The 4th Sunday in Lent
God Loves You SO Much
Text: John 3:14-18
A lost mother. Lost jobs. Undiagnosed sicknesses. Surgeries. Cancer threats. Actual cancer. Cancer remission. Endless doctor appointments. Struggling families. Strained families. Separated families. Children traveling the country. Children traveling the world. Children in trouble. Financial stress. Possible foreclosure or eviction. Hurt feelings. Crushed emotions. Sleeplessness. Exhaustion. Depression. Guilt. And tears. Oh the tears.
All very real things in our world. But did you know, every one of those things I mentioned someone in this room is experiencing right now? There are some very heavy hearts in God’s house today. There’s pain and hurt. There are broken relationships and broken homes and broken hearts and broken spirits. Life is tough and it is weighing heavily on many of us.
We try our best to put on a smile. We pretend like everything is normal. Meanwhile inside there is an avalanche of anxiety, a tornado of turmoil, and a hurricane of hurt. But how long can we really go on like this? How much more can we really take? How long before we have a nervous breakdown or we just go nuts and scream?! Read the rest of this entry
Text: John 3:1-17
Who is Jesus and why is he here? What is God up to? These were the questions that led Nicodemus to rendezvous with Jesus for a late night, behind the scenes interview. It was obvious to Nicodemus that Jesus had come from God because Jesus was doing miracles that only a prophet of God could do. So who was Jesus, was he a prophet or something more? And if he was a prophet what message from God did he have for the Israelites?
Jesus’ beautiful response was just what Nicodemus needed to hear. Jesus’ response is also exactly what we need to hear.
Important point #1: Yes I am from God. I come from God with a heavenly message
Important point #2: Unless you receive the Holy Spirit you cannot go to heaven (the Holy Spirit comes through the waters of baptism)
Important point #3: The Son of Man (a title for Jesus the Son of God) will be lifted up. If you believe in him you will have eternal life.
Important point #4: God the Father orchestrated all of this because he did not wish to condemn the whole world.
I don’t know what Nicodemus expected to hear from Jesus. I don’t know what he wanted to hear from Jesus, but I do know that what he heard was exactly what he needed to hear. “Nicodemus, your triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is offering you the only way to get to heaven. Believe and heaven is yours.”
It’s the gospel, it is the message that every human desperately needs to know. It is the story of our loving God that you desperately need to know. I don’t know what first led you to Jesus. I don’t know what you expect Jesus to do for you, but I do know that he already is offering you everything you need. Heaven is yours, Jesus is offering it to you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for setting into motion a plan to bring your lost, sinful world back into your loving embrace.
Jesus the Son of God, thank you for offering your life as the ransom which buys our souls a mansion in heaven.
Holy Spirit, thank you for creating in our hearts faith that clings to the promise of Jesus, thank you for bringing about our second birth as children of God.
4th Sunday in Lent
A Life-Changing Story
Text: John 3:14-21
I just wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I didn’t really want to be caught up in all the buzz surrounding him like everyone else was, so I usually avoided talking about him or going to see him. But I couldn’t hold off any longer. It was just too intriguing to me. Everyone I knew was talking about him and how great he was, so I figured I just had to go and see him too.
He was generally regarded as one of the greatest preachers of the time—I suppose he could be compared to Billy Graham or the late Dr. D. James Kennedy of TV fame. Or maybe Joel Osteen when it comes to popularity. But the word on the street was that he was even better—that he knew more about the Bible than anyone and could preach circles around even the best. They said his sermons were both fiery and yet heart-warming at the same time. Some claimed he could clear out a church, literally, with his pointed preaching of the law. Others asserted that the wonderful stories he told left you grappling for more and pondering his message for days. Read the rest of this entry
Text: John 3:14-21
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .”
The infamous words from Romeo and Juliet have become common practice in our culture. If you love someone, then you show how much by what you give. You buy birthday and Christmas presents for your loved ones. And the more presents, the more you love them. You buy flowers or chocolates or golf balls on Valentine’s Day. The bigger the bouquet or more thoughtful the gift, the better.
You can really tell what someone is worth to another by the gifts that are given.
I don’t think there is a scale or scientific device made by humans big enough to measure how much our God loves us. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.”
Even more amazing–we did nothing to deserve it! We have disobeyed and defied God. We have ignored God. We have downplayed God. But he still so loved us that he gave his Son for us. Incredible!
As we march with Jesus toward his cross this Lent, worship the Lord in humble awe for the incredible, priceless gift of love given for you and your salvation!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in boundless love you sent your Son to live and die for me and in my place. This is a gift I do not deserve and cannot fathom. Yet I thank you and praise you for it with every ounce of my being. Lead me to live in joy and thanks for what you have done. Amen.