This Sunday we will hear the testimony of David Sadd, who has joined Jonah’s Call as Worship Pastor."I am so honored and blessed to be invited to be the Worship Pastor for Jonah’s Call! As many of you know, my family were a part of Jonah’s Call some time ago and before that had the joy to do ministry with the Slocums in South Carolina. As you have probably seen, we are David and Emily, Elaina, Noah, Andrew, Molly and Margaret."
Titus 2: 1-15 A younger sibling blurts out in defiance against her oldest sister, “You’re not the boss of me. I am telling mom!” These words are so familiar to us because they point both to the “office” or position of authority that our mothers possess and our need to appeal to that authority when “lines are crossed” by competing siblings. In like manner, Paul writes to Titus, appealing to various “offices” or posts both within the church and society. How we relate to one another in the various posts that we hold or do not hold matter and can be the difference between being a fruitful disciple of Jesus Christ or a malignant and disobedient disciple.
The Book of James compares the tongue to a rudder of a ship, concluding that though the rudder can be controlled to steer the ship, the tongue cannot be controlled by the best intentions of mankind. St. Paul places gossip between God hating and murder in his warning against the ills of the mouth. In contrast, Jesus is described as The Word made flesh and we are told that it is through the hearing of God’s word that our souls are saved. In the book of Titus, words and the weight they carry are a serious matter for Paul, describing the wrong use of words as a means of destroying people. This week we will look at one of the most practical ways that we can grow as disciples of Jesus through what we chose to say, what we chose not to say, and ways we can apply the Gospel that can and do tame our unruly tongues.
I once thought that work was merely what people got paid for. If you weren’t getting paid, you weren’t working. As I have gathered knowledge in the Scripture, delved into the writings of the reformers, and exposed myself to a lot of clear biblical thinkers, I have come to the understanding that work is a way to use our capacity as God’s creatures. To serve him and others in the ways we rearrange what he has set before us in creation, using our creative capacity to make “stuff” better- in service to Him and others! Likewise, there was a time when I thought that leadership was merely what bosses exercised over employees. If you were not a boss you were not a leader. Again, through the gathered wisdom of Scripture and the Church, I have come to understand that leadership is much more about how we steward the influence we have to help others and to honor God. Sure, much of our work gets rewarded with payment and many leaders are employers with employees under their charge. But, there is so much more to work and leadership that can be learned in God’s Word when we look deeper than mere paychecks and employers. This week we will look at how bishops, presbyters, students and employees can honor God and serve others as leaders who steward the influence they command. Join us!
Titus 1: 1-16
When St. Paul called Titus to Crete, he explicitly asked him to “bring order” to the Church. The lives of the Cretans were known to be disordered. Paul quotes a Philosopher from Crete who said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." This week we will look at the way the Gospel brings order into our lives, re-orders the commitments of our hearts, and allows us to think in ways that make sense because of the love that Jesus brings to us through His Word. Join us this week as we begin a fascinating series from Titus on what is often called, “Whole Life Discipleship.”
One of the greatest cravings of our everchanging world is to experience true community. We may be more connected than ever through our phones and tech devices, but we are arguably more lonely than those living in less turbulent times. The Church always has been and always will be a haven for powerful community due to its ability to draw diverse groups together around the perfect person of Jesus and the reconciliation that he offers to us through his life, death, resurrection and rule. Join us this week as we have the testimony of Benjamin Sutfin, a newer member to Jonah's Call.
Many Christians in the West are using the metaphor of the Old Testament Exile to describe the present state of the Church. We have clearly lost our footing as a dominant cultural force (Christendom is over). Hence, our stance should be that of God’s exilic people who were to settle down in Babylon and to “Pray for the welfare of the city.” Within this historic setting, the exiles experienced periods of influence mixed with tolerance from those who dominated the culture as well as periods of influence mixed with intolerance from those who dominated the culture. As our culture rapidly changes, how are we to live as servants who neither hide nor assimilate regardless of whether we are tolerated or not?
Personhood is the most disputed topic in America. It is in the headlines everyday and on the lips of nearly every American everyday of every year. Understanding or not understanding personhood consumes a massive amount of space in the lives of those under the age of 40. Christians under 20 are faced with challenges around the issue of personhood that are unprecedented. The contest around what it means to be a person may be the issue that moves Christianity in the late modern age from being largely ignored by secular society to being hated, vilified and eventually physically persecuted. From abortion to birth control, identity politics to kindergarten bathrooms, how we view the human person is a HUGE issue that must be addressed by the Church.
The bible commends us to create and use technology from the making of musical instruments to the development of work implements that reduce human suffering. However, it also warns us of the consequences of making “bad tools” that harm others, anger God, and damage our souls. This sermon will help us to discern how to use our tools in ways that save our souls, serve others and satisfy God’s mandate for us to be fruitful, multiply, fill the whole earth and to subdue it.
Rev. Jonathan Millard is the Rector of Church of the Ascension and we are excited to welcome him to Jonah's Call. Jonathan has been at Ascension since 2004 and was previously Rector of Trinity in Washington PA and also Church Stretton in Shropshire England, his home country. He has a background in Law and Theology and was ordained in 1992. Jonathan will conclude our Sabbatical Series, as Jay and Catherine will be returning next week, preaching on the passage Romans 8:26-39.
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