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 -|—
I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.
As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.
Off went the T.V.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…
The Pastor -|—
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. [Matthew 10:24-25]
Doing some reading for this Sunday’s sermon, I came across this little nugget from Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew. “Everyone who wants a safe, carefree life free from danger should stay away from Jesus. The world responds with hostility to Him. So as we are conformed to Christ more and more, the world will respond to us more and more as they responded to Him. If you want to avoid being betrayed, hated, or persecuted, then don’t become like Christ.”
Yup, sounds about right.
Oh, and one more thing. Jesus also said to his disciples, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Don’t forget that promise.
Basically, if you are doing things right then the world will definitely let you know it, but don’t be scared away. He who is with us is greater than they who are with them. Glorify God through standing firm.
The Pastor -|—
In John chapter 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. He hears that Lazarus is sick and then waits four days. Had he left earlier, Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying, but Jesus waits that God may be glorified. Upon arriving, Jesus meets Martha and then Mary ~ “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Upon asking where they have laid him, they say, “Come and see”. At this we have one of the most famous verses in the Bible, probably because of it’s brevity.
Question: Why did Jesus weep?
Jesus is the Son of God
Jesus can raise the dead
Jesus seemed to know that his delay would end in the dead of Lazarus
Jesus knows what he can do
So, why did Jesus weep?
I contend that Jesus is not weeping over the death of Lazarus but rather over the hopeless weeping that the others are doing. Do Mary and Martha not know Jesus well enough to know that he can raise Lazarus?
So Jesus raises Lazarus. He walks out of the tomb and he tells the people to unbind him. Word then begins to spread, much to the chagrin of the religious leaders. When you see people in hopeless despair, how do you show them Jesus? How do you show them that there is hope? How do you help people move from tears of despair to tears of Joy?
Just some thoughts. What say you?
The Pastor -|—