July 21, 2017


What’s Spiritual About That?

Well, we just passed the mid-point!  No, not in my sermon series - we’re actually more than halfway through that; just a few more.  I’m referring to the baseball season.  A little over a week ago we once again witnessed the jewel of July - the All-Star Game!  Unfortunately, the National League (you know, the league where they still play REAL baseball) lost again, but at least it was after extra innings.  This perennial summer classic marks the beginning of second season for the “Boys of Summer.”  For those teams watching their playoff hopes melt-away like ice cubes on a July sidewalk it may mean a fire sale of roster regulars.  Competitive teams will be looking for that one or two-player addition that will give them an extra push for contention.  However, given the current standings in the divisions of both the AL and NL teams we could be tempted to call it now.  But recalling the colorful history of both September collapses and comebacks we may want to exercise a modicum of restraint regarding play-off prognostications.  As they say, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

Baseball - What’s spiritual about all of that?  In many respects – Nothing!  In other ways, perhaps more than you might think.  Though more than one prayer has been lifted to that “great grandstand in the sky” we don’t usually associate many spiritual activities with the game of baseball – or any game for that matter.  Hey, here’s a little something I bet you didn’t know.  R.C. Sproul was once offered a contract to play minor league ball.  I can verify that the man can play, he once joined in one of our Sunday “Church in Park” softball games – that followed worship, of course!  And, I can also tell you that in his day he was a pretty competitive guy.  I also remember Bryan Chapell, former president of Covenant Seminary, saying (my paraphrase) “If you want to find out what your next pastor is really like, call him out at second base when he’s actually safe.”  But I digress.

My point today is this.  Not everything we do is by definition a spiritual activity, and yet – (in an interesting way in which I have neither the time or space today to explain today) everything we do is spiritual.  After all, we are now, in Christ, Spiritual Beings!  The Apostle Paul wrote, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.   This world was wondrously made by the very word of God – and all very good!  Yes, sin has wreaked havoc with the garden and all that was made to the delight of the senses and strengths of those made in His image.  In the creative work of God for His children there is a place for play – as spectator and participant – to the Glory of God.   Why, if I were leading a chapel service for ballplayers I might even use the fall of Adam and Eve to describe the consequences of “striking out.”   Three swings – three misses!  But again, I digress.

Our God is a four-season God.  And He created us to enjoy our Indiana four-season world - for His Glory.  Sometimes that enjoyment involves a ball; even a cannonball!  And let me head something off at the pass.  Yes, recreation, entertainment, and amusement can easily takeover an abundance of our energy and time. To the point, regrettably, where worship is sometimes sacrificed for the “sac-bunt”; tossed away for the sake of the “coin-toss”; forfeited at the groans of “fore;” or waved-off so we can be off in the waves.  I hold firmly to what the Westminster Confession says, “Man’s chief end is to Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  So, can we glorify God in our recreation?  Absolutely!  But, it is also possible to glorify recreation at God’s expense.  Is there something that can help us in all of this?  Yes! It’s found in the inspired truth of Romans 1; here’s a summary.   Whenever we elevate the creation over the Creator we worship and serve a false god – an idol.  And at that point we are truly playing at our worship. 

We must always remember that the very creation in which we play, by its existence, praises and bears witness to its Maker and His Rule. 

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.”

Psalm 96:11-13

And there’s something very spiritual about that!    

“Play Ball!” - to the Glory of God,


(Go Cubs!)




Title:  “How Many Times Do I have to Tell You?”

Text:    Psalm 136

Jeff Shrage


An article in preparation for this Sunday’s message:

What is Hesed?


FROM R.C. Sproul Jr. May 04, 2013 Category: Articles

There may be no more significant Old Testament description of how God relates to His people than this Hebrew word hesed. I argue that the best translation of this term would be “loyal love.” God loves His people genuinely, immutably, loyally. Both the love and the loyalty are, of course, tightly bound together. That is, just as one cannot love capriciously so one cannot be loyal without love. God is for His people, and will never cease to be for them.

Our calling is to reflect that reality. Our loyalty and our love, grounded in our loyal love toward Him who loved us loyally first, ought to be toward both what it is we believe, and those with whom we believe it. Too often we fail one way or another.

In the broader evangelical world the marketing of the church has taught us to see ourselves as consumers. We each have our own set of what we are looking for in a church. Typically, doctrine is low down on that list. When our church fails to meet our shifting needs we not only change our churches, but often our denominations, and ultimately our theological convictions. We are no more loyal to our church than we are to our soda. Our tastes change, and we change with them. The promise of a more vital youth program, a more entertaining preacher, a more talented praise band encourages us to wander from fold to fold, like lost sheep.

In the Reformed world we tend to be slightly more loyal to our doctrine. Indeed we define ourselves by our doctrine. We’re committed to the wisdom of Calvin, the precision of the Westminster divines. What we tend to lack, however, is commitment to one another. Our loyalty to propositions, good, sound, biblical propositions, often causes us to lose sight of the good, sound, biblical command that we love one another. We split up our churches, and break our relationships over what we claim are vital theological matters. More often than not they are petty personal differences.

Loyal love remains faithful to both the Word of God and the people of God. Loyal love looks to the church not as a provider of religious services, but as the body of our Lord, our family. Some translate hesed as covenant love. Here we remember that family is not just emotional connections that can come and go, but family is binding. Family is commitment.

What is Hesed? was originally published at RCSproulJr.com http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-hesed/


SUNDAY SCHOOL – we are taking a summer break from Sunday School classes and will resume in the Fall

“GRILLIN’ & THRILLIN’” MEN’S EVENING OUTING – Monday, July 24th at 6:30pm at the Golden’s. Everything you wanted to know about your grill! The meat will be provided –bring a side dish or dessert. Please sign up at the Welcome Counter if you plan to attend.

ROCK SOLID QUARTERLY OFFERING – Next Sunday, July 30th, we will be collecting the Rock Solid Quarterly Offering

NORTH BAY ADVENTURE CAMP – Our youth will travel to the 2017 NorthBay Adventure Camp
North East, MD. JULY 27th-31st

GIVING TO COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS – At the Welcome Center you will find a list of items being collected for Tools for Schools. Please pick up a list of needed items at the Welcome Center. Next week there will be a box in the church foyer to place those items in. The donated items will be given to Charles Elementary School for students in need. Thank you for giving.

TABLE TALK MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION RENEWAL – If you would like to subscribe or continue your subscription to Table Talk Magazine, it is time for renewal.  The cost is $12.00 for one year of this monthly publication.  The magazines will be available monthly at the Welcome Counter for paid subscribers. If you are interested, make checks payable to Christ Presbyterian Church and write “Table Talk” in the memo For questions, please contact the church office by phone: 765.966.4017 or email: Office@knowingChrist.net

ICE CREAM SOCIAL – Sunday, August 13th at 4:30 at CPC. The Missions Committee will provide hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks and ice cream. Please bring a side dish to share. All donations will support our sponsored orphanage in Gonaives, Haiti.




Iran: What Made You Hate Me?

 Eight days after receiving a 15-year prison sentence and nearly a year after he was first detained, Muslim convert to Christianity Amin Afshar Naderi wrote an open letter to Iranian authorities.

 “What have I done against you and our country that made you hate me this much? I have learned from the Bible to love my enemies and to pray for those who hate me,” his letter began.

On July 3, 2017, Amin was sentenced to 15 years in prison: 10 years for “acting against national security by organizing and conducting house churches” and an additional five years for blasphemy. Two other believers received 10-year sentences at the same time.

In his letter, Amin said during his interrogations, he had been spoken to abusively, mocked and insulted, but that he prays for the health of his interrogators. He also said his fellow prisoners were forced to sign a false statement against him, and that officials wrongly reported Amin had insulted their religious beliefs.

During the year he has already spent in prison, Amin spent three months in solitary confinement while on a hunger strike. His health deteriorated dangerously, but shortly after receiving the 15-year sentence, he began a new hunger strike. 

Amin has been in prison since August 2016, when he was arrested along with five other Christians while at a private party. He’d previously been arrested while at a Christmas celebration in 2014.

His pastor, Victor Bet-Tamraz, one of the two others sentenced in the same hearing, is well-known among Persian Christians. An Assyrian man, he held Persian-language services at his Pentecostal Assyrian Church in Tehran, before the church was closed by authorities. Christian worship in the Persian language is illegal.

You can write a letter to Amin through prisoneralert.com, and you can also petition Iranian officials on his behalf.

 Source: Mohabat News

Posted: July 12, 2017

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