Have you ever despaired? Has there ever been a time when meaningless and hopelessness seem to pervade your spirit, and where you cannot find light beyond the darkness? If so, you are not alone. Many, indeed most, of the faithful have gone through such times, along with the vast multitudes of humanity.
I personally don’t have very much experience with the kind of fear that the disciples experienced on the mountaintop that day – the mouth-drying, heart thumping, knee-buckling fear that paralyzes you momentarily as you try to escape from the situation that you are in.
Have you ever taken the time to observe the kids who gather at the local skate park? I noticed that we have one located near the entrance of Centennial Park. Unlike organized sports, like basketball or tennis, most towns don’t have an organized skateboarding or BMX league to teach kids the basics of the sport and I’ve always been intrigued with the way the kids teach themselves how to do it.
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Do you think the crowds got smaller? Luke shares that at this point of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, large crowds were travelling with him. Perhaps they were attracted to his brashness, or, his confrontational style with the Pharisees. Perhaps they were amazed by his ministry of healing.
Water is life. Since the Neolithic age, humans have utilized cisterns, or reservoirs, or water towers, to hold water from rainfall and runoff. Capturing the water and holding it for later use offers a guarantee and security that the people would survive times of drought.
My friend’s encounter didn’t resolve any major issue that day. But the very fact that he had it has changed him and caused him to think about this particular homeless man a little differently. Dustin has an identity.
I once came across this quote: “Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” Statements like this can be divisive because there is both truth in these words as well as misconception.
Take a minute and think about what you were doing the last time you experienced joy. For me, I was taking a walk near a pond and I saw a blue heron standing silent and still in the shallow water, waiting for its dinner to swim by.
Quite often pastors find themselves in the role of officiating funeral services. The purpose of these services is to honor and celebrate a person’s life, and in all the services I have been involved in, I have yet to encounter one in which we talk about how many things a person was able to accumulate throughout his or her life.
Have you ever wondered what it looks like when faithfulness springs up from the ground and righteousness gazes down from heaven? This week I came across Psalm 85, and verse 11 said just that, and as I reflected on that image, I imagined that it would be a little like walking into the heart of a forest during late spring or early summer.
In the year 64 AD, there was a fire that destroyed most of Rome. No one knows who started the fire, but Emperor Nero accused the Christians and began persecuting them.
When people first encounter one another, they usually take a moment to assess the other person. Before you develop any kind of relationship with another person, you have to determine how much you want to invest in them.
Candy and I have spoken that last two weeks regarding what it means to live by the grace of God. Candy talked about prevenient grace of God that grace that supports all creation and life that grace that draws us to God and allows us to say “yes” to God.
How many ways can you say, “Saved”? We are talking about Grace, God’s Grace. Last week Candy shared with you about the Prevenient Grace. Today, we are thinking about God’s Justifying Grace.
A few years ago, Byron and I took a vacation in Mexico, and on that trip I was able to do something that had been a long-time dream of mine – one of those “bucket list” items - we got to swim with dolphins! It was SO exciting! First, we were told to get into the water and just “be still” and let the dolphins get used to us being there. S
I have been sharing with you regarding Paul’s missionary journeys. I chose to do this because of the three mission trips that the church has planned. The first of the three was just completed this past week to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center.
Have you been called to suffer? Suffering just comes with living. We know that just living one encounters suffering. We don’t think of small life-pains as suffering. It’s the big life-pains that rise to the level of suffering.
We learned from Katie that the Appalachian Trail, the longest pedestrian-only path in the world, winds 2,190 miles through 14 eastern states. The average walking pace once a person gets their trail legs is about three miles an hour. It takes most hikers 5-7 months to complete a thru-hike. I am sharing this with you to give a reference to think about.
Knowing about Jesus is one thing, experiencing Jesus and following him is another. Jesus calls us to many tasks, yet there is one compelling vision. Jesus calls us to a world of peace with all people being at one with God through Jesus’ grace and mercy.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" (John 20:15). Sometimes we forget. We focus so much on the joy and celebration of this day, on the bright flowers and festive music that sometimes we forget. "The first sound heard on that first Easter Sunday was the sound of weeping."
Today we start our sixth and last week of our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why did we spend six weeks on these small utterances of Jesus? This is the only time Jesus gives us word for word what to pray. Jesus says, "pray like this."
We have talked about the first four utterances of the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be they name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
Today we start our third week of our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why spend six weeks on these small utterances of Jesus? This is the only time Jesus gives us word for word what to pray. Jesus says, “pray like this.” Thank you for coming today. If you have been invited to worship this morning, my gratitude goes out to you and the one who invited you.
Today we start our second week of our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why spend six weeks on these small utterances of Jesus? This is the only time Jesus gives us word for word what to pray. Jesus says, “pray like this.” For some of us, this will be like peeling an onion, we will peel back the layers of the prayer to find the deep meanings. For some of us, this will be a reminder of what we know. For some of us, this will be exploring new territory and perhaps creating a new practice.
Today we begin our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why spend six weeks on these small utterances of Jesus? This is the only time Jesus gives us word for word what to pray. Jesus says, “pray like this.” For some of us, this will be like peeling an onion, we will peel back the layers of the prayer to find the deep meanings.
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.