Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus wept

This last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and churches everywhere looked at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. 

We did, too.  That was the topic.  Yet the sermon title was, "Jesus Wept."  Does it seem odd that on the day that the whole city seemed to come out and celebrate Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, shouting "Hosanna" and "Blessed be the King," that we would talk about Jesus weeping?

Yet in Luke 19:41, it says, "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes.'"
In this weeks message, we look at this passage from Jesus' standpoint.  We've talked about the shouting crowds, the expectations, the joy in the hearts of the people in the crowd.  But while they were joyful, Jesus cried.  Why did he cry?

To read this message, or to hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Parental Rights vs. Godly Marriage

I was reading in Reader’s Digest the other night – you can’t beat the jokes, and April’s edition has some great pranks in it to get people ready for April Fool’s Day.
Every issue also has an article on a recent court case.  You read about the case and try to guess what the verdict was.  Some of them are difficult to guess, and I probably get as many wrong as I get right.  Which is a difficult situation for people today.  We try to do what’s right, but we don’t always know what’s right.
In this case, a man had a female friend who wanted a baby.  He donated sperm so she could be artificially inseminated.  It was successful, and a she became pregnant.  But after the baby was born, she refused to let the man have anything to do with the child.
According to Kansas law, men who donate sperm have no parental rights, and he pursued it all the way to the State Supreme Court, but lost.  He even appealed to the US Supreme Court, but they refused to hear the case, cementing the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court. 
Most people agree that the way God determined that children be born was in a committed and monogamous relationship He ordained.  That relationship is the “institution” of marriage.  Marriage has been under attack for some time now.  People seem to want all the benefits – children, health insurance, relationship – without making the commitment.
Biblically, what they did goes against the Word of God.  Too many people pursue other ways to get what they want.  I would much see them go without and be with God, then get what they want without God.
We need to get serious about our level of commitment to God.  What God gives is all we need.  Trust in God.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Resisting Evil...

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped; Therefore my heart dances for joy, and in my song will I praise him.
Psalm 28: 8-11

Last night we had an ALPHA Course that talked about How to Resist Evil. The discussion talked a lot about how we know that there is evil in the world. We see it in murders, abduction, bombings, school shootings. Over and over we see things that only a man possessed by evil could do. Unspeakable things.

Of course we talked about God, the source of goodness and mercy, and how the only explanation for the evil around us is the Judeo-Christian understanding of the Devil. I don’t know how else you can explain the evil around us.

Many religions teach that man is basically good, and if he does enough good, he will be rewarded with some type of heaven, paradise, or whatever end might be fitting. But if man is basically good, how does this evil happen?

The understanding of a Devil trying to lure mankind away from God may sound a little strange, certainly the image of the devil is not very beleivable, with the red skin, horns, tail, and pitchfork.  But I have yet to hear an explanation that makes better sense than an evil spiitual being, given what we see in the world around us.

One thing that was interesting in the ALPHA Course last night, did you know that if you add just one letter to the word “good” you get God. If you add just one letter to the word “evil” you get Devil.

I think the verse above is the answer. To resist evil, cling to God. The Lord is your strength and your shield. Trust in Him alone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

O Lord, have pity on me...

As for me, I will live with integrity; redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
Psalm 26:11

As Easter is approaching quickly, I hope that you have the opportunity to do some daily devotions. We’ve again been blessed at Almond Union of Churches to offer a booklet of Lenten Devotions by Richard Rusbuldt. These are great devotions, I hope you have something similar that you’re reading through this season.

For me, Lent is a time of year when I am reminded of my never ending need for a Savior. I sometimes think that when I get to stand before God, I’ll probably be cowering behind Jesus. Fearful of the power and might of loving, yet just, God. In awe over His majesty, yet fully aware that I don’t deserve to be there.

Lent is time to reflect on that. Because in recognizing our unworthiness, we recognize Jesus’ worthiness. Only by recognizing our sin, can we recognize Jesus’ purity and lack of sin. And only by recognizing how our need for a Savior is, can we really appreciate our Savior.

We tend to think the best. Things will work out. We’re basically good people. We try our best. But especially during Lent, reflect on the fact that as good as we think we are, we still fall short. Things work out, we’re basically good people, able to try our best, because of the saving work of Christ on the Cross.

Without Jesus, none of us would be able to stand (or even cower) before God.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carrying Your Cross...

Our message for Sunday, March 21, looked at Jesus' last day, leading up to the cross.  While we don't actually look at the crucifixion here, we do look a little at the punishment He received at the hands of Pilate, and at the events leading up to the crucifixion.

We see that because Jesus was so weak after the flogging and the beatings, that He stumbled trying to carry His cross.  The Roman Soldiers grabbed an innocent bystander, Simon, to carry the cross for Him. 

In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells us that "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."  Understanding the floggings, the beatings, and being forced to carry His cross to the hilltop, what does it mean for us to carry our crosses.  We know what Jesus went through.  What must we go through?

To read the message, or hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Feel the Burn...

It's been a little while since I've posted anything here.  I was unexpectadly out of town for a couple weeks due a death in the family, then I started having some difficulties with the audio sermons.  Those difficulties have been resolved, and I think I'm ready to move forward again.

On March 14, our message at Almond Union was Feel the Burn.  We looked at 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 as our Scripture reading for the day.  The emphasis in this reading is that we are new creations in Christ Jesus.

To read the message, or hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Faith First

  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him...