February 2014 Pastoral Letter

25 02 2014

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

Each month I look forward to writing this pastoral letter as it provides a unique opportunity to include all the members of our church family in the work that I am honored and privileged to do as your pastor. My family and I are always blessed by the love and friendship we are shown and give thanks again for the many things y’all do for us. As a reminder we are hosting the spring meeting of the Mississippi Valley Presbytery on March 3rd and 4th. I want to let you know that you are more than welcome to attend the worship service at 7:00pm on Monday night. We value your prayers for those travelling and for the preparations. On another matter we should be concluding our morning worship series through Daniel on the Lord’s Day March 2nd. I will preach two “overview” sermons on the 9th and the 16thand then on the 23rd and the 30th I will preach two sermons on the Lord’s Supper. After this on April 6th we will start looking at Paul’s letter to the Colossians in the morning worship service.

While it may seem like quite a change going from an Old Testament book that is mostly about visions and dreams and shadowy Babylonian rulers to a New Testament letter that deals with the trials facing a body of believers in a city like Colosse one of the things you will notice is the place peace has in both the life of Daniel and the words of the Apostle Paul. In fact Daniel and Paul both understand that true peace in this life does not come in the form of material wealth or even the relative temporal situation one may be in, but this peace comes from the very nature of the God we serve. Daniel very quickly in his book finds himself an alien in a foreign land where he is forced to make a decision as to whether he will engage in activities that are clearly spoken against in the Word given to his fathers or if he will act pragmatically in order to make his life “easier” in this new environment. It is a similar situation that the new church in Colosse finds itself where false teachers, mostly Judaizers, have come into their family and are preaching a different gospel than the one Paul had brought to them through the blessing of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the second chapter the Apostle warns the people that the liberty to do those things that God has given them through the shed blood of His Son is not to be given away for the false and misleading promises of fleshly practices that outwardly may seem wise, but are “will worship”, that is worship devised by men, for men and not by God, for God, to whom all worship is to be focused and by whom we are to receive our worship practices. This is a part of why we do not engage in activities of the church calendar this time of year (or any part of the year), like Lent and its associated festivities. For we have been freed from the fleshly ordinances of the ceremonial law and have been given the liberty to worship in spirit and truth fitting with the will and command of God and not according to man’s devices.

One last thing this month, I have mentioned before that the Elders are planning on beginning home visitation. We are still working on the nuts and bolts and schedule on this. I will let you know more from the pulpit as we know more. This will again provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication. Please ask if you have questions. We are here to serve you.

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

 www.ellisvillepres.org





January 2014 Pastoral Letter

28 01 2014

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

It is almost hard to believe this is my 40th monthly Pastoral Letter in Ellisville. It has and will continue to be a pleasure to serve as your pastor. As always I am here to serve you and to assist in whatever it is you need in your Christian walk. This letter is a bit of a smorgasbord of different things that are coming up in the life of the church with a short thought on Daniel. 1st of all we will have a luncheon on Feb. 16th (a sign-up sheet is on the back table) and on Feb. 22nd there will be a church clean-up/prep day to get things ready for the Mississippi Valley Presbytery meeting we are hosting on March 3rd and 4th. I want to let you know that you are more than welcome to attend the worship service at 7:00pm on Monday night. We value your prayers for those travelling and for the preparations.

One of my favorite Marine Corps recruiting posters has a D.I. standing overtop a recruit at Parris Island, SC and the caption reads, “We don’t promise you a rose garden.” In many ways this is also true of the Christian Life in general. While God promises to always be faithful (Semper Fi!) to His Word, the fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world that is in active rebellion against God and His Word. There have been a number of issues that have come up in Daniel since we began our study of this book back in June, but none more so than the striking example of Daniel’s simple and strong faith in the sufficiency and blessing of the God of his Fathers, revealed in the Holy Scriptures. This ultimately is what everything in our Christian walk is about, whether in worship, our families, marriages, or whatever may come our way in life. Do we love the Lord our God and His plan and because of the finished work of Christ on the cross and His gracious work given freely to His people therefore submit ourselves to Him in love and obedience or do we love the things of this world and place them before Him?

On another matter we should be concluding our morning worship series through Daniel on the Lord’s Day March 9th. I will preach an “overview” sermon on the 16thand then on the 23rd and the 30th I will preach two sermons on the Lord’s Supper. It has not been my practice to preach “topical” sermons like this, but having preached once on Infant Baptism I thought it wise to use these two Lord’s Days between Daniel and our new series to preach on the other Sacrament of Christ’s Church. After this we will start looking at likely the book of Colossians, but I welcome your prayers as I cogitate, consult with the Elders, and pray on this.

One last thing this month, I have mentioned before that the Elders are planning on beginning home visitation. We are still working on the nuts and bolts and schedule on this. I will let you know more from the pulpit. This will again provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication. Please ask if you have questions. Attached with this letter is the new Church Directory. If there are any corrections, please let me know.

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

www.ellisvillepres.org





With What Are We To Be Happy?

13 01 2014

With What Are We To Be Happy?

By Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser

Pastor, Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

http://www.ellisvillepres.org

Happiness is something we all want to have. When people select what to study in school or look for particular relationships the first question that is usually asked by the “chooser” is will this make me happy?  Will I find what I need in this material thing or not?

In Ezra Chapter 3 you read as the people of God have returned from exile in Babylon and are tasked with restoring the worship of God in Jerusalem. Now Zerubbabel and Jeshua have a decision to make. How are they to go about doing this? How are these men going to go about rebuilding the temple and restarting the temple worship in the city of God? Well they have a choice here. They could look back at the way in which their fathers were worshiping God before the exile. Their fathers had made several accommodations to the will of the people and allowed any number of culturally relevant worship practices into the house of God. They had adopted the practices of the Canaanites and it had seemed to make the worshipers “happy”.  But what about God? Did this practice of being relevant to the whims of the people delight God? Well if you go back to 2nd Chronicles you’ll see that God was not happy about these things and the people faced the wrath of God for it.

So having understood this Zerubbabel and Jeshua know that for the people to have true happiness they need to rest in the wisdom of what God had commanded.  In v. 12 of this passage we see the reaction to this decision. The people weep with gladness and shout for joy! You see this is the “secret” to happiness in this life.  The kind of happiness that men and women need is not found in the false material happiness of this world, but in the blessed spiritual call of resting and trusting in the gospel of Jesus Christ and His worship.





George Gillespie On 1 Corinthians 11 and Women’s Headcoverings

15 12 2013

From “The English Popish Ceremonies”:

“As for the veils wherewith the apostle would have women covered whilst they were praying (that is in their hearts following the public and common prayer), or prophesying (that is, singing, 1 Sam 10:10; 1 Chron 25:1), they are worthy to be covered with shame as with a garment who allege this example for sacred significant ceremonies of human institution. This covering was a moral sign for that comely and orderly distinction of men and women which civil decency required in all their meetings; wherefore that distinction of habits which they used for decency and comeliness in their common behavior and conversation, the apostle will have them, for the same decency and comeliness, still to retain in their holy assemblies.  And further, the apostle shows that it is also a natural sign, and that nature itself teaches it; therefore he urges it both by the inferiority or subjection of the woman (1 Cor 11:3,8-9 for covering was then a sign of subjection), and by the long hair which nature gives to a woman (v.15); where he would have the artificial covering to be fashioned in imitation of the natural. What need we any more? Let us see nature’s institution, or the apostle’s recommendation, for the controverted ceremonies (as we have seen them for women’s veils), and we yield the argument. ”– George Gillespie, “The English Popish Ceremonies”, pg. 236

For more see the link here.





Short Gillespie Quip On the Pedagogical Argument For Holy Days

14 12 2013

“Tilen sets out the expediency of holy days for imprinting in the minds of people the sense and knowledge of the benefits of redemption. Answer 1. There is no means so good for this purpose as catechizing and preaching out of season and in season. 2. What could he say unto them who have attained his end without his means?  I find people better instructed and made more sensible of those benefits where the feasts are not kept then where they are. 3. Think they their people sufficiently instructed in the grounds of religion, when they hear of the nativity, passion, etc. what course will they take for instructing them in other principles of faith? Why do they not keep one way, and institute a holy day for every particular head of catechism?”– George Gillespie, “The English Popish Ceremonies”, pg. 82





Taking Time For the Basics

10 12 2013

Taking Time For the Basics

By Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser

Pastor, The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

This time of year can find us being pulled in every direction by many different forces. This may cause you to overlook the little things that make such a necessary foundation for your Christian life. It is easy for you to get so wrapped up in the man-made creations of this world that you can lay aside the simple piety that the Lord gives to His people. As an example you may spend lots of money outfitting your car with all kinds of gadgets and a new paint job but if you forget about changing the oil or inflating the tires properly you may not notice the damage it causes to your pistons and alignment at first, but in due time the engine and the axle will make you aware of it. Likewise when you find yourself so focused on this world and its festivals you run the risk of not taking time to ensure the basics of your Christian life are taken care of in the day-to-day. This is one of the reasons why your heavenly Father has given you such a simple and “ordinary” manner through which you can receive the daily sustenance required for your spiritual walk. It may seem “too simple” to think that all we really need is the communion with God provided for us in the means of grace like prayer, singing of His Word, the preaching of the Gospel, and fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ but in fact that is exactly all we do need.  When our Lord was drawn low in the garden He spent time in prayer. Likewise when the disciples found themselves in prison they sang psalms together. This desiring of the sincere milk of the Word of God is a blessing that we cannot forsake. So take a moment this season to spend time in the Scriptures and lay your needs before God in prayer.





End of Year/Plans for 2014

9 12 2013

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

             It has been my practice to send out an “end-of-the year” letter that looks forward to some of the things we are planning to do in the next year in order that you can make tentative plans to be involved in the life of the church. Included in this letter will be a printed calendar that will highlight events we have in sight, most of which I’ll explain in this letter. This will certainly not be exhaustive and it will be subject to change with due notice. Our “big event” this year will be the hosting of the spring meeting of our presbytery, March 3rd and 4th. One related thing I would like to do is make sure I have everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and updated contact info including address, phone/e-mail. I will be putting out a form on the back table for you to fill out and place in the offering plate on Lord’s Day mornings or hand to me after the evening service. When this is completed I will be sure to mail everyone a copy. If you have any questions about this always feel free to call/e-mail me at any time.

            One of the things we are looking to do is open up more opportunities to invite folks to come by the church and open ourselves up to the community-at-large. Right now we have some happenings on the docket in order to do this. We had an impromptu rummage sale the first weekend of November of this year and had a very good response and will plan on doing a couple of these events at the church. The first one will be the first Saturday in April beginning at 8:00am. Likewise we will have a second one the first Saturday in November also starting at 8:00am. An idea that was brought before the Session was to have a toy-swap in July. We have put down July 12th as the day for this and more information about what this looks like and entails will be forthcoming. We will also continue to have our quarterly luncheons after morning worship. We may even plan on having a supper before evening worship one Lord’s Day. The days we have marked down for the luncheons are: February 16th, May 11th, August 10th, and November 16th. As I noted before there may be occasions for other luncheons or dinners and fellowship times as need or opportunity arise. As always the Session and I are always open to ideas for ways to reach out to our city. We certainly want to be a congregation that visitors and others feel warm and welcomed in.

             On another matter we should be concluding our morning worship series through Daniel in March. After this we will start looking at the book of Ephesians. I have not mapped out what will come after that in the morning, but will certainly keep you in the loop on that front. Likewise for the evening service as we enter Chapter 2 we should expect to be in 1 Samuel through most of the year. After 1 Samuel I am looking at either 1 Timothy or 1 John. One other thing the Elders are looking at beginning after the 1st of the year is to re-introduce home visitation. This is a practice that had been a part of our church life that for various reasons has fallen off in the recent past. This will provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication where needed.

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

 www.ellisvillepres.org








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