Preparation for Worship, Sunday, August 16

Our Music Director, Mike Murphy, shares the Meditation Song for this Sunday.

Join us at 8:30 or 10:50 for attended worship. All are asked to wear a mask in the Atrium and until seated in the Sanctuary.

Our 10:50 service is streamed live at highlandspca.org.

Our nursery is open for both services. Please read our nursery policy and make a reservation at highlandspca.org/nursery.

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This Sunday, August 16: “Deep Dedication”

You are cordially invited to the dedication of Solomon’s temple! You’ll be present as a member of the crowd, shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the assembly of Israel. You’ll be offered something to take home.

Join us at 8:30 and 10:50 for attended worship. Our 10:50 service is streamed live at highlandspca.org.

Our nursery is open for both services. More information is available here.

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Sunday, August 9: “Glory in Worship”

Pastor Joseph Wheat shares a preview of this Sunday’s sermon from the Solomon series.

Join us this Sunday, August 9, at 8:30 or 10:50 for attended worship. Please wear a mask in the atrium and when walking to and from your seat in the sanctuary. Our 10:50 service is live streamed.

Our nursery is available for both services. If you have not yet registered your child(ren), please do so here.

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Walking into the Future

“Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.”  C. S. Lewis

This month’s article is written by Rev. Brad Mercer, Senior Associate Pastor. 


Ethan and Rosemary (Mercer) Archer, our oldest and youngest grandchildren.

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.  Bilbo Baggins

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. St. Paul

The Christian life is like a long walk—and there are no shortcuts. The path is full of ruts, sharp turns, and detours. The word “walk” implies rhythm, direction, consistency, and destination. “Walk” lends itself to “talk,” to conversation and fellowship along the way.

The Apostle Paul uses the word “walk” over 20 times in his letters. He also uses the metaphors of running, boxing, wrestling, and fighting, but when he wants to describe the very heart of the Christian life—love, light, and wisdom—he uses “walk.” Paul never says, “wrestle in love,” “run in wisdom,” or “fight in light.” It’s always “walk.”

Here’s how Paul begins Ephesians 5: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1). He calls us to faithful, child-like imitation of Christ. Then he tells us exactly what this imitation looks like.

First, we are to walk in love. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). This passage gives us a summary of the Gospel and a call to action. This is love: Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice on the cross in the place of sinners. He is our savior and example.

When Karl Barth, the famous Swiss theologian, was fielding questions from the audience after a lecture at the University Chicago in 1962, an intrepid student stood up and asked him to summarize his theology in a sentence or two. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” Barth replied. The message is simple, but it reminds us that there is no Christian love without Christian doctrine. Our actions are based on truth, our practice on belief. Jesus Christ gave His life in my place to make me His child. Now, says Paul, I am to imitate Jesus and practice an ongoing, lifestyle of love.

Second, we are to walk in light. “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8-10). Let these words sink in: children, good, right, true, and discern. Once again Paul calls us to be children who follow Jesus’s lead and learn from Him, whose lives display the consistent pursuit and fruit of what pleases Him.

The great American pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards put it well when he told his congregation: “The light of the Sun of righteousness does not only shine upon them, but is so communicated to them that they shine also, and become little images of that Sun which shines upon them.”

Third, we are to walk in wisdom. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).  In one of the greatest books ever written on the wisdom literature of the Bible, Wisdom in Israel, Gerhard von Rad defines wisdom as “Becoming competent with regard to the realities of life.” Wisdom is the vital link between love and light and “real” life. A wise person knows how to skillfully apply biblical care, concern, and truth to everyday situations.

Social media-sound bite cultures don’t have the patience it takes to achieve wisdom. Wisdom is a way not a technique, a path not a door. We learn wisdom one step at a time, through daily, ordinary practices and experiences. Our time, minds, and hearts are conformed to God’s Word (Eph. 5:15-21). Over time we become more and more Christ-like.

Has there ever been a culture with more information and less wisdom? Our society is changing at lightning speed, with algorithms aimed at shaping our every thought and desire. We face an onslaught of messages and images that seek to make sin look normal and righteousness look strange. We’re encouraged to surround ourselves with what brings us instant gratification, and yet we’re starved for the genuine relationships and true contentment that only come through walking with Jesus Christ, who is our love, light, and wisdom (1 Cor. 1:20-25).

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

These may be strange and uncertain times, but we know where, and with whom, we are going. Let’s keep walking!
 
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