Depending on God’s Faithfulness

If you’ve ever been in a life situation where you’re asking “Why God? Where are you?” Then, you know what it means to live in Babylon. When the exiles living in Daniel’s time read his book, it must’ve been a great encouragement to them.

In the first chapter of Daniel, Daniel and his friends learned that they could depend on God’s faithfulness even when they were exiles in the foreign land of Babylon. We can depend on God’s faithfulness as we live in the world today.

Vision Sunday 2018

Vision Sunday is the day we try and put into words a God-sized destiny that we could never reach without His help.

Be Faithful

Americans love a success story. We love a winner. We may give out participation trophies to our kids, but once they’re grown up, we expect them to see second place as no better than last place. But God’s economy is different than the world’s. His goal for you is not that you would be successful. God’s goal for you is that you would be faithful!

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them his goal for them to be faithful with the talents he had entrusted to them until his return. We can be faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to us until his return.

Be Fruitful

We have goals like: I want to be happy. We even tell our kids, “I just want you to be happy.” Or we have goals to be rich or to own a bigger house or a new car. Older people might be concerned about leaving their mark, having a legacy. But God wants you to be fruitful. And the only way to do this is through Jesus.

The gospel of John records that after the last supper, Jesus walked with his disciples out of Jerusalem towards the Garden of Gethsemane, telling them the parable of the vine and the branches along the way. In this parable, Jesus taught them that his goal for them was to abide in him that they might be fruitful. We can fulfill Christ’s goal for our lives to be fruitful by abiding in Him.

To Live for His Glory

“Resolved:  I will DO whatever I think will be most to God’s glory; and my own good, profit and pleasure, for as long as I live. I will do all these things without any consideration of the time they take.  Resolved: to do whatever I understand to be my duty and will provide the most good and benefit to mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I encounter, and no matter how many I experience or how severe they may be.” – Jonathan Edwards (Resolution 1)

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus was asked to explain the greatest of the commandments and He summarizes all of the commandments in two phrases. When we live by these two commands, we live our lives for God’s glory. How can we live our lives for God’s glory? The text gives two ways to live for God’s glory.

Green Christmas

In the Gospel of Luke, shepherds tending their flocks in Bethlehem responded to the good news the angels gave them about the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. The good news about the Savior Jesus Christ still calls for a response today. How can we respond to the good news about the Savior Jesus Christ? The text gives three ways to respond to the good news about the Savior.

Red Christmas

Have you noticed how prominent the color red is at Christmas? Red bows and red wrapping, red poinsettias and red holly berries, red striped candy canes, Santa’s suit is red, and even Rudolph’s nose! Red is everywhere this time of year!

The color red reminds us of the love of God and the blood of Jesus, which He willing shed for our sins. We can’t really understand the meaning of Christmas without Easter. The cradle points to the cross. God’s “love ran red.”

In the gospel according to Matthew, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream to announce that his betrothed, Mary, would give birth to a son who was God’s loving gift of salvation. We can trust in God’s Son as His loving gift of salvation.

White Christmas

What is it about this song “White Christmas” that stirs us so? Isn’t it the desire to have the perfect Christmas? To experience the wonder and expectation that we once felt as a child? Don’t you desire to have the perfect Christmas? Don’t you feel the pressure to make it happen? To spend more money than you have in order to give your kids everything on their list? You decorate your house. You cook and clean. Because you want a “White,” a “Perfect,” Christmas. This longing for wonder and beauty, this longing for the eternal is in every human heart. It’s what moves us to dream of something perfect and lasting. It’s what moves us to worship.

In the book of Matthew the story of the birth of Jesus was told within the political backdrop of the times. Jesus was the one prophesied to be King, but He came in the most unexpected way. And from the beginning there was a battle between His Kingdom and the false king that usurped His Throne. The challenge for us is to remove our worship from the false king and to put our worship on the true King, Jesus Christ. After all, it’s His birthday we’re celebrating. Not ours.

Blue Christmas

Let’s be honest. While many are singing “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” some are humming the blues. While houses and stores are all aglow with Christmas lights, some of us see only darkness and gloom. While the Christmas season beckons us to see everything in green and red, some of us see only blue.

Maybe a loved one has died and there’s an empty seat at the table this year. Maybe there’s been a divorce and Christmas brings back too many painful memories. Maybe your family is a dysfunctional mess and Christmas just reminds you of it. Maybe you’re feeling homesick for a home that’s too far away or maybe no longer there. Maybe you’re out of work and you don’t know how you’re going to pay for groceries, much less for Christmas gifts. Maybe there’s just something about the shorter days and the longer nights and the ongoing struggle you have with depression just seems worse at this time of year. Maybe, just as the song says, some of you will be “doing alright with your Christmas of white,” but others are looking at having “a blue, blue blue blue Christmas.”

Would you like to get some real help with the blues this Christmas? I think a fresh look at the Christmas story could help us all. Let’s look at Christmas through the eyes of an old man named Simeon. He waited his whole life to see the Messiah.

An Orphan’s Hope – 2017

In today’s media-soaked world, we have access to so much information, in near real-time about what is going on. We see every tragedy, every crisis, all the hurt, all the pain going on world-wide. How do we engage with the hurting and vulnerable children in our world without becoming overwhelmed?

In Romans 8, Paul taught the Romans about the 3 movements of spiritual adoption they experienced when they became children of God. These movements can help us understand how to share in Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children.