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Showing posts from November, 2018

Psalm 23: Part IV – Come To the Banquet Table

Where has our flock been as we journey through the 23rd Psalm? The Lord Is my Shepherd.I lack nothing.The Lord is our Shepherd, we lack nothing.We have all that we need.We may not have everything we want, we may not have everything we desire, there may be some items left of that wish list, but our Great Shepherd has and will continue to ensure that we have everything we need.In fact, the Shepherd knows those needs before we even ask—but He invites us to seek first His Kingdom, His Righteousness, and then ask, seek, and knock in accordance with His Will, we will find, or perhaps just realize, that blessing upon blessing is being poured out upon us. One of the most important things that the Shepherd provides that we need is an opportunity for rest and renewal…God leads us along whatever grassy meadows and tranquil waters bring us peace.He invites us to lay our burdens down, not just lay them down, but to cast them upon Him meaning we aren’t to take them back up again.God’s desire is to re…

Is Jesus King? - John 18:33-37

When I first began to really get a grasp of the church calendar year, I though it odd that the Scripture for this particular Sunday, Christ The King Sunday, always focuses in on the arrest, trial, or crucifixion of Jesus.After all, this Sunday is the New Year’s Eve of the Christian Calendar because next Sunday begins the next church year with the first Sunday of Advent and anticipation for the celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ grows with each passing week.Should not Christ the King focus on Jesus’ resurrection or even the Scriptures that promise His return?However, as I have come to understand it more and more over the years, it is very appropriate that we celebrate the Kingship of Jesus in this way—for it is through not only His birth and resurrection that Jesus’ Kingship is revealed, the crucifixion reveals just how different that Kingship is from the rest of the world.With each and every Sunday of the year being a “little Easter” our focus, our reason for gathering a…

Psalm 23, Part III: Dark Valleys, Rods, and Staffs

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  I have everything I need.  We may not have everything we want.  We may not have everything that we have asked for.  However, we realize that we have everything that we need.  God sees us and knows us…and knows what will truly bless us, strengthen us, and sustain us.  We find as we ask, seek, and knock in accordance with the will of God, seeking out His Kingdom and His Righteousness, that we will receive, we will find, and the doors will be open before us.  God has, will ,and always will provide.  As we learn to be content rather than covetous, we find that God has blessed us with an abundance and we can truly say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
God also brings us to grassy meadows and tranquil waters…to green pastures and still waters.  God gives us times and places for rest and peace.  God gives us an opportunity to be renewed and strengthened,  places and times to have our lives refreshed and our souls restored from our day to…

Blessed: The Persecuted - Matthew 5:1-2, 10-12

We have been talking for two months now about Jesus turning our world upside down.Remember, as kids we enjoyed looking at the world upside down, but as grown-ups—not so much because when our world is turned upside down, we want to do everything in our power to get it righted again.Our world gets turned upside down not because we’ve decided to hang off the couch, a chair, a pull-up bar, or even a trapeze, but usually because something drastic has happened that causes us to shift our world view.Either a joyous or tragic event comes into our lives, such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one, a promotion or a lay-off at work, moving into a new home or having a home destroyed in a storm, or someone reveals to us that what we have thought to be true, just really is not true.It is this final revelation, this final world-flipping scenario that we have been hearing from Jesus—and the truth of the matter is, society has not changed that much.The world flipping way Jesus changed th…

Psalm 23, Part 2 - Follow The Shepherd

Where are your still waters?Where are your green pastures?For some of us it may be along a lake or a riverbank where the water is as slick as glass or a field of green, maybe filled with colorful flowers.For me, still waters are anything but still, my still waters are crashing with wave after wave hitting my green pastures of sand and shells.Still waters and green pastures are about places of peace and refreshment…and while I will admit that sitting on a boat in the middle of a river or lake on a cool fall morning is peaceful and refreshing, trust me, real green pastures, dotted with ragweed this time of year are anything but peaceful and refreshing for me. Last time we gathered together, we began exploring what it means to live with the Lord as our Shepherd.Just why has this Psalm, one of a hundred fifty we have in the Bible, become the one that so many of us, so much of the world, has adopted as the one we know better than any of the rest?Is it because Jesus identifies himself as the…

Blessed: The Peacemakers - Matthew 5:1-2, 9

How many of you like ventriloquists?I really like the comedy, but also admire the ventriloquist’s ability to say something without really looking like they are saying something.In some ways they mimic what we often accuse politicians of doing, “talking out both sides of their mouth.”You’ve seen a ventriloquist get in an argument with his puppet—and you’ve seen a politician who will say one thing in this location, and turn around in another location, or maybe after the election, say the complete opposite.Why bring this up?Because if we take our reading from the Beatitudes today and place it alongside another selection from the Gospel of Matthew, some might accuse Jesus of speaking out both sides of his mouth—either that or a ventriloquist has hold of him making him say one thing in one location and something else in a different location…either that, or Jesus means something far more than what we might initially think at face value. In these nine verses of the beatitudes, Jesus has been …