It saddens me when churches lose their way and stray from THE mission to proclaim Jesus Christ, born, crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus and him alone is our hope. He is our peace. It is Jesus that gives joy that is untouchable. It is through Jesus that we see the full expression of love, for God is love. Therefore, it behooves us to stick to the facts and let everything else fall into place to the glory of God. The Church is not called to get involved in political advocacy. There are groups that specifically do that. The Church is different and needs to stay different:
Preach the Gospel and let the transformed lives of sinners through the Holy Spirit respond to the world around them as God calls them. Preach the Gospel and don’t tinker with it – it’s perfect the way it is. Preach the Gospel and don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t say. Preach the Gospel with all humility and gentleness but also with boldness. Preach the Gospel and do not fear the backlash from the world. Preach the Gospel for that is the only way sinners are saved.
Church – stick to the facts and let God be God.
FACT: You are a sinner. FACT: You cannot save yourself. FACT: You are a sinner (did I say that already?). FACT: You deserve eternal torment in hell. FACT: You are a sinner (yup, this is important). FACT: Jesus was born of a virgin. FACT: Jesus is the sinless Son of God. FACT: Jesus took your sin upon himself. FACT: Jesus was crucified FOR YOU. FACT: Jesus died and was buried. FACT: Jesus smashed the gates of death. FACT: Jesus lives. FACT: You are a sinner (just in case you forgot). FACT: Through faith in Jesus you are forgiven. FACT: Through God’s grace you are saved. FACT: This is indisputable. FACT: God is love. FACT: This Gospel is awesome!!! FACT: You are a sinner and thus you need Jesus.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there. You are being honored today for showing godly love to others and for living out your calling to reflect God’s glory. The following is a prayer that I have adapted from a Mother’s Day prayer that I came across years ago.
Have a great day, guys, and to God be the glory.
God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless those fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting and/or showing fatherly love to others. Bless those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce. Bless those who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone. Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system. Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations. Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of mourning the death of a child. We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers. We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in many ways. We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration. We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most. We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them. We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents. Strengthen all these men by your love that they may become the loving, caring persons they are called and meant to be; reflecting Your love and glory. Grant this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The warmth of this day reminds me of the warmth of Your love, oh God. The sun shines. It’s rays beat upon me. The light blinds my eyes. The sweat seeps out. And as the sweat trickles down my face, soaking my shirt, with its smell emanating from me, so may Your love overflow and emanate from my life. But as it does what will I do? As I hide the sweat on my body and the smell of it, will I hide the overflow of Your love? May I never do so. As the Son shines in my life: May others take notice. May people see the effects of Your love in my life. May it’s aroma cause others to pause. May I not mask what You are doing in me in an effort to avoid offense. May Your love sweat in my life and drip from my soul. May it’s sweet and pleasant aroma draw people unto You. May Your Son shine through. Oh Lord, my God, warm me with Your love through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.
The following is the opening paragraph for the sermon that God has placed on my heart…
The love of Jesus for sinners is communicated and shown in a number of ways throughout scripture. His commitment to the mission is put on display throughout scripture. (i.e. Jesus’ rebuke of Peter, his face set like flint). And his power has been made known over and over again. From the beginning, God’s plan has been in effect; a plan to redeem His fallen creation. (“He will crush your head, but you will bruise his heal”). God proclaimed the New Covenant through the prophet Jeremiah. God promised to raise up His chosen one; the Messiah – and He followed through. Scripture is replete with God’s promises. God has proven Himself faithful thus there is no reason to doubt that God will come through again. With all of this being said, nothing and no one can get in the way of God’s plan. Why? Well, God is God and His love will NOT be denied. Luke 13 displays this tenacious love through some mother hen feistiness in Jesus…
I can hardly wait to preach this sermon. To God be the glory.
I look at this picture and I see a child leaping with wild abandon into his father’s arms. The child, never for a moment, thinks that his father will drop him. It is a faith that is unshaken and solid. The father is bracing himself and eager to catch the child. Never for a moment does the father imagine doing anything to endanger his child. It is a fatherly love unmatched by anything and anyone of this world.
Following the catch I imagine a loving embrace filled with laughter. The father spins his child around trying to elicit more laughter all the while each of them are smiling ear to ear; enjoying the embrace. The child feels safe and secure; totally content and willing to jump again. The Father is filled with joy. Nothing in this scene dampens the child’s faith, but only draws him closer to his father. Nothing in this scene dampens the father’s love for his precious child. What a love that these two share.
Are you this child? God our Father is the Father ready to catch you.
Father God, may I jump with wild abandon into Your loving arms. May I cling to Your faithfulness even though the Enemy would have me doubt You. Holy God, I know You stand ready to catch, may I have the faith to jump. And as You catch me, may I cling to You and bask in Your presence; ready to jump again and again. Oh God, holy Father, You are my life, my shield, my home. In Jesus most precious name I pray, Amen.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Fear is irrelevant unless, of course, that fear is holy awe of our most awesome and amazing God who loves you with a love that is beyond comprehension. Then fear is a command because of what God has done FOR YOU. And what has God done FOR YOU?
God is your light in this dark world.
God is your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
God is your stronghold.
God is your fortress from the enemy.
In light of all of this, why would I fear anything or anyone of this world? Why would I fear any situation that is thrown at me? Why would I fear opposition, challenges or road blocks? My friends, do not let Satan drive you to fear, but rather direct your attention to God and fear the one who is bigger and more powerful than the fear of this world.
There is nothing that surprises God.
There is nothing that can foil His plans.
There is nothing that God can not handle.
There is nothing that God can not use for His glory.
Whom shall you fear? Whom shall you be afraid?
NOTHING and NO ONE.
Fear God and worship only Him; for He is FOR YOU and not against you. Amen.
Holy and awesome God, In love You created the world and all that exists. In sadness You watched this world plunge into darkness through sin. In compassion You sent the prophets to warn Your people. In patience You waited. In grace you sent Your one and only son to this world. In mercy Jesus suffered and died for me. In power Jesus rose from the grave for me. In love You give me salvation through faith in Jesus.
Holy and awesome God, I am humbled and blown away when I reflect on this story. I am grateful and thankful when I reflect on what You did for me.
Oh God, You are indeed holy and awesome. May You receive all worship, honor, glory, and praise; for in love You have given me hope; in love You have given me peace. Oh God, I am so in love with You. Amen.
When I drive to and from the church office each day (and when the skies are clear) I am blessed with beautiful views of Mount Rainier. Each time I see this magnificent mountain I am reminded of God’s creativity and power. And each time I see this mountain I give God thanks and praise. Only God could create something so magnificent and glorious and beautiful and awe-inspiring.
This mountain is not lost in the midst of other mountains around it. Nothing is close to it to steal its glory. Mount Rainier stands alone in all it’s splendor. In this part of God’s creation, nothing compares to Mount Rainier. And when the clouds shield the mountain from view, I am saddened, but I know that she is still there.
as I view this glorious mountain, I am reminded that God is still bigger and this bigger God is for me and with me. This glorious God redeemed me through Jesus Christ. This spectacular God loves me. This creative God cradles me in his powerful yet gentle hands. This magnificent God is in complete control. God is not lost in the midst of other Gods, but stands alone in power. Nothing compares to God almighty. And, there are times when God seems distant and out of view, but God is still there. God has not left.
As I continue my blessed drives to and from the office I will continue to ponder this awesome God of ours and give God thanks and praise for His gentle reminders of his glorious magnificence. And when the clouds shield Mount Rainier from view, I will remember that she is still there and will never leave; reminding me of God’s ongoing faithfulness to always be with me.
[From a story posted on Kare11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; written by Doyle Rice from USA Today. This is in reference to the winter solstice (first day of winter).]
And why is the Earth tilted? It’s probably the result of collisions with various proto-planets and other massive objects during the formation of the solar system billions of years ago, according to NASA. Just a bit unsettling to realize that the reason the Earth has the perfect temperature for life to form is a few random collisions with other space rocks a few eons ago.
Oh Doyle Rice, if only you knew that the reason the earth is perfectly tilted isn’t due to “random” collisions. If only you knew that this perfect planet was created and put into perfect motion by God Almighty, our Creator. If only you knew that the only “unsettling” part of all of this is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of an Almighty God.
The Good News is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of a loving, Almighty God who came to us on Christmas Day in Jesus Christ. And through faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed a lost and sinful people.
Therefore, when you look at creation, it should send you to your knees in humble worship of an awesome and powerful and loving God. There is NOTHING random about God. Creation is NOT a fluke. Life DIDN’T just happen. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of details about our universe, galaxy and planet that have to be perfect in order for life to exist. That is NOT random. That was NOT an accident. Collisions DIDN’T just happen and bump things into perfect place. Nature doesn’t work that way. If any collision is responsible for the earth being tilted PERFECTLY then God’s mighty hand guided that collision to make sure it was perfect; as God guided and formed all of creation.
One CAN NOT just pass off life as a cosmic accident.
And so to all the Doyle Rices in the world, I appeal to you to meditate on creation and consider the perfectness of all those thousands of factors and then look to God Almighty and worship HIM through Jesus Christ; for you are not random but rather wonderfully created.
So don’t be “unsettled” over randomness and accidents and chance, but rather worship and praise this awesome God of ours as we live in this perfect masterpiece called creation.
All praise and glory and honor and worship be to God, always and forever.