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The Lamb Is Our Shepherd

The 4th Sunday of Easter

The Lamb is Our Shepherd

Text: Revelation 7:9-17

It’s dark, isn’t it?  The valley.  I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and it is so dark.  The darkness is so thick, sometimes I feel like there is no light in my life at all.  The path is rough, rugged, and runs every which way.  With with darkness surrounding me, I hardly know where I’m going.  I stumble and fall a lot.  Even worse, I know as I’m walking through this dark valley that I’m a sitting duck, or a sitting sheep I suppose.  I’m an easy target.  I’m weak.  I’m vulnerable prey.  There are dangers all around me.  There is darkness all around me.  I’m lost.  I’m alone.  I’m afraid.

Ever feel that way?  There’s a reason why Psalm 23 has some of the most popular Bible verses in the world.  Even people who don’t believe in the Bible will quote it.  Perhaps the most striking picture that people know is in verse 4:  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  That verse is so popular because all people can relate to it. Read the rest of this entry

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Am I Safe?

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Am I Safe?

Text: Romans 7:1-8

Where were you?  That was the big question to ask this last week on Thursday.  Where were you 13 years ago on September 11, 2001?  Every year Americans take time to reflect upon one of the greatest tragedies on American soil in U.S. history.  Some of you were there in New York.  Some of you know people who were there in New York.  All of us remember where we were, what we were doing, and how we found out.

None of us will forget the feeling either.  It was so terrible an attack and so personal an attack and so close to home that no matter how many years pass by we will not forget.  The destruction.  The dust.  The deaths.  The sadness.  The tears.  The anger.  The fear.  This is the terror that terrorism brings, and we all experienced it personally.

Now here we are 13 years later and still waters are starting to break again.  For 13 years we have had relative peace.  Yes, there have been attempts at attacks.  Yes, there has been war in the Middle East.  Yes, soldiers have lost their lives.  But we have had relative peace and quiet, especially here in America.  Now though, the glassy sea of peace is being disturbed by waves of terrorism.

Our archenemies are at it again.  Muslims, worldly enemies to Christians for some 1,400 years, have another faction of militant soldiers taking arms against us.  Thirteen years ago it was Al-Qaeda.  Today it is Isis.  This group is taking up jihad—holy war—in active, aggressive, and frightening ways.  They are hunting down Christians.  They are marking their homes with that U-shaped symbol you may have seen (which stands for the word Nazarene in Arabic).  Men, women, even children are not safe as they are brutally slaughtering any they find.  The public nature of these attacks and the video footage they purposefully share strikes fear.  Now rumors are spreading about Isis living among us in the United States and immanent and impending attacks.  There’s a reason they are called terror-ists. It makes a Christian wonder.  Am I Safe? Read the rest of this entry

Sermon on Revelation 7:9-17

The 4th Sunday of Easter

The Paradoxes of Faith

1. A Lamb-Shepherd, 2. Washed white with blood, 3. Perfect People

Text:  Revelation 7:9-17

Intro

This is foolishness, you know.  It is foolish for us to be here.  Do you have any idea how comfortable my bed and pillows are?  Do you know how much work I could be getting done right now?  I could be checking off so many things on my to do list.  It is starting to really heat up again.  There is so much yard work that I need to be doing before summer and the rainy season hit.  This last week I was so busy.  It would be great to just sit back and relax this morning for a little while.  There are so many other things we could be doing.  But here I am.  Here we are.  This is foolishness, you know. Read the rest of this entry