The Antithesis

photo courtesy of Getty Images

A number of years ago a teenage boy was awakened to realities larger than himself, realities like life and death, sin and judgment, heaven and hell. “While under concern of soul,” he later wrote, “I resolved that I would attend all the places of worship in the town where I lived in order that I might find out the way of salvation.”

One wintry Sunday morning his progress was impeded by a snowstorm. Since he could not make it to the church he planned to attend, he turned instead to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel down a back alleyway. The minister of that church was himself snowed in, so one of the laymen got up to deliver the message—a message that would change this young man’s life, a message based on one verse in this passage.

Title: The Antithesis

Text: Isaiah 45.20–46.7


  • idolatry
  • shame
  • God
  • life


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This Weekend at First (11/13/15)

Here’s a look ahead to what we’re planning this weekend:

What to Bring with You This Sunday

We’re collecting for needy children around the globe, and this Sunday is Sweet Sunday. Bring hard candies, lollipops, tootsie pops, mints, gum, but no chocolate please! Contact Donna if you have any questions.

Schedule for Sunday

9.45am — Sunday school

We being our new gospel centered Bible study for men and women. So come join us as we go through this new study called “Gospel Shaped Worship”.

10.40am — pre-service prayer time
11am — Sunday worship service

Here are the songs we plan to sing:

“Crown Him With Many Crowns”
“How Great Is Our God”
“Not In Me”
“Before The Throne Of God Above”
“Holy Spirit”
“Across the Lands”

Remember: you can find the Spotify list of songs we’re singing this fall here.

Matthew’s sermon text will be Isaiah 45.20-46.7

Thanksgiving Luncheon

We have a lovely luncheon planned this Sunday, so come join us as we break bread and give thanks in fellowship for all God has done!

Men’s and Women’s Bible Study

photo courtesy of TGC

The gospel makes us who we are—a people of faith, hope, and love. Who Jesus is and what He has done for us changes everything about our lives. In that light we began our women’s and men’s Bible studies with a consideration of Gospel Shaped Worship. Donna Stephenson will lead the ladies’ group in Gano Chapel while Nick Peterson will lead the men’s in Haldeman Chapel. The study begins each Sunday at 9.45am. Hope to see you there!

Last Week’s Congregation Meeting

If you are a member of the church and did not receive a packet at last week’s congregational meeting, please see Daniel K on Sunday for a copy.

Nominating Committee Results

Last week in a very close vote the church selected Irma G. and Hydreck C. to serve as its representatives on the Nominating Committee. They will join Joshua R. (deacon), Mercy D. (trustee), and Matthew H. to prayerfully prepare a slate of nominees for the church’s Annual Meeting in January. Please pray for them as they labor on our behalf.

Connection Team

We are looking for people who want to meet people! if that’s you, would you please consider joining the Connection Team? Each week one of the team members greets our guests in the Chapel. For more information, contact Jessica R.

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Absolute Power for Maximum Good

photo courtesy of USA Today

The movie “Back to the Future II” has been in the news lately because of its prediction that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. As it turned out, while the Cubs made the playoffs, they did not win it all. But what if the moviemakers had been right? That would be pretty uncanny, perhaps even unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

But what if “Back to the Future II” had predicted that Cedric Diggory would die trying to win the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Or that Katniss Everdeen would use the Third Quarter Quell to stage a revolt against Panem? Or that Jacob Black would imprint on a surprising character in the Twilight saga? That would be beyond uncanny, because in 1989 no one had ever heard of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games or Twilight—because they didn’t exist.

This scenario somewhat approximates what we find in our text today. It’s easy for us to miss how unreal this prophecy would’ve seemed to its first audience, because we are so far removed from the historical setting. And yet what Back to the Future II could not do, the God of the Bible says he can do—predict the future. If God can do that, then what lies beyond his ability? And if God is that powerful, how could we interpret his absolute power as anything but a threat?

Title: Absolute Power for Maximum Good

Text: Isaiah 44.24–45.19


  • Cyrus
  • objections
  • absolute power
  • maximum good


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The Suffering Servant Rejected

In his new book Jon Ronson argues “a great renaissance is sweeping our land,” and that great renaissance is the cultivation of a culture of shame. His book is called So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and in it he contends that the vehicle triggering the rise of shame is social media. “Justice has been democratized,” he writes, “the silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding other people’s faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those around us. We are using shame as a form of social control.”

Shame—especially publicly shaming another—has been part of human society as long as there have been humans. And it is at the heart of today’s passage. Consider how the Servant of the Lord endured shame, and what his shame means for you.

Title: The Suffering Servant Rejected

Text: Isaiah 53.3


  • three elements of shame
  • the Servant’s shame


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Unrelenting Grace for Idolaters

photo courtesy of Jon Durr/Getty Images

It’s not what you have that matters, but what you do with it. So goes the old maxim, and it is true enough so far as it goes. Indeed all of us, whether knowingly or not, heed that proverb every day. But the maxim doesn’t go far enough. When we do what we do with whatever resources or abilities we have, something is revealed—something about ourselves. And that’s what today’s passage addresses.

Title: Unrelenting Grace for Idolaters

Text: Isaiah 43.22–44.23


  • what we have
  • what we believe
  • what we need
  • how we’re changed


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