This Sunday (April 2) is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. This is the Sunday we join the masses as we read/hear about Jesus riding into Jerusalem as a victorious king. People were shouting “Hosanna!” which means, “Save us”. The crowds laid cloaks and palm branches on the road for Jesus. The Pharisees were disstressed about the scene unfolding before them, so much so, they demanded that Jesus silence the crowds. But if they were silent the rocks would cry out. This is, after all, our victorious king, but not one you or I, or the crowds expect.
This king is not riding into town to unseat Caesar and claim his royal throne. This king is different. In the words of Philippians 2:5-11, this king is coming to “empty himself“, to take “the form of a servant“, “humble himself“, and be “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross“. This is not a king that anyone today would expect, but it is the king we got because he is the King we need.
And what king do YOU need? Well, that all depends on the god(s)/God ruling your life. If god(s) are ruling, then your king is weak and impotent, only giving you what you need to live now. But, if God is your God, then the king you need is Jesus, giving you what you need to live for all eternity with him.
This poem is something I wrote as I prepared a sermon on Romans 10:8-17 — thinking about “beautiful feet” carrying the Gospel. I want people to call on the name of Jesus, but first we need to constantly reacquaint ourselves with the Gospel. So the Spirit placed this on my heart. May you receive this Good News again and again. To God be the glory, Amen.
You are a sinner, that is true.
God’s wrath you’ve certainly accrued.
Condemned to die, yes, you deserve.
A judgment from which you can not swerve.
Salvation you can not obtain.
You can’t do it, i’ll say again.
You need help, you certainly do,
In order to be made brand new.
So, what’s our hope? Well, i’ll proclaim –
You’re saved by Jesus holy name.
God’s holy wrath, he took for us.
For His love is in great surplus.
Jesus took your sins to the cross.
So your life would not be a loss.
Jesus died but death did not win.
Jesus rose much to death’s chagrin.
Now look to him and see God’s grace.
For this gift is yours to embrace.
You are a sinner that is sure,
But Jesus lives so you’ll be pure.
So repent and run fast to him.
And know peace filled over the brim.
Confess your sins, Yes, every one.
You are forgiven through the Son.
Now, Jesus lives and so will you.
And it excites me to review.
You are precious – his beloved bride.
Forever with him, you’ll abide.
REPENT for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
REPENT and run away from your sins.
REPENT and never stop running.
REPENT and keep on running,
REPENT and strive to know Jesus better and better.
REPENT and long for God’s holy courts.
REPENT and deny your new self your old life; for you are a New Creation.
REPENT and live the Life God has given you through faith.
REPENT and never stop striving for the narrow door.
REPENT and keep on pressing on.
REPENT and not grow complacent in having already obtained it.
REPENT and refuse to work for your old employer – Satan.
Child of God, through Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
Isn’t that awesome!!!
Psalm 27:7–8 (ESV) ~ Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a political leader in hopes they will acquiesce to your demands to remake this world into your image?
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of success in hopes you can build a nest egg in order to gain a sense of peace in this life?
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a false prophet who refuses to hold scripture to a high standard and thus waters it down to make it easier for you to accept?
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of laziness so you can blindly ride the shirt-tails of cheap grace in order to enjoy the labors of others.
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of busyness in an effort to justify yourself before others and God.
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a worldly fortress so as to secure rest, peace and comfort for your weary body and soul.
Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of affirmation so you can feel better about your life.
These faces care nothing about you. They only look at you with disdain, apathy and disinterest. They make promises and they look good for a while, but eventually these faces become disfigured; sending you on another search for a new face.
But there is a face out there waiting for you. A face that shines brighter than the sun. A face of love. A face of grace. A face of truth. That face is Jesus. He doesn’t promise you the easy life, but he does promise you Life. Don’t be fooled. The faces of this world falsely promise you an easy life, but can go no farther. Only Jesus cares enough for you to give his life for the forgiveness of your sins that you may see God face to face someday. Don’t settle for anything less. Seek HIS face and truly be at peace.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:62 ESV]
When Jesus calls you to follow, he is not looking for excuses.
When Jesus calls you to follow, he doesn’t mean finish your to-do-list first.
When Jesus calls you to follow, you are not to long for that which you left.
When Jesus calls you to follow, you are to follow with eyes wide open and focused on him.
For when Jesus calls you to follow, he is to be the priority above everything and everyone else. Yours eyes are to be firmly fixed on him; moving forward without hesitation. But why is this such a struggle for people? Why do people cling to what they have or look back at what they left? It is simple, really. They don’t truly trust that Jesus knows what he is talking about. When times got tough for the people of God that Moses was leading in the wilderness, what did they do? They started to long for their captivity in Egypt. This didn’t sit well with God (to put it mildly). God demanded trust and so does Jesus when he calls you to follow.
When you begin to follow Jesus but keeping looking back at what you left, you quickly veer off course. Jesus words about the hand on the plow and looking back are poignant. If you are plowing a field, your eyes need to be focused on a fixed object on the horizon, otherwise your row will be crocked – every single time. You WILL go off course.
Jesus is the fixed object on the horizon – AND – is the one who walks by your side. When He calls you to follow, trust the fixed destination and the one who walks with you. When your eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus you will never, ever go of course. The course may get bumpy and scary and troublesome. But come on, people, it’s Jesus. He’s got this.
When you put your hand on the plow and move forward with Jesus, keep going and do not look back. I promise you, you will not regret it and will never miss what you left.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8 ESV]
Witnesses don’t share their opinions.
Witnesses don’t share their theories.
Witnesses don’t speculate.
Witnesses don’t guess.
Witnesses tell the truth.
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
So helped by the Holy Spirit.
And YOU, Christian, are called to be a witness for Jesus.
You’ve been subpoenaed by Jesus.
But here’s the thing…
The Holy Spirit will give you power to witness.
Jesus doesn’t send you empty-handed.
Jesus sends you equipped.
Jesus sends you.
Jesus goes WITH you.
You are not alone.
Don’t be afraid of the Truth.
Proclaim the Truth boldly and if the world hates you, then so be it.
Jesus loves you.
You are witnesses.
So go and give them Jesus.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you couldn’t think of anything else?
I really want that new phone.
I really want that new car.
I really want that job promotion.
I really want _________.
You get the point. Wants are dangerous as they redirect our attention from what we already have. For if you are part of God’s flock through Jesus Christ, then you already have everything you need. And when you see that you have everything you need, then your wants become what God deems that you need in order to glorify him. Your selfish wants won’t do that unless you need those wants to glorify God and God agrees with your wants and thus gives you what you need. If that be the case, then those wants are not selfish but needs that want God more.
[Whew, did you follow all of that?]
Basically, it’s all about God and thus God will ensure you that you have everything you need (Jesus) to want to glorify him.
Oh God, give me what I need to want You more. Amen.
The following is dangerously close to being sacrilegious so please read with tongue in cheek (based on true events that actually happened to me recently)…
“Or what man, having a rockstar coffee thermos, if he loses it, does not search diligently his home and office, and even the Starbucks across the street until he finds it? And when he has found it, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coffee thermos that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents…and definitely over the found coffee thermos.”
[Luke 15:8-10…or something close to it]
The lost has been found!
The magnitude of what Jesus did for us can not be overstated.
The lengths that Jesus went to can not be measured.
The depths of his love can not be gauged.
The wideness of his grace can not be seen,
The closest we get is this: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God (think about that for a moment, the form – of – God), did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT
by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient
to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5–11 ESV]
Let that sink in…
Goosebumps yet? No? Then go back and read it again and this time pay attention.
Goosebumps yet? Yes? Then go back and read it again and just abide in this Word.
This is how much Jesus loves you. Any questions?
The Pastor -|—
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Can you answer that question? I am not talking about the first question he asks which is, “Who do PEOPLE say that I am?” That’s an easier question to answer, but not the one a follower of Jesus needs to answer. Who to YOU say that Jesus is?
You are holy.
You are mighty.
You are love.
Through Jesus Christ,
You are Life.
You are hope.
You are grace.
I ask, oh God, that each and every day
You reveal to me who You are
and then may I live in that revelation
in order to bring glory to Your holy name.
I worship You for You are my all in all;
more than words can describe.
In Jesus name I pray,
The Pastor -|—