Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church


Here's an update on our new church building:
Marinell completed the first of two stained glass windows (48") and it has now been installed in the frame. Hopefully, it will be installed in the building next week. This is the one that goes above the pulpit. The second owe will be slightly smaller (42"); it will be the same design and will be installed in the empty circle you see on the front porch (photo above). The 3' cross, which goes on top of the steeple has come in, and should be installed soon (I hope to ride in the "cherry-picker," and place it up there). The painters have caulked and puttied and as soon as the outside doors are installed, they will begin painting the exterior "china white," with off-white trim, beige side-doors, and burgundy front doors. Some of the exterior corbels are up and the rest should go up next week. They have begun hanging sheet rock inside and the insulation, electrical, sound, security, fire suppression, plumbing and air conditioning are complete regarding the stuff that goes behind the walls. It's possible that they will begin pouring the concrete for the parking lot next week as well. Lord willing, we should be in by early to mid May.
We are grateful to the Lord.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany

Here it is the important point that the Magi, who stand for mysticism and philosophy, are truly conceived as seeking something new and even as finding something unexpected. That tense sense of crisis which still tingles in the Christmas story and even in every Christmas celebration, accentuates the idea of a search and a discovery. The discovery is, in this case, truly a scientific discovery. For the other mystical figures in the miracle play; for the angel and the mother, the shepherds and the soldiers of Herod, there may be aspects both simpler and more supernatural, more elemental or more emotional. But the wise Men must be seeking wisdom, and for them there must be a light also in the intellect.... The philosophy of the Church is universal. The philosophy of the philosophers was not universal. Had Plato and Pythagoras and Aristotle stood for an instant in the light that came out of that little cave, they would have known that their own light was not universal. It is far from certain, indeed, that they did not know it already. Philosophy also, like mythology, had very much the air of a search. It is the realization of this truth that gives its traditional majesty and mystery to the figures of the Three Kings; the discovery that religion is broader than philosophy and that this is the broadest of religions, contained within this narrow space. The Magicians were gazing at the strange pentacle with the human triangle reversed; and they have never come to the end of their calculations about it. For it is the paradox of that group in the cave, that while our emotions about it are of childish simplicity, our thoughts about it can branch with a never-ending complexity. And we can never reach the end even of our own ideas about the child who was a father and the mother who was a child.”G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” —Matthew 2:2.

Part 2:
“The glad tidings were made known also to wise men, magi, students of the stars and of old prophetic books from the far-off east. It would not be possible to tell how far off their native country lay; it may have been so distant that the journey occu­pied nearly the whole of the two years of which they spake concerning the appearance of the star. Travelling was slow in those days, sur­rounded with difficulties and many dangers. They may have come from Persia, or India, or Tartary, or even from the mysterious land of Sinim, now known to us as China. If so, strange and uncouth must have been the speech of those who worshipped around the young Child at Bethlehem, yet needed he no interpreter to understand and accept their adoration. Why was the birth of the King of the Jews made known to these foreigners, and not to those nearer home? Why did the Lord select those who were so many hundreds of miles away, while the children of the kingdom, in whose very midst the Saviour was brought forth, were yet strangely ignorant of his presence? See here again another instance of the sovereignty of God. Both in shepherds and in Eastern magi gathering around the young Child, I see God dispensing his favours as he wills; and, as I see it, I exclaim, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Herein we see again another instance of God’s sovereign will; for as of old there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elias the prophet, but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto the woman of Sarepta; so many there were who were called wise men among the Jews, but unto none of them did the star appear; but it shone on Gentile eyes, and led a chosen company from the ends of the earth to bow at Emmanuel’s feet.” ―C.H. Spurgeon, sermon, “The Sages, the Star, and the Saviour”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” —Matthew 2:2.

Part 1:
“The incarnation of the Son of God was one of the greatest events in the history of the universe. Its actual occurrence was not, however, known to all mankind, but was specially revealed to the shepherds of Bethlehem and to certain wise men of the east. To shepherds—the illiterate, men little versed in human learning—the angels in choral song made known the birth of the Saviour, Christ the Lord, and they hastened to Bethlehem to see the great sight; while the Scribes, the writers of the law and expounders of it, knew nothing concerning the long-promised birth of the Messias. No angelic bands entered the assembly of the Sanhedrim and proclaimed that the Christ was born; and when the chief priests and Pharisees were met together, though they gathered around copies of the law to consider where Christ should be born, yet it was not known to them that he was actually come, nor do they seem to have taken more than a passing interest in the matter, though they might have known that then was the time spoken of by the prophets when the great Messiah should come. How mysterious are the dispensations of grace; the base things are chosen and the eminent are passed by! The advent of the Redeemer is revealed to the shepherds who kept their flocks of sheep by night, but not to the shepherds whose benighted sheep were left to stray. Admire therein the sovereignty of God.” ―C.H. Spurgeon, sermon, “The Sages, the Star, and the Saviour”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Tenth Day of Christmas

Shaking the Palaces
“(Unless we understand the presence of that enemy, we shall not only miss the point of Christianity, but even miss the point of Christmas....By the very nature of the story the rejoic­ings in the cavern were rejoicings in a fortress or an outlaw’s den; properly understood it is not unduly flippant to say they were rejoicings in a dug-out. It is not only true that such a subterranean chamber was a hiding-place from enemies; and that the enemies were already scouring the stony plain that lay above it like a sky. It is not only that the very horse-hoofs of Herod might in that sense have passed like thunder over the sunken head of Christ. It is also that there is in that image a true idea of an outpost, of a piercing through the rock and an entrance into an enemy ter­ritory. There is in this buried divinity an idea of undermining the world; of shaking the towers and palaces from below; even as Herod the great king felt that earthquake under him and swayed with his swaying palace.” ―G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Ninth Day of Christmas

“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pon­dered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” ―Luke 2:17-20.

Every season has its own proper fruit: apples for autumn, holly berries for Christmas. The earth brings forth according to the period of the year, and with man there is a time for every purpose under heaven. At this season, the world is engaged in congratulating itself and in expressing its complimentary wishes for the good of its citizens; let me suggest extra and more solid work for Christians. As we think today of the birth of the Saviour, let us aspire after a fresh birth of the Saviour in our hearts; that as he is already “formed in us the hope of glory,” we may be “renewed in the spirit of our minds;” that we may go again to the Bethlehem of our spiritual nativity and do our first works, enjoy our first loves, and feast with Jesus as we did in the holy, happy, heavenly days of our espousals. Let us go to Jesus with some­thing of that youthful freshness and excessive delight which was so manifest in us when we looked to him at the first; let him be crowned anew by us, for he is still adorned with the dew of his youth, and remains “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  C.H. Spurgeon, sermon, “Holy Work for Christmas”

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Blessed Boomerang
“Christmas is quite certainly the most interesting thing in England to-day. It is the last living link between all that remains of the most delicate religious devotion and all that exists of the coarsest town vulgarity....The return of old things in new times, by an established and automatic machinery, is the permanent security of men who like to be sane. The greatest of all blessings is the boomerang. And all the healthiest things we know are boomerangs—that is, they are things that return. Sleep is a boomerang. We fling it from us at morning, and it knocks us down again at night. Daylight is a boomerang. We see it at the end of the day disappearing in the distance; and at the beginning of the next day we see it come back and break the sky....The same sort of sensational sanity (truly to be called sensational because it braces and strengthens all the sensations) is given by the return of religious and social festivals. To have such an institution as a Christmas is, I will say not to make an accident inevitable, but I will say to make an adventure recurrent—and therefore, in one sense, to make an adventure everlasting. A practice like that of Christmas is, therefore, much the most practical way of resisting the meaningless modern fancy of perpetually advancing into the white fog of a formless future”. ―G.K. Chesterton, “Christmas Versus the Future,” Illustrated London News, December 20, 1913