3rd Sunday of Advent
The Day Is Coming
Text: Malachi 4:1-6
Is there any day in America like Christmas? I can’t think of any day that we all look forward to as much as Christmas. The anticipation of that day is incredible. We really go out of our way to get ready for Christmas.
We start making Christmas lists months in advance. We put up Christmas lights and Christmas trees weeks in advance. We plan travel around Christmas. We plan menus for Christmas. We attend multiple Christmas parties and pull out old Christmas sweaters and outfits that we only wear on this special occasion. We listen to Christmas music. We watch Christmas movies.
Everyone has their own reasons for enjoying Christmas. For some it’s the Christmas services. For some it’s the family and friends. For some it’s the food and cookies. For some it’s the music. For some it’s just a little time off of work. For you, it might be all of the above.
But day by day, as Christmas draws closer the excitement continues to build. The anticipation of that candlelight Christmas Eve service or that Christmas Day family fun or that one special gift you can’t wait to give—the anticipation is extraordinary.
And then Christmas is finally here. Smiles are everywhere. Surprising or thoughtful gifts bring tears to the eyes, or sometimes even make you jump up and down for joy. It’s almost a relief, really. After so much waiting, after so much anticipation—finally the day is here! Read the rest of this entry
18th Sunday after Pentecost
A Lesson in Love
Text: Jonah 4:5-11
“Go and make disciples of all nations.” We call that the Great Commission. Jesus has commissioned us, sent us, to share his Word with all people. The Great Commission makes us kind of warm and fuzzy inside. What a neat thing that God wants us to share his Word! How wonderful that God loves all people! What a loving and gracious God!
God certainly called his Old Testament people to preach his Word, too. Moses told the Israelites to talk about God’s Word when they got up in the morning and went to bed at night, to talk about it when they walk down the streets, to teach it to their children, to put it on their doorposts and bind it on their foreheads if they had to. Surely the Israelites felt warm and fuzzy inside when they heard the Lord tell them that he is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love. How wonderful that God loves all people! What a loving and gracious God they had! Read the rest of this entry
6th Sunday of Easter
Jesus is Here!
1. With his rebuke
2. With his riches
3. With his reward
Text: Revelation 3:14-22
I always know when trouble is happening. All parents know when something is going down in the house. What’s the telltale sign? It’s quiet. Too quiet. Normally the kids are loud or rowdy or pretending they are Batman or Dora. But suddenly you realize it is abnormally quiet. Too quiet.
“Gwendolyn, what are you doing?” “Nuffin’.” “Gwendolyn, what are you doing in there?” “Nuffin.’” “Gwendolyn, tell me what’s going on!” “Don’t worry about it!” (That is an actual conversation that has taken place far too many times lately.) Those are the times that the parent walks into a room and sees every drawer pulled out of every dresser and every piece of clothing piled up in a fort, or all of mommy’s makeup on the child’s face and on the floor.
The same things happen in schools. The teacher turns the back for one second and things start flying through the air. A teacher steps out for one second to discipline a studen and all the others think it’s party time. The teacher is correcting papers at the desk and the students think there is no way they will be caught passing a note, or these days, sneaking off a couple text messages. Then the teacher turns to look and suddenly everyone sits up straight and holds up a book—as if that isn’t completely obvious!
It’s amazing what kids think they can get away with. It’s as if they think they are above the law or immune to punishment. It’s as if they think they are untouchable. It’s as if they think they will never get caught and no one will ever know. But we parents, we teachers, have eyes in the back of our heads. We see everything. We know everything. We will always find out the truth. We will always catch them. They will never get away with anything! Read the rest of this entry
What a life I have lived!
I’m well past three decades in this world now and marching quickly toward four. Those 30+ years have brought a lot of life experiences. Sadly, there are so many that I am so very ashamed of.
Sometimes I truly can’t believe the things I have done.
How could I have been so disrespectful and rude to my parents at times? My son would be grounded until he has great-grandkids if he pulled some of the same garbage I did.
How could I have said and done the things I did when I was in high school and college? The bravado. The brashness. The cutting words. The sharp tongue. The uncaring heart.
Pathetic! Read the rest of this entry
4th Sunday in Lent
Lost in Sin . . . Found in Grace
Text: Judges 10:6-16
After all that God had done for his people! If you read the Bible books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua straight through, you will be impressed with a time period when God miraculously intervened more than any other time in Israel’s history. The accounts of God’s interactions with the Israelites during the days of Moses and Joshua are truly amazing.
You may be able to do a quick survey of stories in your head. First God sent the 10 Plagues on Egypt so that Pharaoh would let his people go. Then he led two million people out of Egypt and through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground—the same sea he used to destroy their enemies.
While in the desert the Israelites whined and complained and moaned and groaned. Yet God provided water for them, sometimes miraculously turning bitter water sweet or bursting water out of a rock for them. He dropped bread called manna and birds called quail out of the heavens for them to eat every day. He revealed his glory and might on Mt. Sinai. He defeated countless enemies. He brought them to the Promised Land of Canaan that did not belong to them and defeated all those enemies. He made the impenetrable walls of Jericho fall down when Israel marched around them and even made the sun stand still for a day so general Joshua and Israel had more time to rout the enemy. Read the rest of this entry