Connections

Connections between people18 Years

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him (Luke 13:10-17).

What jumps out at you from that story?

The heartlessness of the “ruler of the synagogue”?

The amazing miracle of healing a woman stricken by a disability for 18 years?

Something else?

Or that Jesus cared enough for her that He called her over, proactively healed her, and then reminded everyone there…in a society that thought bad fortune implied God’s disapproval…that she deserved to “be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day”?

[Read more…]

He Knows When You Are Sleeping

Santa watching little girl sleepLate Night Thoughts

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night…have an inspiration…go back to sleep…

And when you wake up, only really recall you had an inspiration…and no matter how much you torture yourself to remember…you cannot clear your foggy memory?

Well, this sermon is based on one of those situations…where I didn”t loose it entirely, but it is all the more aggravating because I actually could remember it in the morning…but didn’t write it down…and then later forgot the punch-line!

But I did remember the theme. 🙂

Santa Claus

When I started composing this sermon there were between 93 and 94 days to guess what?

Being that Michelle and I have a year-round Internet Christmas radio station, it probably doesn’t surprise you I’m speaking of Christmas…

And I assume everyone here is familiar with the holiday tune, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”? Do your remember how the part that starts with, “He knows when you are sleeping,” goes?

He knows when you are sleeping

He knows when you are awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake

If someone thought too much about those verses, it might be a little frightening. 🙂 Santa Claus is “Big Brother,” watching you all the time?!

However, when I survey the state of the modern world, I suspect much of the evil we see is based on not having a healthy fear of being “found out.”

[Read more…]

Jesus Derangement Syndrome

Yelling at Jesus

Hate

If you are on social media and you see the acronym, TDS, what does it mean?

Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Now…don’t worry…this is not going to be a political sermon. However, Trump Derangement Syndrome came to mind after I recently read the story of Lazarus. However, before we review a portion of that…

What is Trump Derangement Syndrome?

My definition would be disliking Trump, his behavior, and/or his policies so extremely you are unable to to properly judge him (or anyone associated with him) rightly, you frequently overreact, and you often behave in a way that would not be socially acceptable if directed toward anyone else.

Basically, TDS turns over control of the brain and body from reason and intellect to emotion.

Now…just because someone says something against Trump, his administration, or one of his supporters does not mean they are exhibiting Trump Derangement Syndrome…and labeling it as such can be unfairly used as a bludgeon. However, some people truly have gone off the deep end when it comes to their hate of Trump.

Lazarus

Moving on…

I mentioned that the story of Lazarus reminded me of Trump Derangement Syndrome. I wouldn’t blame you if you scratched your head at that comment, so let’s join the narrative about that incident to see if I can clear things up. We join the story after Jesus has incredibly (and supernaturally) raised Lazarus from the dead.

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death (John 11:45-53).

What did the last verse say?

[Read more…]

You Still Don’t Know Me?

Jesus with sheep

Introduction

Has anyone here ever been friends with someone very long…close friends…

And then, one day, they ask a question or make a statement that makes you scratch your head, turn to them, and ask…

“You’ve known me this long, and you say that?”

They should know better than that!

If you’ve ever been in that situation, then the question they asked (or the statement they made) probably didn’t have very positive implications. Do they not understand your character well enough to know that there is no way you would have done, said, etcetera that?!

Today, we are going to discuss a situation like that with Jesus. I wouldn’t say the statement was negative…

But it showed that the questioner didn’t quite learn from his experiences with our Lord.

Hopefully we will. 🙂

Philip’s Question

Let’s turn together to the verses that inspired this sermon, John 14:1-11:

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

I know that’s a pretty long selection, but I wanted you to get a flavor of the conversation before it got to the punch line, which is in verse 9. Let’s review verses 8 and 9 again…

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

I don’t know about you, but my experience with Christ through the Word doesn’t have anger in Jesus’ response…but perhaps there is a little disappointment. “Have I been with you so long and you still don’t know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Think about that.

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10, 2, 1

10 Commandments

PowerPoint Presentations

As part of my work, I often have to put together PowerPoint presentations. One rule for effective slides is to show some data…for instance, a graph…and then make three points or conclusion.

Not two points.

Not four points.

Definitely not ten points.

But three. It’s like a golden number.

And it is effective.

Ten

However, three is not perfect for every situation. Yes, it may be ideal for executives in business, but it would be ridiculous in life to force every presentation of information into three bullet items.

[Read more…]

“Sing, Sing a Song”

Children singingKaren Carpenter

Is there anybody else who, when they hear a song from a certain group or artist…no matter how much they enjoy it…cannot help but feel some sadness because of what happened to someone involved with the tune?

For me, this is true when I hear a Carpenters hit. Are you familiar with that brother-sister group, Richard and Karen Carpenter? Anyone know why I feel a little depression when I hear their music?

That’s right…Karen’s life was cut way too short. She was only 32 when heart failure took her away from us. However, the underlying reason for her death was anorexia…something she apparently battled from her teenage years thanks to being called “chubby.”1

Based on that last bit of info, I could do a sermon about what how we should control our words…for instance:

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)

Do you think that those who called teenage Karen “chubby” were building her up, had words fitting words for the occasion, or were giving grace to those who hear?

Grace to Karen? [Read more…]

Sati

Baby feetIn the Beginning

“In the beginning…”

Are there any more famous words than “in the beginning”?

Let’s turn back to “in the beginning” and look God’s handiwork:

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:1-10).

I know that a bit of a long reference…but I wanted to get to the very last word we read…which was?

Good.

“And God saw that it was good.” [Read more…]

“You Keep Lyin’ When You Oughta Be Truthin’”

Woman with long nose“These Boots Were Made for Walkin'”

Ideas for sermons come from all kinds of things…although I’ll admit I especially like it when folks ask for me to preach on a topic. However, music is often what puts a topic into my head, although sometimes it is tangental to the subject of the song itself. This week, listening to Nancy Sinatra singing “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” inspired today’s talk. [Read more…]

Evil Walks

Skull with red eyes

AC/DC

Who remembers the album that caused the Australian group, AC/DC, to finally explode in America?

That’s right…”Back in Black.”

I remember it because I was a normal rock-and-roll loving, 16 year-old teenager when it came out. Nothing like it ever was released before and, I would argue, nothing equal has come out since…even from AC/DC.

Now, does anyone remember what the next new studio album from AC/DC was after that?

“For Those About to Rock.”

As a rock release, it is near as good as its predecessor…and it has a song that came to mind when the subject of this sermon came to me. The tune is “Evil Walks” and its chorus is:

Evil walks behind you

Evil sleeps beside you

Evil talks arouse you

Evil walks behind you

Two recent incidents have reminded me of how true the overall thought behind those verses is…which is that we are surrounded by evil.

A Trial and a Massacre

A Trial

The first incident actually happened back in May of 2017…but intersected my life when I was chosen for jury duty last month.

On May 20, 2017, a man in his late 40s, who had desired an intimate relationship with a 20 year-old woman (who he first met when she was 15), snapped after running some errands with her. It started with him getting angry when she wouldn’t tell him who she was texting…and he threw her smartphone out of her car window. [Read more…]

Hope

Hope signFaith, Hope, and Love

This is sermon three of three based on a wonderful verse in the Bible. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 13:13:

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Although it is the third in the series, it is second in that list. We are going to talk about hope.

How would you define hope? [Wait for answers]

My Mac’s dictionary defines “hope” this way:

1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen: he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information | I had high hopes of making the Olympic team.

• a person or thing that may help or save someone: their only hope is surgery.

• grounds for believing that something good may happen: he does see some hope for the future.

I think the first and third one fit my perception of hope…although I think they miss that hope also implies doubt…that you think something good is going to happen…or want it to happen…but you know it might not. There is at least a little bit of doubt mixed in.

Today we’ll create two lists: things not to hope in, and things to hope in. Neither will be exhaustive, but both will be informative. 🙂

Do Not Put Your Hope in…

Based on the verses I found searching for hope in the English Standard Version, the Book of Psalms would be a great place to study a biblical view of hope. Let’s turn there for our first example of what not to hope in:

10  Put no trust in extortion;

set no vain hopes on robbery;

if riches increase, set not your heart on them (Psalm 62:10).

Out of that, can you identify two things not to put your hope in?

Crime or money. [Read more…]

“All You Need Is Love”

Beatles Love album

The Beatles

I can’t say I was ever much of a Beatles fan. They broke up before I started really enjoying music…and, other than a few of their tunes like “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday,” and “Come Together,” none were my favorites.

However, they did one song that is fitting for this sermon:

Love, love, love

Love, love, love

Love, love, love

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung

Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game

It’s easy

Nothing you can make that can’t be made

No one you can save that can’t be saved

Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time

It’s easy

All you need is love, all you need is love

All you need is love, love, love is all you need

So, what do you think…is all you need is love?

First of all, what is love? It’s a word we throw around a lot. For instance, I love cookie dough ice cream. I love the way you did your hair. Didn’t you love how that movie inspired you?

Don’t worry…I’m not going to do a sermon on the three types of love in scripture: brotherly, erotic, and agape.

But I do think it’s important to note that when, up here at the pulpit, I speak of love I am speaking of a biblical love, not a worldly one.

Not one of desire or one of flippant use.

But is love all you need?

[Read more…]

Of Coarse

Woman covering mouth

He Allegedly Did It Again

I want everyone to know that I actually decided on the subject of this sermon before President Donald Trump allegedly decided to use an obscene word to describe some countries. I find it interesting that so many in society that warranted this talk are now acting so aghast at his language.

And it is more than ironic that their response is often more foul than his cuss word was.

Is It Wrong to Swear?

Wait.

I should step back for a moment and see if we have consensus.

Is it wrong to swear?

Notice I didn’t ask, “Is it wrong for Christians to swear?” Although levels of accountability are tied to knowledge, moral laws are universal. We Christians just have less excuse when we break them.

Is it wrong to swear?

[Read more…]

“There Is a Sickness in People That Stops Them from Seeing the Truth”

Chalkboard with "knowledge" written on it“The Secret Scripture”

Back in 2016, based on a novel of the same name from 2008, the movie “The Secret Scripture” was released. I have not seen it and don’t plan to, but I did see its trailer on Vudu. Within that trailer there was a statement that seemed so appropriate for the modern age:

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.”

Do you agree?

Does there seem to be a devastating epidemic that is blinding the world, stopping them from seeing the truth?

Spiritual truth that is obvious if…if only…if only they would open their eyes and hearts and see it?

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.” [Read more…]

Two or Three Witnesses

Boss harassing

Eight

Eight.

That is the number of women who have accused senate candidate Roy Moore of wrongdoing. It was actually hard selecting the right word for the accusations since they vary from true crimes to a creepy affinity for dating younger girls.

This sermon is not to tell you what to believe about the allegations, the accusers, or Roy Moore.

Instead, as headlines are filled with accusations of sexual improprieties…I want to see if we can establish some guidelines on how we should deal with them. Since Moore is a professing Christian, his case seems an especially apropos starting point for the conversation.

However…one quick sidetrack…

Coming to Light

One of my favorite people on Twitter is Karen Prior, an author and professor at Liberty University. Back on October 12 she tweeted:

From flags to sex, to politics, to entertainment & power, America’s idols are being revealed–a moment of grace, if only we will receive it.1

[Read more…]

Getting to Know You

Jesus with book

Crowning Someone King

This morning let’s hop right into God’s Word by turning to John 2:23-25:

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Good news: many believed in Jesus.

Bad news: even then, they weren’t trustworthy.

When I read those verses, I am reminded of in incident back in the Old Testament. King David sinned by taking a census, and God gave him three options for punishment:

13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:13-14).

Like Jesus, David knew what was in man.

Man cannot be trusted.

[Read more…]