Reverberate

Father God,
may the song of my praise
reverberate throughout my being
and into all those around me.
May my words about You
reveal my deep love for You.
May my actions
reflect a faith that points to You.
May people know the joy of Your
love
through Christ Jesus my Lord.
And as people receive the Good News of
Jesus,
may the cares of this world
melt into oblivion
as we bask in the hope of the resurrection.
This is my prayer and hope as I being a new day.
All praise and glory and worship and honor
be unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus my Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

It Could Be Well

wp-1480976793232.jpg

If only

If only people would stop chasing after gods.
If only people would fall into the hands of God Almighty.
If only people would trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

If only

If only people would see themselves for who they really are.
If only people would stop placing themselves before others.
If only people would worship the One true God.

If only

If only people would make Jesus the priority.
If only people would bask in the Word of God.
If only people would seek the Holy Spirit for guidance.

If only

If only people would fear the Lord and serve him.
If only people would obey the Lord and not rebel.
If only our leaders would seek wisdom that only comes from the Lord.

If only…

The Pastor -|—

Here I Am to Worship You

Father God, Creator and Redeemer,
I know not how to praise You as You deserve;
for there is much in my heart that leads me
astray.
You deserve so much more that I can give, for…
You loved me even before I was born.
You breathed the breath of life into my being.
You have redeemed my sin-fallen life through Jesus Christ.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Oh God,
fill me with Your Spirit that I may see You.
Fill me with Your Spirit that I may know You better.
Fill me with Your Spirit that I may praise and worship You
as You deserve.
Here I am to worship You.
Receive my song, my praise, my thanks.
Oh God, receive me.
Here I am to worship You.
Here I am to worship You.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

It’s All about Jesus

I attended a worship service while on vacation, recently, that left me scratching my head (and not because it inflamed my dandruff). What left me scratching was the sermon. The topic?

Ebeneezer Scrooge

I kid you not. This was part of a larger Advent theme titled, “The Redemption of Scrooge“. Now, I am not criticizing the Advent title because there is much you can do with it that is inline with the Gospel. What bothered me was the sermon content. Four times the name “Jesus” was referenced but never as the topic. I can’t tell you what the scripture text was because that was never referenced. Some other random scriptures were thrown in but I struggled to find the connection.I waited and waited. I waited for Jesus and was denied. And that in lies the problem.

If the sermon is not about Jesus, then it is not worth preaching.

I went to worship my awesome God through Jesus Christ and to hear the Gospel proclaimed to me but I left with a message about a Christmas character that is not even found in the Bible. Did that sermon really need to be preached for the advancement of the Kingdom?

No!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to criticize the above, unnamed church I attended but rather bring to light something I have heard many times before (or not heard). Too many times I have listened to a “sermon” that had nothing to do with Jesus but people left thinking so because the name “Jesus” was mentioned or the pastor was holding a Bible or because they were in a “Christian” church. I wonder, sometimes, if people are really listening to the sermon. Knowing the congregation I currently serve, if I ever preached a sermon about Ebeneezer Scrooge, I would have to answer to the leadership about my sermon content.

As a pastor, I preach the Gospel from the pulpit. The Gospel is about Jesus, period. So therefore, any sermon that is not about Jesus fails to do it’s job, period. That is why I am opposed to preaching politics in the pulpit. I will preach about biblical topics that are political but Jesus is always at the center. If I ever preach a sermon that is not about Jesus, I hope my congregation will slap me up across the head.

It’s all about Jesus.

I write this in hopes that pastors will be very aware of what they are preaching. Is it about Jesus? I also write this in hopes that the people in the pews will be aware of what they are hearing. Was that about Jesus? And if you ever hear a sermon that is not about Jesus, I hope you will feel free to talk to your pastor about it. As pastors, we need to be held accountable. We are human after all and are susceptible to being lead away.

All of life is about Jesus so make sure that Jesus is the topic and not just a passing mention. Preach Jesus, and not just pastors but everyone and give glory to our awesome God.

It’s all about Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

 

“Inconvenient” Peace

Below is an opening paragraph for the sermon this coming Sunday (Advent 2). The theme is peace and the context is your life. The text doesn’t follow the lectionary but I’ve never been one to stay in line🙂

So here you go:

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. [Luke 1:26-27]

We’ve heard this situation over and over again; a young girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, who was going to become pregnant during an inconvenient time. Actually, for Mary to become pregnant during the betrothal period, even by her own husband, would subject her to stoning; something that many of you have heard before. And to some it may sound like I am belaboring some basic biblical story details but these details are important. These details set the scene for the peace that Mary would soon receive following some incredible news. Because really, these details highlight the chaos in our own lives. They set the scene for God to enter our lives with Good News and at times that may seem inconvenient or at times we do not expect. And that’s exactly how God works. God works in situations and at times that we would not expect. God does this that God may receive the most glory because it is only God that can give peace during those “inconvenient” moments. And when one sees that God is in control in those moments, something amazing happens, as we will see with this young, betrothed, peasant girl.

May God surprise you during this Advent season and bring you an “inconvenient”peace. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Christmas, Enough Said

Waiting
Anticipation
Excitement
Joy
Celebration
Fellowship with family and friends
Worship

CHRISTMAS!

But…

What are you waiting for?
What are you anticipating?
Why are you excited?
What is causing your joy?
What and why are you celebrating?
Why are you in fellowship?
Who/what do you worship?

You see…

The answers to the above questions vary for some. For some Christmas is about the wrong answers. For some Christmas is about the wrong reasons. For some Christmas is about worshiping false gods. For some Christmas is nothing more than a holiday for which you get time off from work or school.

But…

Christmas is about Jesus; born for you, who later died for you, and then rose from the dead for you. Christmas is about hope, peace, love and joy. Without Jesus, Christmas is not Christmas.

Christmas
Jesus
Enough said.

The Pastor -|—

Thanksgiving

Unless you live under a rock, you know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day of over-eating with relatives (some of whom may drive you crazy), watching a parade with lame commentary and trying to stay awake for the football games. It’s a grand ole holiday that ushers in the unofficial start of the Christmas season (even though Christmas decorations and commercials started a while ago).

None of this is new information for you.

For me, this holiday is the unofficial start of my Christmas ranting; one where I lament how commercialized Christmas has become, but I will spare you the ranting rhetoric this year and simply refer you to the Word of God. As you gather with family and friends, let’s keep things in perspective and remember the reason we can truly be thankful.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
[Psalms 136:1-9]

And the list goes on and on. Give thanks to the Lord for Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection we have through faith in him. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast loves endues forever and ever and ever and ever and…

Have a safe and God-glorifying Thanksgiving.

The Pastor -|—