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 -|—

 

Christ is King

Christ is King
he is the ruler on high.
Christ is King
he is the ruler coming from the sky.

Christ is King
he has defeated death and sin.
Christ is King
we win when our faith is in him.

Christ is King
my life he has saved.
Christ is King
his precepts I will always crave.

Christ is King
for I know not what I do.
Christ is King
his forgiveness is for me too.

Christ is King
I will praise you everyday.
Christ is King
please help me walk in your ways.

Christ is King
to you I long to go.
Christ is King
it is you I long to know.

The Pastor -|—

THE “Warning Siren”

That was an ominous sound.

I was standing outside my home, here NW Washington earlier today, listening to the lahar siren test. It’s something that happens here on the first Monday of the month. It was very reminiscent of living in Minnesota where we had monthly tornado siren drills (during tornado season).

But this was different, because it was a powerful reminder of where I live.

You see, I live in the Orting Valley (just outside of Puyallup, WA) about 50 miles from Mount Rainier. It’s a beautiful mountain, or shall I say, an active volcano. I have read that it’s been classified as the most dangerous volcano in the continental 48 states but yet I rarely think about it as I admire it’s beauty; ominously towering over Orting. With a Minnesota tornado you can at least take cover in you home and hope for the best.

But not so with a volcano eruption here.

If and when Mount Rainier erupts, we can’t just take cover in our home, we will need to head out of town as fast as we can and get to high ground. I’ve been told we would have about 50 minutes to get to high ground from Orting. Sounds like plenty of time, but not when you consider that everyone and their dog will be trying to get out. Scary when one thinks about it, but even scarier, it won’t be long until the sound of that lahar siren recedes out of my mind and with it the warning as I go back to admiring a beautiful mountain.

But you, Christian, do you remember that there is a more powerful “warning” being sounded. I say “warning” but it is actually Gospel for those who believe. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44 (ESV) Jesus is coming and this “warning siren” is not a test. It’s sounding now, we just don’t know when Jesus will arrive.

But this doesn’t have to be scary. Mount Rainier can be scary, but Jesus is life. His return means the establishment of his kingdom here on this earth. Jesus’ return means the end of sin and death and the power of Satan. Jesus’ return means peace and joy forever more. The warning siren being sounded is the Gospel so do not fear. But, the warning siren also means that Christians cannot be complacent. If I hear the lahar siren sounding and my neighbor does not, I am going to make sure they know about it.

But what about THE “warning”?

You have heard the siren; it’s sounding, but are you telling people the Good News? Don’t let people get hit by an unexpected blast of destruction because you have “better things to do”. Get out there and proclaim the Gospel; that people may live with anxious anticipation of the return of their Lord. Don’t get so caught up in the beauty of the Lord that you miss what his return means for those who are not ready. Don’t let the sound of the Gospel recede into the white noise of your life. Hear the Gospel as a “warning”/reminder for you to be ready but also for YOU to say something to somebody. Besides, if Jesus is Good News (and he is) then why stay silent?

Jesus is coming. You may have more than 50 minutes or you my have less that 5 seconds. We just don’t know, so sound the alarm and help your neighbors get to know Jesus.

May God be glorified forever and ever. Amen

The Pastor -|—

Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2 (ESV)

Faith doesn’t make sense, but if it did make sense, it wouldn’t be faith. If faith made sense we wouldn’t need God. Faith is mysterious so that the only thing left to do is to trust God. It’s like being blind, and being OK with it, because you’re being lead rightly and loved abundantly. Faith is being blind and not fearing the darkness because you know the one with you, who sees everything, is for you. Faith is knowing with certainty, in the absence of physical and logical proof, that something is true because the one who says it’s true is infinitely trustworthy.

Faith doesn’t make sense, but that is OK with me because my faith is in Jesus Christ my Lord; my sure foundation, and thus there is nothing to fear. Jesus the Light of the world, has scattered the darkness, and thus Satan’s claim on me is null and void. Jesus the Good Shepherd, will never lead me astray. Jesus the resurrection, rose for me.

Proof?
I don’t need any.
All I need is Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

Never Undone

Jesus is my treasure.
Jesus is my life.
Jesus is my Savior.
Jesus is always right.

Jesus is mighty.
Jesus is strong.
Jesus is compassion.
All others are wrong.

Cling tightly to him;
trusting in his name.
Cling tightly to Jesus,
and your life won’t be the same.

“Why” you might say
is Jesus so great,
because faith in him
thwarts death as my fate.

And so Jesus is my treasure
and Jesus is the One,
as I trust in his name
I will never be undone.

The Pastor -|—

My Treasure

A prayer of the day I wrote for August 14 that I just felt like sharing today:

Creator God, holy Father, You are awesome and mighty, full of grace and truth. You are power and yet approachable as a child to their father. You are mighty and strong, our great champion who has won the victory over death through Jesus Christ. May we always treasure you as we cling tightly to the promises that cling even more tightly to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

 

The Pastor -|—

Standing

I stand.

I stand condemned under the weigh of my sin,
with no logical defense to make.
I stand condemned as a violator of Your holy law,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

I stand condemned as glory-stealing,
honor-withholding sinner.
I stand condemned as an non trusting kingdom builder,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

And as I stand condemned I see my Savior,
my Lord,
my advocate,
my Jesus.

Jesus stands with me.
Jesus intercedes for me.
Jesus takes the judgment for me.
Jesus dies for me.

And…

Jesus rises for me.

I now, through faith, I stand liberated,
I stand free,
I stand hopeful,
I stand forgiven.
For Jesus, my Lord, took the weight of my sin
and made my defense before You,
oh God.

And now I no longer stand,
rather,
I fall on my face to worship You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to honor You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to praise You,
oh God…

as I stand on Your promises.

The Pastor -|—