10 episodes

We want people to come as they are (e.g. happy or sad, rich or poor, convinced or questioning) because we believe that God’s good news—that Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)—is of ultimate relevance for every person in every situation. As we reflect on God’s Word through an extended time of Bible teaching it is our hope and prayer for your full attention be turned to our Triune God and his redemptive work to reconcile all things to him in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20).

The Preaching at Community Evangelical Free Church of Harrisburg The Preaching at Community Evangelical Free Church of Harrisburg

    • Christianity

We want people to come as they are (e.g. happy or sad, rich or poor, convinced or questioning) because we believe that God’s good news—that Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)—is of ultimate relevance for every person in every situation. As we reflect on God’s Word through an extended time of Bible teaching it is our hope and prayer for your full attention be turned to our Triune God and his redemptive work to reconcile all things to him in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20).

    Love in the Grave

    Love in the Grave

    Preached by Ben Bechtel













    Psalm 88







    A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.







    1 O Lord, God of my salvation,    I cry out day and night before you.2 Let my prayer come before you;    incline your ear to my cry!







    3 For my soul is full of troubles,    and my life draws near to Sheol.4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;    I am a man who has no strength,5 like one set loose among the dead,    like the slain that lie in the grave,like those whom you remember no more,    for they are cut off from your hand.6 You have put me in the depths of the pit,    in the regions dark and deep.7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,    and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah







    8 You have caused my companions to shun me;    you have made me a horror[b to them.I am shut in so that I cannot escape;9     my eye grows dim through sorrow.Every day I call upon you, O Lord;    I spread out my hands to you.10 Do you work wonders for the dead?    Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,    or your faithfulness in Abaddon?12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,    or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?







    13 But I, O Lord, cry to you;    in the morning my prayer comes before you.14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?    Why do you hide your face from me?15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,    I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.16 Your wrath has swept over me;    your dreadful assaults destroy me.17 They surround me like a flood all day long;    they close in on me together.18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;    my companions have become darkness.

    • 24 min
    Arise, O Lord

    Arise, O Lord

    Preached by Benjamin Vrbicek













    We planned to study

    several of the Psalms of Lament during the season of Lent, and I couldn’t think

    of a better place to be. You won’t find a heading in your Bible that designates

    a psalm as a Psalm of Lament; that’s the category we place them in based on

    their content, and when we do, there are nearly fifty different Psalms of

    Lament. As we prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter, we’ve chosen

    several to cover, each arising from a different cause, a different reason to

    lament. Last week we covered Psalm 38, which is a lament over our own sin; this

    week we take up Psalm 10, which is a lament over abuse done by the wicked.







    Scripture Reading







    You can follow

    along with me as I read Psalm 10 or feel free to pause the video and read the

    passage yourself. I’ll go ahead and read the passage now, and then pray that

    God would be our teacher as we study this passage together.







    1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?     Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?







    2 In

    arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;

        let them be caught in the schemes that they have

    devised.

    3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,

        and the one greedy for gain curses

    and renounces the Lord.

    4 In the pride of his face the wicked does

    not seek him;

        all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

    5 His ways prosper at all times;

        your judgments are on high, out of his sight;

        as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

    6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;

        throughout all generations I shall not meet

    adversity.”

    7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit

    and oppression;

        under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.

    8 He sits in ambush in the villages;

        in hiding places he murders the innocent.

    His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

    9     he lurks in ambush like a

    lion in his thicket;

    he lurks that he may seize the poor;

        he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.

    10 The helpless are crushed, sink

    down,

        and fall by his might.

    11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,

        he has hidden his face, he will never see

    it.”







    12 Arise,

    O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;

        forget not the afflicted.

    13 Why does the wicked renounce God

        and say in his heart, “You will not call to

    account”?

    14 But you do see, for you note mischief and

    vexation,

        that you may take it into your hands;

    to you the helpless commits himself;

        you have been the helper of the fatherless.

    15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;

        call his wickedness to account till you find none.







    16 The Lord is

    king forever and ever;

        the nations perish from his land.

    17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;

        you will strengthen their heart; you will incline

    your ear

    • 29 min
    Sweet & Sour

    Sweet & Sour

    Preached by Benjamin Vrbicek













    Earlier this week I put on Twitter that there was a “Lenten miracle.” What was that miracle? I finished my sermon early. That might not feel so miraculous to you, but I’ve been struggling to finish before Saturday most weeks over the last year. I had to finish early because I had to travel to Philadelphia for two days at end of the week a for conference with other pastors. This was before everything was being canceled—or I should say during when everything was being canceled. I say this because as announcements were made nationally and at the state level by our governor, you could see and feel the attention of all the pastors in the room shift as phones started to vibrate.  







    Because I finished the sermon early on Wednesday, looking at my message again at the end of the week feels odd. I wrestled with whether to set everything aside and start a new sermon from scratch or to simply preach what I had already written. I chose something of a middle road. I took what I had already written and, in a few places, I’m augmenting it for where we are as society, which is a society taking precautionary measures prevent the spread of a virus sweeping the globe.  







    There are all different temperaments at our church, different backgrounds, different levels of expertise in health care—we actually have at our church a number of people in the medical community—and different levels of day-to-day health challenges. All of you are approaching this differently. If we go back 10 years ago, I got the swine flu, as well as my two-year-old son. And we were in seminary and didn’t have a ton of money and we had travel plans set up, and I do remember the fear associated with being helpfulness to help my son. Some of you are feeling that way now—and it’s scary. Others are less worried.  







    Regardless of where you are at, I’m thankful to the Lord we have the technology and ability to record this sermon and share it with you. 







    I’m going to continue our series that we began two weeks ago: “How Long, O Lord? Learning the Language of Lament.” As we journey toward Good Friday and Easter, we are preaching through several of what are called Psalms of Lament. One-third of the hundred and fifty psalms in the Bible can be classified as Psalms of Lament. In the series, we’ve tried to grab laments that arise from different causes. Psalm 38 arises as a lament over our sin. If we had known where we would have been as a society, I might have chosen a different Psalm of Lament, but I do think preaching through a Psalm of Lament might be one of the best things we can do. “How long O Lord?” is not simply a cry from those in the past but us in the present. It takes faith to pray Psalms of Lament because it takes faith to turn our cares and concerns to the Lord.  







    Scripture Reading







    You can follow along with me as I read Psalm 38, or might I suggest you pause the video and read the passage yourself. Or, if people are there with you, designate some to read the passage and pray, and then you can un-pause. I’ll go ahead and read the passage now, and then pray that God would be our teacher as we study this passage together.  







    A Psalm of David,  for the memorial offering.







    38  O  Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,

    • 40 min
    The Power of Grace in Union

    The Power of Grace in Union

    Preached by David McHale

    • 43 min
    Lament in the Waiting

    Lament in the Waiting

    Preached by Ben Bechtel













    I recently asked a friend here at the

    church who leads a young adult men’s Bible study what they are currently

    studying. He told me that they had just begun a study on the book of Lamentations.

    I asked him why exactly they chose to study Lamentations. His reply was

    fascinating to me. He said, “we were trying to think of things we weren’t very

    good at in our Christian lives and we all agreed we really don’t know how to

    lament. So, we chose to study Lamentations.”







    This morning I have the privilege of beginning a new sermon series for us on the Psalms of lament which will carry us through this season of Lent. If we are all honest with ourselves, we don’t know how to lament. When we come to passages in our Bible where the writer is crying out to God with complaints or begging God to do something about the evil in the world, we get uncomfortable. We don’t know how to handle these passages, so we often avoid them. And yet 1/3 of the book of Psalms are lament Psalms. These psalms are for our good and we miss something vital to our life with Jesus when we ignore them. So, let’s begin our series on the psalms of the lament this morning by reading and studying Psalm 13 together:







    13 How long, O Lord? Will

    you forget me forever?

        How long will you hide your face from me?

    2 How long must I take counsel in my soul

        and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

    How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?







    3 Consider and answer me,

    O Lord my God;

      light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

    4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

        lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.







    5 But I have trusted in your

    steadfast love;

        my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

    6 I will sing to the Lord,

        because he has dealt bountifully with me.















    My first day of seminary is one of

    those days that is tattooed into my memory. One of the things I remember most

    about that day was a small group that I had with a few other students and a

    professor. They had us break up into small groups of about 8 new incoming

    students and one professor, the idea being to get to know a few other new students

    and a professor as you begin. I remember us all going around and saying where

    we’re from and if we had any children. It came to my turn and I said, “my name

    is Ben, I’m from Harrisburg, and I don’t have any children.” And as we went

    around the circle we laughed, and some guys cracked a few jokes. Everybody was

    trying to make a good impression on their peers and have some fun.







    Then it came time for my professor to

    share. I remember clear as day his words cut through all of the first

    impression jitters and the light heartedness of each of us. He told us his name,

    he told us where he’s from, and then he said, “I have 2 children: a son who is

    five years old and a daughter who is in heaven with Jesus. She was stillborn last

    year.” It was like somebody had dropped a 200-pound blanket on top of that group.









    When these moments of life come what do you say to God? Maybe for some of you here even just hearing this story triggers memories of a similar circumstance in your life. Or maybe you have been struggling to find a job and provide for your family and the job just won’t seem to come through for you.

    • 32 min
    5 Reasons I Love Stephen

    5 Reasons I Love Stephen

    Preached by Benjamin Vrbicek













    1. I love Stephen because… His life exudes humility 







    2. I love Stephen because… He loves God more than anything else







    3. I love Stephen because… He understands the Big Story of Redemption







    4. I love Stephen because… His life and death show us more of Jesus (and Jesus is really great)







    5. I love Stephen because… He reminds us that God’s presence is near to those who follow him







    Acts 6:8-7:60







    8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.







    7 And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 And Stephen said:







    “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6 And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.







    9 “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11 Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. 13 And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.

    • 35 min

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