Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

One of the hymns we will be singing in the Good Friday service at noon.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Look Who's Headed to Frisco, Texas!

Yvonne and Brianna Beasley are leaving Tuesday, March 31st for Texas to visit Tom and Becky Branan for a few days while Brianna is on spring break. Yvonne will be back in the church office on Monday, April 6th. They appreciate your prayers for safe travel and a blessed visit with Tom and Becky.

Peter Pan

Nathanael Greene Academy will be performing Peter Pan this year for its annual spring musical. Not only will you be entertained by Lindsey and Lucas whom was just crown 1st place at state competition in literary but you will also be witness to Elodie, Loren and Mitchell Johnson's (your favorite church receptionist's children) very first performance in a school musical. Also this year includes the very first year that Mrs. Nancy (the director) has allowed 1st graders to be in the spring musical. You certainly can not miss out on all these first. If you are have any questions, or would like tickets early, please feel free to contact the church office or email tammy.johnson@lopc-pca.org.

Mercy & Grace

I have heard several pastors preach on the subject of mercy and grace. Their definition is that mercy is not getting what we deserve, and grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Well, I experienced both when working at Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church last week.

I had prepared art work for publication in the lake area newspapers and in a direct mail campaign to advertise LOPC’s Easter services. There was a typo on the time of the Maundy Thursday Seder Presentation. The correct time was to be at 6:30 p.m. but the art work stated 7:30 p.m. So what to do? These advertisements would go to almost 5,000 households in the lake area. I could just see multitudes showing up at 7:30 for a presentation that had already been done. What could we do but change the service to 7:30? That meant changing out 60+ posters in the community, updating the web site, e-blasts, e-mails to local churches, reprinting bulletins and bulletin inserts, and so on.

So I came in on Friday to start work on the corrections. And guess who came in on their day off? Pastor Clark, who insisted on taking ½ of the posters to help! I also had several other people to call to help. I tried to get Pastor Clark to let me update all of the posters, but his response was “We are a team, we need to help each other.” Well, I don’t know what I deserved regarding my colossal mistake, but I am very grateful for the grace that was extended to me by all. I am grateful for Pastor Clark’s moral building attitude, and the loving people I work with and for at LOPC.

Receiving the King

Luke 19:28-40                         Receiving the King
3/29/15            D. Marion Clark


The first recorded instance of Jesus traveling to Jerusalem takes place forty days after his birth. Luke speaks of it in chapter 2, recording his mother’s purification offering at the temple. It is there that an elderly man called Simeon proclaimed him to be the Messiah who would bring salvation to Israel. He then turned to Mary and said to her this sobering prophecy:
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed  (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

That sword is about to be unsheathed as the wicked thoughts of hearts are revealed. More than once Jesus has told his disciples that he must enter Jerusalem to suffer, to be killed, and to rise again. We come now to his entrance.

Psalm of the Cross

from Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest...

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cursed for Us

And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

Jesus Christ our Lord, Son of God from all eternity, perfect in holiness and righteousness, who committed no crime, who did not sin during his days on earth and resisted all the temptations of Satan - this Jesus Christ became a curse for us by hanging on a cross (tree) with our sins draped upon him. That is the love shown to us. That is the mercy, the grace given to us.  That is the victory won for us. We who are sinners through and through do not receive the curse. Rather we receive the inheritance of eternal salvation and glory.

What wondrous love is this? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Son of Abraham

Luke 19:1-10                                       Son of Abraham
3/22/15            D. Marion Clark


This is the time of year that we think about the tax collecting entity known as the IRS, sometimes referred to as the Infernal Revenue Service. Whatever one may think of our government agency, rest assured that the tax collecting process of Jesus’ day was held in higher disdain, and its agents were vilified. All the more reason then why the crowd were surprised to see Jesus choosing him to honor with a visit to his home.

Day of Atonement

And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22 The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22)

This is part of the ritual for the Day of Atonement. After the High Priest has sacrificed one goat as a sin offering for the people, he then takes another goat to symbolize the carrying away of the people's sins. Together the goats signify Jesus' atoning work on the cross. Upon the cross he was sacrificed as a sin offering for us. Upon the cross he bore our sins and carried them away into the "wilderness." 

God explains what these acts on the Day of Atonement mean. In verse 30 he says, "For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins." What the Day of Atonement signified, Jesus accomplished in fact. His atonement has made us clean before the Lord from all our sins.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

We congratulate Jim and Karen Hildebrand on their 50th wedding anniversary today!

Our Kinsman-Redeemer

"The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” (Ruth 2:20)

As the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi and Ruth, it was Boaz's responsibility to redeem them from their impoverish condition. Boaz chose to carry out that responsibility for the love of Ruth. And so our Lord Jesus redeemed us. He was not ashamed to be called our brother (Hebrews 2:11), and as our kinsman to then redeem us from our impoverish state. Indeed, upon the cross he not only took upon himself our debts (sins) but exchanged them for his riches (righteousness). He who was rich became poor that we might become rich. And because he humbled himself thus, his Father raises him above all so that every knee shall bow before him.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Didn't He Live

In 1972, soon after coming to faith, I attended a week-long youth rally of 80,000 high school and college students in Dallas. I remember Randy Matthews singing this song.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Purple Robe

The crosses on the Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church lawn are to commemorate the event as described in John 19:2, "And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe."

A crown of thorns will be added on Good Friday.

Our Redeemer

Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. Hosea 3:1-2

The prophet Hosea was a living illustration of what took place on the cross. We were the adulterous bride, Gomer, who left her husband and ended up in slavery. Hosea left his home, sought after her, and redeemed her, i.e. he bought her out of slavery..

So our Lord Jesus left his home, found us, and bought us ought of slavery. He redeemed us. He paid, not with silver and barley, but with his own precious blood. He bore the shame for us; he shed his blood for us. He fulfilled his name, which is a variation of the name Hosea, which means "to save." On the cross our Lord was our Savior who redeemed us out of slavery.

Monday, March 16, 2015

More Progress

Deacons erect crosses
D├ęcor team arranges cloth
It was a beautiful morning, and a beautiful sight to behold the installation of crosses in preparation for the Holy Week celebration at LOPC. The deacons erected three crosses, and Robert Van Delden, Janet Norris and Mardel Kolls arranged the purple cloth. Janet will make adjustments to the cloth's length, and the display will be finalized tomorrow. Stay tuned.......

Sermon Resources

I was asked about knowing good preachers to listen to on the internet. Here is a list that comes off the top of my head with the corresponding sites. Most of them can be found at http://www.sermonaudio.com/main.asp. (Where you can find even my sermons!)

Who Can Intercede?

"If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” (1 Samuel 1:25)

By these words Samuel admonished his wicked sons who used their very positions as priests to defile women who served at the Lord's Tabernacle. He asks the question that needs answering for all of us, for all have sinned against the Lord God. Who can intercede for us? What man is pure? What man is divine?

Look up at the cross. There he makes the one pure sacrifice that is acceptable to the Lord. There he serves as both Priest and Lamb. And after the sacrifice is offered, he rises and ascends into the heavenly Tabernacle straight into the Holy of Holies. There he sits at the Father's right hand and effectually intercedes for us.

Look to the cross.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Luke 9:28-36                           Transfigured
3/15/15            D. Marion Clark


We have had a time or more in which we are filled with great joy and inspiration. We call that a mountaintop experience. Our text today takes us to the original mountaintop experience, the time in which Jesus was transfigured and his disciples surrounded by the glory of God. It was an excitement that terrified the three followers of Jesus.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Music of the Birds

Even the birds of the air can glorify their Creator in music.

Who Can Make Atonement?

Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book."  (Exodus 32:30-33)

Alas, Moses could not make atonement for his people. Though he was their head; though he delivered them from Egypt, he could not deliver them from sin. Their guilt remained, as did their judgment - to be blotted out of God's book of life. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Cross Is the Answer

We continue to reflect on the cross during this Lent season. This scene from the TV show "ER" presents the fear of a man who does not know how to obtain forgiveness from God and a chaplain with no answer. If only she had pointed him to the cross.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Look Up

And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:8-9

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15

Here again we see Jesus fulfilling the signs of the Old Testament. The Israelites, who received the bite of death could be saved by looking up at the serpent on the pole. In the same manner, we who have received the bite of death can be saved by looking up at our Lord Jesus Christ on the Christ. Look to Jesus - look to his atoning death upon the cross - for your salvation. And whenever you seem to have lost your way, whenever doubts creep in, whenever the world seems to tempting or to overwhelming - look to your Lord and Savior upon the cross. And you will be saved from death.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How Great Thou Art

Seeing Gale's blog post below, I couldn't help but think of the hymn "How Great Thou Art."  Note the third verse that points us to the cross, as we continue to reflect on Christ's death for us during this lenten season. Here is a link to the story of how the hymn came to be written.

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

How Great is Our God

I just had to pull over on the side of the road on the way to work this morning to take this photo. The sunrise over the lake was just gorgeous! And a reminder of how great our God is....and that he is in control.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Bold Woman

Matthew 15:21-28                              A Bold Woman


“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

You perhaps recognize the quote from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver are telling the children about Aslan. It is a good description for Jesus, as one mother discovers in our passage.

God's Will

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  Genesis 50:20

Is there a more apt description of Jesus' work on the cross? Man meant evil but God meant good; and God's intention over rules man's. Man acted to bring death; God acted to bring life; and God's actions over powers man's.

The result is that whoever believes in Jesus, though he die yet shall he live, and everyone who believes and lives in him shall never die. God's will will be carried out, and his will is for us never to perish but to have everlasting life.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Give Me Jesus

Tonight Ginger and I are going to a concert of Fernando Ortega in Columbia, SC. I have been posting videos already of his singing. Here is the hymn he sang for Ruth Graham's memorial.

For the Glory of God

Come to the Waters is a year long devotional I put together of the sermons and writings of James Montgomery Boice. Here is today's devotion taken from his last talk given to his congregation at Tenth Presbyterian Church.

For the Glory of God
1 Chronicles 16:23-30

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise (1 Chronicles 16:25).

A number of you have asked what you can do for me in my illness. You can do what you are doing, which is to pray. For what should you pray? Should you pray for a miracle? Well, you’re free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to do miracles—and he certainly can—is also able to keep one from getting the problem in the first place. So although miracles do happen, they’re rare by definition. A miracle has to be an unusual thing. I think it’s far more profitable to pray for wisdom for the doctors and then also for the effectiveness of the treatment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Will Work for Food!

How many deacons does it take to dig a hole to erect a cross? According to Arn Ditmar, two to dig and three to  watch. Please come back later for more photos and details.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Here is a recording of the last hymn that we will be singing this coming Sunday, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul."

The War

"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

In God's curse of the serpent Satan he pronounces a war that will take place through the ages between the offspring of Satan and of the woman Eve. From Eve will come a line of godly descendants who will do battle with Satan, his forces, and the humans he will corrupt. There will always be battles between good and evil. This ongoing war will culminate in a decisive battle won by the long-awaited Offspring known by many names - the Anointed One, the Root of Jesse, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Redeemer, even I AM. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Maybe giving church staff access to posting on the blog was not the wisest decision. Giving away my age...

Daylight Savings Time Begins

Daylight Savings Time will begin at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, the 8th of March.
Please "spring ahead" by setting your clocks ahead one hour on the Saturday night of the 7th of March.

The Big "60"

Marion's birthday is celebrated during staff lunch
Guess who is going to be celebrating his sixtieth birthday on Friday, March 6th?
None other than Rev. D. Marion Clark!
Happy Birthday, Pastor Marion!!!

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

This coming Sunday we will reflect on Christ's death through singing the hymn How Deep the Father's Love for Us.

Monday, March 2, 2015

God Will Provide

Genesis 22:7-14                      God Will Provide

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Helpless Ruler

Luke 8:40-56                           The Helpless Ruler
3/1/15              D. Marion Clark


Have you ever felt helpless? I don’t mean helpless figuring out how to operate electronic gadgets or how to communicate with a customer service representative. But have you felt helpless wanting to help someone you love and not having the power to do so? That is a father’s dilemma in our story.