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Harper Park Middle School

701 Potomac Station Drive

Leesburg, VA 20176

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Post Category: Heart Prep for Sunday

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 13th

"I'm back! I'm back in the saddle again!" the classic rock song plays in my head as I've entered the office or Harper Park this past week. In some ways it feels like I've only been gone for a month, as the old habits and routines have come back quickly. But it other ways, it does feel like I was gone the full 5 months of my sabbatical, and I definitely feel rested, spiritu...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 6th

Well, we've finally gotten through the holiday season (though, since The Twelve Days of Christmas doesn't end until Epiphany on January 6th, I'm still listening to Christmas music, so don't judge). The beginning of a new year brings all sorts of questions: Will this be the year I get that promotion? Or maybe it's time for a new job? Will I suffer from the same illness / ad...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 30th

We have come to the end of 2018! We've spent our year in 1 Corinthians, James, Jeremiah, and now John. We even fit a topical series on trouble in there somewhere too. Basically, we've spent a lot of time looking at the idolatries of our hearts. But we've also spent a lot of time looking at how the Gospel sets us free from those very idolatries. I hope that our time in ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 23rd

Wow! It seems like Advent is just flying by. Didn't we just put the Advent wreath out? These are the days I miss having the kids at home. So many of our family traditions revolved around watching our children and family grow more each year. And we kind of see that in miniature each Advent season in worship. The 1st Sunday we had the preschool class come up, light the wreat...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 16th

We're now well into the Advent season. This Sunday will be the 3rd Sunday of Advent, and our reading for the day is The Story of the Angels from Luke 2. And it's a wonderful story, and you probably know it well. If not from the Scriptures, then from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" where Linus gives his famous "The True Meaning of Christmas" speech. If I knew how to embed it in...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 9th

Advent is here. This Sunday will be the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and our reading for the day is The Story of the Shepherds from Luke 2. And it's a wonderful story, full of promise and hope. But for many among us, and even some of us, this season seems to lack promise and hope. There's no doubt that many people are struggling with one form of darkness or another in their lives...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 2nd

"Celebrating Advent means learning how to wait. . . . Those who learn to wait are uneasy about their way of life, but yet have seen a vision of greatness in the world of the future and are patiently expecting its fulfillment. The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 25th

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Be sure to take some time to reflect on the ways that the Lord has blessed you this past year. And speaking of blessings, Jeremiah has been a blessing to us. I hope that all of you have been as impacted by it as your pastors have been. What a rich book that dives deep into the heart of idolaters to call them ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 18th

We're getting close to entering the holiday season and we've already started getting flooded with gift catalogs at home. And each catalog shows us the latest, greatest, coolest, just-gotta-have-it gift for this season. And it got me to thinking about gifts. Have you ever gotten a gift that seemed like it would be really great at first, but after a little while it's lost it...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 11th

Have you ever been surprised by the words or actions of a friend? Here's someone you know well, that you're close to, and all of a sudden, they say something, or do something, that just surprises you. And perhaps you respond with, "Something must be up with them. That's not like them." Or maybe even, "Wow, you thought you knew a guy ... and then they do something like th...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 4th

Have you ever suffered through a time of great loss when you felt lost, lonely, or abandoned? Most of us have experienced that at one time or another. And if you haven't yet, sadly, you probably will. Perhaps for you it was the loss of a loved one, an unexpected change in job, location, or school, maybe a fractured relationship or even just a friendship that has faded aw...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 28th

I was just reading through some news articles this week and I'm continually amazed, especially in this election season, how easily we make ourselves out to be far better than we are. We rate ourselves as above-average drivers, wise investors, and productive employees, even though math dictates that can't be true for all of us. We also tend to believe we are less likely tha...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 21st

We are continuing our series on Jeremiah this Sunday, and we've come to Jeremiah 7:1-29. And over the past couple of months, as Jeremiah confronted the people of God with their sin, we also were confronted with ours. And this Sunday is no different. To be honest, this week has been difficult to prepare because it's telling me something that I don't want to hear. Jeremiah ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 14th

After traveling last week to Georgia and Florida, it was good to come back home. I like returning to what's familiar, to what's comfortable, to all those things (and people) that make home ... home. But sometimes that can backfire on us too. We get so used to the comfortable and familiar we're no longer able to see how that can sometimes harm us as well. We become blind ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 7th

This Sunday, we're continuing our trek through the book of Jeremiah. It's been kind of a depressing journey thus far. We have been treated to a tapestry of horrors just in the first 3 chapters of Jeremiah. The faithlessness and sin of God's people is stunning. And here in chapter 4:5-31, we begin to see the consequences of their wicked behavior. The judgment that we expec...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 30th

Have you ever been disappointed? I'm sure you have. Perhaps when you were a kid Christmas morning came and you didn't get that one present you really wanted. Or when you were a teen you didn't get that prom date you set your heart on. Or maybe you picked out the perfect college ... until you got that letter. Then you entered the work force, and got that first job intervie...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 23rd

Have you ever gotten lost? Just driving around with absolutely no idea where you are or how to get where you're supposed to be going? That happens a lot less than it used to with the advent of GPS devices and map apps on our phones. But it's enormously frustrating when it does happen. And it still happens sometimes (usually when your phone dies and you forgot your car char...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 16th

Have you ever seen someone make a complete train wreck of their lives? Maybe you saw it from a distance? Or perhaps it was up close and personal? Sadly, it's common enough that most of us have, or will, suffer through watching such a personal disaster. And sometimes it's made even more difficult because you see it coming before it happens. You're watching people make bad...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 9th

Have you ever had something happen to you that you couldn't figure out? Perhaps it was some illness or injury or accident? Maybe it was a relational failure of some sort? Or even a missed opportunity at work? But some event or circumstance has taken place in your life, and as hard as you try to understand it, you can't come up with why this is happening to you. Maybe you...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 2nd

There are things I love and don't love about starting the new school year. I don't like to see summer come to a close -- there's a relaxation to summer that I don't feel any other time of year and I don't look forward to the hecticness of the fall. And yet, at the same time, there's an excitement about starting new things - and at Potomac Hills we're starting a number of...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 26th

The Book of James is extremely practical. It goes over very specific, very concrete aspects of practical Christian living. This Sunday, we'll be finishing our series on James, entitled "We Walk in Wisdom." And we'll be looking at James 5:13-20 on having "Wisdom in Prayer." It tells us two things. It tells us about the power of prayer in general, and then it tells us abou...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 19th

This Sunday, we'll be working our way through James 5:1-12. We've been talking about worldly and heavenly wisdom the past few weeks, highlighting the need for gospel humility in order to live wisely. We've talked about slander (4:11-12) and arrogant planning (13-17). And now, we're getting the most extreme look at where worldly wisdom leads and heavenly wisdom leads. One ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 12th

We've been working our way through the Book of James in our series entitled, "We Walk in Wisdom". This Sunday, we'll be looking at James 4:13-17 on "Wisdom for Humility". This passage, at first glance, seems to be nitpicking. It seems like James takes issue with the way that we announce our plans. That interpretation would even have an appearance of truth since James empha...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 5th

The book of James is a practical book, and the question it asks and answers is If you really believe the basic message of Jesus, the gospel of Jesus Christ, what kind of life will that create on the ground?What will it look like practically?Each passage we've looked at has been asking ... What kind of church community is created among those of us who believe the gospel? ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 29th

Everyone wants to be wise, and most of us think we're somewhat wise, but we have real concerns about everyone else. When something goes wrong in someone else's life, we're quick to wonder, "What were they thinking?" But when something's not going right in our own life, we're quick to get defensive, "It couldn't be helped. Sometimes things just happen. Nothing I could have ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 22nd

This weekend is the British Open golf championship. I don't think that we have a ton of golf fans in the congregation, and I don't watch much golf, but I will be trying to watch a good bit of this one because I have played at the course they're competing on, Carnoustie in Scotland. Long story short: I had a week of golf with my father-in-law and brother--in-law back in m...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 15th

I'll never forget when I was in high school, going with my youth pastor, Dan, to visit one of the new kids who had visited our church (we'll call him Chris). As we were talking to Chris, Dan realized that he knew a bit about the Bible but perhaps didn't have a great understanding of how we're saved. So he got out a piece of paper and, after defining the words "faith" "wo...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 8th

This Sunday, we'll be continuing our series on The Book of James, entitled "We Walk in Wisdom." We're spending the summer looking at what the brother of Jesus has to say about wisdom. And this week we'll be looking at James 2:1-13 on the "Wisdom for Prejudice." Now, we don't need wisdom on being prejudiced, but we do need wisdom on how to handle prejudice when it shows up...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 1st

Hey, first of all, thanks to everyone for being flexible with Sunday School and Children's Church rooms as we navigate our way through Harper Park's renovation this summer. I'm sure there will be lots more changes coming our way. And if you're looking for somewhere to serve, Children's Church needs some people. The more adults we have serving, the easier it is. Second, s...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 17th

This Sunday, we will be continuing our new study in The Book of James. Some havecalled James' epistle the New Testament's Proverbs. It is certainly full of practicalteaching and wisdom. Last week, we were introduced to the book's divinely inspiredauthor, the Apostle James, Jesus' younger brother. We were instructed "to count it alljoy" when we "meet trials of vario...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 24th

I hope you're enjoying summer and our study of the book of James. We're in the middle of a lot of preaching by Ruling Elders and Associate Pastors, so enjoy the variety! James Murphy did a great job last week. As we read and preach through James, we need to keep reminding ourselves that James is not writing to tell people what to do to be saved, he's writing to describe ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 10th

This Sunday, we're starting our new series on The Book of James, which I've entitled "We Walk in Wisdom." I think coming off our series on "The Time of Trouble," it will be good to look at James since he puts such great emphasis on living wisely in all areas of our life. Now, of course, that's easier said than done. We all tend to think we're wise (most of the time, anywa...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 3rd

As May passes into June, we are looking at a lot of transition.Somehow Kath and I are old enough to have a son graduating from High School.Congrats to our Miles, along with Luke Adsit, Pierce Brenner, and Seth VanDerLinden as they graduate from High School!Congrats to Kathryn Christina Beaton, Annie Hunter, Sophia Clifton, Leah Bolzman, Nathaniel Mullins, Sam Rohrdanz...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 27th

This Sunday, we're well into the series "The Time of Trouble." Due to travel and surgery, I haven't been in the pulpit for the last four Sundays, so first, I want to thank Dave Frank (and Nick Batzig) for stepping up and preaching faithfully. I'm in the enviable position of not having to worry when I'm away or unable to preach, since I know that the church is in good ha...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 20th

This Sunday, we have the unique opportunity to hear from Rev. Nick Batzig, who will be leading our officer retreat this weekend. I've visited Nick's church and he's a wonderful preacher. Nick is the Pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia. A native Georgian, Nick attended Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in South Carolina wh...

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Heart Prep for Mother's Day, May 13th

Heart Prep for Mother's Day, May 14th...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 6th

Many of us had to read Homer's The Odyssey when we were in school; I even had to teach it when I was an 9th grade English teacher. I will never forget the part of the book where Odysseus' ship is heading towards home but passing through an area where the sirens lived. ...

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