Everyone knows that there's no surer way to make friends than going around telling people they are wrong, right? OK, I know you're wiser than that: People hate to hear that they are wrong. They fire back with insults, accusations, rationale and everything else to avoid the dagger of those words. We don't like to hear that we are wrong, but that's the message John the Baptist was screaming in our section of Scripture today, from Matthew 3: "Repent." And that's a message we all need to hear.
The section of God's Word we're looking at today is Luke 23:35-43. It's the story of Christ on the cross. That might seem like an odd section of Scripture to be looking at at this time of the year, but it's chosen because here at the end of the church year, we have this Sunday called "Christ the King" Sunday. And this text with Jesus on the cross is all about Christ being our King.
A few years ago Garth Brooks released a song thanking God for unanswered prayers. The gist of the song was that he was thankful that he didn't always get what he asked for because that meant God had something better in store for him.
War leaves a mark. Yesterday, on Veterans Day, we honored those who have that mark from physical war. But even more serious is the ultimate battle we are all in, a spiritual battle against sin. And on this Sunday in the Church Year (Last Judgment Sunday) we talk about its end.
"Trick or Treat." Are you ready to hear it? Chances are, you'll hear it a few times this weekend. This is the one time a year that when someone asks a child, "What do you say?" the correct answer is not "Please" or "Thank you!"
Why do you do what you do? Has it ever happened where you do something even though every rational thought and logical sense would tell you not to? Maybe you give the person a second chance. Maybe you do without so that someone else doesn't have to. Why do yo do those things that don't really seem to benefit you in any way?
It's always an emotional time when you leave someplace: when the child goes away to college, when the family leaves its home because they're moving to a new one, when the baby of the family moves out on her own. It's emotional, even when you know the move is what you wanted and for your good.
We're getting down to the wire here. The final inspections on our building should be taking place next week, and, God-willing, we'll be able to move in on Oct. 17 with a service that starts at the school we've been using and ends at the new place. Just about everything is done, or well on its way. You can probably guess the last item on the to-do list. It's the same as the first item was: Pray.
What do you think of when you think of the book of Revelation? Try describing it in one word. I asked that question to begin our new Bible study series on that last book of the Bible last week. And you can probably guess some of the answers I got: "Scary"... "Confusing"... "Destruction"... "Difficult." Then one person said - "Comforting."
That answer is almost shocking compared to all the other ones, but when you think about why the book was written, why God gave us this record of this vision, "comforting" is right on the money.
Are you familiar with North Carolina's vehicle license plates? There's a sketch of an antique airplane in the background and this slogan on top: "First in Flight." That's a pretty bold claim, isn't it? Sure, I'm familiar with the Wright brothers and Kitty Hawk and Dec. 17, 1903, but that wasn't the first thing ever to fly.
Nine years ago tomorrow, one of the most significant events in United States history occurred. "9/11" is now much more than a date on the calendar between 9/10 and 9/12. Just hearing that string of digits now fills us with emotion.
If you've ever been asked the question "Do I know you?" You know how devastating that can be. Whether it's someone you've had several conversations with that you thought you had made a connection to or someone you haven't seen in a while, it is tough when you find out your relationship isn't what you thought it was.