Repent

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!
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!
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.
REPENT!

Child of God, through Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
Isn’t that awesome!!!
Yes?
Now, REPENT…

Peace and Division

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 ESV]

Seems like a strange thing for Jesus to say. After all, isn’t he the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? When the disciples see him after his resurrection Jesus says, “Peace be with you“. So why would Jesus say something like this? Well, look carefully at what he says, Do you think that I have come to give peace ON EARTH? That’s the distinction. Here on earth, there will be division on account of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t come with the intent to divide people but rather knowing that the Gospel would do just that because people are sinners. In John 15, Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hates him they will hate them. And isn’t that the truth. Yet, many people are so afraid of division. Can’t we all just get along? I am all for getting along with people, but when it comes to the Gospel, we must stand firm. We must respect people. We must love people. We must listen to people. But when it comes to the Gospel, if division occurs, then so be it. It is better to be at odds with the world than with God. Amen? The Gospel will produce division. That we have seen, but don’t mistake what Jesus says. He IS still the Prince of Peace and he DOES give a peace that surpasses all understanding. Standing firm on God’s Word in Jesus name, you can have peace in the midst of division. May your witness then, bring peace to people who are at odds with the Gospel. Amen!

One Thing

[Inspired by Luke 10:38-42]

One thing and one thing only,
that is all that’s required,
for with Jesus the Savior,
You will never be lonely.

You don’t need to add to this.
No works, no deeds, no actions.
Jesus is all that you need,
To enjoy eternal bliss.

For God’s grace is sufficient.
There’s nothing else that’s needed.
Attempts to self-justify,
will always be deficient.

So focus your attention,
and away from your attempts.
Jesus has finished the work,
to release all your tension.

Faces

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.

But…

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.

Wanting Needs

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
[Psalm 23:1]

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.

Reprise/Revised: A Prayer Before Preaching

I have never done this before but I am re-posting a post. The following is a prayer I wrote on September 20, 2015. It is a post that I can tell people still visit, so I decided to read it again. And you know something, I needed this prayer.

You see, in the span of two weeks I get to preach 5 sermons: Midweek Lenten worship, funeral, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter. Five very different settings but with one very important purpose: The Gospel. And as a pastor and preacher, this is a task I take very seriously (as all preachers should). I don’t want to take any moment for granted. For to handle the Word of God flippantly is a dangerous thing. A messenger would never mess with a king’s message and so why would anyone take a lackadaisical approach to the Word of God; a message from our King. Too many pastors/preachers have tinkered with the King’s message and have deceived many. What a horrible thing to do. May I be found faithful with the King’s message.

And so, I pray this prayer — again — as I have four more sermons in this stretch of preaching. What an amazing opportunity to deliver my King’s message. Oh God, my King, hear my prayer…

To approach Your holy Word faithfully,
oh God and King,
is to do so with fear and trembling;
not only because it is Your holy Word,
but it convicts us of sin
through the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.
Your Word kills and gives life through Jesus Christ.
It convicts and redeems.
It’s alive.
It’s does something.

And so may I approach Your Word with great expectation;
leaning on Your promises
and joyfully basking in Your faithfulness.
May I toss off all that would hinder my hearing of Your Word;
fixing my eyes on You.
May I receive this Word with all joy,

handle it with care,
and proclaim Your glory.
May I embrace its transformative power
that gives courage in a fear-filled world.

Oh God and King
All glory, honor, worship and praise
be onto You,
through Christ Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

Belonging to Christ (Mark 9:41)

“For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.” [Mark 9:41]

The text for preaching on Sunday is Mark 9:38-41. And as I pray about and ponder this text I am caught by the phrase, “belong to Christ”.

And as I reflect on this phrase a few thoughts come to mind:
~ There is a big difference between Christ belonging to you and belonging to Christ.

~ Saying, “I’m a Christian” is not the same as belonging to Christ, often that simply reflects that Christ belongs to you.

~ If Christ belongs to you then you are in control of the relationship.

~If you belong to Christ, He is in control of the relationship, and you’re glad about that.

~ Belonging to Christ implies commitment and love.

~ Christ belonging to you implies manipulation.

~ If Christ belongs to you then you are less apt to share that which belongs to you.

~ If you belong to Christ you are more apt to shout this from the mountains tops and worship him.

Just a few thoughts as I prepare for the sermon on Sunday. What do you think? Does anything here resonant with you? What does it mean to you to say, “I belong to Christ”?

Here’s what it means to me:
Jesus is Lord of my life. He has saved me through his death and resurrection and therefore I owe him everything; especially including my very life. On my own I am weak and vulnerable but under Christ’s Lordship I am safe in his loving arms. But that’s not why I gather under his wings like chicks with a hen. I am drawn to Christ because of his awesome love for me; a love that I know will never fail despite the fact that I am a miserable sinner. And so therefore, I worship Christ and praise his name. I belong to Christ and gladly submit to him.

Now you’re turn…

Holy Father, thank you for coming to us in Jesus Christ. My life is yours. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

The Pastor -|—