Showing posts from October, 2018

Blessed: The Pure In Heart - Matthew 5:1-2, 8

As Jesus has turned our world upside down, have you been feeling blessed or challenged during our sermon series so far?  I have to admit that I have felt challenged quite a bit as I have worked on the sermons. Remember, as Jesus offered this message, it was not him telling people about being happy...too be declared blessed was to be declared privileged, well-off, or fortunate. That if the criteria Jesus mentions applies to you, you stand in a privileged status with God.
Those who are poor in spirit, having completely founded their identity in God instead of their accomplishments and their stuff, are privileged to find themselves already members of God's Kingdom.
Those mourn the condition of the world are well-off because they will find themselves comforted as God acts and wipes away their tears making everything right.
The meek are fortunate because as they pattern themselves after Jesus because they receive the promise that they will be citizens of the New Jerusalem.
Those who hu…

Psalm 23 Part 1 - What Do You Want

I have to confess that this well loved and well-known Psalm caused me trouble for many years as a kid.I mean, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”That’s exactly how it reads and that is exactly how I heard it for much of my life, beautifully read out of the traditional King James Version.For those here who know the 23rd Psalm by heart, I could almost guarantee that is the version of it that you have memorized.It is truly beautiful, though I don’t know if that beauty lies in the accuracy of translation or simply with how it connects us to what is one of the most familiar passages of Scripture.The King James Version is so much a part of what this verse is to so many, I have this King James Version of the Bible just for the reading of the 23rd Psalm, in the event I have to read it in a public setting. However, as usual, I have skewed from the point I was about to make.I mentioned that this verse caused me problems as a kid.What was the problem?The problem is simple, I just didn’t …

Time For Something New - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My brothers and sisters, let us begin by just acknowledging that for many of us here, this seems most clearly a time to echo the words of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” and most specifically, “a time to weep” and “a time to mourn.”   For those who have walked in the sanctuary and looked around, and reflected on the services held in there, the weddings, the graduation Sundays, the baptisms, the funerals, the Christmas and Easter and all other special programs…each and every Sunday morning and Wednesday night services, the grief can seem overwhelming.  There is loss and there is sadness…and God gives us space for that…He gives us time for weeping and mourning.
He gave that to the Hebrew people in exile who felt that everything had been lost…their homes, their temple, their towns had been destroyed by the invading armies.  I reflected on that in my devotional thoughts yesterday morning as I reflected on the damag…

Blessed: The Merciful - Mathew 5:1-2, 7

Jesus turns our world upside down. It is no longer the self-sufficient, those sure of themselves, the proud who are to consider themselves privileged, but Jesus tells those who hear Him, that the ones who are fortunate are the poor in spirit, those whocome to realize that without God, we are nothing—that our identity does not lie in what we do, what we have, or anything other than God Almighty on whom we are dependent for everything, even the breath we just took. It is no longer the happy-go-lucky folks that are to find themselves fortunate, Jesus tells us that those who are blessed are the ones who look into the world and weep at what they see—those who mourn the condition of the world when they see so many in need in the face of so many who have so much. It is no longer the arrogant who should hold their head up high, or those who exercise great physical or military might, but those who are humble are privileged, the meek are blessed—those who seek to live like Christ in their reaction…

Taming Wild Horses: Don’t Commit An Abomination - Proverbs 6:16-19

It seems like it has been forever since we have tackled the subject of “Taming Wild Horses.”It has been nearly a month in fact.Hurricane Florence came in and interrupted our series.Interestingly enough, while I was led to preach this series in preparation for our “Congregational Conversations,” that we might be reminded how to talk to one another, or any that we might not agree with, it seems that God had multiple plans for the series.Over and over during the last month, as folks have dealt with the aftermath of the hurricane, including conversations with insurance agents and adjusters, or with impatient or rude customers, as well as others, I have heard many comments about realizing the difficulty in taming these potentially destructive wild horses.Several said they had to remind themselves to control them…some have said they have chewed them up…some have confessed to having let the horse go wild once more. Since we will begin those conversations tonight, before we get into this last …