Resources from 2018

January

February

March

Mar 4

Incompetence and Promises

by James Kurtz, Short-Term Taiwan Team Member

These are the moments my soul sings the hope that “we are not competent in ourselves, but our competence is from God, who has made us competent and worthy as ministers of the covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6). 

How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. —Psalm 82:2-4

Here in this Psalm we hear God delivering judgment on the 'gods' for their failure to use their power and positions…

Mar 17

A Vision of Sacrifice

By Paul Duggan, Outreach’s ESO Committee

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship —Romans 12:1.

Easter Sacrificial Offering (ESO), 2018

This Easter, Tenth Church will be taking up what we call the ESO, as we have for at least the last thirty-four years. What makes this…

It’s a different story of Esther. This Esther was a formerly-trafficked woman who had been living with a young man who was an armed robber. They had one child. Two years ago the man went on a robbery expedition, where he was gunned down.

Esther, who was engaged in prostitution for five years, thought God was punishing her for her evil deeds with  the death of her boyfriend…

For years they waited for the building permits to rebuild the church while it continued to crumble around them. At long last, the local government issued the work permits last year, but with the condition that construction be completed on a tight deadline. This is the reality for this congregation in Egypt.

The outreach to their neighborhood is strategic for the gospel’s growth in the region. Over Christmas…

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was…

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas,and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. —Mark 15:15

If grace is "unmerited favor," then perhaps there is no clearer illustration in Scripture than the exchange of Jesus for Barabbas. The gospels variously identify Barabbas as a robber, an insurrectionist, and a murderer, a combination of crimes which we often associate today with…

Mar 30

The Crucifixion

from the Good Friday Noon Worship Service

Scripture: John 19:17

Mohammed has an easy smile while his brother Nezmi is more serious. These two brothers come from war torn country in the Middle East, and have four other siblings. Their father brought their family on a journey to a refugee community in a nearby country about three years ago. Mohammed describes how they came to the border and saw soldiers patrolling. They hid for a while and once the soldiers…

April

Parish 31? What happened to Parishes 1 through 6? And what precipitated these changes?

These references to parish redistricting may have you confused... here’s the back story.

Parishes at Tenth were designed to provide spiritual care for members and help us bear one another’s burdens, both physical and spiritual. Each parish is led by a Parish Elder, who oversees the spiritual well-being of the church members…

Beshoy is 20 years old, from a poor family of seven in a rural community of Egypt. He finished technical school but he had no skills to help him secure a good job. He was working as a casual builder’s assistant, doing manual labor at work sites. Beshoy’s health was being affected negatively because the work circumstances were very challenging. He had to leave this job and joined a vocational…

I love watching a city’s skyline as I descend on a plane. If you love to travel, you know what I’m talking about—that excitement of looking outside your window toward a new land. Now, I’ve flown to several countries, but I can tell you that none came close to the joy of seeing the U.S. and New York’s skyline for the first time when I was 14. It was very…

May

In the Bible Jesus said that after loving God wholeheartedly, the second greatest commandment was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Upon consideration, this requires much on our part. To love our neighbors implies that we must know them—who they are and where they live. We must talk with them, interact with them, and understand details of their lives.

From June 23-July 14, 18 Christian health care students

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God —Colossians 3:16.

Singing biblical truth with thankfulness is at the heart of Christian worship. Musical praise is nothing less than singing the truth about God, which he has given us in his Word…

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required—Luke 12:48.

We are indeed a blessed congregation. For generations we have enjoyed the faithful exposition of God’s word from our pulpit. In our pews are modern translations of the Bible, and on-line we have unlimited access to free high-quality Christian resources. Unlike some of our brothers around the world, we do not fear for…

Just two weeks ago, my husband and I had the delightful opportunity to spend two days hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Trudging uphill, our sea-level lungs reminded us that we weren’t at home. Our eyes focused on the path before us to avoid stumbles over stones and roots or slips in the still present snow. Our muscles burned with the unaccustomed exertion. And then we reached the summit, or the…

June

And when they (Paul and Barnabas) had appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them to the
Lord in whom they believed—Acts 14:23.

Therefore brothers pick out from among you seven men of good repute full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this
duty [deaconing]—Acts 6:3.

Our Biblical Approach

Jun 23

Understanding Power and Its Abuse

Session 1 of The Church as a Refuge Conference

Jun 23

Understanding Abuse

Session 2 of The Church as a Refuge Conference

Jun 23

Response of the Church

Session 3 of The Church as a Refuge Conference

Jun 23

Questions, Answers & Conclusions

Session 4 of The Church as a Refuge Conference

July

Today is Independence Day.  Independence Day is the day that Americans celebrate their declared independence from the alleged tyrannical rule of King George III of England.  Not a bad thing to celebrate. 

Yet, for the Christian every day is first of all Dependence Day.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) …

August

Aug 22

The Fullness of Christ

A Report of the 2018 Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute

After participating seven years in the Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute (SMI), an evangelistic community health project, one consistent observation I’ve made is that God uses this ministry to not only bring health education and the gospel message to residents of North Philadelphia, but also to provide the Christian health care student participants with unique spiritual lessons relevant to each individual.

SMI took place June 23–July 14 and is…

Aug 30

In Perfect Faithfulness

A review of 2018 Maranatha Missions Trips

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” —Isaiah 25:1 

Please be encouraged and join Maranatha in praising God for loving and teaching us this summer as we served on various missions teams. Thank you, Tenth, for your love, prayer and support for all of us! Here are…

September

“Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2

Music has a vital role in the life of Tenth Presbyterian Church. We use vocal and instrumental music to worship God together, to grow in the Christian faith, and to give witness of that faith to the world. The Bible clearly portrays God’s people as a singing people. Theologians such as Augustine and…

Hundreds of students at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) live with the life and influence of an Anglican minister every day, and few of them realize it. First erected in 1919, a statue of Rev. George Whitefield stands in the Quadrangle (the Quad) just in front of the Morris and Bodine sections of the present Ware College House. Whitefield, once a internationally famous Oxford educated minister, regularly preached in a…

Jan just moved to Philadelphia this summer. As an emergency room intern she has a new job in an unfamiliar hospital, a new apartment, and a new roommate. All of this “uprooted-ness” happened in a mere three weeks, and Jan is feeling a bit unmoored. What she thought was going to be her exciting adventure in the city has become a confusing whirlwind.

During medical school, Jan was…

Next to the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress has been one of the most published books in the English Language. One of the most poignant scenes is when Christian (the main character of the book) stands with his friend Hopeful as their journey through the wilderness of this world is about to end and they see in the distance the Celestial City. One barrier remains: a great river. The river is very…

Racism, in all its evil forms, militates against our Christ and his call to be his Church. Perhaps in part, it is our failure to understand the value our Creator-God embedded in those he made in his image (cf. Genesis 1:27-28). 

In the beginning, all was good and fruitful, but following the break caused by that original sin, humans became immediately separated from their Maker and increasingly distanced from each…

October

Oct 4

A Journey to Connect

Reflections on Making Connections with Missionaries

For a long time, I have wanted to connect with a Tenth missionary in a personal, ongoing way. I envisioned knowing about their country and neighborhood, purpose of their mission, needs that I could help meet, and concerns that I could pray for. I’ve been following missionary news by praying through the monthly Outreach Prayer Calendar, attending some of the Sunday morning breakfasts with global partners, and listening to the…

The stories we read as children helped bring our imaginations to life. They took us to places we could never imagine and taught us lessons through extraordinary circumstances. While we do not live in a world with knights in shining armor or magical creatures, in stories we see their heroic acts display what bravery looks like in action. In C.S Lewis’ novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the…

“I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen.” —Martin Luther, April 18, 1521, Diet of Worms

The world of the early 16th Century could accurately be…

God is doing a new thing at Tenth. The ministries that have found their home in the newly formed Mercy Commission are finding fresh synergy as God broadens our understanding of the word “mercy.” Through the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus described compassion shown to another whose life journey had placed him in unexpected circumstances. Even the Pharisees could identify this kindness, untainted by their “greater and holier than…

As a new committee under the Mercy Commission, the Immigrant & Refugee (I&R) Committee is planning ongoing care and support for our refugee family, the Asukulus, over the next five years. The children are: Mercredi (male, 18); Shikasana (male, 15); Nyemia (female, 12); Alpha (male, 10); and Vision (male, 7).

After fleeing the violent, war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa and living in Tanzanian and…

“Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball,
To him all majesty ascribe,
And crown him Lord of all.”

Each year, on the first Sunday of November, I stood in the family pew and joyously sang the fifth verse of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” As international flags were paraded through the sanctuary and hung from the balcony, I imagined…

If you’re new to Tenth, you may have wondered about our rather unique way of organizing our corporate life around a series of commissions. There are four principal commissions—Outreach, Mercy, Kingdom Discipleship, and The Trustees. A commission of Session, unlike a committee, can make decisions as if it were Session.

Among the benefits of the commissions is the inclusion of people from the wider church in specific projects…

This world is full of sorrow because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it is a friend. Friendship halves our troubles and doubles our joys.  —J.C. Ryle

As I watched people pass the casket to look upon the lifeless body of a young man who died of a…

November

What does leadership look like in Christ’s Church? To begin to answer that question we need to remind ourselves that leadership works at different levels:

  • Christ is the king and head of the Church and his laws expressed in Scripture rule his assembly.
  • The apostles provide the divine revelation on which the Church’s order and ordinances are constructed.
  • Elders sitting on Session have delegated authority…

Though only days away from our governmental midterm elections, we are also approaching the annual election of elders, deacons, and deaconesses to their various posts in our church. 

As a Presbyterian church, our leaders are elected from a pool of nominees to represent and serve the members of the church.  All Christians are to be engaged in service to the world and each other, but special responsibilities for…

What has really been happening these last few weeks? I believe that we have been engaged in an exercise in corporate sanctification. Why corporate? Because most of the New Testament epistles address the body of Christ, the church, as a whole. In fact, the Lord has been addressing corporate sin in the body of Christ that goes deeper and broader than the headline issue on the table.

Through…

After a foreign preacher presented the gospel to a group of people in Asia, a local pastor asked if it might be better to train an indigenous person to preach to his countrymen. The pastor went so far as to express his desire for “believers in [Asia] to think of the gospel as uniquely their own and to be surprised when they learn that foreigners also know about it.” [1] The pastor’s intention…

This post was originally a letter sent to our pastors by a member. 

Here are some of the many things that I have learned at Tenth.

1. I learned that our minds and our intellects are gifts from God and are to be used to worship, glorify, and grow in love for him. One of the many aspects of Tenth Church that my husband, Rich…

Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

This verse is not a traditional Thanksgiving Day verse. Yet, there is something fundamentally important in this text about Christian gratitude. Paul is describing the marks of those who are suppressing the knowledge of…

Nov 28

Comfort & Joy

Service of Lessons and Carols

“Their plane is missing.” It was the end of June in 1989, and I was reveling in the joy and excitement of having just graduated from the Curtis Institute the month before. Earlier that day I had played an organ concert at Wanamaker’s (now Macy’s) and a guest at the organ console asked me if I knew the whereabouts of Keith Chapman and his wife Sally. Keith was the head…

December

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
—Isaac Watts

Jesus entered the world during a time of violence and terror as the wails of mothers whose children were murdered for political expediency surely still echoed across the nation. Government oppression and taxation bore down on those whose…

As men and women of Tenth, let us “Glorify the Lord with me: let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3). This past November Session meeting, a motion was passed to establish a women’s ministry upon the recommendation of a Special Session Committee on Women’s Ministry, in partnership with an ad hoc Committee for Women’s Ministry. The purpose was to establish a visible, accessible, effective committee to serve women of…

What a perfect place to be spiritually informed: your own church on a Sunday morning as you are coming to worship! For those new to the faith as well as those who have been Christians for some time, there are a variety of classes to strengthen and encourage you in your walk with Christ.

This past quarter a class considered “Who is Jesus?” It navigated through the myths…

This past quarter in the Adult Bible School our class looked at the topic, “Who Is Jesus? Mistakes Concerning the Identity of Christ.” Certainly, this was not an exhaustive series, but we did look at a limited number of New Testament characters who were faced with this very critical question. As in our day, people continue to seek to reckon with the deity and authority of Jesus of Nazareth. Though…