College Students and the Church (2): A Challenge to Students

Pastor Nick Smith has published a new article over at Sylvan Manor: College Students and the Church (2): A Challenge to Students.

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College Students and the Church

Pastor Nick Smith has started posting a new series of articles over at Sylvan Manor: College Students and the Church.

Posted in Links

Thanksgiving Day 2014

Join us for our Thanksgiving Service this Thursday, Nov. 27, at 10:00 AM. Here’s the opening of our service, from the Book of Common Prayer:

†Call to Worship                                                                 Psalm 100

†Exhortation to Thanksgiving                 Book of Common Prayer, 1552

We are gathered together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at the Lord’s hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Therefore I ask you to accompany me with a pure heart, and humble voice, unto the throne of heavenly grace:

†Prayer for the National Thanksgiving Day

Almighty God, Ruler of the universe, by whom our nation has been established in freedom: we thank and praise you for your favor shown unto our fathers, and your faithfulness continued unto their children; for the rich land given us for an inheritance, for the return of seed-time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of the fruits thereof, and for all the other blessings of your merciful Providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And we humbly pray that, enjoying your gifts in contentment, we may be enabled by your grace to use them to your praise. Especially we thank you for your great love in sending your Son to be the Savior of the world, and in calling us out of our sins into fellowship with him. And we ask you to grant us always your Holy Spirit, through whom we may grow continually in thankfulness toward you. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray, saying,

Our Father, who art in heaven: Hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen!

†“We Praise Thee, O God”                                 Psalter Hymnal #313

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The Lord’s Day (September 7, 2014)

AM Service

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 128

New Testament Reading: Ephesians 5:15-33

Sermon: The Gospel and Our Relationships

Series: The World as it Really Is #3

PM Service

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:18-25

Sermon: General Eschatology: What Happens When Jesus Returns?

The Belgic Confession, Article 37

Finally, we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come and the number of the elect complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as He ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare Himself Judge of the living and the dead, burning this old world with fire and flame to cleanse it.

Then all men will personally appear before this great Judge, both men and women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof, being summoned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trump of God. For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies in which they formerly lived. As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible become incorruptible. Then the books (that is to say, the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil. Nay, all men shall give account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest; and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.

And therefore the consideration of this judgment is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect; because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world, and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and shall become immortal, but only to be tormented in the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.

But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor; and the Son of God will confess their names before God His Father and His elect angels; all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; and their cause, which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates as heretical and impious will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God. And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.

Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN. Amen, come, Lord Jesus. – Revelation. 22:20.

Posted in The Lord's Day

Pentecost Festival 2014

Friday, June 13

  • 6:00 PM Session 1: Why Is Johnny Afraid To Grow? Exploring the Purpose of Pentecost
  • 7:00 PM Dinner and Festivities

Saturday, June 14

  • 2:30 PM Session 2: Integrating Scripture and Spirit: Exploring the Presence of Pentecost
  • 3:45 PM Fine Arts Recital
  • 5:00 PM Session 3: Living From the Future: Exploring the Perfection of Pentecost
  • 6:00 PM Dinner – High School Fundraiser (Reformed Youth Services convention)

Sunday, June 15

  • 10:15 AM Worship: Acts 3.1-10: The Pentecost Church Certified as God’s Temple
  • 6:00 PM Worship: Acts 5.33-39: The New Israel Challenged by the Old Israel

Our speaker is Dr. Nelson D. Kloosterman. He served for many years as professor of New Testament and Ethics at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, IN and now serves as Executive Director for Worldview Resources International.

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The Advent of God’s Grace (3): In Jesus the Messiah

chi-rhoThis week we continue our Advent series with the center of the story: the advent of God’s grace in Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. The point that we will be meditating upon is both simple and infinitely glorious: that when Jesus came into the world, he did so as part of a much larger story. It is that wider story that gives meaning and significance to his Advent.

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

As Herman Ridderbos argues beautifully in his commentary on John’s gospel, this is not a contrast of opposites, but rather a story of organic development. In Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, the story of God’s grace coming into the world has reached its center and fulfillment. This is good news for us, because it means that the great pattern of the advent of God’s grace spans all of history, extending into our future and all of the details of our lives.

Our Scripture readings will be Genesis 10:32-11:9 and John 1:1-18.

Here’s an overview of our Advent series, “The Advent of God’s Grace:”

  1. Advent 1 (Dec. 1): In the Beginning
  2. Advent 2 (Dec. 8): In the Story of Israel
  3. Advent 3 (Dec. 15): In Jesus the Messiah
  4. Advent 4 (Dec. 22): In the Promised Future
  5. Sunday after Christmas (Dec. 29): In Your Life

Our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols will be at 10:00 AM on Dec. 25

Posted in The Lord's Day

The Advent of God’s Grace (2): In the Story of Israel

This Lord’s Day we will continue our celebration of Advent, tracing the theme of God’s grace coming into the world throughout the story of the Bible. When John says in his gospel that “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (1:17), there is no “but” in the verse. He is not drawing a great divide or contrast between Moses and Christ. Rather, he is telling a story of promise and fulfillment. The law that was given through Moses reaches its fulfillment, its intended goal, in the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace in Christ.


Last week we saw the advent of God’s grace “In the Beginning.” The first book of Moses (Genesis) proclaims God’s grace loud and clear. From the moment of our fall into sin, God demonstrated his grace to his people by promising them the Messiah to come who would crush the Serpent’s head. This week we will see the advent of God’s grace in the story of Israel: in the Exodus, in God graciously meeting with Israel in worship (Exodus 40:16-38), and in the promise that God would return to his temple in their return from exile (Malachi 3:1). This great story pointed to the coming of Christ, and ultimately to the fellowship of God with his people in the renewed creation of Revelation 21-22.

Here’s an overview of our Advent series, “The Advent of God’s Grace:”

  1. Advent 1 (Dec. 1): In the Beginning
  2. Advent 2 (Dec. 8): In the Story of Israel
  3. Advent 3 (Dec. 15): In Jesus the Messiah
  4. Advent 4 (Dec. 22): In the Promised Future
  5. Sunday after Christmas (Dec. 29): In Your Life

Our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols will be at 10:00 AM on Dec. 25

Posted in The Lord's Day

Thanksgiving Service 2013

mistYou are invited to join us for our Thanksgiving service tomorrow (Nov. 28) at 10:00 AM. We join the long tradition of the church in coming together for “thanksgivings upon special occasions” (Westminster Confession of Faith 21.5), responding to the words of the Book of Common Prayer:

“We are gathered together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at the Lord’s hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Therefore I ask you to accompany me with a pure heart, and humble voice, unto the throne of heavenly grace….”

We will read Psalm 104, Ecclesiates 3:1-15, and Romans 8:18-25, considering how the wisdom of Ecclesiastes enables us to feast and celebrate, giving thanks to God, even in the midst of the confusion and darkness of life on this side of the new creation. The sermon title – “A Table in the Mist” – is taken from Jeffrey Meyers’ Ecclesiastes commentary by the same name, serving as a preview of sorts of what I hope will be a sermon series in the not too distant future.

We’ll be singing Psalm 100 and 147, as well as reading the Te Deum (attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan, AD 387):

We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as the Lord;
all creation worships you, the Father everlasting.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all praise,
the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the King of glory, the eternal Son of the Father.
When you took our flesh to set us free you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

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Ascension Day Liturgy

Preparation for Worship: Prelude and Silent Prayer

Our God, the King of Glory, who has exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto your kingdom in heaven; We ask you to send us your Holy Spirit to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place where our Savior Christ has gone before, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

†Call to Worship: Luke 24:50-53

†Prayer for Ascension Day
Almighty God, although we could not ascend to your holy place, you have descended to save us; and after your Son won our redemption he ascended to the seat of all authority and dominion. Even now, he intercedes for us at your right hand, ruling over all of his enemies, and ours, for our salvation and the glory of your holy name. Help us to receive and to make known throughout the world this good news that Christ Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. And fill our hearts with longing expectation for his return in power and glory to restore all things. In the name of Christ our King,

†Responsive Reading: Psalm 68:32-35

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
   Sing praises to the Lord,
To him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
   Behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel,
   And whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel,
   He is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

†Psalm 68, Psalter Hymnal #125

Scripture Reading: Psalm 111:1-5
Prayer of Thanksgiving
†Psalm 111, Psalter Hymnal #222

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
Prayer for Church and Missions

Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 49, 50

How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?

First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father.

Second, we have our own flesh in heaven – a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven.

Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

Why the next words: “and is seated at the right hand of God”?

Christ ascended to heaven, there to show that he is head of his church, and that the Father rules all things through him.

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-5
Prayer for Nation and Community
†“Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns”, Psalter Hymnal #400

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Prayer for the People
†Psalm 69, Psalter Hymnal #129

Offering: Benevolence Fund

†Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

†Doxology (unannounced)                                      Psalter Hymnal #493


Posted in Events, Order of Worship

Good Friday Liturgy



Good Friday

March 29, a.d. 2013

Worship Service        7:00 pm

Preparation for Worship: Prelude and Silent Prayer

O God, who by the passion of Thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of Thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; Who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Call to Worship        John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Good Friday Collects

Almighty God, we beseech you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.


Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all estates of men in your holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry may truly and godly serve you; through our Lord Jesus Christ.


O Merciful God, who has made all men and does not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; have mercy upon all who do not know you as you are revealed in the Gospel of your Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of your Word; and so bring them home to your flock, blessed Lord, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.


“Ah, Dearest Jesus”        Psalter Hymnal #351

Prayer of Penitence        St. Ambrose, 5th Century

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your hands on the Cross to redeem us by your blood. Forgive me, a sinner, for none of my thoughts are hid from you. Pardon I ask; pardon I hope for; pardon I trust to have. You are gracious and merciful; spare and forgive me. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon        1 Peter 2:24

Intercessions for the Church        Book of Common Prayer, 1549

Almighty and ever-living God, who by your holy Apostle has taught us to make prayers and supplications, and to give thanks for all people; we humbly beseech you most mercifully to receive these our prayers, which we offer to your Divine Majesty.

We beseech you to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord; and grant, that all they who do confess your holy Name may agree in the truth of your holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.

We beseech you also to save and defend all leaders and governors, and especially your servant, our President; that under him we may be godly and quietly governed. And grant to his whole cabinet, and to all that are put in authority under him, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of your true religion, and virtue.

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all pastors, that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth your true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer your holy Sacraments.

And to all your people give your heavenly grace; and especially to this congregation, that with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive your holy Word; truly serving you in holiness and righteousness all the days of their lives.

And we most humbly beseech you, of your goodness, O Lord, to comfort all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.

And we also bless your holy Name for all your servants departed this life in your faith and fear; beseeching you to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of your heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate, in whose name we pray.


Old Testament Reading        Leviticus 1

  Psalm 69        Psalter Hymnal #127; Stanzas 2, 4-7

First Gospel Reading        John 19:1-27

  Psalm 22        Psalter Hymnal #34; Stanzas 1-6

Second Gospel Reading        John 19:28-42

  Psalm 22        Psalter Hymnal #34; Stanzas 7-11

Epistle Reading        Philippians 2:1-11


Gospel Basics: The Cross

i. The Need for the Cross

ii. The Work of the Cross

iii.. The Life of the Cross

“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”        Psalter Hymnal #355

Confession of Faith        The Apostles’ Creed (pg. 3)

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Lift up your hearts!

We lift them up to the Lord!

Offering        Benevolence Fund

Closing Prayer        Gallican Liturgy, 5th Century

O Christ, God, great Adonai, crucify us as it were with yourself to this world, that your life may be in us. Put our sins upon yourself to crucify them. Draw us also to yourself, since for us you were lifted up from the earth, to deliver us from the tyrant. Although by the flesh and by sins we are under the devil’s power, yet we long to serve you, not him. We desire to live under your authority, and beg to be governed by you, who was pleased by the death of the Cross to deliver us, mortals. For this transcendent benefit we bring the service of our devotion. We humbly adore, implore, and invoke you, that you, O God, eternal Might, would hasten your coming unto us. You who by your power makes things future to be as things past, and also by your presence, things past to be as things present: grant that your Passion may be as saving to us as if it were present this day. You who reigns for ever with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now continue to reign over us, for ever and ever. Amen.

Benediction        2 Corinthians 13:14

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Doxology (unannounced)                Psalter Hymnal #493




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