Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prayer from Marthin Luther King, Jr. Day Luncheon in Knoxville, 2012

O God of all people, Master of the Universe, Creator and Sustainer of all life:

We give you thanks this day for our lives, and for the lives of those who have gone before us. We give you thanks for the courageous and faithful struggle of those who have gone before us. We give you thanks that they have borne the burden in the heat of the day. We acknowledge gratefully that we stand on their shoulders or we do not stand at all.

And, we pray, O God, for a renewed spirit among us to root out injustice in our own hearts and in the heart of our society. Let there be peace on earth, O Lord, and let it begin with me. Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

God and the Bible

Someone asked me once why I say: “Listen now for the Word of the Lord,” right before I read from the Bible in worship instead of saying: “Listen now to the Word of the Lord.” First of all, the Holy Scriptures, written by human beings, are inspired by God, preserved in the providence of God, and understood by those who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. The Bible is holy ground, and when we walk on this ground we should do so with fear and trembling waiting for God to speak, praying for the Spirit to bless us. So, I believe that whenever the Bible is read and interpreted, then God’s Word may be spoken and heard. But, it may not be. There is no other book that is this holy ground, and there is no other book which is the authoritative witness to God’s truth and work in this world. As I understand the Bible, it refers to Jesus as the Word of God. I cannot affirm that the Holy Scriptures are somehow equal in authority to the living Word, the Son of God. The Holy Scriptures are the witness to God’s revelation of himself in history, which is only made plain in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that God gives of himself to redeem the world, going so far as to give his only Son on the cross to save the world. The scriptures bear witness to this glorious history, and reveal to us the living God, who guides us, judges us, heals us and saves us. The scriptures are that holy ground where we lose our footing and God questions us and we are called upon to answer. I fear that those who fail to distinguish the holy ground from the Holy One do so in order to escape the rule of God. I fear that those who call the Bible “God’s Word,” think that they have got God in a book, and can then utilize “God,” for their purposes. This book, which is meant to humble us before God and our neighbors then becomes a weapon to wield against the movement of God’s Spirit and our neighbors who disagree with us. Hence, God inspired the scriptures as a means of grace and freedom and humans often twist this by turning the scriptures into a means of condemnation, bitterness and division.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Concert at 4th United Presbyterian on Feb. 19, 2012 at 2 p.m. to Benefit Casa De Sarah School in Bolivia


Book I Referred to Today, Feb. 12, in Sermon

The book is Willow Weep For Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression,by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, published in 1999/

As she begins to tell her story, Ms. Danquah writes: "What I can recall is that my life disintegrated; first, into a strange and terrifying space of sadness and then, into a cobweb of fatigue. I gradually lost my ability to function. It would take me hours to get out of bed, get bathed, put clothes on. By the time I was fully dressed, it was well into the afternoon . . . "