Bold Witnesses

Today is Ascension Sunday and thus I will be preaching on Luke 24:44-53. The following is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion with this context in mind. Stand firm for the Truth and never, ever shrink back in fear…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. You have shown us Your glory through Your son Jesus Christ.
You have opened our eyes to the Truth.
You have cradled us in Your arms.
You have given us hope.
Oh God, Creator and Redeemer, through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection we rest secure. My we live as bold witnesses of that Truth that others may come to know You as their Lord and God. May we not shrink back but stand firm; ready to die if called to do so. And so, since we have such a sure and certain hope we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Subpoenaed

Sunday, June 2 is Ascension Sunday and the text that I will be preaching on is Luke 24:44-53. The following is the opening paragraph of the sermon that God is laying on my heart. If you want the rest, you can now watch the sermon on our congregation’s website at: http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com.
The sermon should be posted next week sometime. In the mean time, here is a little sermon teaser for you…

Shortly before his ascension, Jesus issues a subpoena (You are witnesses to these things) to all who know the Father as revealed in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Subpoena is to testify to the Truth. It is not something that someone chooses. You don’t choose to be witness but rather you become one and thus are called and commanded to testify. Your testimony is not to be about your opinions or theories. You are not called to speculate or guess. You are called to testify to the Truth. The facts of the matter. And the facts are this, thus saith the Lord, Jesus has suffered and died and rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins. He has ascended and is seated on the right hand of the Father. He WILL come again to judge the living and the dead. Amen? These are the facts. Now, what say you?

Witnesses

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.
But rather…
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.

Speak!

Those days are done. The time of silence is over. The glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

The Word is being abused; twisted and contorted. Rewritten to fit the desires of the world. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

Firm, Word-standing Christians are being mocked. Hate-filled language is being hurled at us. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

People are lost and confused; searching for meaning. People are being mislead and deceived. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

Many church are conforming to the world. It’s leaders are preaching a false gospel. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

This slippery slope sliding culture is plunging faster and faster into oblivion. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

The Church is becoming more and more irrelevant. But the world cannot afford to miss our message, for the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, SPEAK!

The Pastor -|—

Brand New

Oh Lord,
You live in me and I in You,
and by Your grace, You don’t give what I’m due.
You heal and redeem;
You lift up and on You I lean.
You make alive,
and indeed I thrive.
Oh Lord,
Hear me as I cry out,
even as I often doubt.
Increase in me Your Spirit,
that I may shout of You and others hear it.
May I rejoice
and make noise.
May I show it
and others know it.
For You, oh Lord, live in me and I in You,
and by Your grace I am made brand new.

The Pastor -|—

Reveal

Father God,
I remember at Christmas how
the shepherds hurried from the manger
glorifying and praising You;
revealing Jesus birth to the world.
The wise men revealed Jesus
through their gifts of three.
During this season of Epiphany
may you reveal yourself to me,
through Jesus,
each and everyday
and beyond.
May I see Christ in others.
May I see you in all of creation.
May your light shine through my life.
And as I read your holy Word,
may your promises fly off the page
and into my heart;
revealing over and over again
the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Oh God,
I need constant remembers of your
love.
Continue to reveal Jesus to me.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Such a time

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” [Esther 4:14]

Haman has unleashed an evil plot to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom, but Mordecai finds out the plan. Upon his discovery he tells Queen Esther (a Jew herself) but she is unwilling to go and tell the king. You see, there is a law on the books that states: if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. (Esther 4:11) And at this point Esther had not been called in to see the king for 30 days. So Esther fears for her life. But Mordecai reminds Esther not to be so foolish to think that she will escape this judgement, besides, who knows whether she has been brought to a time such as this.

Long story short, Mordecai finally gets through and Esther agrees to help. She secures an audience with the king and Haman’s plot is revealed; where he is eventually hanged on the very gallows that he was going to hang Mordecai (the man who earlier saved the king’s life). God DID bring Esther to a time such as this and therefore millions of lives were saved.

Have you ever wondered what God is doing in your life? Have you ever wondered why you were in a certain place at a certain time? Have you ever wondered why you were called to suffer in a certain way? Well, maybe you were called to a certain place and time for such a time to bring glory to God. Maybe, just maybe, God had His reasons and was using you to do something special and amazing.

Esther’s story is pretty incredible and maybe God won’t call you to save millions of lives, but he might call you to save one. I believe in the depths of my heart that God calls us to moments to share the Gospel and with a particular person, in order to bring that person to faith. But how many times do we miss those moments or not trust God to be faithful. I also believe that God calls us to suffer in order that we may witness to others. What a powerful way to witness when you do so through suffering; a time when many people would curse God or turn away from God. What an opportunity to proclaim God’s love and faithfulness and the hope of the resurrection through Jesus Christ.  Maybe you have been called to such a time.

So instead of wondering why God is doing what He is doing or wondering why here, why now; just witness. Make the most of the opportunity and situation to bring glory to God. Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that through his death and resurrection you can have forgiveness of sins and thus eternal life. Live your faith and show your trust in God because who knows, someone might hear the Gospel for the first time and be saved.

And thus God using such a time for His glory.

May God open your eyes to see opportunities and may you have the faith to accept God’s call.

Praise be to God, always and forever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—