Thoughts from Pastor Derek...


The Deuteronomy Sermon Series

The Video below is from a group called The Bible Project. It does a good job of explaining the themes and structure of the book of Deuteronomy.


Thoughts from June 9th

Yesterday in worship, we talked about the story of Pentecost which we find in Acts chapter 2. We focused on how Pentecost occurred during the feast of first fruits, which reminds us that we can trust God with an uncertain future. Another aspect of Pentecost, which we did not focus on yesterday, is how the Holy Spirit of God brings people together. When we read the story of Pentecost in Acts 2, we find the names of places that were scattered all over the Roman world. All of these people were in Jerusalem for the feast and when the Holy Spirit fell, it enabled the disciples to speak in languages they had never studied so that all those gathered could hear the gospel proclaimed in their own language. The Holy Spirit brought people from many different nations, languages, cultures and backgrounds together in the unity of the gospel of Jesus as brothers and sisters. This points us forward to John’s great vision of heaven that we find in the book of Revelation chapter 7, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throneand before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Scriptures for next week: Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 6:25-34

Thoughts From June 1st

This past Sunday, we talked about Deuteronomy 31:8 in which God says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” This is a promise that we can count on. God is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. In fact, the gospel of Matthew starts and ends with the promise that God is with us. When we read about the birth of the baby Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, we are told that, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). The gospel starts by telling us that God is with us. The gospel ends by assuring us that God will always continue to be with us. The final words of Matthew’s gospel are, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God is with us and he always will be.

Scriptures for next week: Acts chapter 2

Thoughts From May 19th

This past Sunday, we looked at I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” The scriptures talk repeatedly about how our God brings things and people out of the darkness and into the light. 2 Samuel 22:29 affirms, “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” Scripture tells us that this is why Jesus comes into the world. In Jesus’ first sermon in the gospel of Matthew, he quotes Isaiah chapter 9 and says, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Also, Jesus says in John chapter 8 that, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” Scripture tells us that Jesus came into the world to bring us from darkness into light, and it also affirms that through faith in Christ, this is exactly what God does in our hearts and lives. In 2 Corinthians 4:6, Paul refers to the story of creation in Genesis when he says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Our God brings things out of the darkness and into the light.

Scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy 7:12-16 and Rev 21:1-5

Thoughts From May 12th

Please watch this video as a follow up to our sermon this Sunday:

Thoughts From Sunday May 5th

Yesterday in worship, we had a service of prayer for healing. The Bible talks a great deal about healing, but I want to remind us of just two verses that speak of God’s incredible power to heal. Isaiah, in a prophetic passage about Jesus says

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Notice that the end of Isaiah’s prophecy shows that the gospel includes both forgiveness of sin and healing. Also, in the book of James, we are encouraged to pray in all circumstances trusting that God knows our hearts and that he hears our prayers. We can trust that God answers our prayers simply because he loves us and not because we have earned what we ask for. James tells us to pray specifically for healing. James says

“s anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

Scripture Reading for this week: Deuteronomy 6

Thoughts From Sunday April 28th

Over the past several weeks, I have spoken with several people who are experiencing difficult health problems. As I have spoken with them, two verses from Isaiah 53:4-5 keep coming to my mind. In a passage that is a prophecy about Jesus’ death and resurrection, Isaiah says, 

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

On Easter, we celebrate that death has been defeated and that through faith we are forgiven of our sins. However, this is not the only thing that is accomplished through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah specifically says that by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah talks about healing. This coming Sunday May 5, we are going to have a time of prayer during our worship service. We are going to pray specifically that God would grant us healing. I encourage everyone to come and join us during worship this coming Sunday as we pray for healing. 

Scriptures readings for this week

Luke 24:13-35

Isaiah 53:1-6

Thoughts From Sunday April 21st

“Happy Easter! We pray for God’s blessings on you and your family as we celebrate and live in the new life offered to us through faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the grave!

Scripture readings for next week:

Deuteronomy chapter 6 and Luke 12:1-35”

Thoughts from Sunday April 14th

Over the last several weeks, we have been looking at the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy and the richness which they hold for the living of our everyday lives. This week on Maundy Thursday, we celebrate and remember the last supper which Jesus shared with his disciples before he went to the cross. At that last supper, Jesus gives his disciples his command that they love one another and that command comes from a scripture in Deuteronomy. In fact, it comes from a scripture right after the Ten Commandments. Please come and join us on Maundy Thursday as we finish our look at the Ten Commandments in the book of Deuteronomy. Our service times for Holy Week are listed below:

Maundy Thursday — Thursday, April 18th at 7pm.
Good Friday — Friday, April 19th at 7pm.
Easter Sunrise — Sunday, April 21st at 8am.
Easter — Sunday, April 21st at 11am.

Readings for this week:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Mark 12:28-31, John 13:34-35 and John 15:13

Thoughts from Sunday April 7th

We are approaching one of the most special times in the life of the church. This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week when we remember and celebrate the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. We remember his last supper with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. I would like to encourage you to join us for our Holy Week services. Service times are listed below. We look forward to worshipping with you:

Palm Sunday — Sunday, April 14th at 11am.
Maundy Thursday — Thursday, April 18th at 7pm.
Good Friday — Friday, April 19th at 7pm.
Easter Sunrise — Sunday, April 21st at 8am.
Easter — Sunday, April 21st at 11am.

Readings for this week:
Deuteronomy 5:23 — 6:3
Matthew 21:1-17

Thoughts from Sunday March 31st

This past Sunday, we looked at the fourth commandment, the commandment to keep the Sabbath. We said that this commandment, found in Deuteronomy chapter 5, is a reminder of the freedom that we have through faith in Christ. One way that we can see this is that God bases his command for his people to keep the sabbath in the fact that he has set them free from slavery in the land of Egypt. Whereas they could never stop when they were slaves, God commands his people to stop and celebrate the sabbath as a reminder of the freedom which he has given them.

We saw the sabbath as an example and reminder of freedom once again in our story from the book of Luke 13:10-17. In this story, Jesus sets a crippled woman free from her sickness and declares that the sabbath is the perfect time to proclaim freedom. Currently, our church has a wonderful opportunity to help others, both in the USA and around the world, receive tangible freedom. We are collecting for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, which helps to fund the relief and disaster recovery work of the Presbyterian Church. As people, like the woman in Luke 13, receive tangible freedom from the things that have kept them bound, our hope and prayer is that they would also receive the far greater freedom from sin and death which our God offers through faith in Jesus Christ.
The video below shows some of the ways that the One Great Hour of Sharing offering brings physical freedom to those in need around the world:

Scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy 5:16-22

Matthew 5:17-26

Thoughts from Sunday March 24th

This past Sunday, Tanner shared with us in worship the essay that he had written for the DARE program at his school. After he shared, Dr. Mike Mahoney came and shared with us about the issue of addiction and what we can do if we know someone who is affected by addiction. Dr. Mahoney provided some resources that are listed below:

Al-anon(For family/friends of alcoholics):

Nar-anon(For family/friends of drug addicts):

Local Treatment Centers:

Gateway Rehabilitation Center

(800) 472-1177

Greenbriar Treatment Center

(800) 637-4673

Pyramid Health Care

(888) 694-9996

Thoughts from Sunday March 17th

Over the next several weeks of Lent, we are going to be looking at the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy chapter 5. Often, when we think of the Ten Commandments, we think of a list of do’s and don’ts. We think of a list of rules that we have to keep. The focus can be on our actions and on our behavior. But, this is not how the Ten Commandments are presented in Deuteronomy. Look at the verses immediately before the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 says,

"Moses summoned all Israel and said:

Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Notice that even before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded that God has provided a way for us to have a relationship with him. Before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded of God’s saving acts on our behalf when God says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” The Ten Commandments are about our Gospel God who comes to save us from our sin and draw us to himself.

Readings for next week:

Deuteronomy 5:1-22 and Exodus 20:1-21

Thoughts from Sunday March 10th

This week, as I was reflecting on the words of Deuteronomy, I looked the window of my office and saw the hill behind the church. This is just a small hill, but it made me think of larger hills and of the mountains that we find throughout our country. In Deuteronomy, Moses talks about how God met with his people at a mountain. He met with them at Mount Sinai. This language is picked up in Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of Hebrews compares the hope that we have in and through Jesus Christ to a mountain. He said that our hope is as unshakable as a mountain.

It says, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Let us live in that unshakable hope.

Scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy 4:15-49

Thoughts from Sun, March 3rd

This past Sunday, we talked again about Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3. We talked about how Deuteronomy tells the grand and epic tale of God leading his people through the wilderness and into the promised land. It is a story about the forces of good conquering over the forces of darkness. It is a story about those who trust in God conquering over the things that stand opposed to him. I mentioned that we can live in hope because we know the end of the story. This is the sure and certain hope that we can have through faith in Jesus Christ.

This hope is shown very clearly in the next to last chapter of the Bible. In Rev. 21, we read about John’s vision of heaven. He tells us that, “I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy 4: 15-49 and Deuteronomy 5:1-6

Thoughts from Sun, Feb 24th

Yesterday, we talked about how we approach passages of violence in scripture. I tried to lay out several approaches that can be useful in thinking about this issue. What I said is by no means exhaustive and I know that this can be a confusing topic. If you have questions about this topic or would like to discuss it with me further, please stop by the church office. I would be happy to talk with anyone about this.

Please read these scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy 4 and Hebrews 12: 18-29

Thoughts from Sunday February 17th

Yesterday in worship, we talked about the second half of Deuteronomy chapter 1. This passage recounts the story of the Israelites coming to the border of the promised land after they are delivered from slavery in Egypt. When the spies go into the land, they find a cluster of grapes so large that it takes two of them to carry it back (see Numbers 14:23). This incredible fruit was meant to serve as a testimony to the Israelites of God’s blessing to them. I mentioned a movie called Transformations that documents God’s incredible blessing on his people today. The town of Almologna in Guatemala experienced incredible crops after a revival of belief in Christ. Here is the picture of the giant head of lettuce I mentioned yesterday in my sermon:

giant lettuce.jpg

If you would lIke to watch the entire Transformations documentary, here is a link to it on YouTube. Please be aware that this documentary deals with God conquering many evil forces. Because of this, it mentions drugs, witchcraft, alcoholism, gangs, prostitution and discusses a pastor being martyred.

Click Here to Watch Video

Please read these scriptures for next week:

Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3

Psalm 136

Exodus chapters 7 through 11

When you read Exodus 7 through 11, watch for the phrase “that they may know the Lord” or similar phrases like “that they may know that I am the Lord”. This is a big theme in these chapters. See how many times you can spot a phrase like this.

Thoughts from Sunday February 10th

Yesterday in church, we talked about Deuteronomy 1:5-18 which reminds us that we, like the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, are children of the promise. Through faith in Christ, we are heirs of the promises of God. But, what are these promises? Well, the scripture tells us many things about the identity that we have through faith in Jesus Christ. The following is a list that is taken from a book called “Victory Over the Darkness” by Neil Anderson:

John 1:12 I am God’s child.

John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend.

Romans 5:1 I have been justified.

I Corinthians 6:17-20 I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with him.

Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.

Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:4 I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins.

Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.

Romans 8:28 I am free from condemnation

Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of Christ.

Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will finish his work in me

Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven

2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear.

Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.

I would encourage you to read through this listing of Scriptures and listen to what the voice of God says about your identity and who God makes each one of us to be through faith in Jesus Christ.

Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 17th:

Deuteronomy 1:19-46
Numbers 13:17 - 14:11
Psalm 106

Thoughts from Sunday Feb 3rd

This past Sunday, we talked about how the book of Deuteronomy is the conclusion to the story of the Pentateuch. The video below talks about the books of the Pentateuch and is taken from our children’s Sunday School curriculum, What’s in the Bible. After seeing this video in Sunday School, each time my children here me mention Deuteronomy, they want to sing “Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy!” Watch the video to see why:

In our sermon yesterday, we talked about how the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, tells the story of God giving life. With the exception of Genesis, all of these books also tell the story of Moses. The story of Moses contains many of the famous stories in the Bible, such as the burning bush, the plagues of Egypt and the receiving of the Ten Commandments. The great irony of this is that the man who became such a great leader did not feel up to the task. When God called Moses through the burning bush to go and set his people free, Moses had many concerns. Some might even call these downright excuses. Moses thought that he was the wrong man for the job. He objected that he couldn’t speak very well and suggested that his brother Aaron speak to Pharoah instead. He worried that the Israelites would not believe that God had called him. Finally, when he had run out of other excuses, he asked God to just send someone else. This part of Moses’ story is well-known, but we sometimes forget that Moses was pulled from the Nile by the daughter of Pharaoh. He was raised in the palace as a son of Pharaoh. He was given the best education available and had access to all the riches of Egypt. Yet, in spite of all this, Moses did not feel ready for the task to which God called him. The story of Moses reminds us that the things which God calls us to are not things that we are able to do in our own strength and power. Rather, when God calls us to something, God promises that he will be with us. (Exodus 3:12)

Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 10th

Deuteronomy 1:5-18

Genesis 15:1-6

Romans 8:31-39

Thoughts from Sunday January 27th

This week, we are starting a sermon series going through the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a very important part of the scriptures and deals with many themes and ideas that we still encounter today. In fact, the book of Deuteronomy was Jesus’ favorite book of the Old Testament. Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Old Testament.

Each week during this series on Deuteronomy, I will be posting here some follow up thoughts to my Sunday sermon. In addition, I will also be posting a list of scriptures that relate to the passage of Deuteronomy we will be looking at the following Sunday. Please try to read this list of scriptures at some point during the week. This will allow our congregation to engage together even more deeply with the themes and lessons of the book.

Here is the list of scriptures for next Sunday:

Exodus chapter 1

Deuteronomy 30:19-20