"Dearly Beloved…" That's the way I started out my last wedding sermon. I know it's a little bit of a throwback. We don't call too many people "beloved" anymore, but I hope you know what I mean. Today, I want to think about why that's a perfect way to greet one another…"beloved".
What a prison self consciousness can be. When I think of those "would be" Christians if they could just find someone to express the love of God and acceptance to them. In Luke 7, we read the story of a self-righteous Pharisee who invites Jesus to dinner and an encounter with a prostitute. (Odd mix I know) but it is kind of like Christians in the world with judgmental spirits or worse how sinners are made to feel (if) or when they walk into the church building. You have heard people say, "Well if I went to church the ceiling ...
"Dearly Beloved…" That's the way I started out my last wedding sermon. I know it's a little bit of a throwback. We don't call too many people "beloved" anymore, but I hope you know what I mean. Today, I want to think about why that's a perfect way to greet one another…"beloved."
Doubt happens to the best of us. I know we sometimes put people on a pedestal like famous preachers, authors or even mature Christians we know and then criticize ourselves with comparisons like "I bet they are too spiritually mature to doubt like me. I wish I was more like them." But the truth is, they do have times of doubt because we all do. We have times of doubt when tragedies strike for no reason or prayers go unanswered or we get mistreated for trying to do the right thing, etc. We wonder if anyone else struggles with the ...
You call yourself a Christian, right? You do realize that just by doing that, you are taking on a very specific job description. You are now "His witnesses". You are the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth". You are "Christ's ambassadors", a "holy priesthood" you are to be "Declaring the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light". Do I have to go on? Realize it - you have a job, whether you like it or not, you are blessed to serve. There is no such thing as a part ...
Is the "Golden Rule" biblical? Yes, but not because it is a "golden rule" but rather because it is a "Kingdom principle." Many people miss the point here. They want to live by the golden rule (and that's fine), but not really according to the Kingdom rule. Ah yes, we are talking about the pickers and the choosers. Jesus asked it this way: "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Lk. 6:46) In other words; "Why do you call me Lord when in reality I am not your Lord?" or, "Why ...
The church is failing in a big way! Yes I am aware God has, and continues to use, the church to reach the lost and minister to the world in mighty ways. However, one of the greatest and most foundational tasks given to the church by Christ is one of the things the church is neglecting the most - "discipleship." I have often said, "We are outraged at the idea of someone abandoning a newborn and we should be, but yet the church does this everyday to those who are newly born again."
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"Look! I'm standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me."
"The LORD's voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the LORD is over the mighty waters. The LORD's voice is strong; the LORD's voice is majestic."
Deuteronomy 31:8 says: "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The memory is a dozen years old now, but vivid. I couldn't tell you what it was like outside, but I remember that room. I even remember what I was wearing. But even more clearly, I remember what my son looked like - a pudgy little nine-month old, in a hospital gown, snot dripping from his nose, coughing non-stop. He had pneumonia. It was awful. We were first time parents, trying to deal with a sickness we couldn't seem to do anything about. All day long, nurses had been in and out poking him for one reason or another ...
Lots of old expressions sneak into our lives and conversations every day. Ever heard the expression, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"? I seem to use that expression a lot these days. It's a handy expression that means the son or the daughter is a lot like the parent. So when a child exhibits a behavior or similarity to one of the parents, I will likely say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
I hope you're ready. The countdown to Christmas is quickly nearing zero. And if you've been reading these articles, you've seen what I've said about the importance of keeping the CHRIST in CHRISTmas. So today I want to discuss the most important part of being ready for a CHRISTian CHRISTmas - the receiving. You see, if you aren't ready to receive this Christmas, you will miss out on the best this holiday has to offer: true peace, true joy, true love.
Last week, this article reminded us of the reason for the season, the purpose behind all of our preparations and parties, decorations and driving, fun and family gatherings. We talked about preparing for CHRISTmas rather than just Christmas, and how that happens when we keep the proper attitude and the proper purpose.
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
We're well into December. You know what that means. The Christmas Parade was Saturday. The bell ringers are out. The radio stations have converted their music. The newspapers are full of all the ads. Christmas is coming.
"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights."
"Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts." - Psalm 85:8 (New Revised Standard Version)
You know God has you here for a reason, don't you? The Bible talks about us believers in Jesus in a special way. God calls us the body of Christ. Think about that. You are a body part. It's not the same part as I am or your neighbor or your friend, but it is an important part. If you've ever injured one part of your body, you know how much the rest of the body suffers to compensate. Now - here's the question - are you doing the part of your body part, or are you asking ...
"What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas."