Psychologists tell us it’s one of childhood’s greatest fears. Where was he now? Crucified. Body stolen from the tomb. Absent from them in flesh and in spirit. There they were—sheep without a shepherd—children whose parents had abandoned them and left them to face the cold cruel world on their own.
These were not atheists or agnostics that Jesus had recruited. They were not religious scholars by any means, but they surely had some familiarity with the Psalms. They probably grew up reciting, “The Lord is my shepherd . . .” in their synagogues. They were familiar with Joshua and Moses and the other heroes of the Old Testament. They knew that the Lord was the Rock of their Salvation who would never forsake them.
Where was their faith now—the faith that had sustained them from the time they were infants?
There were other doors that were shut in those allegedly golden days of old when many of us were growing up. There were doors, for example, that were shut against people of other races. And sadly many church doors continue to be shut to certain folk. How tragic it is when fear, which is at the heart of any prejudice, shuts the doors of a church.
The angel’s admonition to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen puts the women who discovered the empty tomb in a precarious position, requiring them to have freedom and authority that their culture doesn’t permit them to have.
So, what would you advise them to do? Tell the disciples and risk everyone’s life? Act against everything their culture tells them about being a woman? Or play it safe and hold the information close so that it can’t be used against them?
According to Mark’s original ending, they chose to play it safe. “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
What kind of ending to a world-changing gospel is that?
Even the stones would shout
They’d cry your name aloud
Every bush, every tree
All the water in the sea
Even the rocks would sing
The coming of the King
Every brick in the wall
Would answer the call
Of the Savior who claims
All our fear and our doubt
Even the stones cry out
Even the stones cry out
“We want to see Jesus.” These words are frequently inscribed on pulpits, sometimes in view of only the preacher. That’s not a bad description of the purpose of preaching: to see Jesus. Yet seeing Jesus is not easy. Very few of the people who encounter Jesus really see him.
How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel like you are God’s handiwork? Do you feel you have within yourself the ability to be heroic? Do you feel you could change the world? Or are you satisfied to just get by? Are you satisfied doing as little as you possibly can to justify your existence?
God created us for more than just getting by.
Do you consider yourself a happy person? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not happy at all and 10 being happy and full of joy, how would you rate yourself? The Apostle Paul offers some advice on how we as followers of the Christ can be happy and joy filled Christians.
Frank Sinatra had a hit with the song My Way. Burger King ran a successful series of radio and television commercials during the 1970s with the slogan “Have it your way.” We tend to want to have things our way. Fortunately for us, God wants to make a deal.
What is your first thought when you see a rainbow? For the followers of the Christ the rainbow is so much more than sunlight refracting through water vapor. It is a reminder that no matter how disappointed may become with us, never again will the story of the great flood be repeated. The rainbow is God’s Covenant, a reminder of God’s love!
Have you ever been so tired you can't think straight? Our lives are hectic, to be sure. Our schedules are exhausting. No one’s life was any more hectic than Jesus’s. This Sunday, we will allow Jesus to show us the steps we need to take in caring for ourselves.
The sound of a voice can invoke a variety of emotional responses, from a sense of deep love, trust, peace and comfort to fear, anxiety, confusion, and even anger. What did the voice of Jesus sound like?
This Sunday, January 14, we will begin a two-part series titled “Listening With the Heart.” We will explore several questions over the next two Sundays:
- Does God still speak to today’s church?
- Is there a difference in hearing and listening?
- How do we equip ourselves to listen for the voice of God?
- How do we know it is God’s voice and not our own?
- Are we bold enough to respond to God when the word we hear God speaking is difficult?
These are just some of the questions we will answer as we reexamine Samuel’s call in 1 Samuel 3: 1-20. I invite you in preparation for this mini-series to reread this familiar text and intentionally listen for the voice of God.
Sunday, December 24th
5:00 Contemporary service led by Leap of Faith
7:30 Traditional service with the Chancel Choir, Clocktower Ringers, brass ensemble, and organist Matt McTeague
A single, combined worship service will be held on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 10:00 am.
How will we be judged? Will we be judged on the ‘bad’ things we do, or is it the ‘good’ things we fail to do?
Are you one that is always prepared, or are you a procrastinator? Jesus tells about the necessity of always needing to be prepared through the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids. What does preparation look like through the eyes of Jesus?
As we celebrate All Saints Sunday this week, we will celebrate 16 of God’s saints who have died in the last year. We will look at Matthew’s account of The Sermon On The Mount. Blessed are they who… Modern translations use the word “happy” instead of “blessed.” The sermon title is ‘Happy Are Those Who Mourn?’ We will examine how Christians can use happy and mourn in the same sentence!
If only, what if, I should have, I shouldn’t have… these are some of the saddest words heard at the end of one’s life. What changes must you make so life’s journey, even with all of its twists, turns, and detours, is a life well lived?
Once again, we woke up to the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, the worst in American history. Our faith in a loving, caring God can be threatened when faced with tragedy. This Sunday’s sermon is titled “Hanging On To Our Faith!” Is it enough to just hang on, or does God expect more from us who claim to be followers of the Christ?
What do you think? It is a question we are often asked. Our responses often reveal that we are not of like mind on many issues, including theology. In the parable for this Sunday, Jesus asked the religious elite "What do you think?" He asks us today that very question, "What do you think?" We explore 'what we think' when it comes to our salvation.