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
15th Sunday after Pentecost
This is Christian Living
Text: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Four hundred years of suffering. Four hundred years slavery. Four hundred years of subjection to someone else. Finally, after all those years of burden and bondage, the people of Israel were free. God had delivered his people from the rule of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. He did so his by his majestic might and power, leading his people through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground.
Yet even after such deliverance and freedom, the Israelites whined and complained and sinned against the Lord. But time and again God was patient and merciful and forgiving. He continued to lead them on to the Promised Land of Canaan. Finally then as God’s people were standing on the precipice of the Promised Land, Moses delivered a fiery farewell speech of encouragement and exhortation to the people. We know that speech as the book of Deuteronomy. A portion of that speech is our first lesson today.
Our story isn’t much different than theirs. We were in slavery too. We were suffering under the bondage and chains of sin. We were subject to Satan and doomed to the dungeon of hell. No person in this world is perfect which means that all of us are sinners who were bound by sin. Read the rest of this entry
19th Sunday after Pentecost
Which Son Do You Identify With?
Text: Matthew 21:28-32
Ooh their blood was boiling. They already despised Jesus, but now the chief priests and elders of the people—they were really hot. The day before the people had made a crazy ruckus in the city. They were shouting and waving palm branches and treating Jesus like a king as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Later that same Palm Sunday Jesus entered the temple, turned over the tables , of the money lenders, and drove out all the people who turned that holy house into a den of robbers.
Now it was the next day, Monday of Holy Week, and Jesus was back in the temple teaching. The chief priests and elders nearly had steam shooting out of their ears. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. They just didn’t get it. Their hearts were hardened with hate and unbelief. So Jesus told them a series of parables. The first one is before us today.
It’s a simple and short parable. There was a father who had two boys. Certainly he loved them. He addressed them each as “Child,” or “Son.” But like all parents, this father expected his dear children to work. They couldn’t just sit and play Super Mario Brothers or watch Scooby Doo all day. They had work to do for the family. You might expect your children to clean their rooms or do the dishes or mow the lawn. In an agricultural society, these two sons were asked to go and work in the vineyard.
The first one refused. “I will not,” he said, giving the response that we parents dread hearing: “NO!” But later on he changed his mind and went to work in the vineyard. The second son did just the opposite. He answered, “I will, sir.” If only! If only our children would be asked to do something and would always respond with a, “Yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am” like this son. However, though he talked a good talk, the second son didn’t walk the walk. He never went to work in the vineyard. Read the rest of this entry
16th Sunday after Pentecost
Faith Puts Christ First
1. By trusting
2. By following
3. By worshiping
Text: Genesis 12:1-8
Would you have done it? Would you have left like Abram and Sarai? The Lord had come to Abram and said, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” Notice how God dialed up the challenge meter in this test of faith. “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household.” God was being crystal clear about how big of a challenge this was and how much he was going to leave behind. “Oh, and by the way,” God said, “I’m not going to tell you where you are going. I’ll show you where to go and tell you when to stop.”
Would you have done it? Would you have left like Abram and Sarai (who were 75 and 65!)? Would you have left your house, your neighborhood, your favorite Publix store, your local sports teams, your family, and your friends? Would you have left everything behind and blindly followed wherever God told you to go? Maybe you end up in Tallahassee. Maybe Timbuktu. Maybe Tijuana. Who knows? Would you have done it? Read the rest of this entry
9th Sunday after Pentecost
Speak, O Lord
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
“Samuel! Samuel!” The young boy jumped out of bed and ran to Eli. “Here I am; you called me.” “I did not call; go back and lie down,” the priest said. “Samuel! Samuel!” The young boy jumped out of bed again. For a young kid he was such a faithful servant in the house of God! “Here I am; you called me.” “I did not call; go back and lie down,” Eli repeated. What’s gotten into this kid?
A third time the voice called out, “Samuel! Samuel!” Now at this point when I was being told this story as a young child I interrupted my dad and shouted out, “Samuel! Answer the phone!” But it wasn’t Siri talking on Samuel’s iPhone. Though a wicked priest, Eli realized what was going on and sent Samuel back to bed with instructions.
One more time the voice called out, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied humbly, willingly, and appropriately: “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
“Speak, for your servant is listening.” Speak, O Lord. But how does the Lord speak to us? Read the rest of this entry