We all want to be loved. God made us that way. We were created to love and be loved. We were created to love God. Yet, we have rebelled and rejected His love. And this has led to the sin and suffering we see in our world today. And God demonstrated His own love for us by giving us His anointed, Jesus, to pay for our rebellion and to reconcile us to God. Why? Because God loves us.
Do you love Him with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength? Do you love Him above all others? Above your spouse, your children, your friends? Above your self? Do you love Him enough to surrender the throne of your life to Him and to put Him ahead of yourself and all others? In the book of 1 Samuel, people responded to David in many ways, but a man named Jonathan responded to God’s anointed with steadfast love. We can respond to God’s anointed Jesus with steadfast love.
What giants are you facing today? Something that seems so big and overwhelmingly scary that you’re afraid to face it? A giant can be a problem or a person that you are “all to pieces” about facing. Giants make us want to run away in fear or feel so dismayed that we can’t move. What giant are you facing? Maybe it’s someone you need to confront with a problem or an offense. How do you face them? You’re losing sleep over it. What will you do? How will they react? Maybe it’s an addiction. Every time you try to overcome it, you lose. You’ve almost given up. Maybe it’s a bad medical diagnosis. There was a spot on the X- ray. Your doctor has scheduled tests. You don’t know if you can face it.
There are many kinds of giants. What do you do when you’re facing a giant?
In the book of 1 Samuel, David had faith in God to overcome a Philistine giant named Goliath who threatened Israel. We can have faith in God to overcome the giants we face.
Do you have a heart for God? A heart that yearns to know Him and to please Him in all things? Or do you have a heart for something or someone else? All of us begin life with a heart for ourselves. We want our own way, not God’s way. And the longer we say “yes” to self and “no” to God, the more our hearts harden towards Him.
The Lord still seeks those who have a heart for Him. Those who will respond to His call and obey His Word. In the book of 1 Samuel, the Lord sent the prophet Samuel to anoint a man after his own heart named David to be the new king that God called to replace Saul. We can learn how to respond to God’s calling as we consider this story.
Everyone wants to live the good life. Isn’t that the American dream? To live the good life? There’s only one problem. Once people achieve the so-called “good life,” they find it isn’t good enough.
Do you ever feel emptiness, exhaustion, or enslavement? Then, I’ve got good news for you today. There’s something better than the good life. There’s a better life, a new life found only in Jesus Christ! In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that those who identify with Christ’s death and resurrection might live in newness of life. We can experience this new life by identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Did you know that your response to Jesus is the most important decision you’ll ever make? Some of you have grown up going to church, and you learned how to respond to Jesus from their teaching. Or maybe your parents taught you how to respond to Jesus, so your response to Him is based on theirs. Others may have grown up in a home that didn’t attend church. You know about Jesus, but you’re not sure how to respond to Him. Your opinions may have been formed by Hollywood, or social media, or what your friends and family say about Him.
Regardless of your background, it’s important to make a personal and well-considered decision about your response to Jesus for your self. You can follow the crowd, but crowds are fickle. Why not make a decision based on the witness of the Scriptures concerning Jesus and the testimony of those who follow Jesus?
This week we’re inspired by the song, “I’ll Stand By You” by the Pretenders.
Does knowing that you have a friend that will stand by you help you face the difficulties and uncertainties of life? Maybe you’re facing a difficult situation or an uncertain future today? Maybe there’s someone here who’s facing a surgery. The outcome is uncertain. It causes fear and anxiety. Someone else is starting a new job. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure beset you. Someone is planning to move to this area. Feelings of loneliness and uncertainty about the changes worry you. Someone is getting married, the date is set, the dress and the tuxes are ordered, but are you sure doing the right thing?
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses told the Israelites that could face the future without fear knowing the Lord Himself would always stand by them. We can face the future without fear knowing that the Lord always stands by us.
This week, we are inspired by the song, “Dust in the Wind,” by Kansas.
Do you ever feel the way these lyrics suggest, like dust in the wind? Like nothing lasts? Even those of us who had never thought about the brevity of life, had to have given it some serious thought this past year. 2020 – the year of COVID 19. The year when half a million Americans died from a worldwide pandemic. But COVID only brought into view that which has always been true–– we are mere mortals. We long to live forever, to live with some kind of purpose, to leave a lasting legacy, but we are like “dust in the wind.”
In Psalm 90, Moses prayed that God would teach His people to wisely spend their days living for Him. We can see how God teaches us to wisely spend our days living for Him.
This week, we’re inspired by the song, “Fix You,” by Coldplay.
Have you ever seen someone that you love going through such a difficult situation that you wished you could just fix them? Maybe they lost a loved one and were in deep despair and grief. You wish you could fix their pain? Perhaps they are struggling with an addiction and you wish you could take away their habit? Or maybe it’s you? Maybe you’ve had tears streaming down your face and wish somebody could fix what’s broken and hurting in you?
There was a man in the Old Testament named Hezekiah, he was the king of Judah, his city of Jerusalem was being besieged by an Assyrian army as he lay sick on his bed from a terminal disease. He had tears streaming down his face in sorrow. He needed someone to fix him.
This week, we’re inspired by the song, “From Now On,” from the movie, The Greatest Showman.
Have you ever made that kind of statement: “From now on… I’ll start spending my time with my family.” “From now on… I’ll stop losing my temper.” “From now on… I’ll stop drinking or drugging.” “From now on… I’ll start living for God and praying more.” “From now on…” How’s that working out? Do you find that you need help to make such a commitment? Do you see the need for God’s help in order to make real life change?
In today’s sermon, we’re going to look at a story about a man who was the general of the Syrian army, a great man and highly favored by his king. He had everything a man could want, but one thing he lacked… his health. He had leprosy. Yet, he encountered the living God in Israel and made the commitment: “From now on… I will only serve the LORD.”
This week we’re inspired by the song, “Desparado” by The Eagles.
Have you come to your senses? Or are you still out there hiding behind your fences? Have you opened the gate to let somebody love you? You might’ve been hurt and now you’re afraid to open up your heart again. Or you’ve been looking for the perfect relationship and so judgmental of others, that no one measures up. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a man who had two sons who had not yet understood their father’s gracious love for them.