Summary: The Apostle Paul had a special relationship with the church at Philippi. God had blessed them, they realized it and they showed it in their affection for Paul. Is your church a Philippian church? I preached this as a guest preacher for a Thanksgiving e

-Words are important, wouldn’t you agree?

-There is a big difference between saying, “That’s looks terrific!” and “That looks interesting.”

-The impact of “I love you” is very different than “I hate you.”

-The name of one’s church says a lot as well. Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a wonderful name for a church. King David’s family probably takes special emphasis for y’all and I would imagine that Christmas is an extra special celebration for y’all. As I looked through the phone book and looked at the names of different churches in the area and others that I remembered from outside the area we have a plethora of biblical people and place names that form the names of our churches in America: St. Luke, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John, St. Timothy, St. Titus, St. James, Antioch, Bethel, Berean, Bethany, Mt. of Olives, Mt. Zion

-My wife and I joked around a bit right after we found out we were pregnant but before we found out we were going to have a son five years ago. We were trying to decide on a name for our child. We came up with some names we knew that we didn’t really want to use because they brought up negative connotations

-We thought naming our child – Jezebel, Rahab, Nadab, Abihu, Ananias, Sapphira, Absalom, Amnon, Gomer, Lo-Ruhamah, Lo-ammi, Nebuchadnezzar – probably brought up too many negative connotations and might scar them for life

-There are some names for churches that have been avoided for obvious reasons

-I did an internet search and found no Laodicean churches probably because in Revelation 3, God uses John to call them to account for being a lukewarm church that He would spit out of His mouth

-I found one church named after the church of Thyatira – a church that God convicted of participating in sexual immorality

-I wonder what their worship services are like. I don’t think I want to know.

-There aren’t many churches name after the church at Corinth because of the many troubles that the Apostle Paul had to deal with there

-I don’t know why there aren’t many Philippian churches

-Now, don’t get me wrong – there aren’t any perfect churches

-One of my seminary profs once said that if you want a perfect church get rid of all the people and that includes the pastor

-However, the Philippian church is probably a good model for a healthy church

-Why don’t we have more churches named after the church of Philippi? {PAUSE}

-We’ve been very blessed – most of the congregations that we’ve been called to work with have not only been very rewarding to work with but we’ve been very personally blessed to work with them

-My field work church just outside the St. Louis city limits is an older congregation. They just celebrated their 100th anniversary a few years ago. They’ve had seminary students assisting in worship for probably the majority of that time and they love seeing their students grow, learn and develop. They love being a part of that process.

-My vicarage assignment was working with two mission congregations in Northern Kentucky. Both of them were about four years old at the time and were started by lay people who put ads in the paper to see if there were Lutherans in the local area that were interested in beginning a worshipping community. They were as different, demographically, as night and day. One was in a suburb and the other out in the country. One was made up of young families and the other mostly retired folks but they shared a deep affection for one another and their pastor.

-The congregation that I assisted with after graduation from the seminary was a medium-sized congregation in a suburb of Des Moines. It was an interesting mix of semi-retired farmers and young families who worked in Des Moines. They also loved one another and their pastors very warmly. The congregation threw us a house warming party after we arrived and a number of families from the congregation signed up to invited us to their homes or different community activities in order to get to know us better. They also wowed us with some wonderful books containing warm wishes and gift certificates from the members of the congregation to show their appreciation for their pastors for Pastor Appreciation Month. When their senior pastor celebrated the major milestone of 25 years in the ministry they got him a weekend getaway to St. Louis to go see the Cards and Cubs play baseball.

-I’ve been blessed to work with some Philippian churches even in my short time in the ministry

-How about you? Are you a Philippian church? {PAUSE}

-I had just got home from work, I listened to my answering machine and I had received a rather nasty message from my boss, he was not happy

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