We are meeting in person at 10:30am on Sunday for Worship Service ONLY. The service will be recorded and posted in the "Featured Sermon" below on Sunday afternoon.

Post Category: Heart Prep for Sunday

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 12th

Entertainment businesses have taken a real hit during Covid-19 shutdowns. Movie theaters and sports have been shut down, and many of us have had to resort to watching re-runs. While we like to re-watch our favorite movies or re-live our favorite team's victories, the excitement of the unexpected is not there. We know what's going to happen, even if we can't remember all of...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 5th

Have you ever realized that you don't actually know as much about a particular subject as you think you do? Have you ever popped off about a particular topic, only to have an expert put you in your place? It's no fun. It's humiliating mostly because we don't like to be wrong, and we especially don't like being exposed in front of others. It makes us feel like frauds, and o...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 28th

After two weeks and two sermons on worship and gathering together again, we are back in The Gospel of Mark this week and our series on "The King and His Cross." This week we've come to Mark 11:27-12:12 and two confusing scenes. One (Mark 11:27-33) appears to be an unresolved debate between Jesus and the religious leaders on the subject of authority. And the other (Mark 12:...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 21st

As we slowly come out of our shells, let us rejoice and be glad that the Lord has brought us through. This will be our second Sunday back from the pandemic hiatus, and we'll be finishing our 2 week series on worship and worshipping together. Next week, we'll be diving back into the Gospel of Mark. Since we've been apart for so long, coming back is a momentous occasion. ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 14th

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As of this morning, we're planning on meeting together again this Sunday at Harper Park! In light of that good news, we're taking a two-week break from the Gospel of Mark to talk about re-gathering for worship on Sunday. And we're going to focus in on two aspects of meeting together worship and community. Not to worry, we'll pick Mark back up in a couple of weeks and fin...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 7th

This week, we've come to two of Jesus' most frequently misunderstood actions, the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the Temple, found in Mark 11:12-25. This is no surprise, for, on their own, these two events are difficult to understand. When read together, however, these two events explain each other. Recently, Mark has given us contrasts the Rich Young Ruler...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 31st

This week, we've come to yet another well-known passage in The Gospel of Mark. And that's the story of Blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52. One of the things I like about Mark is that he arranges his gospel stories to make a point. The last few weeks we've seen Jesus welcome the little children, followed by the Rich Young Ruler who declines Jesus' welcome. Then we had Jame...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 24th

If you're not already having a sense of dj vu due to the pandemic, this week's passage should make you think that we're repeating ourselves. We'll be looking at Mark 10:32-45. In this passage, we find the 3rdinstance of Jesus foretelling His death and resurrection. The last time we saw Him do this, we were in chapter 9. And staying true to form, the disciples reacted to Hi...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 13th

This week, we've come to another well-known passage in The Gospel of Mark. And that's the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:17-31. One of the things I find most interesting about this story is how it's placed right after Jesus' teaching that "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Because it sure doesn't seem like the Rich Youn...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 10th

This week, we've come to a short passage in The Gospel of Mark. And that's because, with the cancellation of our Officer's Retreat, we also lost the Officer Retreat Speaker for Sunday, May 17th. So, I took the passage originally intended for this Sunday and split it in two. And that's okay, since this passage,Mark 10:13-16, talks about children, and this Sunday is Mother's...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 3

This week, we’ve come to a hard part of The Gospel of Mark.  And that’s Mark 10:1-12 which is on the subject of Jesus and divorce.  And that’s a challenge, because we have a number of folks in our church who have been divorced and possibly remarried.  However, Jesus has some hard words to say here.  And because I preach right through books, and don’t skip any...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, April 26

At my community group this past Sunday, I shared that I felt like so much of our time in isolation/social distancing has been spent in survival mode. We've had to adjust, adapt, and persevere through the hardships and stresses of this time. But I don't want to simply persevere. I don't want to simply endure; I want to thrive. The problem that I keep running into is that "...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, April 19th

This week, we're back on schedule in The Gospel of Mark. We jumped around the last few weeks to have the right texts for Palm Sunday and Easter, but now we're back in Mark 9:14-29. If you remember, the last passage we studied in Mark 9 was The Transfiguration, which was a literal "mountaintop experience." But now the disciples have come down off the mountain, only to be me...

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Heart Prep for Good Friday and Easter Sunday

This week we're having multiple services for Holy Week. We'll start with a traditional Good Friday afternoon service that will look at "The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross." It will be a shorter service consisting largely of Scripture readings and prayers. It will be followed by a Good Friday evening service, with further meditations on the "Seven Last Words" from ...

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Heart Prep for Palm Sunday, April 5th

This week we're back in The Gospel of Mark. As it's Palm Sunday, we're skipping over to the text on The Triumphal Entry, Mark 11:1-11. Every year on Palm Sunday, children enter our worship service with palm branches, delightfully waving to the congregation in celebration of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem. Obviously, we won't be able to do that in this year of social distanci...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 29th

Back when we put together the schedule for Mark, this week was supposed to be a communion Sunday. Since Easter is in a few weeks, the plan for this week was to skip forward to the institution of the Lord's Supper in Mark 14. Then next week, we'll be looking at the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, and then the Resurrection on Easter. After that, we'll return to our regularly...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 22nd

This week we're continuing our sermon series on The Gospel of Mark. We'll be in a famous text this Sunday, Mark 9:2-13, where we'll see what's commonly known as the Transfiguration. It would be easy to think that this has nothing to do with our world today. Or that it was just another cool miracle, but one that has little meaning for us now, maybe in the future, but not no...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 15th

This week we're continuing our sermon series on The Gospel of Mark. I'm looking forward to being back in the pulpit after having been on sabbatical. We'll be in Mark 8:31 to 9:1 this Sunday and Jesus will tell the disciples that He's going to die and rise again. Peter reacts, well, poorly. And so Jesus goes on to teach them how to face suffering in a godly manner. It shoul...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 8th

Well, that was an amazing send-off last Sunday. Kath and I were floored by the wonderful tributes, memories, letters, song, and hugs we received. I had some great church experiences growing up and as a teenager/college student, but I never dreamed that I would work for a church that is as supportive, loving, caring, and all-around wonderful to me and my family as you all h...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 1st

First, a quick thought on the weekly heart prep. Most weeks, I give a quick summary or teaser of what I'm planning on preaching. But this week is a little different. This week, the passage not only has words that point us to the Lord, but its point also is instructive in how we prepare our hearts to come to worship. There's a lot happening this Sunday, and I wanted to prea...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 23rd

Are you a dog person or a cat person? I'm neither, they're way too much work and I have enough to do and plenty of kids to take care of. But there are certain families that always need a dog or a cat. And the irony is, of course, that my family has had one or the other for almost the past decade. I have fond memories of our dog, Dixie, sitting under our dining room table w...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 16th

How many of you have seen the recent movieA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodstarring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys? The main character, Lloyd, is an Esquiremagazine writer assigned to interview Mr. Rogers. When they first meet, Lloyd has a black eye, which Mr. Rogers asks him about. He tells him that it was a softball injury "I made the play at the plate."But it wasn't a so...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, Feb. 9th

We are looking forward to having our good friend, John Armstrong, speak at both our Men's Retreat and preach this weekend. He will be speaking on "How to be a Godly man in a #metoo world" at the Retreat, then preaching on Ephesians 5:1-21, "Children of Light." John is a Marine who grew up in Texas (had George W. Bush for a Sunday School teacher at one point!) and has been ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 2nd

This week, we're in Mark 6:45-56. This is the famous passage of Jesus walking on the water, followed by a completely non-famous passage about his healing work in Gennesaret. And as we come to this passage, we will end up talking a lot about paradigms. Paradigms are funny things. They're wildly important because they control the way in which we understand the world around u...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 26th

This Sunday's sermon text (Mark 6:30-44) will move us from the halls of Herod's palace out to the lakeside country. From a royal feast with all of the important, influential people in attendance to a crowd of peasants and farmers who forgot to bring dinner in their rush to hear the new prophet speak. The manipulation, lies, violence and twisted morality of the royal family...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 19th

You might have missed the news that two days after Christmas last month, Islamic State terrorists beheaded 10 Christians in Nigeria in retaliation for the death of one it leaders. It's a grim reminder that the forces of darkness are still coming after Christians, and that there is intense, brutal persecution still going on around the world. This Sunday's passage, Mark 6:14...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 12

Have you ever gone back to your hometown after being away for a few years? Sometimes those visits are wonderful, but often they can be disappointing or even painful. Perhaps you expect people to be very glad to see you, but then your interactions don't quite live up to that. Maybe you're just reminded of how glad you are that you left and have made a new life somewhere els...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 5th

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that this holiday season has been a blessed one for all of you. I also hope that those of you that have been sick are on the mend! As we look forward to a big 2020, I think it's fitting that we talk about our passage for this week. We've finished our series in the Psalms for Advent, and we're hopping back into our series on Mark this week....

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 29th

Merry Christmas from the church staff and leadership!We hope that everyone had a wonderful day yesterday and that you've got some good family time scheduled during these last few days of 2019.We always enjoy a more low-key worship service the Sunday after Christmas, and it's fun to see parents, grandparents, and extended family that are in town visiting our members.We have...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, Dec. 22nd

Hello Church Family, this is normally where I'd be talking about the upcoming Scripture text (Psalm 110) that we'll be looking at this morning.It's a great text, the most frequently quoted OT text in the NT.It'll be a great time of worship this Sunday and then the Christmas Eve service two nights later (who have you invited to that service?).But I want to take this space t...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 15th

This week we're continuing our Advent series on "Christmas in the Psalms." We're looking at a few Messianic Psalms that foretell some aspect of the coming of the Messiah. This Sunday, we'll be looking at Psalm 72 which will tell us something very comforting about "Christ the Lord" (After last week, we need something comforting)! It's a unique Psalm in that it addresses the...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 8th

This week we're continuing our Advent series on "Christmas in the Psalms." We're looking at five Messianic Psalms in December that foretell some aspect of the coming of the Messiah, each of which is among the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament. This Sunday, we'll be looking at Psalm 69 which will tell us something very different about "Christ the Messiah." It's a uniq...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, December 1st

This week we're leaving the Gospel of Mark for a season as we'll be starting our Advent series on "Christmas in the Psalms." But we won't be leaving "The King and His Cross" as we'll be looking at five Messianic Psalms over the next five weeks which foretell some aspect of the coming of the Messiah. The Psalms we'll be looking at are Psalm 2, 69, 72, 110, and 118 (in case ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 24th

Black and white. Us and Them. We live in an increasingly polarized world. On just about anything, we're asked to pick sides. The contrasts in camps of people are becoming increasingly stark. But contrasts aren't just about segregating into groups. Contrasts often provide color and depth to our understand our world and experience. For instance, contrasts can help throw into...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 17th

This week we're in the miracles of Jesus. Last week I told you that the parables are often miracles in story form. Well, often the miracles are parables in action. And we have something of that in our text this week, Mark 4:35-41, the well-known story of Jesus calming the storm. Now, Jesus has already done a lot in front of the disciples. He's taught, He's healed people, ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 10th

This week we're in the parables of Jesus. The parables basically tell us that we're doing everything wrong. And we have a hard time with that. Most of the time, we're trying (very hard) to do everything right! Okay, not everyone, but surely you are! And now Jesus is sharing parables to help us see that the ways of the Kingdom are not the ways of the world. Things are backw...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, November 3rd

Happy Reformation Day! If you're reading this on what most of America celebrates as Halloween, you're actually reading it on the 502nd anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. While the Reformation was much bigger than Luther, and the 95 Theses didn't address everything that the Reformation stood for, it was a hug...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 27th

This week we'll see how Jesus answers those who question what He's doing. Our passage for this week, Mark 3:20-35, begins with Jesus' family showing up and wanting to take Him home so He'll stop embarrassing everyone with all of this sensationalistic, miraculous, healing stuff that He was doing And right in the middle of this family mess, another group shows up and questi...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 20th

I hope you were blessed by last Sunday's celebration of our 25th Anniversary. Many thanks to Cici Palm and Dave Dorst for all their hard work (BTW, the link to the slide show is now posted on Realm and in our Facebook group). I was greatly appreciative that Ligon Duncan made time in his super busy schedule to be with us. And every time I think back to Mark Phoebe Rist's r...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 13th

Well, we've finally made it. This Sunday we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Potomac Hills. What an amazing milestone. We have an exciting day lined up. In the morning, one of the leading Reformed thinkers in the world today, Dr. Ligon Duncan, Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary, will be with us. He will speak to a combined Teen / Adult Sunday School class at 9:30...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, October 6th

In preaching, some of the best advice is to keep the main point of the passage as the main point of the sermon. This is great advice because there so such a depth to the Scriptures. There are books galore that go into meticulous and interesting detail about each verse, or even word, of the text. It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees when preparing for a sermon. And ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 29th

Have you ever tried to do the right thing and had people criticize you for it? And so you changed what you were doing and did it the way you thought they wanted it done and you still got criticized for it. And by the same people! If you do it this way, they get mad and if you do it that way, they get mad. No matter what you try to do they get mad and you can't win. And...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 22nd

Have you ever gotten really, really hurt? I hope not, because getting hurt is well, painful. No one likes getting hurt. I speak from experience. I've broken multiple bones, torn multiple tendons and ligaments, have had multiple surgeries and probably need a few more. Another pastor once wrote me (after yet another surgery) that "scars are God's way of reminding you that y...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 15th

If your family is like our family, lots of things have been starting lately. School is back, classes are underway, kids sports have had a couple games, college and pro football have had their first clashes on the field. It's all very exciting and there's a lot more to come. Our sermon series in Mark is underway, as well. What we've covered in Mark in one chapter takes a...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 8th

Well, we've started in on the Gospel of Mark and I hope you're excited to be back in the gospels. Mark is the only one of the four gospel writers to call his book a gospel (which means 'Good News'), but he didn't invent the word. It was used in the common language of the time, and it meant that some history-making, life-shaping event had happened, and a messenger has come ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, September 1st

Wow! So much starts in September. Just in our church, this month we'll be starting new Sunday School classes, new Community Groups, new Bible Studies, new Joy Groups, new Men's and Women's Ministry events, etc., etc., etc. I mean, there's like 500 bulletin inserts this week (good luck with those). On top of that we're having ministry testimonies each week, and this Sunday ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 25th

Have you ever met someone and, after spending some time with them, you thought, "they just know God much better than I do" or maybe it was "that guy prays at a whole different level than I do" or perhaps even "you know, she loves God in a way that I've never felt"? I've met a few people like that and have always left them wondering how that nearness to God, knowledge of Go...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 18

Hey everyone, there's only a week until school is back in session. If you're like us, your kids are trying out for sports teams, you're buying back-to-school clothes and supplies, getting schedules straight, and getting in those last couple trips to the pool. Speaking of getting things in, now that we're done with our sermon series in Jeremiah and looking to delve into the...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 11th

This week we are embarking on a new sermon series. We'll be spending the next 3 weeks talking about the mission of the church. As a church, we seem to be in a season of planning, examination, and evaluation. The session has met for several extra meetings as we continue to work through the information that we gathered from those listening sessions at the community groups la...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, August 4th

We’ve made it. After 38 weeks, we’ve come to the end of our series in Jeremiah. Let me tell you that this has been a challenging book for the pastors and elders to preach on. It seems like we’ve spent last 11 months or so looking passages where Jeremiah calls out sin and pronounces judgment. There have been glimpses of grace here and there throughout, but it’s ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 28th

This past Friday I had the pleasure of making the 7 ½ hour drive down to Santee, South Carolina to take part in my stepmother's 80th birthday celebration. Then on Sunday, I had the same pleasure of making the return trip home. Please don't misunderstand me, the party itself was great and spending time with my dad and stepmother was wonderful. It was the dr...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 21st

Years ago, I was once playing golf with a co-worker when he began to go on a 10-minute tirade about his problems with the contractor adding a huge patio to the back of his luxury home in a gated community. I remember thinking at the time something along the lines of "first world problem" and not having much sympathy for him. People in the third world were worrying about th...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 14th

One of our children has not seen many of the Marvel movies, so her siblings and I are guiding her through the movies. The big question (which is also the question for those wanting to catch up on the Star Wars films) is: do you watch them by release date or by chronological order? We've decided to go chronologically, so we've started with the first Captain America movie se...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, July 7th

Have you ever had to make a hard decision, not knowing how it would turn out? You weigh all the pros and cons, get counsel from others, try to figure out what the result will look like, and then make the decision. And something goes horribly wrong. Usually, it's due to what we call "unintended consequences." After you made the decision, something happened that you either d...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 30th

This Sunday we're continuing our series in Jeremiah. But the scene shifts a little bit from what we're used to. For 10 months, we've been hearing about the impending judgment by God of the sinful people of Judah. But now, the judgment has happened. We went over that last week in chapter 39. This week we're looking at the aftermath of the judgment and exile in chapters 40-4...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 16th

Have you ever been accused of something you didn't do? Sooner or later, most of us have to endure such an accusation and it can really hurt. It can also make us angry, bitter, resentful, and scared. You try to explain, and the other person doesn't seem to care. Why? Usually because they're angry, bitter, resentful, and scared too (although sometimes they're just mean, but...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 9th

Have you ever been accused of burning a Bible? Probably not (at least, I hope not). And yet, it's happening today in many parts of the world. I know that seems hard to believe in this day and age, but sadly, it's getting worse, not better. In reality, it's not a new thing at all, the history of the Bible is filled with accounts of them getting burned. I don't know when opp...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, June 2nd

Well, this week we'll be looking at "The Prophet's Promise Keepers" from Jeremiah 34-35. If you remember, the exile is almost upon them, the enemy is camped at the door, everything looks hopeless, and so now God tells Jeremiah that it's time to teach the people about the importance of keeping the promises they've made before Him. But it's not just a passage about making pr...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 26th

I can't wait to hang out with you all this Friday night in downtown Leesburg at the Trinity House Caf! It will be a great night of singing old and new worship songs, and hopefully people walking by will be drawn in. We've participated in a number of different outreach events this Spring - flyer invitations to Easter, hospitality for our neighbors, literature table at a com...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 19th

Well, this week we have the privilege of hearing from Rev. Chris Hutchinson, Pastor of Grace Covenant PCAin Blacksburg, Virginia. Over the years, we've had a number of folks who've passed through his church and have blessed ours. You may recognize Chris as he's visited our church every year for about a decade now. Chris will be speaking at our Officer Retreat this weekend ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 12th

Well, this week we'll be looking at "The Prophet's Land Deal" from Jeremiah 32. The exile is almost upon them, the enemy is camped at the door, everything looks hopeless, and so God tells Jeremiah that he should go buy a plot of land. At first glance, the timing is so bad it just may be the worst land deal in the Bible. It's akin to buying oceanfront property in Arizona (t...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, May 5th

Well, this week we have the special treat of hearing from Ron Clifton, who will be preaching on "The Prophet's New Covenant" from Jeremiah 31:31-40. As you may know, Ron has been going through Officer Training for the last few months which consists of weekly classes and a heavy reading load. Part of the training process for a Ruling Elder is giving the Session an opportuni...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, April 28th

I hope you had a wonderful holy week and Easter Sunday! We enjoyed the Good Friday service with Ketoctin Covenant OPC (the transcript from the sermon is on our website), the Sunrise Service (thanks to Tom Gardner, Frank Pugh, and Jon Thompson for speaking), and our main Easter service. Thank you also to Ken Christian Colley and my daughters for passing out flyers all o...

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Heart Prep for Easter Sunday, April 21st

Well, this week it's Easter Sunday so we're going to take a break from Jeremiah to talk about the "So What?" of Easter. There are a lot of people in the world today (including many of your neighbors and co-workers) who hear us talk about faith and respond with something to the effect of "I'm glad that works for you but it's not for me. It doesn't have any bearing on my hec...

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Heart Prep for Palm Sunday, April 14th

Well, this week we're going to celebrate Advent in April. Advent is traditionally centered on the Old Testament prophecies concerning a coming Messiah and His establishment of an earthly kingdom. And this Sunday, we have the first of four chapters in the book of Jeremiah (chapter 30) where the Lord gives His people a bunch of promises to look forward to, except He gives th...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, April 7th

Well, this week we have one of the key chapters in the book of Jeremiah (chapter 29) where the Lord tells His people how they are going to live, work, have families, and keep the faith while they're in exiled in Babylon. Of course, this chapter includes one of the most popular verses in the world Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, pl...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 31st

This week's passage is Jeremiah 27-28. We're getting into the second half of Jeremiah, and the Lord seems to be hammering home the themes of His sovereignty and our submission. As we've seen in past weeks, our submission isn't really a choice. We will submit to the Lord, regardless of if we want to or not. We will either submit to His refining and sanctifying, or we will s...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 24th

It's been a crazy week. That usually happens when I try to do too much stuff in too little time. It's also why this is coming to you so late. Apologies all around. This week we're in Jeremiah 26 and it's a different chapter than any of them we've seen so far. Jeremiah continues to preach, he gets arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to death, overturned on appeal, and in...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 17th

Well, this week we have another passage in Jeremiah (chapters 24-25) where the Lord tells His people who they are, what will happen to them (both good and bad), and why those things are going to happen. Of course, He's told them these kinds of things already. So why say them again? Because now He will present them in a paradoxical (or opposite) sort of way. For those who ...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 10th

It's March and my son is already home for Spring Break! This semester is going fast. Baseball teams are at spring training, and soon we'll be filling out brackets for March Madness. And Lent isjust starting, which means Easter is only 40 days away! The other thing about March that we've been promoting is Mission:Possible, a challenge to invite an unchurched family in y...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, March 3rd

Well, this week we have another long stretch of Jeremiah (there will be a lot of those over the coming months) where the Lord compares and contrasts the Kings of Judah. Using the prophet Jeremiah, He calls out specific kings and states how they have fallen short of what he expects of a king. And yet the criticisms the Lord levels, although harsh, are surprisingly common. T...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 24th

Wow! It's been six weeks since the last sermon I preached. It will be good to be back in the pulpit. You all have been very patient with my preaching absence (some of you have even enjoyed it)! So, first of all, I'm very grateful to Dave Dorst and Frank Wang for filling in and doing such a great job (including our first video sermon!). It was wonderful to hear from Paul Ha...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 17th

Between paternity leave and snow days, I feel like I've been away forever. It's great to be back, even though I'm slowly working myself back up to a full schedule. It also feels like so much has happened since I've been gone. I guess that's to be expected when adding a baby to the family dynamic. On that topic, I want to thank all of you for your care and support of my...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 10th

You might be wondering why it says "guest preacher" when it's Pastor Dave Dorst from Leesburg preaching to us this Sunday. But it's not me - it's the older, wiser (and even more competitive) Dr. Dave Dorst who pastors Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Leesburg, Florida. I'm really excited that he'll be speaking on the Men's Retreat and then preaching to the whole co...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, February 3rd

I hope you got a lot out of our guest preachers the last two weeks.Paul Hahn from Mission to North Americais a great, dynamic guy who reminded us how to strive to be a flourishing church, and Jegar Chinnavan, the church planter,reminded us that we have, and can share with others, the glory of the one and only God. We'll be back preaching in Jeremiah this S...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 27th

Wow what a great Sunday with Paul Hahn. He is one of the most engaging guys in the PCA. I hope you appreciated his presentation during Sunday School and his sermon during worship as much as I did (though it was pretty convicting). I look forward to the discussion we'll have about it at my Community Group this week. If you're not in a Community Group, it's not too late, ju...

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Heart Prep for Sunday, January 20th

First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful snow day last Sunday. If you were able to use the Worship at Home Service we sent out, let us know on Facebook or Realm how that went. It was the first time we've done that, and we'd like to know what you thought. Also, how did you like the video sermon Dave Dorst preached? The links are still online if you didn't get to see it...

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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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