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
6th Sunday after the Epiphany
Expect Comfort When You Suffer
Text: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
I’ve seen my share of tears in the last few months. I’d like to say I’ve seen enough to last me a lifetime, but I know the many tears I’ve seen are just a few drops compared to the rainstorms of tears to follow.
I’ve seen tears of sadness over the sudden death of a loved one. I’ve seen tears of anger and frustration shared by husband and wife. I’ve seen tears of fear and panic from those who don’t know how they will possibly pay the mortgage or rent or provide for their families. I’ve seen tears from stress, tears from pain, tears from hurt. Many of those tears have been yours. Some of those tears have been mine.
So what do we do? What do we do when we’ve cried every tear we’ve got left? What do we do when our heart is sunk down into the pit of our stomachs? What do we do when it hurts to be alive? What do we do?
We turn to the Lord. We turn to his Word. Today in particular, we turn to 2 Corinthians 1, the second lesson this morning. There we hear this special encouragement: Expect Comfort When You Suffer. Read the rest of this entry
18th Sunday after Pentecost
1. By fleeing worldly things
2. By pursuing heavenly things
Text: 1 Timothy 6:6-11
I’m just not happy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many bills I have to pay. I wish my house payments were less and my house value was more. I would really be happy if I could finally afford to put in the new tile work and can lights in my house. I really need to get new appliances too because I’m just sick of looking at those old ones. They’re ugly. My car is becoming a junker. It needs a lot of work. I would really prefer to get one of those slick new cars with all of the technology inside of it. But I can’t afford any of that.
That’s only the beginning though. I’m not really happy with myself right now either. I’m not getting any younger. I’m not getting any lighter. I’m definitely getting more pains. I keep getting sick. Things would be a lot better if I were a lot better.
I find that I’m doing nothing but working lately. Work, work, work. I have hardly any free time to do anything else these days. But I have to pay the bills somehow. And I have to be able to afford those nicer things I want somehow. I wouldn’t mind a little time to relax here and there though.
If only I had a nicer house with some of those features I’ve always dreamed of. If only I had a better car that wasn’t so old and beat up. If only I had more free time to have fun. If only I could afford to have more fun. If only I had more money. If only I was a bit younger. If only things were going better in our country. Then I would be happy. Read the rest of this entry
7th Sunday after Pentecost
The Secret to Happiness
Text: Philippians 4:10-20
Ten years ago the world had a plethora of opportunities to spend a few dollars investing in a new trend in business and in the stock market—internet start-ups. If you had desired to invest $1,000 in one of these new internet companies, you could have chosen companies like Yahoo, AOL, Google, or Amazon. If you invested in Yahoo or AOL, you investment would have shot through the roof, only to fizzle back down to less than twenty dollars a share today. But had you chosen Jeff Bezos’ new company called Amazon, your $1,000 would be worth over $100,000 today. Or had you chosen Larry Page’s new company called Google, your $1,000 would be worth almost a half million dollars today. But how could you have known? How does any investor know? What’s the secret?
If you invested in American or Florida or Palm Coast property 10 years ago, you would have been a very happy seller five years ago. But if you bought or fixed-up a home five years ago, today you would likely be right alongside many other Americans (or Palm Coastians) as your interest rate is way too high, your value is way too low, and your options are few and far between. But how could you know? How could anyone in real estate know? What’s the secret?
In fact, it would appear as though most things in life are like—a big “if only.” If only the economy was better, then life would be better. If only I had more job or financial security, then I wouldn’t worry so much. If only I didn’t have so many problems with my friends or with my family, then I wouldn’t be so sad. If only my loved one were still with me today, then I wouldn’t have this empty hole in my heart.
How can anyone be happy these days? Everywhere we turn there are problems and disasters. Everything we do seems to result in heartache or pain. Everyone we know, including ourselves, seems to be sad, lonely, or depressed. How could anyone ever be happy? What’s the secret? Read the rest of this entry