son Nicholas); needing health: her mom, sister Lisa, Martina, Donna, Joyce; needing spiritual life: Velvet and Reagan (lost their sister/daughter to a brutal murder), neighbors Shawn, Merlin, & children; other widows: Libby, Naomi (w/daughter Stacia), Stephanie (w/many children, were missionaries); friend Andrea’s New Age friends; Charles & Robert to be able to forgive; friends w/family problems: Dave, Lee, Melodie, Cole; spiritual growth and wife for friend Scott; their family’s evangelism, recently firefighter Dalton; Riggs to grow mighty in the Lord

▪ Pray with R&M J for Meredith, young daughter of M’s college friend Ashely (and husband Brad), who’s taking medicine to shrink her brain tumor

▪ Pray with O&A L for her unbelieving mother w/heart condition, and brother w/lung cancer.

▪ Pray with CM for his sister Ginger, diagnosed with an aggressive and advanced leukemia, and for Sheriff’s Reserve James Wilson, and his wife Andra’s cancer

▪ Pray with C&T P for wisdom for him about what to do with two good career choices, and for the conversion of her brother Todd; and for her dad and his wife, who recently had a brain bleed and was in critical care at KU Med in KC.

▪ Pray with D&K R for their family’s growth in godliness, especially dying to self, godly speech, and Lord’s Day keeping; for Micah, Rachel, and baby girl due in July; and pray for Hannah’s and Noah Martyn’s thriving and fast recovery; and for local pastor/constable Darryl Thrasher, who has an aggressive, malignant brain tumor

▪ Pray with GR for friend Abby to come to faith in Christ

▪ Pray with JeR for believing friend Jeanette Cary’s CHF, Fibromyalgia, & slow-healing wound

▪ Pray with J&S R for her nephew, who needs life in Christ; and for her and her family in the loss of her father, especially spiritual impact on her sisters and nephews; and for her sister Rebecca’s pregnancy; and for the whole family, and especially his mother, as they grieve the passing away of his father

▪ PRAISE with S&V Y for the full recovery of 12yo Peyton, a relative of theirs from an unbelieving family, who had leukemia

Please pray with Lincoln Madison-Monrovia ARP in Madison, AL, throughout the month of April

▪ Please pray for the TN-AL Presbytery to be enabled to plant a faithful church with the resources available and earmarked for that purpose

▪ Please pray for all ARP presbyteries, churches, and agencies

▪ Please pray for our nation, state, community and all the officials thereof 

 

Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue. (WCF 21.3)


No comments:

Post a Comment