Amazing

Sunday’s sermon text is Matthew 20:1-16; the Laborers in the Vineyard. The following is the prayer of the day I wrote based on our hymn of the day, Amazing Grace. For it is only through God’s amazing grace that we are saved through Jesus Christ; no matter the work or amount of work. Let us pray…

Oh God,
your grace is amazing;
such a sweet sound to our ears;
for through Jesus Christ you have saved us;
a wretched people.
Once we were lost but now we are found.
Once we were blind but now we see.
And now,
oh God,
may we see You as our shield and portion
for as long as our lives endure.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Know You, oh God

I’m preaching on John 17:1-11 and this is the Prayer of the Day I wrote for worship:

Holy God,
through faith we know Jesus,
and because we know Jesus we know You,
and because we know You we have eternal life,
so therefore,
all praise be unto You,
oh God.
Now may our words and deeds
make You known
that others may come to eternal life
through faith in Jesus,
and together,
we praise Your holy name forever.
All praise and worship be unto You,
holy God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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 -|—

Seed Sowing in Satan’s Face

In reading the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20, I am quickly reminded that the call and the joy of the Christian is to sow the Word of God. The joy comes from the fact we are sinners but that God offers forgiveness of our sins by His grace through Jesus Christ. And through this forgiveness, we have the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

This is the Gospel.
This is the Good News.
This is AMAZING news!

And yet, we often see evangelism as a chore or as something to do later if we have time or something reserved for a certain committee or (and this is my favorite) it is something reserved strictly for the pastor.

Maybe this inattention to evangelism comes from the fact that, more times than not, you get beaten up when you try to seed sow. Maybe someone strongly rejects your Gospel presentation. Maybe someone tells you to keep your faith to yourself. Maybe someone argues with you to the point of exhaustion. Maybe you have been shot down too many times to count and you’re just plain tired of getting hurt or embarrassed. Whatever the case, it serves as a reminder that Satan is hard at work. Whenever you are sharing your faith or trying to present the Gospel or stand up for what you believe, Satan is right there to make life difficult. And he should because the Gospel threatens Satan.

But we must keep seed sowing.
We must keep spreading the Gospel.
We must keep telling people that there is hope.
We must keep showing people Jesus.

For when we stop, Satan wins and thus he laughs.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, seed sowing is hard but look at the bright side. If seed sowing is difficult and it feels like you are being resisted every step of the way, then maybe you’re doing something right. In that case, keep on going in the strength of the Lord and mock Satan knowing that Jesus stands with you and that Satan can not possibly win.

And that is cause to laugh in Satan’s face and praise be to God always and forever!

The Pastor -|—

Call on Jesus

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Amen!
Praise be to God!
Alleluia!

But this verse is not hocus pocus.
It’s not a magical incantation.
The name of Jesus is not some name to be used to get what you want.

This verse is an act of worship; an act of submission. Notice that it does not say, “calling on the name of Jesus” but rather “Lord”. It is definitely referring to Jesus but instead uses the title that describes Jesus’ relationship to you.

To call on a lord is to recognize their authority over you. You aren’t going to call on a lord if you don’t think they can save you. But in this case, calling on THE Lord, Jesus, is something one does because they already know Jesus can and has saved them through faith. A person is not going to do this willy nilly because they want to save their butts from the eternal flames, but one does this out of love for the one who forgives sin through amazing grace.

But also, one doesn’t not submit to a lord if they still want freedom over their own life. You don’t submit to a lord if you’re too proud to admit you need help. You don’t submit to a lord if you want your cake and eat it too. But the fact of the matter is we need help and with Jesus you get something better than the proverbial cake. With Jesus you get THE Lord of lords who takes great joy in saving your life.

Amen!
Praise be to God!
ALLELUIA!

So go on, call on Jesus, submit to him and praise his Holy name.

Father God, you’re an awesome God. Thank you for sending Jesus to be Lord of my life to save me from myself. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—