fpcpastor

Welcome to the Pastor’s Corner, and welcome to the website of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn! We hope that you will find here helpful resources for your spiritual journey.
That early Christians were called the “people of the way” is a reminder to us that we have not yet reached our destination, but continue to make our way along the path of discipleship. What is true of our lives as Christians is also true of this page and site. It, like us, is “a work in progress.”
If you would like to share any comments about this site, page or the sermons here included, or if you would like to request prayer, please feel welcome to contact me at fpcgpastor@gmail.com

And “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”
(2 Cor. 3:14)

faith

Message From the Pastor
September 2019

In John’s Gospel Jesus makes various statements about the Father.  For those seeking to rally around Him, a short list of such sayings would include the following:
(1) “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28);
(2) “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11); and
(3) “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
If Jesus prayed to the Father regarding his disciples that “they may all be one as You and I are one” (John 17:21), and if Paul prayed for us is that we have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5), then it stands to reason that we are called into the same consciousness of and relationship with God that Jesus had.  In other words, we are to experience God as Jesus experienced God: God as greater than us, God as within us, and God as being one with us.  All three are facets of the relationship we are to have with the God in whose image we are made, and into whose likeness we are meant to increasingly grow through Jesus Christ, who shows us not only who God is but also who we truly are.   
That God is greater than we are counsels every one of us in humility.  All of us are tempted to make ourselves our own higher power which yields predictably bad results for ourselves as well as our world. Jesus modeled surrender to the Father who is greater than us when he prayed in the Garden, “not my will,
but thine.” 
But if our relationship with God is defined only hierarchically, our spirituality can become fear-based and disabling.  It can encourage a false dependence upon God that effectively prevents our growing up to our full stature
in Jesus Christ.
If then we also experience ourselves, as Jesus did, in the Father and the Father in us, we know an intimacy not available in an up-down relationship.  That intimacy is well attested in John’s Gospel which describes Jesus as being at the very breast of God the Father (John 1:18), just as beloved disciple is at the breast of Jesus (John 13:23).  Here is a relationship between a lover and the Beloved.  Here we hear the words, “With you I am well pleased”  not only at Jesus’ baptism, but also at our own.  Here we not only trust in God, but are increasingly confident in God’s trust in us. As we experience not only the otherness of God, but also God’s indwelling, our sanctification is no longer largely theoretical.
But even these two dimensions of human-divine relationship do not express the deepest experience of unity, the ultimate truth of oneness for which we so long and of which we may have but occasional glimpses.  But when we do, all separation between ourselves and God and ourselves and the rest of God’s creation seems to dissolve.  At such moments, we may say along with contemplative and mystic James Finley, “Although I am not the earth, I am not other than the earth. Although I am not you, I am not other than you. Although I am not God, I am not other than God.” 
To Western Christians, this may seem almost blasphemous.  But scripture says of Jesus that “his divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:3-4).  Irenaeus (c. 130- 202) picked up this theme when he urged that Jesus became what we are in order to make us what he himself is.  Gregory of Nazianzen (c. 306-391) sounded this same theme of divinization when he said, "Let us seek to be like Christ, because Christ also became like us: to become gods through him since he himself, through us, became a man.”
Making the connection between these later facets of indwelling and higher unity, Julian of Norwich (c. 1343-1416) would later say “So greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells within us, and more greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God… In fact I saw no difference between God and my substance. But as it were we were all one…
Our substance is in God."
While there is perhaps no greater danger than when our inflated ego proclaims, “I am God” – or even, “I am God’s chosen one”-  mystics like Julian declare not what they have done, but what love has done in undoing them.  And so for a faith that we can rally around, all three facets of Divine-human relationship are needed: the God who is greater; the God with whom we inter-abide; and the God in whom every hint of separation is lost.
For those of us who rally around Jesus Christ, this is our destiny.  For as James Finley has also put it, “little by little, breath by breath, love dissolves the illusions and fears born of our estrangement from the infinite love that is our very life... There’s nothing left but God’s intimate love giving itself to me as me.”  May it be so for us all.

See you in church, Pastor Fred

 

PASTOR FRED'S SERMONS

Pastor Fred's Sermon Archive 2010-11
Pastor Fred's Sermon Archive 2012
Pastor Fred's Sermon Archive 2013
Pastor Fred's Sermon Archive 2014

Sunday Bulletin Archive 2015
Sunday Bulletin Archive 2016
Sunday Bulletin Archive 2017

 
Sunday Bulletins - Date
 
Bulletin 12.31.17 Bulletin 1.7.18
Bulletin 1.14.18 Bulletin 1.21.18
Bulletin 1.28.18 Bulletin 2.4.18
Bulletin 2.11.18 Bulletin 2.18.18
Bulletin 2.25.18 Bulletin 3.4.18
Bulletin 3.18.18 Bulletin 3.25.18
Good Friday Bulletin 3.30.18 Easter Sunday Bulletin 4.1.18
Bulletin 4.8.18 Bulletin 4.15.18
Bulletin 4.22.18 Bulletin 4.29.18
Bulletin 5.6.18 Bulletin 5.13.18
Bulletin 5.20.18 Bulletin 5.27.18
Bulletin 6.3.18 Bulletin 6.10.18
Bulletin 6.17.18 Bulletin 6.24.18
Bulletin 7.1.18 Bulletin 7.8.18
Bulletin 7.15.18 Bulletin 7.22.18
Bulletin 7.29.18 Bulletin 8.5.18
Bulletin 8.12.18 Bulletin 8.19.18
Bulletin 8.26.18 Bulletin 9.2.18
Bulletin 9.9.18 Bulletin 9.16.18
Bulletin 9.23.18 Bulletin 9.30.18
Bulletin 10.7.18 Bulletin 10.14.18
Bulletin 10.21.18 Bulletin 10.28.18
Bulletin 11.4.18 Bulletin 11.11.18
Bulletin 11.18.18 Bulletin 11.25.18
Bulletin 12.2.18 Bulletin 12.9.18
Bulletin 12.16.18 Bulletin 12.23.18
Christmas Eve 12.24.18 Bulletin 12.30.18
Bulletin 1.6.19 Bulletin 1.13.19
Bulletin 1.20.19 Bulletin 1.27.19
Bulletin 2.3.19 Bulletin 2.10.19
Bulletin 2.17.19 Bulletin 2.24.19
Bulletin 3.3.19 Bulletin 3.10.19
Bulletin 3.17.19 Bulletin 3.24.19
Bulletin 3.31.19 Bulletin 4.7.19
Bulletin 4.14.19 GoodFriday 4.19.19
EasterSunday 4.21.19 Bulletin 4.28.19
Bulletin 5.5.19 Bulletin 5.12.19
Bulletin 5.19.19 Bulletin 5.26.19
Bulletin 6.2.19 Bulletin 6.9.19
Bulletin 6.16.19 Bulletin 6.23.19
Bulletin 6.30.19 Bulletin 7.7.19
Bulletin 7.14.19 Bulletin 7.21.19
Bulletin 7.28.19 Bulletin 8.4.19
Bulletin 8.11.19 Bulletin 8.18.19
Bulletin 8.25.19 Bulletin 9.1.19
Bulletin 9.8.19 Bulletin 9.15.19
Bulletin 9.22.19