Last month, my congregation (Abiding Grace) celebrated our 10th anniversary. And there is plenty to celebrate. In 10 years, we've grown in people, in facilities, in opportunities to serve our community and spread the word around the world - in so many different ways. Things are rocking at Abiding Grace. So, looking at that, we must be doing something right, right?
We spend billions of dollars as a nation every year on physical health and fitness.
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. "Dear woman, why are you crying?" the angels asked her. "Because they have taken away my Lord," she replied, "And I don't know where they have put him." She turned to leave ...
I'll admit it. I am a big college basketball fan, which means I'm loving life right here in the middle of March Madness.
At that hour, Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Today is Good Friday. The name seems like a misnomer when you consider that it marks the day of an execution - three in fact.
Oh, my aching tongue! You may never say that unless you bite your tongue. And while biting your tongue is painful and most of us avoid doing it as often as possible, it may be a something we should practice on a much more regular schedule.
I look at the calendar and realize tomorrow is already Easter4Kids. Let me explain. That's an event Abiding Grace has been putting on for years now, a free event for all the 3 to 10 year olds in our community. It's a day to celebrate the real meaning of Easter. (You still have time to register your children at e4k.abidinggrace.com, but I digress). But here's the thing. It always takes place the day before Holy Week starts.
As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem.
"When were you saved?" Have you ever been asked that question? When were you saved? Maybe it's just because of my line of work, but I get that question all the time.
"Therefore, let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and ...
They say you find God in the strangest places. Well, the story of Christmas proves it. Read Luke 2. Even though the text starts in the Emperor's palace of the most powerful nation on earth, when "Caesar Augustus issued a decree," and it passes through every place of power and beauty you can imagine from the Governor's mansion of Quirinius to every corner of the known world - we find it settling down in Nazareth, ...
"You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people, all of the time." We have all heard that quote, but here is another: "You can never fool God or yourself." Those two always know the "real" truth. So, let's ask the tough question, "Are you for real?" Or you do look like you have it all together on the outside, but on the inside you're not ...
Are you a New Year's resolution maker? Or are you someone who used to make New Year's resolutions but never kept them and so now you don't even bother? Wherever you fall on this paradigm, a New Year is a good thing. It is a great time to evaluate your life and to make adjustments if needed. There is an old adage that rings true, "A life not evaluated is not worth living."
"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?" [Jesus] replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.
"Therefore, as God's choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other."
Wives, do you wish your husbands were better communicators? Guys, do you wish your wives didn't read things into what you say that were never there? You know what I'm talking about.
In 2011, Walmart's total worldwide net sales total topped $418 billion with $309 billion coming from sales within the United States. You read that correctly, $418 and $309 billion. If Walmart were a country, its GDP for 2011 would have edged out the entire GDP of Austria, making it the 27th wealthiest nation in the world. Walmart's commitment to always giving the consumer the low price has paid off and Walmart's revenue will likely only continue to rise.
I am always asked this time of year, "What should Christians do with Santa?" In America, Christmas has become a time of incredible materialism that is driven by companies doing whatever they can to take advantage of holiday shopping, and Santa Claus has become the symbol of this consumerism. Therefore, some Christian families feel that Santa takes the focus of Christmas away from Jesus. So what should Christians do?
"Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel (God with us)."
You can tell a lot by a gift's reaction, can't you? - about the gift, the giver, the receiver, their relationship. So, since reactions to gifts are so important - think about your reaction to the greatest gift of Christmas -Jesus.
Every Christmas, I look forward to watching, once again, "It's a Wonderful Life." I love seeing George Bailey in that most wonderful moment when realizing that he has his life back says, "My mouth's bleeding Burt, my mouth's bleeding!" The lead character in this 1946 classic learns the wonderful truth that what is most valuable in life isn't riches, fame, or adventure, but rather relationships. George Bailey learns that a good family and true friends ...
"We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn't put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
It's getting closer. The end of the Mayan calendar has caused so many to talk about the end of the world. They say it will be next Friday, Dec. 21. Of course, God said we wouldn't know when - but we do know he's coming. So it is important to ask if you're ready. Are you?