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Teach Us, Lord, Full Obedience

The 6th Sunday of Easter

Teach Us, Lord, Full Obedience

Text: John 14:23-29

This last week a boat was found off the coast of Bermuda by a Norwegian vessel ship.  Quickly it was identified as the boat of Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, the two 14-year-olds who left on a fishing trip from Jupiter, FL 10 months ago and who have been missing ever since.  The two boys are still missing and now some are wondering if foul play was involved.

Speaking of investigations, there are plenty of others going on.  The FBI recently paid almost $1 million to unlock (semi-legally) an iPhone connected to the San Bernadino mass shooting.  Investigations are also continuing 10 days after the music industry lost legendary musician Prince, as to what exactly was his cause of death.  Then there was the tragic death of the two-year-old who drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool in Port Orange Thursday night.

Also making the headlines this week was another baseball player, this one from the Miami Marlins, who was banned 80 games for steroids and the controversial football player drafted Thursday night by the Miami Dolphins who has found himself in a social media firestorm for past poor decisions.  (Not a good week for Miami sports.)  Oh, and who could leave out the headlines of the 20 arrested during the mini-riot at the Donald Trump rally on Thursday night? Read the rest of this entry

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Do Not Be Troubled

5th Sunday of Easter

Do Not Be Troubled

Text:  John 14:1-12

Intro

Normally life’s troubles rolled in like the strong, consistent waves of the ocean.  They knew troubles would come regularly.  They knew some would be rather big.  But this night was different.

They could sense a storm was brewing.  Like seeing menacing storm clouds in the sky and feeling the temperature drop and smelling the rain in the air, they knew something wasn’t right.  Jesus’ words had been increasingly darker.  A certain tension and anxiety were in the air.  The storm was about to strike.

Jesus had been telling his disciples more and more about suffering and dying.  Now he said that the time had come for him.  He was going to go away.  Everything was going to change.

But what was he talking about?  Why was he going to die?  Why was he going to leave?  How would they make it through this storm if Jesus was going away?  What was going to happen?

Little by little the small drops turned into massive pellets of rain.  Little by little the rolling waves of trouble felt like hurricane-size waves crashing down on them.  The squall was getting thicker and they didn’t know what to do.  They were being blown around in every direction.  They were drowning.  They were crushed.  The disciples didn’t know what to do and their hearts were troubled.

I wasn’t there on that night before Jesus died, but I do know what that feeling is like.  I know what it feels like to have waves of trouble crash down.  I know what it feels like when pressure rises, the heart starts racing, and it feels like it’s going to burst out of the chest.  I know what it feels like to be lost, like I don’t really know what I’m doing or where I’m going.  Where is Jesus?  Why won’t Jesus help?  When will Jesus make it better? Read the rest of this entry

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

The Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

1. You have God’s pleasure
2. You have God’s presence
3. You have God’s peace

Text: John 14:21-27

Intro

Something wasn’t quite right.  The tension was nearly tangible.  It was as if something big was about to happen.

That whole week Jesus had been talking more and more about suffering and dying.  He had been saying he had to leave.  His preaching had been fiery—even turning over money tables in the temple.

Only hours before this, they began what was supposed to be just another ordinary Passover meal together.  But the tension only increased.  Jesus said that one of the Twelve was going to betray him.  Everyone was completely confused.  Judas ran out of the room.  What was that all about?  Then Jesus instituted a new meal with a new covenant for forgiveness.  Why was that necessary?  Then they sang a hymn and went out toward a favorite place of prayer—the Garden of Gethsemane.

As they were walking now, Jesus started back up with the “gloom and doom” talk.  He said Peter was going to deny him.  He said again that he was going to be leaving.  Where was he going?  What was going on here?  Peter was hurt that Jesus would think he would deny him.  Thomas asked where Jesus was going.  Philip asked to see God the Father because maybe that would help them believe.  We heard today how Judas asked why Jesus seemed to be revealing himself only to the disciples.

What was going on here!  The disciples were confused and concerned.  They were troubled and afraid. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on John 14:25-27

Text:  John 14:25-27

What does the world have to offer you?

Well, if you are “successful” by worldly standards you will have lots of fame and fortune, lots of land and loot. Or, you could look for the non-material things of this world such as happiness. Or you could speak strictly of the world itself and think of the mountains and the valleys and the lakes and the oceans.

Depending on your viewpoint, there are lots of things that this world has to offer.

Yet no matter what it is that the world has to offer you, it is nothing compared to what God has to offer us. God gives to us himself! Jesus promised to his disciples then and now that he would send the Holy Spirit to us. This gift is not as the world gives. Rather, this gift is much better!

God the Holy Spirit comes to us as the one who comforts us, strengthens us, guides us, emboldens us, encourages us, and more. He gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Yes, that is something far greater than the world could ever give us!

So, as Jesus says, do not let your hearts be troubled!

Prayer: Holy Spirit, fill me with your good gifts, the fruits of Christian living. Guide my every step and lead me toward my heavenly home. And as I walk heavenward, do not let my heart be troubled. I pray in your name, Amen.

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

5th Sunday of Easter

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Text:  John 14:1-12

Intro

Let me tell you what troubles me. I’m troubled by any problems that occur with our church or school. I want so much for our church and school to grow and succeed. I want so much for everyone in our church and school to get along, to grow in the Word of God, and to be a part of our mission. When those things don’t happen, I’m troubled.

I’m troubled by money problems. When the Christ the King budget is tight, I worry. When my budget is tight, I worry. This isn’t exactly the easiest economic time in American history. What if the bottom falls out on all of our plans, or all of my family plans, because of money?

I’m troubled by the world we live in today. I already struggle enough with it myself. What is it going to be like for my children as they grow older and more aware of what is around them? How much worse can things get? How much more sin can there be? How many more restrictions on Christianity will be implemented? How much more false doctrine and false preachers will enter this world? I’m sure Satan is having a grand old time these days.

These are just some of the things that trouble me. They cause me to worry. They make me lie awake and toss and turn at night (and thus I get elbows and kicks from my wife). They make my blood pressure rise and my temperature boil. They make me pace back and forth in the hallways which in turn makes the teachers in our school laugh and giggle at me. I’m often quite troubled.

What troubles you so much? Money? Your job? Your health? Our government? Your family? A guilty conscience? There are so many things in life that weigh heavily upon us. They rile us up and stir our emotions. They make us groan. They make us sweat. They make us cry. Oh yes, our lives are often more troubled and turbulent than ocean waves during a hurricane. Read the rest of this entry