Fr. Christopher Leighton - January 30th

David Becomes King after Waiting for Go

Psalm 21; 2 Samuel 2:1-7

 1. We read in 2 Samuel 2:1-7 that the Lord directs David to “go home” to Judah.  When have you moved in your life?  Which move was hardest for you?

 2. How might David have felt, going home from exile?  What do you think would have been difficult for him?

 3. About what future “moves” are you inquiring of the Lord?  So far, what is He telling you?

 4. The men of Judah accept David as king, and anoint him as their leader.  Have you ever been chosen to be a leader in some capacity?  What was good about that choice, and what was not so good?

 5. In Psalm 21, the king celebrates his victory.  Instead of having forced solutions, David has waited for God’s timing.  Is there any situation in your life in which you have been waiting upon God for His solution?  Thank Him now in advance.

 6. In verses 3-6, we see what God did for His chosen one.  What does this tell you about what God will do for you as you trust Him?

 7. The last time you overcame a major obstacle, what were you inclined to do: give yourself a pat on the back?  Give thanks to God?  Or rally the troops who prayed for you?  Why?

 8. What difference does it make to know that the ultimate victory belongs to God?

The Cloud

By , January 30, 2011

On February 5, 1597, in Nagasaki, Japan, twenty-six Christians – a group of missionaries and laypeople, including three young boys – were executed by crucifixion on the shogun’s orders.  Over 400 years later, the Church around the world still remembers the sacrifice of these our brothers and sisters, the Martyrs of Japan, on the same day, February 5th.

Like these martyrs, King David also faced enemies who sought to take his life.  Again and again through the psalms, he cried out to God for vindication from his enemies.  And God did save him!  Was David somehow more worthy to be saved than the martyrs?  Of course not.  In the Holy Scriptures and in the sacred history of the Church, God has given us a great cloud of witnesses – many martyrs and many more who died peacefully – to encourage us on our journey with Jesus.

In this Year of Freedom, 2011, I want to encourage you to pick one Christian witness – whether it be David, the Martyrs of Japan, John the Baptist, or John Wimber – and use their lives as a daily encouragement to you.  God has given freedom to his saints in many years past, and he will do it again in 2011.

To you, O God, all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:  “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.”  The glorious company of apostles praise you.  The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.  The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.  Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you.


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark January 30th

Jodan Easley - Psalm 133 - January 23rd

By , January 23, 2011

Series on King David Psalm 133 (I Samuel 18:1-4; I Samuel 20; II Samuel 1:17-27; II Samuel 9)

“For there the Lord bestows blessing” - the friendship of David and Jonathan

1)         Did you have a best (or good) friend as a child? If so, what made you friends? What did you share in common?

2)         Do you have a best (or good) friend now? What do you share in common now? Is there any overlap in interests between your childhood friends and your adult friends.

3)         I Samuel 18:1 tells us that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” when Jonathan heard David speak. This is different than “shared interests” or (as some scholars would claim) “love at first sight.” It seems that the Holy Spirit created an instant bond of love between the two of them. Have you ever had that experience with another person? Why do you think the Holy Spirit does this?

4)         Jonathan gave up his royal robe, armor, and sword-all emblems of his claim to the throne-and put them on David. His love for David was so strong that he was willing to sacrifice his rights and his future. How has the Holy Spirit been teaching you about sacrificial love in the past few weeks?

5)         The psalmist compares the unity of friends to priestly anointing oil (133:1-2). What does this tell you about the presence of the Holy Spirit between friends?

6)         Dew (v. 3) is especially crucial in the land of Israel for watering plants; without dew there is literally no life. How has your experience of the unity of Zion, the people of God  (i.e. the church, not just friends) been life-giving? When it hasn’t been life-giving, what was missing?

7)         C.S. Lewis describes hell as a neighborhood with row after row of empty houses, where the neighbors have kept on moving away from each because they can’t stand living next to one another. If this disunity is something like eternal death, then what do you imagine the unity of eternal life in heaven will look like?

Every Move of God

Every move of God is a mixture of divinity and dirt.  I said this last week in my sermon about David.  If you think about it, I’m sure you know people, and perhaps the person in the mirror, to whom these words apply.

 I’d like to tell you the story of Bob Pierce.  He lived in the 20th century, and when he was young, he wrote in the flyleaf of his Bible, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”  We sing a variation of these words in the song we love to sing, Hosanna:  “Break my heart for what breaks yours.”

 I heard Bill Hybels speak at St. Paul’s five years ago, that when Bob Pierce stood in India and saw a line of people across the way, he went to investigate.  A man ahead of him fell over and died.  He asked, “What happened?” and found that it was a line for food:  the food had run out, and the man dropped dead of starvation.

 Bob Pierce became so upset that he went out and founded World Vision.  For some time, he was President, but the travel and workload, ill health and substance abuse, and the suicide of his eldest daughter led to a gradual deterioration of his mental and emotional state.  In 1967, he was forced out of World Vision, and in 1970, he founded Samaritan’s Purse, another ministry St. Paul’s has supported.  Unfortunately, he became ill, and died in 1978.  But Bob Pierce was blessed to be reconciled with his family before he died.  These two great compassionate organizations that he founded continue to help many people.

 I tell you this story because I continue to think about the moves of God.  We are in the middle of a great move of God.  And once again there is a mixture of divinity and dirt.  I know, as we face this new Year of Freedom 2011, that the Spirit of God will put upon us the things that break the heart of God, and that our response, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, will be less dirt and more divinity.

 Think about what God might be calling you to take on, as well as to lay down, and join me in expecting God to give us freedom.

 Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark January 23rd

Fr. Christopher Leighton - Psalm 18 & I Samuel 24 - January 16th

Series on King David #8 - Psalm 18 and I Samuel 24

1.         David spent much time hiding from Saul in rocks and caves.  What insight does this give you into the meaning of God as a rock, a fortress, a stronghold, and a deliverer?  How has God been like this for you?

2.         What names could you give to God on account of your relationship through the experiences of your life?

3.         This psalm appears at the end of II Samuel as a summary of David’s life.  How accurate is it as such?  What psalm best represents you?

4.         The psalm begins, “I love you, O Lord”.  Is it easy or hard for you to say these words?  When are you most aware of God’s love for you?

5.         Why does David use such dramatic language in verses 4-19 to describe God saving him?  Think about God’s love and justice for the individual.

6.         In several psalms David speaks as though he were sinless (as here in verses 20-24).  In other psalms, he is very aware of his failure.  How do you account for this discrepancy?  How do you relate to these thoughts?

7.         What image of God is most prominent in the eyes of David according to verses 30-36 and 46-50?  Reflect on your relationship to God as your deliverer and end this time by giving thanks to Him.


By , January 16, 2011

Before I became familiar with the church calendar, the word “epiphany” meant an “aha!” moment - like when Archimedes discovered the laws of buoyancy in his bathtub and shouted “Eureka!”  Whenever I had an epiphany, I would suddenly gain a new perspective. The blurry became focused. An illusion shifted to make way for stark reality. Sometimes the reality was happy, sometimes sad.  But always there was satisfaction in the “Aha! I see clearly now.”

Now my definition of “epiphany” includes the Feast of Epiphany, January 6, (which we celebrated in our Healing Service two weeks ago) and the weeks following it, leading up to Ash Wednesday. The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi to Jesus, yet the visit is more than a caravan of wise men traveling great distances to offer costly gifts to an infant king. In this event, God makes himself more clearly known: this King’s reign will extend to all people. Although he has come to his people, Israel, the rest of the nations are seeking him and finding him.

As we journey together toward Lent, let us make a special effort to notice in our Scripture readings and our worship how God makes himself more clearly known. My prayer for St. Paul’s this Epiphany season is that each us will learn afresh to shout “Eureka! King Jesus is for everyone!”

Love in Christ,


The Rev. Jordan Easley

Assistant Rector

On the Mark January 16th

Jordan Easley Psalm 35 - January 9th

By , January 9, 2011

Psalm 35 (1 Samuel 19)

1)         Have you ever asked God to contend for you? David used images of a shield and a spear (vv 2, 3) when asked God to fight for him. What are the images come to your mind?

2)         Do you have any human enemies? Have you ever prayed for God to fight you against them? What kind of place would your heart need to be to say, like David: “Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life” (v 4).

3)         Does this Psalm conflict with Jesus’ command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?

4)         The phrase “without cause” occurs over and over in this Psalm (vv 7, 19). When we think of our enemies, do they have a “cause” to be our enemies? Does this make a difference in how we might pray for/against them?

5)         Even as David is calling out for God to fight for him, he is already thanking God for the victory (vv 9, 10). Is this our attitude when we call on God for help?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - The Last Christian Hero?

It’s just a thought…but it could very well be that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the last Christian hero of our culture.  Dr. King is an icon for racial reconciliation and the fact that he was a Christian and a clergyperson is remembered as the motivation for who he was and what he did.

The hearts of Americans were inspired and values changed by the leadership of Dr. King.  I remember being a student and volunteering my family to sponsor an African-American student who was bused to our high school.  We became friends during a time of great tension.  I learned about a person who was a member of a minority, and I learned a great deal about myself as a member of a majority.  By just getting to know someone who is different, my values changed…it helped me to generalize less!

Monday, January 17th, is the celebration of Dr. King’s birthday.  Let us remember his life with thanksgiving to God and let us work for equality for all Americans as we live out our faith following Jesus Christ.

Your brother in Christ


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark January 9th

Follow St. Pauls Darien on Twitter

By , January 8, 2011

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Fr. Christopher Leighton - King David - January 2nd

1.         Read I Samuel 17 and Psalm 20.

2.         Why did the Israelites feel helpless against Goliath?

3.         Contrast David (v. 32) with Saul (v. 11)

4.         What is David’s source of strength (v. 37)?

5.         What giants are drawn up against you in battle?

6.         What is your attitude toward them – more like Saul’s or David’s?

7.         What larger missionary purpose would be accomplished for God if you would turn the battle over to the Lord?

8.         What do you fear might happen if you turned and faced the enemy who taunts you and defies God?

9.         In Psalm 20, verse 7, David says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God…we rise up and stand firm.”

Make this your goal in 2011.

10.      What does it mean to trust the Lord instead of the weapons of war and how does this apply to your prayers?

11.      If 2011 were to be a Year of Freedom, what difference would it make in your life?

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