8Nov

Sunday’s Sermon - Was Crucified, Died and Was Buried

Below is the podcast of the sermon I preached on Sunday, November 5, in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia. It's the eighth message in a series entitled Christianity 101, during which we'll used The Apostles Creed to understand better the Christian faith.You can find other sermons, devotions, essays, videos, announcements, and articles on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this sermon meaningful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.


I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

 

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

 

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 

***********

 

Was Crucified, Died and Was Buried

 

You know, back when I was a kid, right now we’re entering the most exciting time of the year. Now that was the focus of the essay I sent out with the bulletin yesterday. You see, for me, Halloween was the first of the big three Fall holidays, days that were like beacons of light that shone through the darkness that commenced the minute after Labor Day, you know, when school started again. I mean, the prospect of Halloween, with all those costumes and candy, and Thanksgiving, with all that football and food, and Christmas, with all the decorations and music and of course presents, well I’m telling you, in a very real way, those three days enabled me to survive Mrs. Stevens’s Third Grade class back at Crossroads Elementary. You see, I think Mrs. Stevens had it in for me just because I put my feet on my desk the first day of class. But no matter what she said or did and no matter how discouraged and disappointed I was, the vision of Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas, man, that offered hope in an otherwise dreary world. And I’ll tell you, that hope was put on steroids after Halloween, because we were now talking about three weeks before holiday number two and three more weeks before the granddaddy of all holidays, the big Kahuna itself: Christmas.

 

And I’ll tell you, this morning, as we whip past Halloween, well, in the next few weeks, we’re going to be look at some stuff that can be pretty important to our Christian faith, the focus of this series we started a couple of months ago. Of course, I don’t want to suggest that what we’ve been talking about isn’t important. My goodness, in the last seven weeks we’ve used The Apostles’ Creed to discuss what it means to trust God, the Father and the Almighty and the maker of heaven and earth. And then we shifted our focus to Jesus Christ, whom we recognize as both his only son and our Lord. And then we considered how Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, establishing his divinity, and yet also born of the Virgin Mary, establishing his humanity. And a couple of weeks ago, we considered how Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate. Now there’s where we’ve been.

 

And this morning we’re going to focus on the phrase “was crucified, dead and was buried,” in other words, the crucifixion. And even though I think most Christians know something about the cross, I’m not sure many actually know how to apply it, at least not to their daily lives. In fact, I think we kind of hang out on one of two extremes, looking at the cross as a continuation and culmination of the suffering that Jesus endured or as this kind of vague theological concept having to do with $20 words like atonement and propitiation and satisfaction, you know, words that we might hear tossed around at church but which, when you get right down to it, neither the tosser or the tossie really understand, much less apply in any practical way.At least, I think that’s often the way things seem to be.

 

But let me be both clear and emphatic, that’s not what we’re going to do this morning. We’re not going to talk about the suffering; we did that a couple of weeks ago. And we’re not going to try to apply some theological concepts that, if you share them at a party, will cause folks to think you’re really smart, but that have some real issues therefore might not apply at all. Instead, we’re going to look at what the Apostle Paul had to say about the crucifixion of Jesus in his letter to the Romans. And then we’re going to take his words and ideas and apply them to our lives. And we’re going to do that by looking, first, at its meaning, you know, the meaning of the crucifixion, and, second, its impact.

 

And like I said, I think we’re pretty lucky, because that’s really what Paul wrote about in the first six chapters of his Roman letter. For example, it was in those chapters that he wrote about what the crucifixion was all about. And I’ll tell you, for Paul, it wasn’t about passion or pain; it was all about sin, and I’m talking about our sin. And you’ve got to love Paul; he described all of this in his typical meticulous and methodical way. Let me show you what I’m talking about.

 

You see, Paul was clear about what sin is and how it affects us all. And for him, although sin was like this almost independent force, it was most clearly seen in our tendency to worship the creature rather then the creator. As he wrote right at the beginning of the letter, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.” [Romans 1:18-23] Of course, he was talking about idoltry, but I’ll tell you, an idol doesn’t have to be the stature of an animal or a person. You see, this tendency to worship and to follow and to idolize what was made rather than the maker, that can be seen by the enormous trust we put in our own knowledge and wisdom. In other words, people tend to worship themselves, assuming that what they think, God thinks, that what they hate, God hates, and that what they want, God wants for them. Pretty neat, right?

 

But it didn’t matter whether folks are worshiping an idol in a temple or their own reflection in the mirror, it’s still a sign of sin, and sin, well, sin just plain affects everybody. Paul wrote, and understand that for him, this applied to everyone: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.”  “Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of vipers is under their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” [Romans 3:10b-18] Not exactly the stuff you’d put in a Mother’s Day card, but for Paul, it does reflect the human condition. In other words, we all sin.

 

And there’s only one way to deal with sin, you know, to cure this disease that infects and affect us all. You see, for Paul, there’s only one way a person can be freed from sin’s power; he has to die. Paul wrote, “For whoever has died is freed from sin.” [Romans 6:7] It’s sort of like a doctor coming to you and saying, “I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news. The good news is that I can completely destroy your disease. The bad news is that I’ll have to kill you do it. Sorry about your luck.”

 

But I’ll tell you, it was right here that Paul brought in the crucifixion. You see, through the power of God, you know, that one that we’ve decided to trust, when Christ died, we died too. Listen to what he wrote: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin.... The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [Romans 6:3-7, 10-11]  Now that’s what happened when Jesus died on the cross, at least for Paul. It wasn’t just that he suffered, and it wasn’t because of some complicated theological reason. For Paul, it was clear. First, we all sin. Second, death breaks the control of sin. Third, through his almighty power and because as a Father he loves us, his children, we were in Christ there on the cross. You see, when Jesus died, so did we; therefore, with respect to sin, we are dead men walking. The power of sin has been broken. The disease has been cured. And this is what we’re acknowledging when we say that we believe, that we trust that “Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord...was crucified, dead, and buried...” Now, for Paul, that’s what the crucifixion means.

 

And I’ll tell you something else, when we decide to believe it, I think it’s going to affect us in two ways, and both ways involve freedom. You see, on one hand, when we trust in what happened at the crucifixion, we’re suddenly free from bondage to the past. And I’ll tell you why that important. You see, staying in bondage is always easier and more comfortable than freedom. I mean, it’s always easier thinking what we’ve always thought and doing what we’ve always done. And it’s always more comfortable to assume that we’re just the products of our past; therefore, the mistakes we’ve made, we’ll continue to make, and that we’re somehow obligated to live up to, or maybe better, down to our reputations, and that we are what we’ve always been. You see, our past can become our anchor. But when we believe that, on the cross, we died to sin; I’m telling you, we’re now free from all that garbage. It’s like Paul wrote, “What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” [Romans 6:1-2] And then a little later, after going over how we’ve died in Christ and how the power of sin has been broken and how we’ve been set free, he said, “Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness...” [Romans 6:12-13a] You see, we can now decide that we’re not going to use our distorted values and attitudes to hurt ourselves and we’re sure not going to allow our words and actions to hurt others anymore. I’m telling you, on one hand, right here and right now, we can decide that it’s just not going to happen. Why? Because of the crucifixion, we’re free from bondage to the past.

 

But I’ll tell you, what’s on the other hand just might be even more exciting, because, thanks to the cross, we’re now free to live in the present, and I’m talking about really live, live in the way God has called us to live. And I think this is something Paul recognized, because just listen to what he wrote: “No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.” [Romans 6:13-14, 19] You see, since we’ve been set free from the power, the sickness of sin, we’re now able to do more than just stop, you know, stop doing bad stuff. I’m telling you, now we can decide to start living for God. Now we can decide to start actually doing the kind of things that Christians often just talk about doing. Now we can decide to live the kind of life Paul described later in this same letter: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” [Romans 12:9-18] I’ll telling you, this kind of life is possible. Why? Because of the crucifixion, we’re free to live in the present.

 

You see, for Paul, the crucifixion was absolutely crucial. And it can also be for us. I’m telling you, right here and right now, we can decide to believe that even though we’re all sinners, because we died to sin on the cross, the power of sin has been destroyed. It’s control over us has been broken. The disease has been cured. Without our permission or help, this is a done deal. And when we trust that it’s happen, we can experience a new sense of freedom, and I’m talking about a freedom from bondage to the past and freedom to live in the present. I’m telling you, this is something we can know. Why? Because we believe that “...Jesus Christ...was crucified, dead and was buried.”

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4Nov

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - Riddle Me This

Below is the podcast of a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, videos, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

Matthew 13:31-35

 

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

 

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

 

Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: 

     “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; 

          I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

 

Riddle Me This

 

When I was a kid, Batman was one of my favorite shows on television. And even though I loved most of the villains, you know, like the Joker and the Penguin and Cat Woman, my favorite was the Riddler. Now to tell the truth, I think it was probably a combination of Frank Gorshin’s laugh, his kind of spastic gestures and his use of riddles to reveal his next crime. But you know the why wasn’t that important; I just thought he was really cool. And as I remember, whenever he was about to announce another brain teaser, he’d say, “Batman, riddle me this” and then he’d reveal his next clue.

 

And in a sense, that’s what Jesus was doing when he taught the crowds using parables. You see, parables are like riddles. They’re puzzles that represent a whole lot more than what’s on the surface. And since many of them involved the kingdom of heaven, in other words the rule of God, they actually challenge the reader to stop and to think about the meaning before moving on the next passage. For example, to say the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed sown in a field or yeast mixed into flour, Jesus was suggesting something pretty profound, especially when we feel discouraged because God and his kingdom seem either far away or too insignificant to notice. In reality, we’re still at the beginning of a process. But we can trust that the time’s coming when what seems far will be all around us and what seems insignificant will shape all creation. And that’s something we can claim when we pause and consider this riddle our savior left us.

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3Nov

Friday’s Essay - From Halloween to Christmas

Below is the podcast of an essay I sent to the Cove Presbyterian Church emailing list. You can find other essays, sermons, devotions, videos, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

When I was a kid, I think the period between Halloween and Christmas was the slowest moving time of the entire year. It was like God had decided to make every minute two minutes long. And it was horrible. You see, for me, Halloween was the official start of the Holiday Season, because it was the first of the big three: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I’ll tell you, each one was better the last. I mean, even though Halloween was good, it couldn’t hold a candle or drumstick to Thanksgiving. I’ve never been much of a candy eater, and Thanksgiving has the three “fs”: food, family and football. And how could anyone want more than that? But Christmas, now that wasn’t just a day; man, it was an entire season. As a matter of fact, when compared to everything that led up to it, Christmas Day was always sort of anticlimactic, at least it was for me. And so, from the end of October to the end of December, it was the culmination of the year. And I guess that’s why it seemed to move at a snails pace.

 

Of course that was when I was a kid. Things changed as I’ve gotten older. And now, well, I’m not sure any two months pass faster. I mean, by the time we reach the dog days of January, November and December will seem like a blur. And not unlike trying to control an enthusiastic Saint Bernard, we’ll sort of be dragged through the season and, after it’s over, wonder where the time’s gone. You see, right now, we’ve already been told to start our engines. And trust me, being in the church doesn’t slow the ticking clock down a bit.

 

But before we plummet through this time of year, let’s do our very best to pause twice: once in November and then in December. You see, I think we need to pause sometime in the next twenty days simply to thank God for all the blessings we’ve received during the last year. Now, I know that hasn’t been the case for everybody. A lot of folks have had dramatic and unexpected tragedies this past year, and I don’t want to suggest that they should suppress their grief and sadness and pretend that life is beautiful. Still, that just doesn’t apply to most of us, does it? I mean, for most of us, things have gone pretty well these last twelve months. We had plenty to eat and a roof over our heads. And we haven’t had to worry about things over which we have limited control. And most of us have found some satisfaction in what we’ve been able to do for ourselves and for others. But maybe best of all, for those of us who made the daily decision to trust that we’re loved by God and will be saved by Christ and are surround by the Holy Spirit, we have that added peace and hope that comes from faith. You see, for those things, we can give thanks, something that we might want to do before the stuffing gets cold and the cranberry sauce gets warm. Now that’s what we can do in November.

 

And in December, well, we can make an intentional effort to pause and feel a little Christmas joy. In other words, somewhere in the middle of the decorating and wrapping and cooking, we can pause so that we can remember what this season is all about, and I can tell you, it’s not about the tree and the presents and the cookies, although all those things are nice. No, as we’ve been told hundreds of times, Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s about the word becoming flesh and pitching his tent among us. It’s about the birth of Emmanuel, “God with us.” You see, at Christmas we have the opportunity to celebrate both what happened and what continues to happen, and I’m talking about the peace and hope that comes from knowing that our past is clean and our future secure. Now that’s the power of Christmas, and I think we’re making a huge mistake if that gets lost under the mistletoe and in the punch bowl. You see, regardless of whether we choose to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” we can sure pause and feel the joy that comes from celebrating the birth of Christ.

 

Now, there are times I wish I was a kid again or at the very least could experience the same kind of expectation and excitement I once felt. But of course, I know that’s not really possible. For better or worse, I don’t hear the bell ring anymore, because it’s been drown out by the train rushing down the tracks. But having said that, I know that there’s something we can all do as we move from Halloween to Christmas. You see, we can pause in November so that we can thank God. And then we can pause in December and experience the joy of Christmas.

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2Nov

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - Keep A-Goin’

Below is the podcast of a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, videos, articles, and announcements of The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

Matthew 13:18-23

 

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

 

Keep A-Goin’

 

When I was much younger, I remember a Henry Gibson walking on stage an reciting a poem entitled, Keep A-Goin’. And it went like this:

  Ef you strike a thorn or rose,

    Keep a-goin'!

  Ef it hails, or ef it snows,

    Keep a-goin!

  'Taint no use to sit an' whine,

  When the fish ain't on yer line;

  Bait yer hook an' keep a-tryin'—

    Keep a-goin'!

 

  When the weather kills yer crop,

    Keep a-goin'!

  When you tumble from the top,

    Keep a-goin'!

  S'pose you're out of every dime,

  Bein' so ain't any crime;

  Tell the world you're feelin' prime—

    Keep a-goin'!

 

  When it looks like all is up,

    Keep a-goin'!

  Drain the sweetness from the cup,

    Keep a-goin'!

  See the wild birds on the wing,

  Hear the bells that sweetly ring,

  When you feel like sighin' sing—

    Keep a-goin'!

 

Now, at the time, I thought Henry Gibson came up with it himself. But to give credit where credit is due, it was probably written by a poet named Frank Lebby Stanton, a man called "the James Whitcomb Riley of the South" and in fact, the first poet laureate for the state of Georgia. But regardless of who wrote it, the meaning is the same. Regardless of what we face, we need to pull up our socks and keep going. And I’ll tell you, in light of the explanation Jesus offered for the parable of the sower, the same can be said about our call to share the Good News. You see, regardless of how it’s received, we’re called to “Keep a-goin’.

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2Nov

The Wedding Service for Dan Rettberg and Tiffany Davis - Saturday, October 31, 2017

Below is the podcast of the wedding service I led on Tuesday, October 31, in Midland, Pennsylvania.

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31Oct

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - That’s Just the Way It Is

Below is the podcast of a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, videos, aritlces, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

Matthew 13:1-9

 

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  Let anyone with ears listen!”

 

That’s Just the Way It Is

 

Sometimes we’re forced just to accept the way things are. For example, although I may want the Indianapolis Colts to be heading to the Super Bowl, my goodness, I may just want them to beat a team that’s won another game, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards this year, not with Andrew Luck injured. I guess that’s something I’m just going to have to accept. And even though I’d love to feel like I did twenty years ago, I doubt that’s going happen either. No, I’m sixty years old, and that’s just the way it is.

 

And I think that was Jesus’s point in the passage we read from Matthew. You see, although both the sower is wonderful and the seed carry enormous potential, some of them will fall on soil that’s not productive and sadly, the seed will either be carried away, dried up or choked out. And it doesn’t matter what the sower does, that’s just the way it is. But here’s the good news. Even though that can certainly be discouraging, we don’t want to lose sight of the fact that there’s also good soil out there, soil where the seed can take root and grow, soil where the yield can be assured. And just like the bad soil can bring us down, trusting in that which is good can give us hope and joy as we see the seed sown, because we can believe that the harvest is coming. And that, my friends, is also just the way it is.

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28Oct

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - The Fruit Reflects the Tree

Below is the podcast of a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, videos, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.


If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

Matthew 12:33-37

 

“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 

The Fruit Reflects the Tree

 

One of the things I miss about being in central Virginia during the Fall is the apples. You see, where we lived, there were several orchards close. And when Maggie was little, I remember visiting one near Charlottesville several times and always in the Fall. And I’ve got to tell you, it was great. With the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, we’d go down the rows and actually pick apples from the trees. Of course, since my daughter was really little, I had to hold her up so that she could select and pick her own apple and put it in her own basket. And I remember there were several different varieties, and so when we’d finished, our wicker baskets just looked like Fall itself, with the different shades of red and yellow. But I’ll tell you, if the picking was fun, the eating was even better, because I don’t think there’s anything better than a freshly harvested apple, with it’s sweet taste and snap when you bite it. Now that was some incredible fruit. 

 

And maybe that’s why I find this passage so meaningful. I mean, I doubt that my memories of that Virginia orchard would be as positive if the apples had been small or tasteless or mushy. And as Jesus told the Pharisee, we won’t be effective in living the Christian life and sharing the good new of Christ if our fruit is poor. But more than that, if that’s the case, the tree it came from is probably also bad. Therefore, instead of focusing our attention on the more superficial aspects of religion and spirituality, maybe we should spend our time working on the fruit that we produce, because whether we want to admit it or not, the fruit really does reflect the tree.

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28Oct

The Wedding Service for Casey Lemley and Mike Catalano - Saturday, October 28, 2017

Below is the podcast of the wedding service I led on Saturday, October 28, at the Old Economy Village, in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

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28Oct

The Wedding Service for Brittany Gardocki and Jason Fishbourne - Saturday, October 27, 2017

Below is the podcast of the wedding service I led on Friday, October 27, in Sharon, Pennsylvania.

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27Oct

The Wedding Service for John and Pamela Highfield - Sunday, October 22, 2017

Below is the podcast of the wedding service I led on Sunday, October 22, in Youngstown, Ohio.

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