August 27-September 2nd Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
August 27-September 2nd 2023 AD. 13th Sunday After Pentecost

Bible Passage for the Week
Proverbs 8:12-36
Psalm 87

Verse to Memorize
John 4:24

Catechism Questions
Q. 9. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, and does not have a body like men.

Q. 10. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.

Q. 11. Can you see God?
A. No; I cannot see God, but he always sees me.
People to Pray for:
Church: Trinity Presbyterian Church
               Pastor Andrew Dionne
Ministry: Sweetwater Research
                  David Pendergrass
Civil Magistrate: Clark County Deputy Prosecutor
                                              KALA MEANS
Notes for Parents:
Proverbs 8:12-36

In the proverbs, wisdom is personified.  That is wisdom is spoke of us a person.  We know this person is Christ Jesus.  He was with God in the beginning and He was God.  All things were created by Him.   In Christ Jesus is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Christ Jesus is divine wisdom. And divine wisdom is given to us as a gift of Christ.
Here is what Matthew Henry says about this passage:

I. Divine wisdom gives men good heads (Pro_8:12): I Wisdom dwell with prudence, not with carnal policy (the wisdom that is from above is contrary to that, 2Co_1:12), but with true discretion, which serves for the right ordering of the conversation, that wisdom of the prudent which is to understand his way and is in all cases profitable to direct, the wisdom of the serpent, not only to guard from harm, but to guide in doing food. Wisdom dwells with prudence; for prudence is the product of religion and an ornament to religion; and there are more witty inventions found out with the help of the scripture, both for the right understanding of God's providences and for the effectual countermining of Satan's devices and the doing of good in our generation, than were ever discovered by the learning of the philosophers or the politics of statesmen. We may apply it to Christ himself; he dwells with prudence, for his whole undertaking is the wisdom of God in a mystery, and in it God abounds towards us in all wisdom and prudence. Christ found out the knowledge of that great invention, and a costly one it was to him, man's salvation, by his satisfaction, an admirable expedient. We had found out many inventions for our ruin; he found out one for our recovery. The covenant of grace is so well ordered in all things that we must conclude that he who ordered it dwelt with prudence.

II. It gives men good hearts, Pro_8:13. True religion, consisting in the fear of the Lord, which is the wisdom before recommended, teaches men, 1. To hate all sin, as displeasing to God and destructive to the soul: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, the evil way, to hate sin as sin, and therefore to hate every false way. Wherever there is an awe of God there is a dread of sin, as an evil, as only evil. 2. Particularly to hate pride and passion, those two common and dangerous sins. Conceitedness of ourselves, pride and arrogancy, are sins which Christ hates, and so do all those who have the Spirit of Christ; every one hates them in others, but we must hate them in ourselves. The froward mouth, peevishness towards others, God hates, because it is such an enemy to the peace of mankind, and therefore we should hate it. Be it spoken to the honour of religion that, however it is unjustly accused, it is so far from making men conceited and sour that there is nothing more directly contrary to it than pride and passion, nor which it teaches us more to detest.

III. It has a great influence upon public affairs and the well-governing of all societies, Pro_8:14. Christ, as God, has strength and wisdom; wisdom and might are his; as Redeemer, he is the wisdom of God and the power of God. To all that are his he is made of God both strength and wisdom; in him they are laid up for us, that we may both know and do our duty. He is the wonderful counsellor and gives that grace which alone is sound wisdom. He is understanding itself, and has strength for all those that strengthen themselves in him. True religion gives men the best counsel in all difficult cases, and helps to make their way plain. Wherever it is, it is understanding, it has strength; it will be all that to us that we need, both for services and sufferings. Where the word of God dwells richly it makes a man perfect and furnishes him thoroughly for every good word and work. Kings, princes, and judges, have of all men most need of wisdom and strength, of counsel and courage, for the faithful discharge of the trusts reposed in them, and that they may be blessings to the people over whom they are set. And therefore Wisdom says, By me kings reign (Pro_8:15, Pro_8:16), that is, 1. Civil government is a divine institution, and those that are entrusted with the administration of it have their commission from Christ; it is a branch of his kingly office that by him kings reign; from him to whom all judgment is committed their power is derived. They reign by him, and therefore ought to reign for him. 2. Whatever qualifications for government any kings or princes have they are indebted to the grace of Christ for them; he gives them the spirit of government, and they have nothing, no skill, no principles of justice, but what he endues them with. A divine sentence is in the lips of the king; and kings are to their subjects what he makes them. 3. Religion is very much the strength and support of the civil government; it teaches subjects their duty, and so by it kings reign over them the more easily; it teaches kings their duty, and so by it kings reign as they ought; they decree justice, while they rule in the fear of God. Those rule well whom religion rules.

IV. It will make all those happy, truly happy, that receive and embrace it.
1. They shall be happy in the love of Christ; for he it is that says, I love those that love me, Pro_8:17. Those that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity shall be beloved of him with a peculiar distinguishing love: he will love them and manifest himself to them.

2. They shall be happy in the success of their enquiries after him: “Those that seek me early, seek an acquaintance with me and an interest in me, seek me early, that is, seek me earnestly, seek me first before any thing else, that begin betimes in the days of their youth to seek me, they shall find what they seek.” Christ shall be theirs, and they shall be his. He never said, Seek in vain.

3. They shall be happy in the wealth of the world, or in that which is infinitely better. (1.) They shall have as much riches and honour as Infinite Wisdom sees good for them (Pro_8:18); they are with Christ, that is, he has them to give, and whether he will see fit to give them to us must be referred to him. Religion sometimes helps to make people rich and great in this world, gains them a reputation, and so increases their estates; and the riches which Wisdom gives to her favourites have these two advantages: - [1.] That they are riches and righteousness, riches honestly got, not by fraud and oppression, but in regular ways, and riches charitably used, for alms are called righteousness. Those that have their wealth from God's blessing on their industry, and that have a heart to do good with it, have riches and righteousness. [2.] That therefore they are durable riches. Wealth gotten by vanity will soon be diminished, but that which is well got will wear well and will be left to the children's children, and that which is well spent in works of piety and charity is put out to the best interest and so will be durable; for the friends made by the mammon of unrighteousness when we fail will receive us into everlasting habitations, Luk_16:9. It will be found after many days, for the days of eternity. (2.) They shall have that which is infinitely better, if they have not riches and honour in this world (Pro_8:19): “My fruit is better than gold, and will turn to a better account, will be of more value in less compass, and my revenue better than the choicest silver, will serve a better trade.” We may assure ourselves that not only Wisdom's products at last, but her income in the mean time, not only her fruit, but her revenue, is more valuable than the best either of the possessions or of the reversions of this world.

4. They shall be happy in the grace of God now; that shall be their guide in the good way, Pro_8:20. This is that fruit of wisdom which is better than gold, than fine gold, it leads us in the way of righteousness, shows us that way and goes before us in it, the way that God would have us walk in and which will certainly bring us to our desired end. It leads in the midst of the paths of judgment, and saves us from deviating on either hand. In medio virtus - Virtue lies in the midst. Christ by his Spirit guides believers into all truth, and so leads them in the way of righteousness, and they walk after the Spirit.

5. They shall be happy in the glory of God hereafter, Pro_8:21. Therefore Wisdom leads in the paths of righteousness, not only that she may keep her friends in the way of duty and obedience, but that she may cause them to inherit substance and may fill their treasures, which cannot be done with the things of this world, nor with any thing less than God and heaven. The happiness of those that love God, and devote themselves to his service, is substantial and satisfactory. (1.) It is substantial; it is substance itself. It is a happiness which will subsist of itself, and stand alone, without the accidental supports of outward conveniences. Spiritual and eternal things are the only real and substantial things. Joy in God is substantial joy, solid and well-grounded. The promises are their bonds, Christ is their surety, and both substantial. They inherit substance; that is, their inheritance hereafter is substantial; it is a weight of glory; it is substance, Heb_10:34. All their happiness they have as heirs; it is grounded upon their sonship. (2.) It is satisfying; it will not only fill their hands, but fill their treasures, not only maintain them, but make them rich. The things of this world may fill men's bellies (Psa_17:14), but not their treasures, for they cannot in them secure to themselves goods for many years; perhaps they may be deprived of them this night. But let the treasures of the soul be ever so capacious there is enough in God, and Christ, and heaven, to fill them. In Wisdom's promises believers have goods laid up, not for days and years, but for eternity; her fruit therefore is better than gold.

The apostle Jude wanted to write the church about their common salvation but found it necessarily to write that the church work hard to content for the faith.  The Church has been given the truths of God and we must by His Spirit work to keep them.  The Devil will do all in his power to move us away from those truths.  We cannot allow it to happen.  
There will be slick people who sneak in to lead astray.  The Devil will raise up false teaching.  We must not think this is merely limited to the big televangelists.  No the devil constantly works to lead us astray from the truth.  We have to be on guard.  

Because religion is so foundational to who we are and because God does command us to obey our leaders in the faith, there are wicked people will seek to take advantage of this for their own gain.  They see religion merely as a means to get rich or to fulfill their lusts.
Part of your duty as parents is to train your children to be wise to tell the difference between not only good and bad but between right and almost right.   Almost right is where the devil likes to live.

Psalm 87
Where are you from? Whenever I am driving about here in Indiana and I see a West Virginia license plate or a little WV decal on the back of a car, my eyes light up.  That’s my home state.  I get a sense of connection with the people riding in that vehicle even if I don’t know them.   If by chance we both end up in a place where I can talk to them, I ask them where in WV they are from.  I grew up going to state parks for our family vacation so I know about any place that might be mentioned when I ask them.   If they were to happen to say Hurricane West Virginia, you can bet I get real excited.  That’s my hometown.  I’m sure you do the same thing when you are traveling away from where you grew up.
Something similar is happening in this psalm, God is speaking about the region of Israel and says that his favor is on those from Zion aka Jerusalem.  That is his favorite place.   Verse 5 says that it is those born in Zion that she be counted.  

Since this passage is found in the Old Testament, we know its original context had to do with God choosing to put his presence in the temple in Jerusalem.  It is God’s prerogative to choose for himself a people. God was establishing the city of Jerusalem to be the center of worship for his people.

This of course foreshadows what we read in the New Testament.   The physical city of Jerusalem was meant to point towards the spiritual Jerusalem that is the Church.   The Church is where God’s favor has always been.  He loves the Church.   Christ died for His Church.  
Those born of her are whom God looks upon.

In regards to the verse the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob, here is what Charles Spurgeon said about this:
The gates are put for the city itself. The love of God is greatest to his own elect nation, descended from his servant Jacob, yet the central seat of his worship is dearer still; no other supposable comparison could have so fully displayed the favour which Jehovah bore to Jerusalem, - he loves Jacob best and Zion better than the best. At this hour the mystical teaching of these words is plain. God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were fair in the Lord's eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God; where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints; we must say of the church -

“Here my best friends, my kindred dwell:
Here God, my Saviour reigns.”

Catechism/ Memory Verse
The difficulty of accurately defining God is because He is one of a kind.  There is no one else like God.  There is no one that we may accurately compare Him to.  This is due in part to the truth that He is spirit and we live in, as the 80’s pop song says, a material world. We are used to dealing with things we can see and touch.  In fact, you and I have grown up and been incubated into a materialist worldview.  That is, we are tempted to think that the material is all there is, that at the most fundamental level, everything that exists consists of nothing but matter and energy. Even thought we might not voice it this way, we are tempted to think every object is a purely physical object and every event has a purely physical cause.
The Materialist worldview rejects the idea that there are immaterial or spiritual entities, such as souls, angels or God because it rejects out of hand there can be anything that does not have a purely physical cause.  In the materialist worldview, science can explain everything in terms of matter and physics. Yet, for all the ways that people throw around the term “science” to be an infallible interpreter of life, science cannot explain all that there is.  Scientists doing the scientific method cannot account for science’s own foundation.  That is, there are certain things needed to be presumed in order to do science i.e., the existence of a theory-independent, external word, the orderly nature of the external world, the knowability of the external world, the existence of truth, the laws of logic, and the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties.  You cannot get to those presumptions by only using science.  
But we still live in a world where materialism is a dominating worldview, and we are tempted by it.  And because of so much of what we deal with is physical, we have a hard time accurately thinking of God.  Jesus told us in John 4:24 that God is Spirit.  What does that mean?

Alexander Whyte in his commentary on the catechism helpfully describes this
“This word Spirit,—" the profoundest word in human language",— as employed in Scripture and theology bears a figurative or metaphorical sense. The growth of the word is something like this. It first means air, the air that is the atmosphere of the earth, and the breath of all its living creatures. From this it is a short and easy step to become expressive of the life of man, and the life of his soul, as in the cry: "Into Thine hand I commit my spirit." And from that highest earthly use the word has been taken up and consecrated to describe for us the manner of God's own life. "God is Spirit." And this single expression at once does this great service for us, that it removes God's nature far from all association with material and corporal organization. For, as our Lord said: "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

Now this may make you think about God being like a ghost or a phantom.  We might be tempted to think of an ethereal transparent apparition, but this is not what we mean.   When the catechism, repeating after Jesus, says that God is spirit, it is teaching us that the Father is not limited by the physical, that he is life-giving and life-sustaining, that he can never be totally comprehended, and that he transcends creation.

He is not like anything else.  He is unique.  Men are defined by our localization, that is, we are at one particular place at one particular time.  Though we do have both a body and spirit, our spirits are tied to our bodies, in this life.  We are in one place at one time. God on the other hand is not limited to one place and time. He is not contained.  For something to be physical it has a limit or boundary to its being.  For example, our bodies extend out to a definite boundary.  God is spirit and has no extension or limit.  God is everywhere and yet He is at the same time not a part of everywhere.  God is not the creation and yet God is present working in His creation.
Let us reject the materialistic worldview that cannot even account for something like the human mind or the laws of logic.  Let us also marvel at God who is Spirit and who is infinite (more on that part tomorrow).  Reflect on how amazing it is that the God who is so far above the creation is present everywhere.  He is on the highest mountain and at the lowest point of the sea. He is present in Washington DC and in Southern Indiana.  No matter where you are today, the good news is that He is near.
People to Pray for:
Trinity Presbyterian Church
Andrew Dionne

Mighty and Sovereign God,
Thank you for Trinity Presbyterian Church and the bond of Christ that we share with them. Thank you for establishing Your church and for the believers carrying out Your work in their community of Spartenburg. We are grateful for the friendship of Pastor Andrew Dionne and his faithful work of preaching the gospel and discipling the saints.
We come before You now and ask for Your protection over Trinity Presbyterian Church. Protect them from persecution and the hatred of the ungodly. Grant them favor with their neighbors, and open the hearts of the community to hear Your Word proclaimed. Safeguard them from internal division. This year, in particular, has brought numerous internal pressures and stresses upon Your people. Temptations toward bitterness, anger, and restlessness have arisen among us. Forgive us for failing to fully trust in You. Please shield Trinity Presbyterian Church Church from these dangers.
Instead, help them to flourish in number and maturity. Bless the work of discipling young men to be leaders in the home, church, and community. Give wisdom to Pastor Dionne and the other elders as they undertake this task. Ground the men and women of this church deeply in Your Word through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
Bless Pastor Andrew as he leads New Geneva Academy.  Bless his work as president and help him to have wisdom to see this school grow.  May it be used by you to raise up many faithful shepherds for your flock.  
We ask for these things and all other needs that You, in Your wisdom, know before we even ask, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen."

Prayer for Sweetwater Research and David Pendergrass
The Father of Jesus Christ and giver of living water,
We thank you for the work of Sweetwater Research and its leader, David Pendergrass. We thank you for the noble work this nonprofit scientific research group undertakes to bring clean drinking water to those living in impoverished regions. Their mission reflects your compassion for the vulnerable, and we ask for your guidance and blessings upon their endeavors.
As David and his son prepare to journey to Ethiopia on August 27 for a month, we earnestly beseech you to watch over them and keep them safe. Guard their every step and grant them wisdom as they engage in research and meetings. May their efforts be fruitful and their interactions be marked by mutual respect and understanding.
Lord, you are the ultimate provider, and we ask that you grant Sweetwater Research the financial resources needed to fulfill their mission. Bless their fundraising efforts, connect them with supporters who share their vision, and open doors for partnerships that will further their cause. May their work have a lasting impact on the lives of those they seek to serve.
We pray for success in their collaborations with key contacts in Ethiopia. May these partnerships lead to innovative solutions and projects that address the urgent need for clean water. May your wisdom guide their discussions and plans, ensuring that every effort is aligned with your will.
Lord, may Sweetwater Research be a beacon of hope and transformation in the lives of those they touch. Strengthen David's leadership, grant him discernment, and fill him with your wisdom as he navigates the challenges of this mission. Let their work be a testimony to your love and mercy.
In Jesus' name, we pray.

Prayer for Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Kala Means
Gracious and Heavenly Father,
We lift up Kala Means, the Deputy Prosecutor working diligently in Circuit 3, facing the challenges of handling high volume "low level" felony cases. As she stands on the frontlines of justice, we ask for your guiding light to shine upon her path.
Lord, we first ask that you draw Kala closer to the knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ. May her heart be open to the transformative power of your love, and may she find solace in His presence amidst the demands of her job. Grant her wisdom to discern between right and wrong and between just and unjust. May she lean on your everlasting grace in times of uncertainty.
In the midst of the stress that comes with her responsibilities, we beseech you to grant Kala an unshakable peace that transcends all understanding. May she find strength in knowing that you are with her every step of the way, carrying her burdens and renewing her spirit. Help her to cast her anxieties upon you, for you care for her deeply.
Lord, you are the source of true rest. We pray that Kala would find respite in your arms, that she would seek refuge in your presence when the demands of her job weigh heavily upon her. Fill her with your peace, and remind her that in you, she can find the rest her soul craves.
As she navigates the complexities of her role, we implore you to guide Kala in administering justice with fairness and compassion. Grant her discernment to handle each case with integrity and wisdom. Protect her from the temptations that may sway her from the path of righteousness, and embolden her to uphold the law while considering the individual circumstances of each case.
Lord, we place Kala Means into your loving hands. May her life be a testimony of your grace and mercy, both in her professional endeavors and in her personal journey with you. We ask all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Church History Spotlight

The Conversion of Augustine of Hippo

Augustine one of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity. (In his day the Mediterranean world consisted of an Eastern, Greek-speaking half and a Western, Latin-speaking half, with different ways of looking at things, and different habits of thought.) He was born 13 November 354 in North Africa, about 45 miles south of the Mediterranean. His mother, Monnica, was a Christian, and his father for many years a pagan (although he became a Christian before his death). His mother undertook to bring him up as a Christian, and on one level he always found something attractive about Christ, but in the short run he was more interested in the attractions of sex, fame, and pride in his own cleverness. After a moderate amount of running around as a teen-ager, he got a woman pregant, who bore him a son when he was about eighteen. Theirs was a long-term relationship, apparently with faithfulness on both sides, and the modern reader is left wondering why he did not simply marry the girl. He never tells us this (and in fact never tells us her name), so that we can only guess. It seems likely that she was a freedwoman, and the laws forbade marriage between a free-born Roman citizen and a slave, or an ex-slave.

When He was 19 and a student at Carthage, he read a treatise by Cicero that opened his eyes to the delights of philosophy.

He was from the beginning a brilliant student, with an eager intellectual curiousity, but he never mastered Greek -- he tells us that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students, and Augustine rebelled and vowed never to learn Greek. By the time he realized that he really needed to know Greek, it was too late; and although he acquired a smattering of the language, he was never really at home in it. However, his mastery of Latin was another matter. He became an expert both in the eloquent use of the language and in the use of clever arguments to make his points. He became a teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, but was dissatisfied. It was the custom for students to pay their fees to the professor on the last day of the term, and many students attended faithfully all term, and then did not pay. In his late twenties, Augustine decided to leave Africa and seek his fortune in Rome

For a long time Augustine was attracted by the teachings of Manicheeism, named for Mani, a Persian who had preached kind of synthesis of Christianity with Zoroastrianism, the dominant religion of Persia. Zoroaster had taught the existence of a power of light, God, the supreme Creator, and of a dark and evil power that opposed him. On the Zoroastrian (Parsi) view, the dark power was a rebel against his creator, and doomed to ultimate defeat. Mani, on the other hand, was a thoroughgoing dualist, who taught that there are two gods of equal power and eternity, and that the universe is the scene of an unending battle between light and darkness, good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, soul and body, The Manichees as they moved west into the Roman Empire adopted many traits of what is generically called Gnosticism. In particular, they advertised themselves as being not an alternative to Christianity but as the advanced version of Christianity, as the faith for the spiritually mature, the intellectually gifted.

They claimed that their beliefs were based on reason rather than authority, and that they had answers for everything, at least as soon as the learner was sufficiently advanced to comprehend them. They differed from the classical Gnostics by not contrasting spirit with matter. On their view, everything was composed of material particles, but these were either light or dark. Since the mind was composed of light particles, imprisoned in the body, a cage made of dark particles, something like the Gnostic contrast between spirit and matter was there. Members were divided into an inner circle, the "elect," who were expected to be celibate and vegetarian, so as to avoid all those dark particles, and the "learners," of whom considerably less was expected. Augustine signed up as a learner. He was at first completely captivated, but then met with a series of disappointments. The rank and file of the movement did not seem to be very clear thinkers. He met the leaders, who were advertised as the Towering Intellects of the Ages, and was not impressed.

Augustine prospered in Rome, and was eventually appointed chief professor of rhetoric for the city of Milan at that time the capital city of the Empire in the West. It should be noted that this was an extremely prestigious appointment. In classical times, when laws were often made and issues voted on by huge public assemblies, when even juries typically had several hundred members, and when a man's public influence, or even on occasion his life, depended on his ability to sway large audiences, rhetoric -- the art of manipulating an audience -- was a skill that few men thought they could afford to neglect. (Socrates was one of the few, and we know what happened to him!) The art, at first intensely practical, had by Augustine's day become a display form admired for its own sake. However, the admiration was there. Every lawyer, arguing a case, was expected to give an eloquent speech, full of classical allusions and standard rhetorical flourishes. And Augustine was at the top of the field.

In Milan Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, and was startled to find in him a reasonableness of mind and belief, a keenness of thought, and an integrity of character far in excess of what he had found elsewhere. For the first time, Augustine saw Christianity as a religion fit for a philosopher.

Soon after his arrival in Milan, Augustine was plunged into two crises.
First, his mother arrived from Africa, and persuaded him that he ought to give up his mistress and get married. He agreed to a betrothal to a suitable young lady; but his betrothed was too young for immediate marriage, and so the actual wedding was postponed for two years. Meanwhile the mistress had been sent back to Africa. Augustine, not ready for two years of sexual abstinence, lapsed back into promiscuity.

The second crisis was that Augustine became a neo-Platonist. Plato, as interpreted by his later spokesmen, in particular by Plotinus, taught that only God is fully real, and that all other things are degenerations in varying degrees from the One--things are progressively less good, less spiritual, and less real as one goes rung by rung down the cosmic ladder. By contemplating spiritual realities, directing one's attention first to one's own mind and then moving up the ladder rung by one to the contemplation of God, one acquires true wisdom, true self-fulfilment, true spirituality, and union with God, or the One. Augustine undertook this approach, and believed that he had in fact had an experience of the presence of God, but found that this only made him more aware of the gulf between what he was and what he realized that he ought to be.

Meanwhile, he continued to hear Bishop Ambrose. And finally, partly because Ambrose had answers for his questions, partly because he admired Ambrose personally, and chiefly (or so he believed) because God touched his heart, he was converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptised by Ambrose at Easter of 387. About 12 years later he wrote an account of his life up to a time shortly after his conversion, a book called the Confessions, a highly readable work available in English. Ostensibly an autobiography, it is more an outpouring of penitence and thanksgiving.

In a well-known chapter, Augustine describes his conversion. His intellectual objections had lost their force, and he was at a point where the difficulty was that he seemed unable to make a commitment to living chastely, or unable to make a commitment, period. He heard of a group of young men, Christians, one of whom decided to become a desert hermit, whereupon the others, one at a time, made the same commitment, encouraged and inspired by the examples of those in the group who had already done so. (In many circles at that time, becoming a desert hermit had the same overtones as joining the Peace Corps did for many young persons in the 1960's, or joining the armed forces for many in the weeks immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.) Augustine went aside to ponder the question, "How is it that these young men can make so drastic a commitment, and I cannot take even the first step of declaring myself a Christian?" He heard what seemed to be a child's voice coming from next door, saying over and over, "Tolle, lege; tolle, lege," or, "Pick up and read; pick up and read." Since he could not think of any reason why a child would be saying that, he took it as an omen, and picked up a copy of Paul's Epistle to the Romans. As he opened it, his eye fell on the end of the thirteenth chapter:
The night is far gone, the day is at hand.
Let us then cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day,
not in reveling and drunkenness,
not in debauchery and licentiousness,
not in quarreling and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh,
to gratify its desires.

As he read, he experienced this as God speaking directly to him, convicting him of his past sins, and offering him forgiveness; calling him to amend his life, and promising him the grace and power to do it. He burst into tears, and surrendered. Later, he wrote:
       Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold,
Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee.
Thou was with me when I was not with Thee.
Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispell my blindness.
Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
For Thyself Thou hast made us,
       and restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease.
Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new.
Thou hast burst my bonds asunder;
       unto Thee will I offer up an offering of praise.

Augustine would go onto to become a pastor and one of the most influential writer/theologians in all of Christian History. John Calvin quotes him more than any other source other an the Bible.
A prayer of thanks for Augustine
Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Upcoming Events:
Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
September 6 Worship Band Practice
September 10 Genevan Pub with Michael Foster
September 20 Kings Men and Daughters of the King
September 23 Farmers Market Outreach
October 28 All Hallows Reformation Festival