Last week, God's Word in First Peter 2 showed us that we are the Church, not a building, but a body of believers. But we only got part of the way through that text. Today, let's look at what that means. Today, let's look at how that changes your life. Peter writes this about you, the Church, the ones who see Jesus as the living Stone:
"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into ...
Over here at Abiding Grace, we are building our church. It's a pretty exciting time. The walls are up. The roof is just about up. The utilities are going in. Finally. After all this time planning, preparing and permitting, praying and paying, we are building our church. Are you excited? You know, when we got together to talk about building our building, we said we wanted something that "looks like a church," right? …Something that people wouldn't get confused with an office building or someone's house. It was supposed to "look like a church." Have you seen ...
Last week, we looked at John 21:1-14 and marveled at what it meant for those disciples that Jesus appeared to them again after all their failures. Last week, we read in awe of how Jesus keeps coming to us in his word with his forgiveness even after all of our failures. Today, I want to explore that third appearance Jesus made to his disciples and see how all of the details of this appearance highlight just how awesome our Savior is. Let's look again at what it means that this guy in the text "is the Lord."
Happy Easter. Yes, we're still celebrating Easter. Let me tell you why that is so important. A couple weeks ago, we saw the angels telling those women at the tomb to "remember" what Jesus had said and "remember" what that meant. That week, my article probably used the word "remember" 20 times. Then, last week, the word was "believe" as Thomas got his doubts smashed by the absolute facts of the truth that Christ is risen.
Last week, I wrote about how one little task changes entire lives: Just Remember! The women at Jesus' empty tomb went from shock and sorrow to hope and joy because they were reminded of Jesus' promises. They remembered that they should have expected this victory. They should know it: Jesus lives. And that means your life has purpose.
What makes that picture bring tears to your eyes? What makes that song bring a smile to your face? Or, on the flipside, what makes that voice to you like fingernails on a chalkboard? One thing - memories. Memories change all your experiences; they fill your life with emotion. Now, the big thing is - what are you remembering? Because what you remember will change your life, for good or bad.
We call this Good Friday. Think about that - "good." We call it good when we see a man die - and not just die, die brutally. "Good." On this day we contemplate the most famous six hours in the history of the world. We witness through the record in scripture the most talked about execution that has ever happened. On Good Friday, we remember the blood and the brutality of scourge and nail and thorn. And we call it "Good."
March Madness! You know what I'm talking about. Our country goes crazy over this basketball tournament. If you've ever found yourself yelling your cheers at a television set watching a game, you get it. If you've ever seen the fans who are actually at those games - you understand why we call it March Madness. Can you explain the urge to wave signs, scream yourself horse and high-five complete strangers? Madness.
Well, this Sunday in the church year is what I like to think of as March Madness - God style. It's Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode ...
Do you like to make big decisions? There are so many factors to weigh, so many pros and cons to sift through, so many variables to consider. Wouldn't it be nice if God just made all the decisions for us?
Well, he loves us too much for that - so, after making us his own, he gives us the ability to make some decisions. Realize, this is not something to take lightly. The decisions we make have a pretty profound impact on who we become. Thankfully, God gives us some guidance.
Last week, we saw Jesus teaching us why bad things happen. If you missed that one, check online at www.covnews.com or the full sermon at www.abidinggrace.com. But this week, I want to look at the flipside of that - why good things happen. We got a preview of that when last week Jesus told us to repent when we saw bad things because we are really the ones that deserve them. Repentance is turning around. So now the reason for good things happening is pretty clear.
As if it wasn't bad enough that an earthquake devastated Haiti, now Chile too. What's going on? Why did so many people have to lose their homes, their stuff, their lives? Or I suppose we could make it more personal: Why did my loved one have to die? Why did I have to get sick? Have you ever asked questions like that? How you ever lamented that things just weren't fair?
Ahh Lent. It's here. Last week was Ash Wednesday, and now we find ourselves in this season of repentance, these 40 days to focus our attention on the suffering of our Savior and our sins that caused it. And that's good. You see, in order to appreciate the victory of Easter - we have to deal with the honesty of Lent. Christianity is not some pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. It's so truthful and factual it hurts. It hurts when we realize what we deserve. It hurts when we realize what Jesus had to go through for us. But the ...
Do you want a job? In this economy, that introduction should catch some attention. If you're looking for one, after a while, just about any job sounds good. So you want this one? Here are the details: nothing to speak of for pay; it won't earn you any respect or appreciation, either. Sound good?
Do you want to be with God? That sounds good, doesn't it? Think about it for a minute. You see, before God gave Isaiah his job of representing him, he wanted to make sure Isaiah knew the One he'd be working for. So God let Isaiah see him. This is how Isaiah records it: "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple." Isaiah saw God, and the only thing he could find words to describe was that his robe ...