Author Archives: ctkpalmcoast
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Ambition to Serve
Text: Mark 10:35-45
What a journey! The disciples had been on quite the road trip with Jesus. They were meandering their way south through Judea down toward Jerusalem for the final time. Jesus was making his last trip there to accomplish his mission and our salvation.
But even more extraordinary was the spiritual journey the disciples were taking along the way. Parents had been bringing little children to Jesus and the disciples rebuked them and tried to send them away. Jesus was indignant with them. Then a rich man runs up to Jesus and the disciples let him right through. But they were amazed when Jesus told them how hard it is for the rich to inherit the kingdom of God. Then Jesus began to teach them more specifically about what was coming, that he was going to suffer and die and rise again in Jerusalem. The disciples were astonished.
And now this. James and John approached Jesus and tried to secure seats of honor on Jesus’ right and left in the glory of heaven. That made the others indignant with James and John.
What is going on here? Up and down the disciples go in their journey of faith. Mistake after mistake. Wrong motives. Weak faith. Hidden agendas. What kind of faith did they have here anyways? Well they had a faith much like mine. That’s certainly true of the story today. Read the rest of this entry
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Children: Our Mission and Our Model
Text: Mark 10:13-16
I’m sure most have a picture in their minds of this story. It’s one of those feel good, warm your heart kinds of stories. You picture Jesus, perhaps sitting on a big rock. You envision young kids maybe around the age of kindergarten to third or fourth grade. They’re gleefully running up to Jesus, nearly piling on him like they would a fun uncle who came to visit. In your mind you see Jesus with a great big smile warmly welcoming these kids.
That’s the picture most have in their minds. That’s what we see in paintings and portraits. That’s even the scene that my father’s church has in a 40 foot tall stained glass window that was built over 100 years ago. But that’s not exactly what happened.
We’re told in the story that people were bringing little children to Jesus. While you and I have an idea for what constitutes a little child, in the Greek culture they used that word specifically for children ages zero to four. When it says they were bringing little children, it means really little children. Perhaps there were others kids, but these were mostly babies, toddlers, and preschoolers being brought to Jesus. Read the rest of this entry
Text: Psalm 24
“Look! He’s coming! The King!”
All the people run to the city gates to see what the watchmen are talking about. It had been a while since a great king had entered the city in mighty procession. Well, almost since the time when Psalm 24 had been written by the greatest king ever, David, 1,000 years before. Now, Herod was sort of a figure head. Pilate was a Roman governor and a big meanie. They had no real king. So who was this king?
There wasn’t much to see.
No chariot. No valiant steed. No trumpet blasts. No mighty army.
Just Jesus. Riding on a donkey, coats and palm branches strewn before him. Adults and children shouting, “Hosanna!”
Most had grown to love Jesus because of the kind acts of love and power he did for so many. But also for most, this was all they wanted. So these shouts turned into cries of, “Crucify him!” within a few days.
With eyes of faith we look back through 2,000 years of history and see who this King really is. Yes, he is mighty in battle. He defeated sin, death, and Satan. Yes, he is the King of glory! He won our salvation.
So lift up your heads, dear Christians. Lift them up this Sunday to join in the shouts of, “Hosanna!” which means “Save us!” Lift up your heads and march behind this King into Jerusalem and up to Calvary where he will take all your sin away.
Who is this King of glory? It is Jesus, our Savior!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, King of glory, in humble love you rode into Jerusalem so that you could take all my sins away. Let me join in everlasting songs of worship and praise to you for your mighty acts of power and love. In your name I pray, Amen.
Devotion Text: Deuteronomy 8:10-18
Why doesn’t the Lord give us all the things we want? Why can’t we be mega millionaires? Why can’t we be rich and famous like celebrities? Wouldn’t it be nice to live the good life–even just a little bit?
If you aren’t a celebrity, if you aren’t exorbitantly rich, if you aren’t famous . . . then consider yourself blessed! Moses warned the people of Israel as they were about to enter the wonderful promised land of Canaan that things were about to become really good. No more slavery in Egypt. No more wandering in the desert. They would have their own nice houses, cattle, silver, gold, and plenty of food.
But why did Moses warn them about these blessings to come?
With so much going “right” in their lives, they would be tempted to forget about the Lord and what he had done. And looking backwards in history with 20/20 vision, we see that’s exactly what did happen. The Israelites became lax and lazy spiritually. They focused on worldly things. They forgot about the Lord.
Thus, it is actually a blessing that God does not bless most of us with many wordily possessions. When things go well for us, we are tempted even more to forget about the Lord. After all, who needs God when there are no problems in our lives?
So during this week of Thanksgiving, we can thank God for all the blessings he has given us. In America we truly are rich compared to most in the world. At the same time, during Thanksgiving we can double our efforts at remembering that it is God who has given us everything we have. Thus, we can double our efforts to thank and to praise him, to serve and obey him each and every day.
Prayer: Lord, I thank and praise you for all that you give me. I also thank you for the many things you don’t give me–things which might become a distraction to my faith and trust in you. Keep me ever thankful for your blessings, and mindful of your grace. Amen.
The Last Sunday of the Church Year
Christ the King Sunday
Hail Your Foolish King
Text: Matthew 27:27-31
Such foolishness! Hail Your Foolish King. Behold his foolish subjects. The people he came to rule rejected him. They despised him. They hated him. They plotted to kill him. His own supposed subjects shouted with shrill shrieks, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Their bloodthirsty plot had been forming for years. Now at the opportune time they pounced on their prey.
Such foolish subjects! His own people wanted to kill him. His own disciples deserted him. One even betrayed him. And here the soldiers supposedly under his rule were beating and mocking him. Such foolishness!
Hail Your Foolish King. Behold his foolish garments. He wasn’t clothed with royalty and splendor. He wasn’t wearing fine silk and linens. His kingly raiment wasn’t hand made or custom-fitted.
Such foolish garments! He was stripped and laid bare before his enemies. Then he was clothed in mock-clothing. A scarlet purple robe was draped on his shoulders. “Ha-ha! Look at the king with his robe!” they jeered. Such foolishness! Read the rest of this entry