Upcoming Worship, Nov. 12, 2017

Pastor Jeff says: There are two ways to look at Advent. The first and probably most common way is to see it as a past event – you know, shepherds keeping watch by night, a choir of angelic hosts, the manger and all the rest. This is an important and proper way of commemorating Advent. The second way to view Advent is to see it as a future prediction of Christ coming again, of remembering the promise that God is not done yet. Continue reading Upcoming Worship, Nov. 12, 2017

Sermon, Nov. 5, 2017

“The Crazy Kingdom of God”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 23:1-12
November 5, 2017

The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
— Matthew 23:11 & 12

Do you believe it? Ever humbled yourself and then been exalted? Ever been the servant of all so you could be the greatest of all? Crazy, right? That’s not how the world works. Sure, we all know the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a great suggestion but most of the time we find the Silver Rule far more effective in the real world – “Do it unto others before they do it unto you.” Right? It is hard to live out the teachings of Jesus when we live in a world that so often lives as if the Kingdom of God has no barring this side of heaven. Do you get promoted if you are the servant of all? Do they even get noticed you if you are humble? Continue reading Sermon, Nov. 5, 2017

Organ Concert Nov. 12

The 1st Congregational Church of Haverhill, NH will showcase its newly repaired Holtkamp 1895 tracker organ at a concert on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.

bevcaldonThe organist will be Beverly Caldon, music director/organist at the United Church of Christ in Keene, NH. Caldon holds a master’s degree in choral and organ from the University of New Hampshire and has taught organ as a faculty member at Keene State College.

The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering for the maintenance of the organ will be collected. There will be a reception  in the Parish Hall following the concert.

Sermon, Oct. 29, 2017

(due to a widespread power outage, this sermon upload was delayed)

luth“The Crazy Freedom of Faith”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Galatians 5: 1-6
October 29, 2017

” … For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

So, what is this about? Why is Paul writing to the good folks in Galatia?

There’s a problem. The men of Galatia are thinking it might be a good idea to get circumcised. There not sure Jesus is enough. After all, Jesus was Jewish. Don’t you first have to become a Jew and then a Christian? And why not cover your bets?

For Paul, the stakes are high. In his mind you would only get circumcised if you were willing to go all the way – observe the law embedded in Judaism. But it is exactly the Law that Christ freed Paul from. Continue reading Sermon, Oct. 29, 2017

Upcoming Worship Oct. 29, 2017

For this Sunday, Pastor Jeff says: Here’s a “yes” or “no” question to think about as we approach Sunday. Is following the dictates of one’s conscience the only way to steer one’s life with integrity? “Yes” or “No.”

And as we think about our personal response …

This year is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. For the back story on that there is a very good production by PBS which you can view by clicking here. It’s called Reluctant Revolutionary because when Luther tacked his list of complaints on the cathedral door it was not to spark a schism in the church but to help it get back on track.

Every year on Reformation Sunday (last Sunday in October) we sing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Continue reading Upcoming Worship Oct. 29, 2017

Sermon, Oct. 22, 2017

god-shimmer“Keeping the Mystery Alive”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Exodus 33: 12-23
October 22, 2017

” … then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”  Exodus 33:23″

What does that look like? How did Moses get into the cleft of the rock? Did God point to where God wanted Moses to be and Moses scampered up? Did God pick up Moses? And what about God’s hand? It says God put God’s hand over Moses’ eyes so Moses wouldn’t see God’s face. Well, what does the “hand” of God look like – same size as ours or bigger? I can’t imagine God’s hand being smaller! Oh, what’s the problem with seeing God’s face? It’s not like God is trying to be totally illusive. Right? I mean, God let’s Moses see God’s back. No small thing. But the face, not that. Continue reading Sermon, Oct. 22, 2017

Upcoming Worship, Oct. 22nd, 2017

Enter into the fascinating world of sermon preparation this week as Pastor Jeff shares his outline:

Moses is allowed to see the glory of God but not the face of God. Why? Is it possible for human understanding to contain God’s fullness? If not, then, a degree of mystery seems necessary for faith.

PURPOSE: To convince the congregation that God is never possessed by the scope of human vision. Continue reading Upcoming Worship, Oct. 22nd, 2017

Sermon, Oct. 15, 2017

“Dressing for the Occasion”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 22: 1-14
October 15, 2017

Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:13 & 14

Hardly friendly – binding the poor bloc’s hands and feet, throwing him out. What did the other guests think of their host? Must have been rather shocking, right? And what’s the big deal? At least he came to the banquet. A lot of folks, good folks, didn’t bother. And now he’s on the outside looking in! Hardly friendly. Continue reading Sermon, Oct. 15, 2017

Upcoming Worship, Oct. 15th, 2017

Sermon Title: “Dressing for the Occasion”
Read Matthew 22:1-14

wedding-banquetA party is being thrown – a wedding, actually. All the invited guests have something better to do so they don’t show up. Did that stop the father of the bride? No. He told his slaves to go out and get anyone they can – good and bad, rich and poor. It didn’t matter. But wait. There is a problem some slob showed up in a tee shirt and shorts. Not okay. So the father has him thrown out and then Jesus says at the very end of the story, “Many are called but few are chosen.” With the sermon titled “Dressing for the Occasion,” what would you preach about?

This is the question Pastor Jeff is asking us to consider this Sunday, October 15th when we gather to worship at 10 a.m.

The final hymn of this week’s worship service will be the old revival “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” Click here for a rare ukulele version to play as you read the back-story of how this hymn came to be. Continue reading Upcoming Worship, Oct. 15th, 2017