Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sermon Podcasting

I've got my sermons and Sunday School Lessons now podcasted through iTunes.  You can go and listen to my sermons by clicking here or you can subscribe to my podcast through iTunes by clicking here.  

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

One of the constant refrains of Job's story is that he does not know why these things have happened to him.  In his day, if something bad happened to you, then the people you must have caused it to happen.  So, for everyone around him, all the calamities means that Job must have done something terrible. 

But, Job knew that he hadn't. And, from reading the text, we know as well.  And, that may be the most powerful lesson we can learn from Job. When something bad happens, it's not God "out to get us."  He wasn't out to get Job. When tragedy comes, the amazing thing about God is that He can bring something out of it. But, don't believe that God is doing things to "get you."  He loves you.  That's not how it works.  

New Testament Lesson

We see that when God did these great things through Peter, many believed. That's the power of an action.  Now, maybe today you and I will not raise the dead or heal the sick, but through kindness, through love, through forgiveness, through grace, through all our actions, perhaps someone will come to believe. When we love and serve, when we live the Christian life, God is at work, and others may come to believe.  

Gospel Lesson

Peter puts it plainly. When others started turning away, Jesus looked to the 12. Will you to leave?  And Peter replied, where else could we go?  The Christian life is not always easy.  It's not a bed of roses.  It will be hard. There will be challenges. There will be trials. 

But where else can we go?  Where else will find life?  Only through Jesus. Today, in this day, know that He is the one that we turn to, in the good and in the bad. And it is in Him that we find life.  

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ordinary Time: Monday, August 25, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

We see the first of Job's friends begin to speak. And, all of them mean well. They are trying to comfort Job, they are trying to be a friend, help out, do what they can for him. But, it is what they say that they get in trouble. Today, the first friend basically says that the things that have happened to Job are God's way of punishing him. But, Job knows this is not true. He knows that he has done nothing to cause this to happen, and he just doesn't understand why. 

Sometimes the thing the Bible teaches us is what not to do. In the conversation between Job and his friends, the Bible teaches us that perhaps the wise thing to do something is just be a friend, be present, be there when you are needed, but not worry so much about saying something.  We remember those that are there with us in our hour of need.  What is said is not as important.  

Let us focus on being their for those that need us, whenever that may be.  

New Testament Lesson

What was said about Paul in this text, isn't that the greatest thing that can be said about someone?  Weren't you the one that used to do. . . . whatever it was.  And now, you are doing. . .   Paul was the one persecuting the church.  He was the one that was working against what God was doing.  Now, he was the one preaching.  He was the one teaching.  Now instead of trying to stop the Gospel, he's trying to spread the Gospel.

That's the power of God. That is what God can do. There is no life God can't change, no life that God can't redeem. If He could change Paul, He can change anyone. That is the power of God.  

Gospel Lesson

We see Jesus remind us of the importance of Communion.  It is something that is vital to the life of the Christian. Through it, God gives us grace.  Methodists call this meal a means of grace, it is something through which God give us grace, gives us grace to live for Him, serve Him, know Him, love Him, and love each other.  It is the meal of the church, and just as meal sustain the body for living; this meal sustains the soul for living.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ordinary Time: Thursday, August 21, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

We see the beginning of Job's story, and it is one of the more powerful stories in all the Bible.  What is does is that is shatters the myth that if something bad has happened to you, then you've done something to deserve it. Job did nothing to deserve the tragedy that happened to him and his family.  These things didn't happen to him because he was bad, but rather because he was righteous.  

We tragedy visits our door, remember it is not because God is out to "get us."  These things often happen for reasons we can't understand. That is one of the lessons we'll learn in Job, sometimes tech best and only thing we can do at these times is to trust.  

New Testament Lesson

Believe it or not, Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world. It was Christian before many of the counties that we think of now as Christian. This happened because this one from Ethiopia came to faith in this passage. The man came to faith because Philip obeyed what he was lead to do.  The command of God might not have made much sense, but he did it anyway.  And look at the impact. 

We never know the results of following the leading of God. But, when we follow what he has led us to do, He can do amazing things.   Today, because of Philips' obedience, an entire country would come to know of Jesus.  

Gospel Lesson

Jesus urges the people to remember that feeding their soul was of greater importance that feeding their body.  Just as our bodies will grow week without food, so will our souls.  Let us take time each day to feed our soul.  Through prayer, through study, through friendship, through all these things.  May our souls be nourished by the grace of God.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

One of the things that we see a lot of in the Old Testament is the divided loyalty of the people. They worshiped God, they wanted to follow God and follow the Law, but they also had their idols on the side. They had their backup plan. They trusted God, but not enough to totally let God and allow Him to lead. 

The toughest thing to do sometimes is to come to that cliff in life and jump, knowing that God with either catch you or teach you to fly.  In the Old Testament, people struggled to do it.  In the New Testament, people struggled to do it. Today, we struggle to do it. 

So, don't despair about struggling. We all do. But, know that the true abundant life of God comes from trusting.  May, each day, we grow to trust more, and more, and more.  

New Testament Lesson

We see Simon try to buy the blessings of God with money. To this, Peter replied, it's not bought with money, its given with faith. Today, let us remember that for God is not about what we have or don't' have, what we give or don't give, we are or who we are not.  It's about faith. And, it all starts with faith.  No matter what in life, it all starts with faith.  

Gospel Lesson

With five loaves and two fish, Jesus feed the multitudes.  With just that little bit, God did a lot. Remember, we don't serve a God of scarcity, we serve a God of abundance!  We don't serve a God that is bound by our limitations, we serve a God that can exceed any limitations. We serve a God that can do anything!  If He can feed all these with that little, imagine what He can do with all of us!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

We see the continued hunt for land in the Promised Land.  We see the people looking for what God had promised them, searching, trying to find, trying to see what is there.  

Sometimes in the midst of life, we are like. Except not with land.  With God's will.  What does He have for us?  What are we to do? Where are we to go?  Just as the Danites in the text, we are seeking where God wants us to be. 

And just as Micah was there to give them a sign, so will God give us assurance or a sign, or a means of knowing.  Sometimes we have to take a step of faith first, and then the assurance will come.  Other times, we have that assurance before hand. But, just as the Lord had someone there to help guide the Danites in their search, so will he have for us.  

New Testament Lesson

We see Stephen stoned to death for the faith in one chapter, in the very next we see God continuing to move. The one thing we need to always remember is that God's will and way is not dependent us.  He doesn't have to use us, He wants to use us!  It's not that everything is riding upon us, God's plan is bigger than any of us. 

But, He wants to use us!  To do His work, to show His grace, to give His love!  He wants to use us!  He wants us to be a part!  The great God of all the ages desires to know you, and use you for a grand purpose!  How awesome is that!?!

Gospel Lesson

We see Jesus stress over and over to the people, it's not about your actions, it's about your belief.  You are not saved by what you do.  You are saved by belief in faith through Jesus.  It's not up to us earn our salvation by some right action.  Its up to us to simply believe.  And, in that belief we find grace.  And in that grace, we find life

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ordinary Time: Monday, August 18, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

In this passage, Micah makes a big mistake.  He has an idol set up in his house, he is not doing the things that God would have him to do, but he thinks that if he has a Levite as a priest in his house, all is right.  God is interested in our hearts.  He is interested the very being of our lives.  He doesn't want us to pretend to live in His life, He wants us to actually live in His.  

Today, life awaits us.  All the things of God await us.  They come from a heart committed to God, a heart that comes into God's presence, and a heart devoted to Him.  And in these things, we'll find His life.  

New Testament Lesson

Stephen in this passage is killed for the Gospel.  But, notice what happens at the very end.  It says Saul approved of their killing.  Saul was one of the leaders in trying to crush the movement of the early church.  He was one that was trying to stop this new move.  And he approved of Stephen being killed.  

Whenever you think that you may have gone to far, go back and read this passage.  The very one that approved the killing of Stephen and who tried to destroy the church; that is the one that God used to help grow the church.  If God can still use Saul (Paul) He can still use us.  

Gospel Lesson

Whoever hears the word of Christ and believes has life. That's it, that's the list.  Today, let us not try to jump over all the hurdles that people try to place in our ways.  Let us simply believe.  And, it is in that belief that we will find life now, and in the age to come.  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ordinary Time: Thursday, August 14, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

As much as the Lord had blessed Samson and as talented as he was, his problem came from one major place. Pride.  He thought it was about him.  He thought he was the one getting it done. Perhaps the greatest danger that can happen to any leader is they begin to think it's all about them, and all the good that comes is because of them.  Samson become too proud; and that laid the seeds of his eventual destruction.  

May we guard our hearts against pride today and each day.  

New Testament Lesson

Stephen begins to preach about Jesus, but what he does is this.  He looks back in history and shows all the way and places God has moved.  He shows all the things that God has done; how He has brought salvation, how He has longed to bring His people back to Himself. And this act was completed in Jesus.  

But, before He got to Jesus, he wanted the people to look around and see what God had done all around them.  Today, may we remember that Sunday is not the only time that God moves. But, in fact, God is moving all around us each day.  In our lives, in our family, in our work, everywhere. Today, may we have eyes to see what God is doing.  

Gospel Lesson

We see the woman at the well return to her village and say, "Come and see."  Come and see this one.  She was stunned at meeting Jesus and hearing His words, her message was come and see. 

The best messages are always long. They aren't always full of words that only preachers know. They don't take great training. They are simple.  Come and see. Today, may our lives, our words, all that we are, may we proclaim this: Come and see this Jesus.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ordinary Time: Monday, August 11, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Judges is a hard and a bloody book.  Lots of violence, lots of time when the Lord's people are killing others.  It's often hard understand what is going on why these things are happening.  I had a professor in seminary talk would talk about the Old Testament, particularly the bloody parts, in terms of obedience.  We can get bogged down in the details of a culture that is not our own or bogged down in all the things that we don't really understand. 

Or, we can think of these parts of the Old Testament in terms obedience. The Lord had commanded them to take the land and get rid of the oppressors and so they did. The point is not the war.  The point is that they obeyed God when He commanded. 

And that is a point that we can relate to today.  He commanded us to love God and love our neighbor.  He commanded us to serve one other.  He commanded us to forgive.  He command us to bring grace to others.  

Today, just as they did in the Old Testament, let us obey.  

New Testament Lesson

We see the Apostles preaching the good news of Jesus to all the people of Jerusalem and we see that because of that; great good is done. Lives where changed, people were healed, hearts were mended.  So is it today.  Today, we may or may not encounter someone who's body is broken. But, we will encounter someone today whose soul is broken; whose heart is broken. Today, through the grace of Christ, we help to mend those broken lives.… through a smile … a kind word … a hug …. through just loving others. 

Today, may we be agents of healing the hurting. 

Gospel Lesson

Many sermons have been preached on this passage.  Many reflections written, many thoughts formed. But, today, simply remember that God loves you, and there is no length that He will not go to to show you how much you are loved.  Today, you are loved, you forgiven, and you can live a life that is abundant and amazing.  Today, you are loved. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, August 5, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

We see here that through Gideon, the Lord did great things.  Today, in this passage, he looks like a great leader, a great commander, a great diplomat.  Today, he is doing all the things that are right and great. 

But, remember where the Lord found him.  Hiding on the threshing floor.  Hiding from his enemies. Afraid.  This is not a reflection on Gideon, there are times in our lives when we are all afraid. When we are all scared. When we are all worried. But, what this shows us is the power of God to overcome any fears or worries we face. 

Whatever is in our way, remember that God is bigger than that!  

New Testament Lesson

People says something amazing starting off this passage.  He reminds them that is wasn't through their own power, or piety that they made this man to walk.  It was through God's power.  It is not about "being good." Or being "pious."  It is about loving God with all that we are and loving our neighbor with all that we are. 

The mistake we make is that if we think we are "good" God will love us.  Let me let you in on a little secret.  GOD LOVES YOU ANYWAY!  That's the power of God.  He doesn't love us because we are good (or bad).  He loves us because He is God and God is love. 

Today, it wasn't about Peter and John's righteousness.  It was about God's power.  Today, you don't have to be good "enough" to make God love you.  He simply loves you.  

Gospel Lesson

We see in this passage the simple job of being a follower of Jesus.  It is to bring others to Him. Today, in our lives, may we point others to Jesus. Through our lives, our words, our actions, our love, our compassion, our forgiveness, our grace.   Through all these things may we point others to Jesus.  And in pointing others to Jesus, may that, and may we, find that abundant life. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

The Lord had Gideon take a smaller group into battle because He wanted it made clear to everyone that He was the one that one the victory.  It was not Gideon's cunning battle plan.  It was not the strength and might of the soldiers.  It was nothing that they did.  It was what God did. 

Today, let us remember that in our lives, it is God that gives us the strength to do the impossible.  No war planner would look at Gideon's plan and say that it was even possible to do the things that he did. But, with God, all things are possible. 

No matter how big the battle may look you have ahead of you, remember.  It is God that gives you the strength.  If He can do this with Gideon, He can do it with us too!  

New Testament Lesson

We see Peter and John share the one thing that is most important today.  They share the love of God. They share the love of Jesus. Today, of all the things that we can share, this is the greatest. It cost us nothing.  Only a kind word,  A simple prayer.  A smile.  A forgiving look.  These are the things that we can do each day to heal all those around us.  It is not the complicated things that matter, it is the simple acts of kindness and love done each day through God's grace that matter. 

Today, through our lives, may we share the love of God with all that we meet. 

Gospel Lesson

John was doing what he was called to do. He was not the messiah, he was making things ready for the coming of the messiah.  He was simply doing what God had called him to do, and trusting God to take care of the rest. 

In life, the things we are called to do are like John's. They aren't always the most glorious. They don't always get the attention. But, when they are do for His glory and His sake, He takes care of the rest.  Today, no matter what you are called to do, do it for His glory and for His sake!  And He'll take care of the rest!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ordinary Time: Monday, August 4, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

The book of Judges is the book that in many ways most mirrors what we go through in life. The people at times are faithful; other times they fall into sin. The leaders at times lead; at other times they have great moral failings.  People have great faith in  God and what He is doing; other times they doubt the smallest things. 

All these things we experience, victory, doubt, defeat, joy; we are not the first experience them.  The Bible is full of stories, just like ours. 

And just like God never gave up on His people; He will never give up on us, either! 

New Testament Lesson

We see in the text that the people are faithful.  They are faithful to God, faithful to the teaching, faithful to the calling.  And, it says that the Lord added daily to their number.  They were faithful to God, faithful to His call, faithful to their mission.  And the Lord added daily to their number. 

They didn't do it. The preacher didn't do it. Their work and their effort didn't do it. The Lord did it. They were faithful to Him, and He took care of the rest.  That's all we can do in life.  If we do what we are called to do, that's all we can do. We leave the rest up to God. And, He'll take care of the rest.  

Gospel Lesson

In the beginning was the Word.  In the beginning was God.  He was before all.  He was there before creation.  He was there before our birth.  He was their before our struggles, He was their before our sin.  He was there before our redemption.  He was there before it all. 

And He is here with us now.  He has always been there.  He was there in the beginning.  He is with us now. And, where ever the road takes us in the future, He'll be there.