Sermon Teaser ~ THE Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[Matthew 28:16-20]

A little sermon teaser for tomorrow. Here’s the opening paragraph…

The Great Commission as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew is the great “what now” of the Christian faith. It is the imperative for the one who, through the Holy Spirit, has come to faith in Jesus Christ as THE Lord and Savior. The Great Commission is the marching orders for the Church in this dark, sin-filled world. But before you start thinking, “Here we go again, another get-out-there-and-share-your-faith sermon” remember, this Great Commission, given by Jesus, is more than that. This Commission contains a claim, a command and a promise. This Commission should elicit in you a “Well duh” type of response because this Commission describes what the follower of Jesus already joyfully does. And so, as you hear more about this Commission, remember what came before; Jesus Christ crucified, died and risen for you. All grace. All promise. All Good News. And if that is true for you, then what comes next is indeed, “Well, Duh. Why wouldn’t we go and say something.”

May God bless me with the Holy Spirit as I finish this message that I may in turn bring glory to God.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon Brainstorming

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[Matthew 28:18-20]

This coming Sunday (June 11), I am preaching on the above stated passage; a passage that many of you know well. The following are my top ten thoughts thus far:

(1) Jesus has ALL authority, not just some or a lot. (See Daniel 7:13-14)
(2) Our obedience to the command to “Go” is based on the authority of the one giving the command. If I were to command you to show me your driver’s license, you might laugh at me, but if a police officer made that command after a traffic stop, you would comply.
(3) Jesus said “Go“, not “Stay and wait for people“.
(4) Make disciples, not members.
(5) We are to be about Kingdom building not kingdom building.
(6) Jesus said, “all nations“; all people, not just the ones you like and/or comfortable with.
(7) Discipleship making comes through proclaiming the Gospel not threats from the Law.
(8) Follow up from #7: People follow Jesus out of thankfulness and love, not fear of punishment.
(9) Once a follower, teach people what Jesus has commanded. No one and done; bang-them-over-the-head-and-leave evangelism.
(10) Does this sound overwhelming? No worries, Jesus will be with you always, to the end of the age.

As I said, these are the thoughts running around in my head and heart. A lot of sermons here so don’t worry, Living Word, I won’t dump this whole load on you at once 🙂

O.K., back to sermon prep…

The Pastor -|—

Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
[Psalm 118:24]

There is much in this life in which to be depressed.
There is much in this life in which to be angry.
There is much in this life in which to be frustrated.

I recently read a blog post (I won’t get into details as they aren’t important here) that made me frustrated. Nearly ever day I watch/read something in the news that makes me roll my eyes. Each morning I wake up in some degree of back pain as I deal with arthritis. There is much in this life in which to complain.

But…

…there is much in this life is which to rejoice.

Namely?

God made this day.
God is in charge.
God has redeemed this creation through Jesus Christ.
God has created you for a purpose.
God is sovereign.

When one reflects on that (and the many other truths that could be written) how can one’s heart not rejoice?

This is indeed the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it 🙂

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

Sermon teaser ~ The world’s “Psalm 23”

The following is a work in progress as I talk about those that enter the sheepfold by anyway other than the Door (Jesus). This is “Psalm 23” as told by those who would deceive the sheep; stealing them away and thus leading them to be killed and destroyed.

A lord will be your shepherd
you shall not want because you will have lots of stuff.
He makes you lie down in luscious homes
with big fences so you will be at peace.
He will cause you to be happy.
He leads you in paths of success
for your name’s sake and for your heirs.
Even though you will walk among those who would oppose you,
you will fear no one,
for your many friends will give you meaning;
and thus you will live in comfort.
Your enemies will be defeated
for you will be among the privileged
and therefore your cup will overflow with fortune.
Surely success and money and fame
will follow you all the days of your life
and you will dwell in the biggest house in your neighborhood
(until you die).

Scary how true this is for many.

The Pastor -|—

Walking

Lord Jesus,
you have not called me to walk with you
but,
to walk as you would walk,
to live as you would live,
to love as you would love,
to forgive as you would forgive.

You have called me
to shine a light in this world,
to speak THE truth into darkness,
to live with abandon,
to trust with my whole life.
Lord Jesus,
you have given me an example,
you have shown me the Way,
you have promised me the Helper,
you have prepared a place for me.

Lord Jesus,
after all you have done,
after all you have said,
how is it that I could possibly be afraid?
How is it that I could possibly hold back?
How is it that I could possibly let a opportunity drift by?
How?

Lord Jesus,
increase my faith.
Draw me closer.
Show me more of you.
Make me more holy.

Lord Jesus,
you have called me.
May I walk by faith.
May I walk with boldness.

The Pastor -|—

Not Beaten Down

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
[Psalm 42:11]

Isn’t this something we need to hear each and every day?
Isn’t this something we need to remember?
Isn’t this something we need to lift up our soul?
Isn’t this something we need to encourage us along the way?

I don’t know about you, but I can feel discouraged from time to time. I can get frustrated with what I see around me. I can feel beaten down by the forces of the evil one. I can feel defeated.

But…

…the psalmist reminds us of our hope. Though you may feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, we have a hope to which to cling.  He says, “…for I SHALL again praise him…” Did you see that? Read it again, We SHALL praise him again; for our salvation is a sure and certain thing in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Satan rejoices when we feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, but instead of allowing Satan to rejoice, let us rejoice in our Lord; who has already beaten down Satan through the cross and the empty tomb.

So take courage and praise GOD; our salvation through Jesus; for Satan has nothing on you.

Oh God, when Satan comes at me and beats me down, remind me of your Son, Jesus Christ, who has already beaten down Satan. May I not wallow in defeat but rather in the victory I have through faith. All praise and worship be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Post-Easter Thankfulness

The Pastor is on vacation.

I am currently resting with family and friends; relaxing and reflecting on another Lenten and Easter season and the verdict is in:

It was good.

Notice that I did NOT say (with a sense of relief):

It is finished.

The jokes are out there, you see, that pastors are so shot after Easter that they feel like crawling into and curling up in Jesus’ empty tomb for a while.

“Don’t talk to me for a few days.”

I don’t feel that way. I feel energized and content and happy and filled. No, I didn’t take a 46 day vacation between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s just that the congregation I serve with, served together and thus I don’t feel drained but filled. I gave it my all but was never disconnected from the True Vine. I am not bragging but just thankful. I led worship and preached twice a week, but also worshiped and listened to what I was saying. Lent was refreshing, not life-draining.

And this is the way it should be. Looking back at a season that focuses on our mortality and sinfulness; worshiping while reflecting on Jesus’ last moments and death on a cross and then seeing an empty tomb and then hearing that proclamation: HE HAS RISEN! How can one not feel energized and thankful and joyful.

It is (indeed) finished and I am (indeed) thankful; thankful that Jesus finished what he came to do. Thankful that I have the hope of the resurrection. Thankful that I have been refreshed and ready for another season.

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.

Holy God,
You have refreshed me
through this Lenten and Easter season.
You have reminded me
who we are and whose I am.
You have shown me the extent of Your love.
May I cling to this Truth.
May I dwell in Your love.
May I proclaim this Good News.
May I continue to know Jesus better.
Oh God,
You are an awesome God.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The (thankful) Pastor -|—