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Archive for the This Sunday Category

Aug 20

The Heidelberg on the Lord’s Prayer

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,This Sunday

This Sunday we come to Luke 11:1-13, which includes Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer. In preparation for our corporate worship, read the Scripture passage and then ponder a few of the relevant (and so well-worded!) sections of the Heidelberg Catechism (1576):

Q & A 117

Q. How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us?

A. First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, who has revealed himself in his Word, asking for everything he has commanded us to ask for.

Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery, hiding nothing, and humble ourselves in his majestic presence.

Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it,
God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what he promised us in his Word.

Q & A 122

Q. What does the first request [of the Lord’s Prayer] mean?

A. “Hallowed be your name” means, Help us to really know you, to bless, worship, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.

And it means, help us to direct all our living—what we think, say, and do—so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.

Q & A 123

Q. What does the second request [of the Lord’s Prayer] mean?

A. “Your kingdom come” means, Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you. Keep your church strong, and add to it. Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you
 and every conspiracy against your Word. Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect, that in it you are all in all.

Aug 1

Sunday: The Good Samaritan

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Sermons,This Sunday

This Sunday we’ll look at Luke 10:25-37 — Jesus’ parable of “the good samaritan.”

In addition to reading the passage before we meet on the Lord’s Day morning, check out this video to the old Keith Green song, “Road to Jericho.”

Jul 24

So What Have I Been Doing All Month?

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Miscellaneous,Sermons,This Sunday

Four weeks off from preaching? Are you enjoying your time off? What have you been doing all this time? 

Since my main responsibility at DSC is preaching, it’s not surprising that I get those kind of questions whenever I’m not preaching, and especially when it’s several weeks in a row. Well, here’s the big picture, if you’re interested to know:

  • About 12 weeks a year, someone else gives the Sunday AM sermon.
  • A couple of those weeks a year are truly vacation.
  • Another half-dozen weeks, I’m not preaching but the week is still filled with busy office/admin, planning, counseling, discipleship stuff. It’s not at all “time off” — it’s really catch-up time for a lot of extra things that pile up.
  • Another four to six weeks per year I’m doing research and writing for a PhD.

These last four weeks of pulpit absence are of that last category: working hard on writing/revising chapters of my dissertation.

Let me give a quick explanation, especially for those who are fairly new to DSC. This degree is something I started before I came to DSC six years ago. It’s been slow-going — partly because of my very average intelligence and partly because attention to the dissertation has to go in spurts. Pastoring is more than a full-time job (anywhere from 55-75 hours/week) even without the dissertation. So sometimes, several months (as many as 10 months at a time) go by without me being able to give any attention to the degree. I simply haven’t found a way to make progress on the PhD within a normal work week. And I’m fine with that — I’m a pastor first and hopefully forever. I have no intention of finishing the degree and going off to teach in a college or seminary. I’d just like to finish what I started since a lot of time has already gone into the degree. I also think that the research and writing is hugely beneficial to my pastoral ministry. 

So, for the last several summers now, the elders have graciously given me a four-week block to intensely focus on the dissertation. Hence, my absence from preaching, blogging, etc., for the last four weeks. It’s definitely not been “time off.” It’s pretending that I’m a pressured grad student once again — a lot less sleep, a little less hygiene, and a lot more caffeine. Most days are 12-14 hours of research and writing, and maybe only a couple days off in the whole month. 

This education sabbatical was once again productive and encouraging. I have only one chapter (out of seven) to write completely from scratch. Another five are written but will need some significant revision before they’re in their final form. I’m hoping (and praying!) to have the final draft done by Christmas this year. After that, it’ll take several more months (maybe another five) before all the little hoops are jumped through and I defend the dissertation. Then the dissertation will get revised for a book version that will be published by Crossway in late 2011.

As with previous education sabbaticals, so it has been this last month: I enjoy the research and mostly enjoy the writing, but it nevertheless confirms my real love for preaching, for people, for the church, and for pastoring. I love where I am and what I do. I love our church. 

All that to say, thanks so much for your patience while I was reclusively holed up in my study for a month. 

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday as we get back to our series on Luke, specifically the first half of chapter 10, where we see Jesus’ disciples described as “Happy, Humble Harvesters.”

May 22

From Sunday to Sunday: Review and Preview

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Clarus 09,Recommended Link,Sermon Follow-Up,This Sunday

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, feelings.” Yup, I mean that song (I prefer this version on YouTube, dubbed over a Japanese James Bond-like movie). The song has been in my head ever since I said “feelings” 56 times in my last sermon. Of course, the song doesn’t talk about feelings in the same way that Luke 8 does, but that’s just the oddity of a brain like mine — filled with Bible and pop-art.

So with the pop-art nostalgia out of the way and that song now freshly in your head, let me give you some book recommendations on the Bible and feelings.

I’ve been reading through a new book by Brian Borgman, which is more of an overview and analysis of all the different feelings in the Bible, Feelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life. You can see the table of contents here, and from that page you can read each of the 21 chapters online for free (you got to love the people at Crossway, who actually seem to look at Christian publishing as more of a ministry than a money-maker).

During our recent Clarus conference on “The Convergence of Doctrine and Delight” we mentioned several great books on the importance of the affections and how to fight for joy, such as:

Of course, the references to emotions in Luke 8 are not just the kind of amazement and joy; there are many more references to fear, worry, and sadness. Here are a few books I’d strongly recommend on thinking through and wrestling with our “darker” emotions:

That’s the review of last Sunday. On to the preview of this Sunday.

This coming Sunday, Lord willing, we’ll entertain this question: in light of the miracles and emotions in Luke 8 how do we fight for joy and faith when the miracle doesn’t come? How do we move from angst to awe, from fear to faith, and from lament to laughter when the storm-tossed drown, when the sick stay sick, when the dying die?  Do we need miracles to believe? Luke gives us some hints at the answer, but from there we’ll go hunting in the Psalms.

May 15

Back to Luke

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: This Sunday

This Sunday, Lord willing, we’ll return to our study of Luke’s gospel account, particularly 8:22-56.

It’s a section of Luke that is packed with miracles and emotions. Read through the passage and see what I mean. The short of it is this: in the passage’s three different miracle stories — stories of Jesus’ power over nature, power over demons, and power over sickness — there are 11 explicit references to varying emotions. That seems like a lot, so it must be pretty central to what Luke was trying portray in this section.

Looking forward to soaking in these verses with you this coming Sunday. Invite a friend to come with you.

Apr 16

While We’re in Luke 24…

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Sermons,This Sunday

Last Sunday’s message gave an overview of the post-resurrection appearances in Luke 24. Of course, we touched upon Jesus’ rebuke and Old Testament Messianic explanation to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (vss 13-34). But so much more could have been said about how the O.T. talks of Christ and his suffering. So while we’re at it, this coming Sunday we’ll stay right there in Luke 24 and dig a little deeper into verses 25-27:

And He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

You might call this Sunday’s message, “What Jesus Might Have Preached to the Two on the Road to Emmaus.” So, really, it’ll be more a study of parts of the O.T. that Jesus might have taught on this famous seven mile journey into Emmaus. Hopefully, we’ll come away from our time together (and time with the Lord) in corporate worship like these two disciples, saying: “Were not our hearts burning within us while … He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (v 32). Let’s pray that this same Jesus, by his Spirit, teaches us gloriously, intricately, and powerfully as we meet once again to celebrate his resurrection.

Apr 10

A Couple Reminders for Sunday

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Miscellaneous,This Sunday

I hope you’re having a blessed Good Friday, already pondering the wonder of the passion, suffering, and death of our King, and yet eager for those thoughts to be expanded and elevated in our corporate worship this evening (the service begins at 6:30 PM).

Two friendly question/reminders about our corporate worship this Easter Sunday:

1) Have you invited anyone to join you for one of the services? Have you given out any of the Easter weekend invitation cards? If you haven’t picked up any invitations yet, or you’ve already given away what you have, they will be available again tonight at the Welcome Center. In other words, it’s not too late to invite someone!

Also, if you have invited some friends or family to join you either tonight or Sunday morning, let me ask, have you been praying for them to come, and praying that God would do in their hearts what only God can do? Please do.

2) On a more logistical level, have you thought about whether you can sacrifice the preference for a later Sunday morning service (9:00 AM and 10:45 AM) to go to the 7:30 AM service this Sunday? If years past are any indication, literally hundreds of visitors will be with us on Easter Sunday, and almost none of them will go to the 7:30 AM service. I realize not every one can or will go to the early service — and I admit that the 7:30 AM service would not be my preference, all things considered equal — but let me just ask you to consider going to the 7:30 AM service to open up space in those later services where many will hear the gospel for the first time or for the first time in many years.

By the way, if I remember correctly, last Easter the 9:00 AM service was the fullest. So, if 10:45 AM is the service you normally go to, it might not be of much help for you to come to the 9:00 AM service. Earlier is probably only better if it’s the 7:30 AM service. Thanks!

Looking forward with you to a whole weekend of pondering the passion, suffering, death, burial, resurrection, life, and victory of our Great King. May God do mighty things in minds and hearts for his glory!