Putting Second First

Putting Second First

Watercolor image of Second Church

Putting Second First: The Church of Our Dreams

Today is Stewardship Dedication Sunday. As so often happens, there is more than one thing going on at a time for us to acknowledge. It is the Sunday after an election day, and a big one at that. It is the Sunday after Veterans Day. Today is also a day for us to rededicate ourselves to the work God sets before us as a congregation. I will primarily focus my words on this last concern, and the scripture helps informs…

Putting Second First: The Church of Our Hearts

Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. We want…

Putting Second First: The Household of God

I need to share an introduction to our scripture today…(that is, if you haven’t been reading Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians lately.) The Apostle Paul knew these people to whom he was writing- personally. This is at least his second letter to them. He had lived with them for nearly a year, some time before. (He may well have written up to eight letters to them, delivered by his assistants, Timothy and Titus.) The Corinthians had also written to…
Heart with with light shining through cross cut-out

Putting Second First: The Heart of the Matter

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:31-34 Here is a question you don’t hear every day… Where does your Peace come from? What is it that brings you comfort, assurance, that allows you to sleep at night, secure in…
Old etching of Second Presbyterian Church

Putting Second First: Living Treasures

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does…
Painting: Vasiliy Polenov. Among the Teachers. 1896

Putting Second First: Education/Insight

As a graduate of a number of fairly, well, prestigious institutions of higher education, I’m pretty sensitive to this myself. I remember the first public sermon I ever preached, back in the church I was raised, I think it was in 1983. I still have a copy of it. I thought I had done pretty well, touched all the bases; had the sermon make some sense. All I remember from it, really, is that, in greeting folks at the door, a fairly grumpy guy said to me; “Y’know, I didn’t come here to be lectured to….” Ouch.

Putting Second First: Spiritual Nourishment

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our…