Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Tribute to Mothers

We have many mother’s in our audience this morning. Many of them opened up Mother’s Day presents this morning. Some of them are wearing their present. I always had a hard time trying to decide what my mother would want. If she could have anything, what would it be?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A New Anointing

It was 539 years before God would appear in a tiny Bethlehem stable. An older Jewish man was sitting among his friends in the great city of Babylon. He was old enough to remember the good ole’ days. Back in Jerusalem…Before the war…The war they had lost…The war that now left him stranded in a strange land.

Proof of Life

There was a movie released in 2000 called Proof of Life. For those of you who travel overseas a good bit, the story is terrifying. Peter Bowman, an American engineer, is traveling for business in a Latin American country. He is kidnapped. The people who kidnap him demand $6 million for his safe return. His company is on the verge of bankruptcy and they refuse to pay the ransom. So, his wife hires a freelance professional hostage negotiator to work on his release. Throughout the entire ordeal, this hostage negotiator, as he speaks with the kidnappers, demands “proof of life...”

“If we are going to do our work on this end to raise the money…if you ever want to see a dime in ransom money…you have to give us proof that Peter Bowman is still alive!”

They have that same conversation several times in that movie.

“You want me to work on this end, prove to me he is still alive."

Surely, there is some kind of connection between a story like that and Easter Sunday! Every single thing we do here. All of the songs we sing. All of the prayers we pray. The baptism many of us experienced. The lives that so many of us live. It all hinges on one thing: Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Entering Jerusalem

Luke 19:28-40

Imagine what it must have been like as those companions of Jesus approached Bethpage and then Bethany. As Jesus sent two of them ahead to inquire about a colt. As they rounded the top of the Mount of Olives and looked down upon Jerusalem before them. As the crowds began to swell around the colt upon which Jesus was riding. Just a few minutes more and their long journey would be over. After setting their sights in that direction so many long months before, they had finally arrived in Jerusalem. I have to imagine that during those moments hundreds of questions swirled in their minds...“What will happen when we get inside? Is Jesus really the ONE? Will He finally establish the Kingdom we’ve been waiting for? What will happen now that we’ve finally reached Jerusalem?”

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sorrow for God's People

"At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  (Luke 13:31-35)

Jesus encountered some short-sighted people on this leg of his journey. First of all, there were the Pharisees. They come with a message concerning Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee. “Leave this place, because Herod wants to kill you.” A kind of warning for this rising Jewish leader. Interesting to note, the Pharisees are the good guys in this story. In fact, the Pharisees are rarely shown in a bad light from Luke’s pen.

A Pharisee is the moderating voice of the Jewish council in Acts 5—he in a sense saves Peter! Some of the members of the church, according to Luke, were Pharisees. In fact, according to Luke, Paul himself was a Pharisee! And here, this group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a warning. But in this warning, we catch a glimpse of their short-sightedness. They didn’t understand who Jesus was. So, they come warning Him about Herod.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Not Peace, But Division


Sometimes I am amused by commercials and radio spots for religion. Especially in places like the American South—from Tennessee to Texas. Sometimes I wonder what kind of message we’re sending about Christianity. Suppose there was a person who arrived that had never heard of Christianity or Church or Jesus. If all they had as an orientation to our God were the radio spots and TV commercials that are around us, what picture would they have of God?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Do Not Worry

Why is it that we, as human beings, have a tendency to make life so difficult? I think we’ve always done this—we have a knack for making things more difficult than they ought to be. Let’s just boil things down to their lowest common denominator.

Life is really not that difficult, is it? “What is the meaning of life?” This is a question the world has been asking for millennia. But listen, we—above all people—should have the answer to that one! Life is about glorifying the God who gave us “life” in the first place.

But you say, “It’s not that easy! Life gets complicated! Life is full of tough stuff like: relationships, mortgages, family, money!"

OK, granted, life sometimes gets difficult, but just humor me for a moment. Is it possible that we allow life to get more difficult? Is it possible that maybe God intended for our existence to be much less hectic and frantic and chaotic? Is it possible that we bring much of the dysfunction to our lives upon ourselves?