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Monday, February 2, 2009

Maximizing your Prophets in These Difficult Economic Times

This past Sunday, I was back at Trinity United Church in Warren, NJ, the church where I led an adult education program back in the early fall, From Amistad to Guantanamo: Justice Ministries in the United Church of Christ. This time, I was teaching the first installment of a three-part series about prophets.

On Sunday, we went over what Biblical prophets were and what they weren't. (They were messengers for God, not fortune tellers.) Then, we took time to go discuss several of the Biblical prophets who appear as characters rather than having books that they authored. We discussed Joseph (of Andrew Lloyd Weber fame), Moses, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha.

Next week, we'll tackle the "major prophets": Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Time permitting, we may get started with the "minor prophets." On week three, the plan is to finish up with the prophets of the New Testament and a discussion of how God is still speaking to people today.

In addition to leading the adult education program, I also preached the sermon and shared in the celebration of Holy Communion with the Rev. Elsie Armstrong Rhodes. Trinity keeps a sermon archive, where you can listen to my sermon, "The Demon Within," which reflected on the text from Mark 1:21-28, where Jesus casts a demon out of a man who accosts him in the middle of his sermon at the Capernaum synagogue. Though they haven't posted the sermon as of the time I'm writing this, I'm sure it'll be up very soon.

It was nice to be back with Elsie and with Jared Stephens and Joy Arroyo, the two pastoral assistants who are students at Princeton Theological Seminary. The three of them make a great team and it was particularly nice to hear how well the students led the congregation's prayers. I'm looking forward to being back next week and watching these talented students as they take a larger role in leading worship.

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