Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ordinary Time: Monday, July 31, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 24:16-33

This is the famous passage where Joshua tells the people to choose who they will serve, but he and his house will serve the Lord.

We too, must choose who we will serve. It is not enough for us to want to serve God. It was not enough for us to have wanted to go to church yesterday. Did you? It is not enough for us to want to read the Word. Do you? It is not enough for us to want to serve God. Will you?

Joshua said, choose who you will serve. Will you serve God or will you serve the world. Will you obey Jesus, or will you obey yourself. Far too often we want to do right, and we mistake that "wanting" for actual obedience. Today, do you want to serve God? Then do it.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 16:1-16

This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. You may look at it and say, but it's just a bunch of names. And, that is right, it is just a bunch of names.

But, these names meant something to Paul. They were individuals that had helped him, that make up the church. These names are those that help Paul do what God had called him to.

None of us stand alone. We stand with God, but we also stand with our brothers and sisters. Today, Paul reminds us of that. None of us got to this point in our faith by ourselves. Yes, we had to make choices and we had to follow, but there were teacher and preachers, mothers and fathers, all that helped us to get to this point.

Paul knew he did not stand by himself, rather he stood will all of those that had helped him to that point. So do you and I.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 27:24-31

Pilate had a choice. He could make the right choice, or the easy choice. He choose the easy choice. Now, this was all part of God's plan, but Pilate could have released Jesus. He could have stood for something. Instead, he make the easy choice and had Jesus crucified.

Today, we have choices to make. We can be like Pilate and make the choice that will allow us to fit in with the world. Or, today, we can make that hard choice to obey Jesus in all that we do. We may stand out, we may look different. But, we will be alive.

Today, you will choices. Will you make the easy choice, or will you make the right choice?

Memphis Blogging

We are here for vacation this week. Going to go watch the Memphis Redbirds play (my wife loves the St. Louis Cardinals, she even likes their farm teams!), and take our daughter to the zoo and the children's museum.

And read. Lots of reading!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Remember Marceline Luke today in your prayers as she goes for surgery.

I wanted to share with the last verse to one of my favorite hymns by Charles Wesley, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
I love this notion of the hymn at we are saved to be made new. We are not saved to be the same. Finish thy new creation. We are saved by our loving God so that we can be different than we used to be.

Today, if you claim to be a Christian, are you different than you were when you were saved? Are you allowing God's grace to daily work on you to make you into that new creation? Are spending time in prayer, allowing His grace to work? Are you spending time in the Word, allowing His grace to work? Are you spending time with His people, allowing His grace to work?

Jesus Christ did not come so that we could stay the same. He came to make us new. Finish then thy new creation. In each of us, may He finish His new creation and may we be restored and remade into His image.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ordinary Time: Thursday, July 27, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 9:3-21

When I worked at a bookstore between college and seminary we did something every time we checked in new books. We had to make sure they had the correct price. If someone picked up a book that was supposed to be $20 but we had it marked for $.20, we had to sell it to them for 20 cents. That is what the price was marked as, so that is what we sold it far. We made sure things were marked correctly, or we did get in trouble.

All we have in life is our word. If folks can't trust us to do what we say we will do, what are we really worth. Today, the Israelites were tricked. They were fooled. They had every right to be mad and angry. But, they stood by their word. Even though they could have broken the treaty, they kept their word.

Today, or this week, or next week, something will happen you don't like. It may be at work. It may be at church. It may be in your family. But, when that time comes, will you be true to your promises, true to your vows, true to you word? As Christians, we must be true to what we say we will do and who we say that we are. God is true to us, we must be true to others.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 15:1-13

Paul said that those that are strong should "put up with" the failings of the weak. Sometimes we want everyone to be perfect. We can get upset at work when our coworkers don't do things the way we'd like it. We can get frustrated when our children and grandchildren don't do things that we'd like it. Folks can and do make mistakes. Each of us are imperfect.

So, what we must do is that we must remember that we once too were new at somethings, we were younger. Once, we made the same mistakes. Once, we made foolish decisions. This is not to say that is is alright to do dumb things. But, we must remember that we once did dumb things as well. But, hopefully, we have learned and grown from them.

So, if we see someone doing something that we know they should not, we should not simply say it is not right, but we should stand against it. But, we must also show them a better way. We must not just stand against evil; we must teach good. It is not just enough for us to be against everything, we must be for something. We should condemn evil, we must teach good.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 26:69-75

And, we see the failings of Peter at this moment. He denied Jesus 3 times. He failed Him in this moment of need. But, we must remember that this is not the end of Peter's story. The same Peter that denied Jesus here was the same Peter that preached at Pentecost when thousands were saved. The difference was the power of the Holy Spirit that was in him. We like Peter because he made lots of mistakes like we do. But, Peter didn't give up, and he allowed God to work through him. Do we do the same. Let us not just imitate Peter in making mistakes, but let us imitate Peter by letting God's Holy Spirit work through us in powerful ways.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 8:30-35

In this passage you see the people standing between two mountains. Moses puts forth a choice in the law. They can choose to obey God and receive His blessings and that is represented by one mountain, or they can choose to disobey and that is represented by the other.

The people then have a choice. Will they obey or disobey? Will they be faithful or unfaithful? Will the receive God's blessings or curses? Which road will they choose. This is reenacted in this passage to remind the people of their choice.

We too have the same choice. Will we obey or disobey? We have a choice each day. Will we be faithful or unfaithful. Every day, today included, we have a choice. Today, which road will you choose?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 14:13-23

We see in passage that as Christians we have a responsibilities to others. If the way I live causes others to stumble, then I should change. Today, do your coworkers and friends see you as Christian? If so, in the way you live, do you honor or dishonor Christ? If we are living in such a way that causes others to stumble, according to this passage, we should change our lives, for we must not allow others to stumble because of our actions.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 26:57-68

We see in the passage the beginning of the trial where our Lord gave Himself for our salvation. Never forget what He endured for our sake. Never forget the slaps, the abuse, the betrayal, the blood, the sweat, the tears He shed for you and me.

He gave all for us; for our forgiveness and for our lives. In our lives, do we give Him all, or do we merely given Him just a little. He must be Lord of all of that we are. Only in making Him Lord of our lives can we find the life that we truly need.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ordinary Time: Monday, July 24, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 7:1-13

We see in this passage that the people are defeated not because of their inability to fight, but they are defeated because one of their own had sinned against God and done the very thing God had told him not to do.

This shows us that sin does not just affect the individual, sin affects everyone. The sin in your life, can separate you not just from God, but from you family, your children, you church. Sin tears you from all that is precious. Think of the times in your life when you dead in your sin (maybe that time is right now). And think of how you relationships with others suffered.

I've had so many people tell me that the happiest times in their lives where when they were in church, when they were faithful, when they were obedient. Yet, sin tears us from that. Today, are you happy and at peace with God and neighbor? If not, what sin is there in your life that may be tearing you apart from these things?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 13:8-14

I've been preaching through the 10 Commandments on Sunday night at church and I must have been thinking about this passage last night, because I shared that if we love God and love neighbor then we will be keeping the 10 Commandments. If we love our neighbor as our self, then we will not do hurtful things to them, we will love and value them; take care of them. We will not steal, lie, or cheat.

It is the times that we don't love our neighbor as our self that we break the commandments. And, this isn't rocket science. This is basic stuff. We all know right from wrong, we all know when we are doing harm to our neighbor; we all know when are doing things that we should not be done. The key is simply to not do it.

Christianity is not complicated. It is just hard to do. That is why we can't do it; apart from the grace of God. If you try to do it today by yourself, you will fail. But, through the grace of God, all things are possible.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 26:36-46

We see here those famous words of our Lord, not my will by thine. That should be our prayer each day of our lives. Jesus not only knew God's will, He obeyed it. In our lives, there are times when we don't know what God's will is. There are others times, though, when we know God's will, we just don't obey.

Today, in the places where you know God's will, do you obey?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ordinary Time: Friday, July 21, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 4:19-5:1, 10-15

We see in each passage today that is the Lord that is leading and deserves the praise. So often in life we are the ones that feel as though we deserve the praise. My daddy used to say we all want to see our name in lights.

But, we must remember that all the good gifts we have in life come from God. And the successes we have in life come through the grace of God. Even the hard work we do in life comes only through the fact that the Lord has given us the health and motivation to work to our fullest. He deserves all the praise and glory. We are merely His workmanship, shinning forth so He can receive worship and praise.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 12:9-21

We see Paul's simple instruction today. Do good. In all that you do today, do good. He ends this passage by saying do not be over come by evil but overcome evil with good. By doing simple acts of goodness, we can overcome evil. Evil in the end, will lose. Each act of goodness, each act of mercy, each act of kindness; through these things, we over come evil.

My man John Wesley put it like this:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 26:17-25

We see that even one so close as a disciple betrayed Jesus. While our first thought when we think about Judas is to think what a bad guy he is, maybe our second through should be, "how do I betray my Lord, just as he did?"

Yes, it is easy to heap scorn upon Judas. But, it is much harder to look within our own lives to see the ways that betray our Lord with our words, our actions, out thoughts our unfaithfulness. . .

How do we betray the one that loves us so? In what ways should we repent and be more of who God has called us to be?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ordinary Time: Thursday, July 20, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 3:14-4:7

The Lord instructed the people to take these stone and place them in a place where the children could see them. And, when the children ask what they are for, the can retell the story of God's salvation.

Do your children or grandchildren ask you about God? Do they see the way that you live and ask you about it? Or does they way that you live in front of your children even bring God to mind? Do you talk with your children about God? The Old Testament assumes that we will. It says, this will happen.

We teach our children about ball, college, activities and everything else. Are our lives stones that they can see that can then cause them to learn about God? Or is the no evidence of God in our lives, and so they have nothing to ask?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 12:1-8

This is Paul's great statement on what we should be like. We are not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by God. Notice how this happens, with the renewing of our minds. So much sin starts in the mind, and then works its self forth into our lives.

We are to make Jesus the Lord of our minds. Today, what impure thoughts pass through? What temptations? What hateful thoughts? We will all be tempted. We will all have these things come though. What do you do then? Do you allow them to take root in your mind? Or do you turn them over to Jesus. Until He is Lord of our minds; Lord of our thoughts, He cannot be Lord of all of us. Today, don't conform to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 26:1-16

Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. What do we betray Him for? To conform to the world? The approval of peers? The praise of the world. Judas betrayed our Lord for money. Each time we deny, we betray. Each time we disobey, we betray. Each time we live like world instead of as we should as Christians, we betray.

Judas betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. What about you and me?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 2:15-24

She of course is Rahab. Bless her heart, she hadn't led the best life up to this point. She was a prostitute, she was an outcast. She was the kind of person that if she came to church, we may think, what is she doing here?

But, she was the one that helped the children of God in this time. She was also the one that was remembered in the hall of faith, Hebrews 11. Up to this point in her life, she had done nothing that would make you think she deserved such an honor. What she did at this point was that she was faithful.

God can forgiven anyone. God can save anyone. There is no sin to big, no stain too deep that God can't forgive and can't clean. When those of us that are "good church people." Doubt whether that nasty sinner can be saved, remember, we are not doubting the sinner, we are doubting God's grace.

And also remember, we were once that nasty sinner ourselves. But for the grace of God, we still would be. For, none of us were born Christian, we all had to at some point in our lives make a decision to follow Christ. At some point, we are all separated from God. Because we have been there, we should do all that we can to make sure that all come to that knowledge of Jesus Christ.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 11:13-24

Let us never think more of ourselves than we ought. Paul reminds us today that we were grafted into God. And if God did not spare others, why are we so proud to think that He would spare us? He says we should not stand proudly, but with awe at what God has done for us. The worst mistake that we can make is to think that we deserve our salvation; to think that we have earned it. None of us, no matter how much good we have done (and I'm not talking about just coming to church on occasion) none of us deserve anything but God's judgement.

That's why its called grace. We don't deserve it. It is a gift. It is given for our salvation and for our growth in Christ. Today, stand in humility and thanks, for out God has lavished amazing grace upon us. Charles Wesley put it like this in his great hymn And Can it be That I Should Gain

Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 25:14-30

There are so many ways we could approach this parable. But, my favorite may also be the simplest. All that we have has been given to us by God for His glory. If we do not use it, He will take it and give it others. Be it musical talent, speaking talent, financial resources, whatever. If we as people, and if we as churches bury what our Lord has given us, He will take it and give it to someone that will use it for His glory.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Good article, good people

Joe Lawson served my home church, Johnston Chapel UMC, for several years and this past Annual Conference moved to a new appointment.

Well, what do you know but I log onto the Memphis Commercial Appeal and see this great article about Joe and Anita and their new appointment.

Stop by and read it and learn about their testimony and their about their ministries.

Ordinary Time: Monday, July 17, 2006

Sorry this is late and short. My daughter, because she loves me, has decided to share her cold with. We are a very caring family.

"You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work."

John Wesley

This was Wesley instructed his preachers to be about. The only job in life was to see the lost come to salvation. That makes good sense, because that's what we preachers are supposed to be about, right? One additional note. Most of Wesley's preachers were lay folks; they had jobs and families and were not in the "full time" ministry. He tells them, yes, there are things you are supposed to be about, but your job is to see souls saves.

Friends, if you are a Christian, then today, that is your most important task. Yes, we have other responsibilities and concerns, but our life's work is supposed to be about seeing the lost come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ordinary Time: Friday, July 14, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Deuteronomy 31:7-13, 24, 32:1-4

Yesterday, we saw that God was preparing Joshua to continue the work of Moses. Today, we see Moses do the same. He knew that the people trusted him, and a good word from him to the people would increase the desire to follow Joshua.

John Maxwell says that the thing that is that the core of leadership is influence. Now, you may be thinking, but Andy, I'm not a leader. Maybe, maybe not. But, whatever you status, if you are a Christan, you have influence. Your words influence others. You life influence others. Your attitudes influence others.

Folks are watching us and how we live is not just a reflection on ourselves, our family, but also our God. Moses made sure the people respected Joshua. Do we live in such a manner that people see our respect and love for God? Or by the way that we live, do we tell people that we really don't take God seriously.

Folks are watching. What does our life say? What do our words say?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 10:1-13

We the great difference between the law and grace today. The law says that we can do it. We can keep it. We can uphold it. Grace says, we can't do it without God. Grace says, that through God, and God alone, can we do any of this.

That is the point "faith alone." This great truth of Christianity shows us that we cannot do it on our own. We can't. You can't be good enough. You can't earn it. You can't undo your sins. You are forgiven! You don't have to struggle with things gone! You can live in grace! You can know love!

And then, grace through faith empowers us to live. We cannot keep the law. But, God, working through us, can do all things. We we do it alone? No. But, through God's grace, we can do more than we can ever know or imagine.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 24:15-31

There are many that will attempt to mislead the faithful. Believe me, you can look on the internet and find false prophets in a manner of seconds. You can find them on TV. You can find them on the radio. There are many that will attempt to mislead the body.

That is why we have to know the Word for ourselves. That is why we must have a personal walk with Jesus. We must know for ourselves. Those that are lead astray are those that are depending upon others for their beliefs. Friends, we must know truth for ourselves. We must not depend upon the word of others,we must, we must, know for ourselves.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

OK, one last one

I must stop looking on Youtube for Ole Miss stuff and go to bed

More good stuff

Better than coffee. . .

If this doesn't fire you up, nothing will!

Ordinary Time: Thursday, July 13, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Deuteronomy 3:18-28

We see a couple of things here. God was beginning the process of equipping Joshua to take Moses place. Moses had served God for many years and it one of the saints of the Bible. But, he would not live forever here upon the earth. The torch must be passed. And, God was making a plan for that.

All of us are important to God, and all of us have a mission and a unique gift and calling from God. But, we are not the end all and be all of Christianity. Long after I'm gone, there will be ministry being done. I'm just a vessel that God uses, and then when my time has come, I will pass from life to true life, but here upon the earth, God's work will continue. I tell folks at church this; Coy was here before I got here, it will be here after I leave. God's work was bigger than Moses, and God's work is bigger than you or me.

In spite of the fact that Moses would not make it across the river, God allows him to see the promised land. While God's work is bigger than any of us; He does reward His servants for their work.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 9:19-33

We see at the end of this passage that key truth. Righteousness comes through faith. We can strive after it all that we want through our actions and deeds, but true righteousness from God comes from our faith and trust in Him.

Our hearts must be right first. Our love for Him must come first. All the acts of religion, all the faithful rituals of our church, all of these things are meaningless without a heart that is in love with Jesus Christ.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 24:1-14

The one truth that those that endure, they will gain the victory. Jesus doesn't promise us a bed of roses. He doesn't say that we won't have to deal with trouble and pain. But, He did promise that He would be there and these temporary troubles will not last. For He will return. We affirm that each Sunday in the Apostle's Creed. We have hope that this world is not the end, and the troubles that we endure here will not last forever. So, hang on!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Numbers 35:1-3, 9-15, 30-34

We see in this passage the institution of the cities of refuge. If you were to accidental kill another person, you could flee here so that you would not be killed by their families in an act of vengeance.

There are consequences for sin, but there is also forgiveness for sin. While this person that killed another will face punishment, it was to be a punishment that measured up the crime. Notice, the Lord says in this text that they should not defile the land with their actions and their vengeance.

Vengeance is the Lord's not try to take His place and pour at that vengeance, no matter how deserved we feel as thought it may be. We are to be "grace-filled" people. We are to walk and talk and live mercy filled lives. Now, justice will come, consequences will come, but we should be carefully not seek to pour out our vengeance upon others. God sees all and knows all and is the one that sits upon the throne. He calls us to be merciful, but also to know that sin has consequences.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:31-39

Maybe my favorite passage in all the bible. Nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing, nothing in life, nothing in death. For the Christian, for the one that loves and serves God, His love is always there. The only thing that can separate you from God's love is. . . you. Your sin can. You actions can.

This things don't really separate us from God's love, more like they blind us to it. It is always there; we just don't always pay attention. Sin blinds us to the point were we can't see. We can't realize that God is there.

Today, know that He loves you! Nothing can separate you from it! Do you see His great love for you! Do you see. It is all around. Open your eyes! It is right there in front of you even now.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 23:13-26

These are maybe Jesus' harshest words in all the Gospel. This is his indictment of the Pharisees. Here it is; they were more interested in looking religious than in serving God.

Is that His indictment of us? Are more more interested in looking Christian than being Christian? God wants our hearts. That is what He demands. Today, does it He have yours, or are you just going through the motions of appearing to be Christian. He wants you to know Him and serve Him. Today, are you really seeking Him, or are you just playing religious?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ordinary Time: Monday, July 10, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Numbers 32:1-6, 16-27

We see here in this passage folks making promises to the Lord. And Moses tells them, if you are true to your word, you will be blessed. However, if you break your word to God, your sin will be found. Our promises to God are not a trifling thing. Our promises to God are not something to be taken lightly. If we have promised God that we will do something, we had best about doing it.

I've asked this question to my folks in sermons before, and I ask it you now, what if God kept His promises to you in the same manner that you kept your promise to Him? Could you count on Him to be true? So often, we do not keep our word to God. Now, thankfully, God is always true to His word. We should aspire to be like God, true to our word. True to our promises to God, and to each other. God is faithful to us. Can we say the same about ourselves?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:26-30

It is only when we acknowledge our weakness that we can find God's strength. It is only when we admit that we cannot do it; that we are not strong enough; that we cannot save ourselves, then and only then do we find God's graces.

The irony is that God's grace is always there. Our eyes are just too blind to see it. We must humble ourselves, we must realize that we need God. We must come to Him in our weakness. But, when we come in that manner, He gives us strength.

You cannot be strong enough today for all of your challenges. But, God can. And through the power of His strength, you can overcome. On your own, you can't. But, with God, all things are possible.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 23:1-12

We see that truth of the New Testament Lesson in this passage. Jesus shows us that the religious of His day; they were doing their acts to be seen. They loved being seen as religious, being seen as holy, being seen as perfect. And, in that, that is their reward.

True religion is done for the eyes of God, not the eyes of others. True faithfulness is done for the eyes of God, not for the eyes of others. We must see to be truly religious, not just seeking to appear to be religious. The only praise that matters is hat of God. The only reward that matters is that given of God. The only recognition that matters is that at the end when God says, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Today, do you live more mindful of the eyes of men, or the eyes of God?

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, had to figure a few things out. I will channel Dr. Barry Bryant, my Methodist proff at seminary and tell you what I figured out in numbered format.
  1. For some reason the BibleGateway links weren't going through right. I used the official NIV site the other day and had the same problem So, I decided to use the Oremus Bible Browser as the Bible link for a while. We'll see how it works. It will be the NRSV version, but that's ok.
  2. This blog and these devotions started out as my own personal reflections each morning. I found, thought, that they began to become more about the folks reading it than about my own personal devotions. Not that is a bad thing, necessarily. But, I wasn't received what I needed out of my devotional time.
  3. I thought about stopping posting, but while I am no blogging superstar like Bro. Greg, I felt like these were a good thing, and I have heard lots of good feedback from folks within my church.
So, I decided to continue doing what I've been doing, in the way I've been doing it; and then do some different things for my own soul. I really do enjoy the blogging, and I think that others enjoy my thoughts.

This was a long way of saying that while some things have changed, nothing has changed. Carry on now, nothing to see here!

Ordinary Time: Thursday, July 6, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Numbers 23:11-26

Balaam is one of the more interesting stories in all the Bible. Here's a guy that is going to pay him to simply curse the Israelites, and he cannot not. He simply speaks what God has him to say. He can't help it. God's word just comes out of him.

How often to do block God's word from coming out of us? We think of so many other things we'd rather do than speak for God. We think of the consequences. We think of what others will think. We of all of these things, and then we quietly pass up the opportunity to speak for God.

Balaam did not. He was not a man of great character. But, he spoke for God when God commanded it. Can you and I say the same thing?

New Testament Lesson

Romans 8:1-11

If we are in Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation. For Jesus did for us what the law could not. He has saved us, He has made us His own. If we believe upon Him, we have no reason to keep dragging up old sins, old failures. We are forgiven. Through Christ, there is no condemnation. Through Jesus, we can approach God. Through the blood of Jesus, we are at peace with the Father, we are one with God, we can love and serve and laugh and cry as forgiven children of God!

How much do we have to be thankful for? How much joy should we have? There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. Friends, through Christ, we are set free!

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 22:1-14

We see that God's invitation is open to all. All can come. All are welcome. All can be saved. There is not a person in this world that cannot be saved by the work of Jesus Christ. But, we all see that not all will come. We see that same reject the message out right. There are those that do not care that Jesus died for them. There are those that would rather life a sinful life. There are those that for whatever reason will not come.

And then, there are those that accept the invitation, but never fully change. These are the ones that come the wedding, like others, but are not dressed as they should be. Now, Jesus is not talking about wearing blue jeans in church, He's talking about the ones that never fully change their inside. They are the ones that may look faithful, but inside, they are the same, they have never really accepted Him; they have never fully made Him their Lord.

All are invited, but not all come. Many will come, but not all will change. Do, have you heeded God's invitation? And if so, have you fully accepted? Have you changed your garment from your sin stained clothes, to the white robe of Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Jars of Clay/The Passion

Looking around Youtube today and found this great video.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Ordinary Time: Monday, July 3, 2006

Old Testament Lesson

Numbers 22:1-21

We see in this passage that there are forces working against God's will and they will do anything they can to gain victory. Paul says that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of evil in the world. As Christians, we must realize that there are powerful spiritual forces at work against God, against the Church, and against God's people. The Devil would love it if you did not take this seriously, or just think that this is something that we preachers think about. CS Lewis put it like this this:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

Today, as you try to be faithful to God in all that you do, there will come temptation, there will come problems, their will come all of these things that try to to take your mind off of God. Do not let them. That is what the evil one wants. Realize today, that there is a spiritual war going on all around you, like it or not. Realize that there are forces that would long to destroy you and destroy God's work in you. Do not let them. Remember, in the power of God, we can stand. But, only in His power can we stand, not in our own.

New Testament Lesson

Romans 6:12-23

Paul says today that we are slaves to righteousness. That means that we don't live for ourselves. We are tempted to think in that life that do what we want to do, and that is all that matters. As Christians, this is not so. We are not put here to live for ourselves, we are put here to live for God.

We are slaves to righteousness. That means, if you are a Christian, you are bound to obey God. He is your master. You are not your own master. If you are living for yourself, and yourself alone, you really need to look within your own life, for a Christian cannot live for themselves; they live for God.

Today, who are you living for?

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 21:12-22

Notice, the teachers of the law were not praising God for healing, they were upset about what was being said. The children were saying things that they didn't want to hear, so they did not notice the miracles that Jesus Christ was doing.

Sometimes, aer we so upset about trivial things that we miss the miracles God is performing? Do we sometimes focus on things that don't matter and miss the power of God. Do we pay more attention to earthly slights than we do to heaven blessings? Are we more upset over an accidental word than a person saved? The teachers of the law didn't like what was being said, and they missed God's work in their midst.

Yesterday at church, were you more focuses on things that didn't matter, or upon worshiping God? (Notice, I assumed you were at church. If you are a Christian, you should be with God's people on Sunday.) Yesterday at church, were you paying more attention to trivial things, or the preaching of the Word? The teachers of the law are not the only folks that can miss what God is doing because they are paying attention to things that aren't the most important.