Thursday, May 28, 2009

Easter: Thursday, May 28, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

The Lord is not a God that enjoys punishment. No parent enjoys punishing their children. It's not the fun part of the job. But, just as parents will teach their children, so will God teach us. But, the Lord says through Ezekiel today, He longs to forgive. He longs to welcome people back. He longs for relationships to be restored. He doesn't want to see anyone far away from Him or from those that love them.

And God will do all that He can do to make sure these relationships are restored. He will do all that He can do to make sure that we are right with Him, and with each other. We have to do our part as well though. God will do all He can do to make it possible. We just have to do our part; make our step; forgive, love and ask forgiveness. God desires these life giving relationships; with Him and with each other. May we know the life that comes from these relationships.

New Testament Lesson

Jesus Christ makes intercessions for each of us. He sits at the right hand of the Father, pulling for us right now; praying for us, cheering for us. He loves and wants to see us keep going. CS Lewis said "The sin is not in the falling down, the sin is not in the getting back up." We are each going to fall down. We are each going to make mistakes. We are each going to do dumb things.

But when we do, may we find the grace of God that allows to get up, dust ourselves off, and keep going!

Gospel Lesson

When we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritans were not liked by the people of Jesus' day. They were consider inferior, they were considered not worthy; they were considered less than. And Jesus holds one up to be a hero today.

Never forget that God can use anyone. Never forget that we are all made in God's image. Never forget that God loves each of us. Even those folks we don't like; that we don't think are as good as us; those folks that we just don't want to be around.

God loves them too. And God will use them. And God wants us to love them. Remember, God can and will use anyone for His good and for His purpose.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Easter: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

The people had lost hope. The land of Israel was their proof of God's faithfulness to them. It was their proof of what God was going to do, and what God had done. In the Old Testament, it was more than just "land" it was touchable, tangible evidence of God's promise to them.

And now, in Ezekiel, it's gone. They are in exile and the land is God. So, God must have forsaken them, right? God must have given up on them, right? There must be no reason to hope, right?

No. God says, I will restore. I will bring back. I will be true to my word. I will bring you back to the land and be true to the promises I have made you. So will He today. He will be true to His promises, and He will be true to you. Trust in Him. No matter what's going on in your life, it's not over. God is not done. He will be true to His promises.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews reminds us today that perfection is not reachable through the law. It's not attainable through our own efforts. We can't make ourselves good enough. We can't obey enough laws.

It's not about any of that. It's about Jesus and what He's done. We can't make ourselves good enough to be loved by God. We don't have to. God simply loves us. We don't have to earn it. Because of Jesus, it's freely given. We don't have to do enough; be perfect; be sinless; be or do ANYTHING. Today, in this moment, you are loved. Today, in this moment, you are of a sacred worth.

Live out of that. Live in the truth of that. You are a child of God today! Live out of that knowledge!

Gospel Lesson

Jesus tells them today, don't rejoice over the things you've done. Rejoice over the face that you mine and that you're part of my family. If Hebrews reminds us to not get too down over the things we've done wrong, Jesus reminds us not to get too "up" over the things we've done right.

We are not loved by God because we do good things. God is not mad at us when we do by things (He is hurt, though, these things break His heart). None of us are perfect and none of us can earn it. It's simply given. Our response to that love is to love God and love each other.

And rejoice. For, we have been given that gift that is priceless. The knowledge of Gods' love towards us. Today, live like a forgiven child of God!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kris Allen God of This City

I love this song, and hearing Kris Allen do it is pretty awesome. Video is very cool too.

Easter: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

A lot of the Old Testament is about statement put forth at the end of this passage — the shall know that I am the Lord. The Lord offered laws. Miracles. Fire from heaven. So many different things to the people so that they would know that He is the Lord. And time and time again the people turned away.

So, God sent one last sign. His son. And in the Son, we see the fullness of God. The glory of God. The mercy of of God. We see who God is. And He sent the son so that we would know Him. Be drawn back to Him. Be restored in Him. In life in Him. Today, know that He is the Lord.

New Testament Lesson

God has promised to be with us. To love us. To never leave us. And God cannot break His promise. God cannot break His word. God will be true to Himself and true to His word. Today, we can trust in God. In this age of negativity and fear; let us not give end, let us not bend our knee. We have no reason to fear, for God is with us. And we can trust in Him.

Gospel Lesson

The Lord sent the disciples out. He didn't expect the people to come to them. They were expected to go to the people. So is it for us as the church and as people. We are called to go. Go into all the world, and go all around. Showing grace. Loving. Forgiving. Reminding everyone that they are of a sacred worth to God. So today, let us go.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day of Ascension: May 21, 2009

Today is a day in life of the church that's called Ascension Sunday. It's the day where we celebrate and remember the ascension of our Lord. Acts tells us in Chapter 1: 9-11

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

So, we believe that the Lord has ascended to heaven and is sitting at the right of God the Father. What does that mean for us? What relevance does that have for us in the year 2009, where ever it is that we live? What God does this fact do us?

Right now, there's someone up there pulling for you. Praying for you. On your side. Think about it. When you are sick, when you need help, what do you want? You want someone to pray for you. At this point, Jesus Christ is in heaven praying for you. Interceding on your behalf to God the Father.

Live boldly! Live with courage! You have no reason to fear, what ever it is your are facing. Through the Holy Spirit, God is with you now! And, Jesus is at the right hand, pulling for you, interceding for you. Live, knowing that someone is on your side. And that someone is Jesus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Easter: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

One of the interesting things we always see in Scripture is anytime God pronounces judgement against His people or against the world; right after, as soon as He pronounces it He says, but if you will repent. If you will turn to me. If you will walk with me, I will forgive. He is a God that longs to forgive His people. He longs to be in relationship with us and will do all that He can to make sure that is possible.

The rest is up to us.

New Testament Lesson

James reminds us today that no matter what our station in life, we should pray. Whether things are good or bad, sick or heathy, joyous or tragic. We should pray. We should always turn our hearts to God. In times of joy we will find our God celebrating and in times of sadness, we will find our Lord crying with us. Whatever our condition, we can turn to God in prayer.

Gospel Lesson

The hardest thing to do sometimes is to really trust. To really turn lose of it all and give it to God. It's not easy. None of us do it perfectly. But, until we trust, until we turn it over to God, we don't know the peace that He longs to give us. He will take care of us. He will provide. He will do these things.

We just have to trust.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Easter: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

One of my professors in college used to always remind us; you're not God's last hope. He has more up His sleeve than just you. God tells the Israelites, keep my commands. Do what you're supposed to do. Worship me. Serve me. Do what is right. Stay humble. And you'll be ok.

But, if the people began to get too proud or think all these blessing were because they deserved them, trouble awaits. If they depart from God and begin serving other things other gods, trouble is coming. And, were did trouble start? When they became too proud; when they turned from God.

Let us never become too proud; let us always remember that is starts with Him. And let us remember to stay humble in His presence and thank Him for all He has done and is doing.

New Testament Lesson

James reminds us that fact; every good gift is from above. Every good thing is a gift from God we should be thankful over it. And then he tells us what the true expression of thankfulness; the true expression of religion, what it should be — serving others. Taking care of those in need. Helping those that need to be helped.

Jesus told us - Love God and Love Neighbor. Our love for God is seen in how we love our neighbor. James today reminds us that truest expression of religion and of love for God is how we love and serve those most in need.

Gospel Lesson

Jesus tells us today to be persistent in prayer. Keep praying. Pray, pray, pray. And He says that if we who are sinful long to give good things to our children, how much more will our perfect Father give to His children all that they need. As we shower our kids with love, so does our perfect Father. Today, and always turn to Him in prayer in your moment of need. And He will be there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Easter: Monday, May 18, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

The Lord reminds the people that even during the trials they faced, He never left them. There were hard times, times of challenge and stress, times of hurt and tears, but God never left them. No matter how dark it may have looked, God was still by their side.

Sometimes during our trials we can think that God has left. We are alone. There is no one to help. But, God is there. He is our help in times of trouble. He will never leave nor forsake us. No matter what. Even in the tough times.

New Testament Lesson

James says today that when we do face those trials instead of being upset or mad or sad, we should count it all joy. We should rejoice when we face troubles. Why? Who wants to be happy in times of trouble? Who wants to rejoice in times of trial?

James says that we should because these things will make us stronger. They will increase of faith and strength. And so, while these trials are not "good" God can and will bring something good out of them. That's the power of God. He can bring something good out of anything.

Gospel Lesson

What does it profit us to gain the entire world, but lose our soul? In this world that pulls at us and pries at us and tries to tear us down or build us up. This world that tries to trick us into thinking what really matters are the things that are trivial; let us never fall for it. Let us never make that mistake. We can gain the whole world, but at what cost? Let us remember the things that truly matter. Let us remember what truly counts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easter: Thursday, May 14, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

One of the things we see in the Bible is that people will be faithful and worship God one moment, and the very next moment turn away and do what they want to do. They will turn from God to sin, from moment to moment. We see this in the Bible, and we see it in our own lives too. We can look in our own life and see how one moment we can be faithful, and the next we can fall away.

That is we walk by and depend upon God's grace given to us. If we had to do it ourselves, we never could. But, if we depend upon His grace, we find that even when we fall down He still loves us and calls us to get back up; and be faithful. May we be faithful today.

New Testament Lesson

And as Paul tells us today, if we depend upon God's grace and mercy in our own lives, we must not judge one another. Judgement is God's business, not ours. It is not to us to do that; it is too God. Let us love and forgive, let us serve and help; let us seek to do all that we can to be an arrow pointing to heaven.

Let's not worry about judgement, though. We'll leave that to God. We are all imperfect, we all walk by God's grace. As God has given us each mercy, may we give mercy to one another.

Gospel Lesson

This man had been healed by Jesus, and he couldn't help but tell others about it. He couldn't help but let everyone know how great his God was and all the wonders that Jesus had done. How Jesus had brought him peace and healing. He had to tell someone.

And, as Jesus has brought peace to us as well, may we do the same. May we tell others about God's grace. But, not just with our words; with all our lives. As we love, serve, and forgive, God's grace will be proclaimed. And, as our lives are a testament to grace, God will be glorified!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Easter: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

It's easy to believe that in the Old Testament there is nothing but law. There is no grace. That's actually not true. All the Bible is full of God's, even the Old Testament. In the region of the world, family honor killing are part of the culture. To this day, in many parts of the Middle East, if one of your family or clan is killed or dishonored, it is the responsibility of the family or clan to strike back and preserve their honor. Even if it was an accident

That is never the case in the Old Testament. Trials and judgements must be held before punishments. And if it's an accident, there are these cities of refugee where the one accused can stay and be sake from revenge.

Because vengeance is not our work, as humans. Judgement is God's task, not ours. We should not be after vengeance, in any situation. We must not seek revenge. That is not to say the people are not punished for their wrongs; they are. But, cold hearted revenge, which was a part of their culture, and in many ways, still part of ours, is not what one that follows God should be after.

New Testament Lesson

And we see that message here again. Do not be conformed to this world. Be transformed. Be different. Don't be like the world. We are supposed to be different. As Christians, we are supposed to act different from the world. We are supposed to have different motivations, different hopes, different dreams. We are to be different. We are not to conform to what this world is like.

Gospel Lesson

God will sow His seed. He will spread His grace. He will offer it to us, each day. How will we respond? How will our hearts receive? Will we receive it openly? Readily? Willing to receive God's grace? He will offer and give grace. Will we receive that grace today?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Easter: Monday, May 11, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

We see in Joshua God make provision for every tribe. From the greatest to the least, no one is forgot. God remembers and gives each one what they need. He takes care of them all. As He does for us. Our Lord taught us to pray — give us this day our daily bread. He will give us what we need. We have to trust, even in times of fear, but He will give us what we need.

Today, let us trust in His provision.

New Testament Lesson

Paul teaches us to day to treat everyone with respect. Husbands and wives, children and parents, no matter where we rank, no matter what our status may be, no matter if we are in the corner office or if we aren't even allowed in the building, it doesn't matter. We are all equal in God's eyes, and we are all called to treat each other with respect. Treat each other as the child of God that we are. We are each made in God's image, and we are called to treat each other like it.

Gospel Lesson

Jesus says that the one that has been forgiven much loves much. Today, we have each been forgiven much. We have each been forgiven of things that we could not possible earn forgiveness. We have each been shown grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy. As we have been forgiven much, we are called to love much.

Today, let us remember how much God has forgiven. And let us love God and each other with thankful hearts.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Easter: Thursday, May 7, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

One of the things we see over and over again in scripture is that age is not a big deal to God. No one is too old or too young for God to use. In this world, folks may to be young or too old, but not in God's eyes. God is concerned with heart. If someone is willing to be used by God, He will use them, no matter the age.

Joshua was advanced in age is what the text said. That' didn't matter to God. He had plans for Joshua. He has plans for us today.

New Testament Lesson

Paul reminds us that our salvation comes through Jesus and His work upon the cross and the empty grave. Our salvation does not come through our actions. We are not saved based off what we do, where we go, anything that we do. If our salvation depended upon us going to the right place, saying the right thing, even believing the right thing, then we've saved ourselves. We've earned our salvation. We've had to do the "right" thing to be saved.

But, if we are saved by grace through faith, then it's not about what we do. It's about what He did. And we are not saved based of what we do or have done. We're saved off what He did. And He loves us. Live into that love today.

Gospel Lesson

Jesus reminds us why do we judge our brother or sister for the speck in their eye why we have a plank in ours. Today, in this day, and each day, let us be not hasty to judge. Let us be slow to condemn. Let us not think the worst of others. Let us not look for a reason to complain. Let us not put others down. Let us not respond with judgement, arrogance, or pride.

Let us be humble. Love. Forgive. Help. Encourage. In doing these thing will we be a means of grace to others and we will feel God's grace upon our own souls.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Easter: Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

The Lord was the source of strength in the battle for Joshua and the people. In the early battles, they won completely, and they completely obeyed God. It wasn't until they started wanting to do it their own way that the people started having trouble.

When we do what God wants, we find a since of peace that our heart seeks. When we spend time with Him in prayer, through scripture, through worship, through service, when we seek Him, we find Him. When we start to do things our way, we do not find that peace we seek. Through Him we find what we seek.

New Testament Lesson

I love that first verse in this passage He (Jesus) is the visible image of the invisible God. In other words, if we want to see what God is like we need to look at what Jesus is like. Jesus is forgiving. Merciful. Loving. Compassionate. Caring. Working to bring people into right relationships with God and neighbor. Seeking to help folks be reconciled to each other. Wanting people to find peace and hope and life.

That's what Jesus is like. And Paul tells us, that's what God is like. When we see Jesus, we see God the Father. May we realized just how far God will go to bring us into that relationship with Him, and with each other.

Gospel Lesson

Jesus spent time in prayer. He spent time seeking to hear His father, seeking His voice, listening for Him. Jesus knew how important it was, how it was the source of all that He was and all He sought to do. Jesus spent time in prayer.

So should we. Today, may we pray without ceasing, may we always turn our hearts to God. And in that, may we find the life we seek.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Easter: Monday, May 4, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Ok. Joshua is full of images and stories that really don't make much sense to us today, full of war and battle, full of God commanding people to be killed. Its tough for us reconcile that with Jesus, lover of all, friend of all, savior of all. What then are we to day with passages like this? How do we handles scenes of death and destruction like this?

The only thing I've ever heard which makes sense to me is that God wants us to obey Him fully. When He tells us to do something we are to do it to the best of our ability, and to do it completely. He commanded the people to take the land, and He wants them to completely take the land.

Now today, our command is to love. That's what Jesus commanded us to do before He crucified. Love. Forgive. Serve. Help. Perhaps what a story like this in Joshua can mean for us is that God wants us to completely love and serve and forgive. Not to half way do it, but completely. Completely follow Him.

New Testament Lesson

Paul reminds us of a lesson he learned in own life. Our strength for life comes not from ourselves, but from God. He is our strength. He is our rock. He is our foundation. He is the one we trust in, He is the one we serve. He gives us what we need for life and love and peace. He is the one. Today, in your life, and in all you, trust in Him. And He will give you the strength you need for this hour.

Gospel Lesson

John Wesley said - Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can. We are put here to love God and love our neighbor and to do as much good for each other as we can.

ANYTIME you do something good for ANYONE, that is a good thing. No matter who, when what, where or how. Anytime we are able to good for another we are doing what God has commanded us to do. Today, do all the good you can.