2nd Sunday in Lent
The Lord Will Keep His Promises
1. Remember them
2. Respond to them
Text: Genesis 28:10-22
Twenty-four billion dollars. That’s billion with a “B.” That’s how much one magazine has estimated the inheritance to be for Prince William and Kate Middleton. He didn’t do anything special. He didn’t invent something. He isn’t a savvy business tycoon. Simply because he was a male born into the right family at the right time he is set to inherit control of the royal treasury, the crown jewels, and eventually the crown as king in England. Not so bad, being an heir and being promised a fortune!
Paris and Nicky Hilton are similar. They certainly have not done anything special. They won’t be winning any Oscars or Grammys any time soon. But they were born into the right family. The heiresses of hotel maven Baron Hilton, they both were promised to inherit hundreds of millions of dollars. Interestingly, having lived life excessively and indulgently, it is said that Paris Hilton has had most of her inheritance taken away. Read the rest of this entry
Text: Genesis 28:10-17
“But you promised!”
Children sometimes seem like they have holes in their ears. You tell them what you want them to do, and it goes in and out without ever being registered. But if you promise something special to a child, they will not ever forget.
Try to tell your child that you can’t go to Disney World any more because you don’t have the money. “But you promised!” Try to tell your child that you don’t have time to make it to McDonald’s still. “But you promised!” Try to tell your child why they can’t stay up late today. “But you promised!”
Perhaps we parents get ourselves in trouble at times when we make empty promises we might not be able to keep. But the reality is that we are imperfect people in an imperfect world. Broken promises are something we are used to by now.
Yet this is something God has never done, and will never do. When God makes a promise, he will keep it.
As Jacob was fleeing from his brother Esau, life wasn’t going so well. He had to leave his family. He was all alone. His brother wanted to kill him. He had plenty of troubles.
Then the Lord showed him the impressive and famous vision of “Jacob’s Ladder.” Yet it wasn’t the vision itself that was the important part. It was what God said. God made promises to Jacob: Promises to bless him; promises to make him great; promises that the Messiah would come from his line.
Today we might want to see a vision like Jacob’s Ladder. “Show us a little glory God and then I’ll feel better.” But we have all we need. We have God’s promises: Promises to bless us; promises to strengthen us; promises to lead us to everlasting life.
God has not ever broken a promise, and he never will. Trust in his grace and love and power! He will not fail you!
Prayer: Lord, you have promised so many things to me. Now I ask that for the sake of your holy name you keep those promises. Be with me. Strengthen me. Sustain me. Forgive me. Save me. These I know you will do, for you are the unchanging God of boundless grace and love. Amen.
The 11th Sunday after Pentecost
God’s Plans Are Bigger Than Our Plans
Text: Genesis 41:41-49
Two weeks ago I stood before you here and mentioned the incredibly unpredictable stock market. We thought the economy was bad but it seems to be getting worse! I also mentioned the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. I talked about the historic flooding of the Missouri River all across the Midwest and the devastating wildfires all across the South. I also wondered out loud if perhaps God was telling us that the End is coming very soon.
Since then, a historic and unusual earthquake shocked the East coast and was felt all the way from Atlanta to Detroit. Very unusual! Now hurricane Irene is barreling down on the Northeast of the United States. Also very unusual! I’ve said it before and now I’m saying it again—just when we thought things were bad, they are only getting worse!
One begins to wonder. Does God even know what’s going on? Does God have any control here at all? Does God have any sort of plan in mind? Because it only seems like there is chaos, destruction, and disaster in this world! Read the rest of this entry
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
1. In forgiveness
2. With persistence
3. For blessings
Text: Genesis 32:22-30
For as long as there has been written records in this world, there has been wrestling. Egyptian tombs have pictures of athletes wrestling over 4,000 years ago. The Chinese also have records of Eastern wrestling around the same time. The great Greek writer Homer tells stories in the Iliad about wrestling during the Trojan War over 3,000 years ago. (For those who prefer movies, think of Brad Pitt as Achilles in the movie Troy).
That Greek style has become very popular in the world today. Greco-Roman wrestling is an Olympic sport, as it has been for thousands of years. Freestyle wrestling is also an Olympic sport. High schools, colleges, and even elementary schools all across America have wrestling teams that compete against one another.
Unfortunately this sport of power and strategy and power isn’t the most popular kind of wrestling in the world. What started as a bunch of kooky characters in the early 1980s with Hulk Hogan, Jake the Snake, and Rowdy Roddy Piper with the WWF has morphed into a billion dollar industry filled with steroid-pumped men and scantily clad women. It’s called professional wrestling, but it is far from professional and far from wrestling as it once was.
Maybe you wrestled back in the day. Maybe you’ve watched some of the nonsense on TV. Maybe you spent more time wrestling with your siblings when you were younger. Whatever the extent of your wrestling experience, all of you can and should wrestle—with God. That’s exactly what we are told to do today in our worship. We’re told to Pray! Read the rest of this entry