Blog Archives

God Kept His Promise

The Funeral Message for Kase Albert Powell 

March 13, 2014

Why?  That’s the question a lot of people ask at times like this.  Why?  Why cancer?  Why this family?  Why Kase?  Why so young?  When there is a lot of pain, there are a lot of questions.

Those questions lead to more questions.  Why do bad things or sad things happen in this world?  Why are there hurricanes and earthquakes and crashed airplanes and diseases and death?  Why won’t God do anything about these things?  Why?

If we want answers to our questions, then we need to start in the beginning.  Kase and Knox and all our students learned in the first weeks of school about the six days of creation.  They learned that God saw everything that he made, “And it was good.”  This world was a perfect paradise at the beginning.  Imagine that!  No sickness.  No sadness.  No sorrow.  No death. Read the rest of this entry

Rejoice in What God Will Do

The 3rd Sunday of End Times

Rejoice in What God Will Do

Text:  Isaiah 65:17-25

Three years ago on this day of the church year I told you the story of a friend pastor of mine whose young child tragically stopped breathing and died.  I’ve shared other sad stories.  A friend pastor whose baby was born with a hole in the heart and parts of the brain missing.  Former members of our church whose daughter was born a few months ago with hydrocephalus.  She’s currently receiving ground breaking treatment at Duke University.  We have a student in our Preschool that is fighting cancer and a tumor fused to the top of his spinal chord.  On Thursday a man with a gun was shot by police in the newborn wing of the Children’s hospital just down the road from my parents’ home in Milwaukee.  I know other stories.  You know other stories.

A few months ago we included in our prayers our former vicar or intern Jacob Hoff and his family when his mother-in-law passed away after fighting brain cancer for about six months.  A few weeks ago I told you about the pastor in his 60s that died from lung cancer, making a cross over his heart as he took his last breath.  I know other stories.  You know other stories.

Some of you have experienced these sad stories very recently.  A lost grandfather.  Or mother.  Or friend.  A new person with cancer.  A new life-threatening illness.  Another life expected to be too short.  Another life cut short.  Some of you have such stories right now. Read the rest of this entry

God’s People Embrace Tragedies

6th Sunday after Pentecost

God’s People Embrace Tragedies

1. With repentance
2. With trust
3. With worship

Text:  2 Samuel 12:11-25

Intro

They are words no daddy—no parent—ever wants to hear.  “Your child is sick.  Really sick.”  It’s bad enough when your child has a fever and isn’t acting quite right.  Your heart aches when your child has the flu and can’t hold anything down.  Your anxiety and blood pressure levels rise when your child has to go to the emergency room.

But no parent wants to hear this:  “Your child is really sick.  I’m not sure there’s anything we can do.”  “What do you mean you can’t do anything?  You’re a doctor.  There’s gotta be a medicine.  There’s gotta be a new technology.  Figure something out.  Fix it.”  If only your child were better!  If only you could switch places!  If only this never happened! Read the rest of this entry

The Lord Declares: You Will Live!

The Festival of Pentecost

The Lord Declares:  You Will Live!

Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Intro

The foot bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the head bone, Oh, hear the word of the Lord! 

Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”  Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”  Ezekiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”  Oh, hear the word of the Lord.

You’ve probably heard this popular children’s song before.  Maybe you knew the anatomical lyrics before (The foot bone connected to the leg bone, etc.), but did you know the refrain and what the song is about?  This old African-American spiritual is actually about the Old Testament lesson today, Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones.

Many people have heard the song and some have heard about the story, but few understand it.  Today we take a look at this incredible real-life story and hear an even more incredible declaration from the Lord:  You Will Live. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on Ezekiel 37:1-14

Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14

When Jesus was on this earth he often taught in stories. Stories have a way of making abstract ideas concrete in our minds. I could spend all day telling you the facts of the kingdom of heaven, how it is perfect and precious and loving but those terms will always remain abstract to a certain degree. Now if I say that the kingdom of heaven is like finding a buried treasure, if I begin to embellish that story by adding the details of the excitement felt when the treasure is first found, the lengths to which the finder will go to make the treasure legally his, then that story about the precious nature of heaven begins to resonate with people of differing ages, IQ’s and socioeconomic classes. Go ahead and read through the Bible, God has always had a knack for telling a good story. God’s stories are told for more than just entertainment, they are teaching stories. His stories are lessons for all people of all times, lessons that teach the real history of his loving plan to make this world whole again.

Read Ezekiel and you will read what I think are some of the most fascinating stories in the Old Testament. Ezekiel got to see some amazing things while he carried out his work as a prophet of the Living God and he recorded them so that we too could see and learn from the story of his life. The story from Ezekiel 37 is just one of those amazing stories; a valley of bones comes to life. Ezekiel watches as the inevitable effects of decay on a dead human body are reversed.

What’s the point of this God-given story? Right now we are dead in sin. Soon enough, because of our sin, we will all be dead in the ground. God promises that just as he took that valley of bones and put them back together, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.” At your conversion God sent his Spirit to put tendons, flesh and the breath of life on your dead spiritual bones. We are alive because of the love of God. We are spiritually alive and though our bodies may die God will make us whole on the last day and bring us to heaven.

A pretty cool story with a pretty cool application… In God we are made alive!

Prayer: Heavenly Father our sins have guaranteed that we will die, our bodies will decay and our souls ought to perish forever but your love has brought about a different end for us. Forgive us when we forget your tremendous love show to us in Jesus. Send your Holy Spirit into our hearts that we may be comforted in hope of the eternal heaven that awaits us. We will not remain in the grave but will spend all eternity proclaiming what you have done for us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.