Sermon teaser for Pentecost Sunday

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” [John 7:37-38]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” [Matthew 5:6]

As the body desires relief and satisfaction on a hot summer day, so the soul of a person is longing for refreshment. It’s looking for something that will satisfy its deepest need; its deepest desire. As the body needs that cool glass of water so the soul needs Living Water, and more so; whether a person will admit it or not. They need something and Jesus has the very thing for which they are looking and needing.
We live in thirsty times but many will not drink.
We live in thirsty times but many would rather live with parched months than die to themselves.
We live in thirsty times but united to the Holy Spirit through faith we are satisfied.
May we, as the church turn on the sprinkler of Living Water and forever quench the thirst of the world to the glory of God…

The Pastor -|—

You Must Take That Risk

[I am feeling a little feisty after reading something today. That “something” is not important but I thought I would just leave these thoughts right here for you.]

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If by standing firm for biblical truth means risking offending someone(s), you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of offending that someone(s) but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means adversely affecting a relationship you have with someone, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of ending that relationship but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means certain persecution by others, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of seeking persecution but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means that you will be labeled as being irrelevant, oppressive, divisive, exclusive, etc, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of seeking attention for some agenda but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

 26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
[Matthew 10:26-33]

And so…

Fear not

Be faithful

Stand firm

for you do not stand alone.

For by standing firm for biblical truth we bring glory to God, and after all, isn’t that why we are here?

[Just some thoughts from a rambling, feisty pastor]

Rant done

The Pastor -|—

Not Beaten Down

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
[Psalm 42:11]

Isn’t this something we need to hear each and every day?
Isn’t this something we need to remember?
Isn’t this something we need to lift up our soul?
Isn’t this something we need to encourage us along the way?

I don’t know about you, but I can feel discouraged from time to time. I can get frustrated with what I see around me. I can feel beaten down by the forces of the evil one. I can feel defeated.

But…

…the psalmist reminds us of our hope. Though you may feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, we have a hope to which to cling.  He says, “…for I SHALL again praise him…” Did you see that? Read it again, We SHALL praise him again; for our salvation is a sure and certain thing in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Satan rejoices when we feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, but instead of allowing Satan to rejoice, let us rejoice in our Lord; who has already beaten down Satan through the cross and the empty tomb.

So take courage and praise GOD; our salvation through Jesus; for Satan has nothing on you.

Oh God, when Satan comes at me and beats me down, remind me of your Son, Jesus Christ, who has already beaten down Satan. May I not wallow in defeat but rather in the victory I have through faith. All praise and worship be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Doors

Doors open
and
Doors are closed

Sometimes they are slammed shut.
Sometimes they close ever so slowly.
Whatever the case, a closed door signals
mourning
grieving
loss.
A closed door feels so
final
scary
uncertain.
A closed door means we can’t see.
A closed door means we’re
stuck
trapped
confined.

Oh God, I don’t like closed doors
but…

closed doors also signal something

NEW

we just can’t see it
and therefore we need to live by faith.

Oh God,
grant me the faith to trust in you;
to trust that when a door closes
that you’ll open another one.
Grant me the faith to cling to you.
Grant me the patience to wait for the right door to open.

Doors close
and
Doors are opened

My child, I AM the Faithful Doorkeeper

The Pastor -|—

Post-Easter Thankfulness

The Pastor is on vacation.

I am currently resting with family and friends; relaxing and reflecting on another Lenten and Easter season and the verdict is in:

It was good.

Notice that I did NOT say (with a sense of relief):

It is finished.

The jokes are out there, you see, that pastors are so shot after Easter that they feel like crawling into and curling up in Jesus’ empty tomb for a while.

“Don’t talk to me for a few days.”

I don’t feel that way. I feel energized and content and happy and filled. No, I didn’t take a 46 day vacation between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s just that the congregation I serve with, served together and thus I don’t feel drained but filled. I gave it my all but was never disconnected from the True Vine. I am not bragging but just thankful. I led worship and preached twice a week, but also worshiped and listened to what I was saying. Lent was refreshing, not life-draining.

And this is the way it should be. Looking back at a season that focuses on our mortality and sinfulness; worshiping while reflecting on Jesus’ last moments and death on a cross and then seeing an empty tomb and then hearing that proclamation: HE HAS RISEN! How can one not feel energized and thankful and joyful.

It is (indeed) finished and I am (indeed) thankful; thankful that Jesus finished what he came to do. Thankful that I have the hope of the resurrection. Thankful that I have been refreshed and ready for another season.

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.

Holy God,
You have refreshed me
through this Lenten and Easter season.
You have reminded me
who we are and whose I am.
You have shown me the extent of Your love.
May I cling to this Truth.
May I dwell in Your love.
May I proclaim this Good News.
May I continue to know Jesus better.
Oh God,
You are an awesome God.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The (thankful) Pastor -|—

 

An Easter Prayer of Faith

Holy and awesome God,
We come to this place this morning to worship YOU
because of the LIFE we have through faith in Jesus.
But I am keenly aware,
oh God,
that there may be people here this morning
only because they are visiting family
or because grandma and grandpa said,
“You’re going to worship this morning”
or because they were taught this is just what you do on Easter.
Whatever the case,
oh God,
I pray that the words I speak here may have power,
not because I say them,
but because they are ordained by YOU
and infused with Your Holy Spirit.
If it be Your will,
may someone who doesn’t know You come to faith,
so much so,
that they proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
May people be drawn to You
that You may be glorified.
And so, may the words of my mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable to You,
oh God,
our rock and Redeemer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Death is No More

Death is the stark reality that we must face every single day, and therefore this is the motivation behind Jesus’ ministry. He was on a death-destroying mission. So when Jesus comes face to face with death, while at Lazarus’ tomb, he is moved to deep and powerful emotion that gives us a glimpse into what kept him focused on the cross. Jesus is so angry at sin that he is obedient to the Father’s will and stays on the cross even though he had the power to call down a legion of angels to protect him. Jesus remains on the cross because the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Jesus defeats death and thus we have hope. Now, our weeping is not over death’s victory. We weep because we will miss our loved ones but also, through faith in Jesus, we can weep tears of joy over what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Cling to the hope of the resurrection, oh weary soul.

The Pastor -|—