Where is God?

Where is God? Lots of people have a take on where God might be. Atheists believe that there is no god of any kind, anywhere. Agnostics believe there may be a god or some type of higher power, but we either don’t know what that is or perhaps we cannot know. Deists believe the universe was set into motion like the gears of a clock, but that we are tiny and insignificant to such an omnipotent God. Then there’s New Agers, Scientologists, Oprah and so forth. Some spend their entire lives looking for God, but he isn’t hard to find. The truth is it should be hard to miss God. Continue reading

The New Thing in Sermons

In the Old Testament, the prophet was a person who did the speaking for God.  Not necessarily predicting future events, the prophet acted as the spoken voice of God on earth.  During Jesus’s earthly ministry, he was found daily in the temple or synagogue reading and teaching.  While his sermon on the mount may have turned the Pharisees’ world upside down, he was regarded as a rabbi in most Jewish circles.  In Acts chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter preaches something entirely new. Continue reading

The Importance of the Resurrection

Jesus, resurrectionThere was a time I wondered why so much emphasis was placed on the resurrection.  Jesus died on the cross as the all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Even if there had been no resurrection, his sacrificial death would have brought salvation; what could be more important than that?

The blood of Jesus was a more excellent sacrifice than that of bulls, sheep and birds.  His death on the cross brought an end to the temple sacrifice system.  The entire Gospel pivots around the cross.  It is the universal symbol of Christianity.  But the implications of resurrection are equally powerful, a fact that I can now appreciate as well.  Continue reading

Final Thoughts on Holy Week

jesus_crossThis year for Holy Week I pointed out that Jesus died.  We all know that he was crucified, and was raised to life again, but the real miracle here is that God died.

We asked the question Jesus, sheep or shepherd? That post will be my sermon for Easter Sunday.  I’m preaching twice in the morning.

Another thought was on Jesus’ prayer from the cross.  He didn’t pray just for his followers or his family, but he prayed the prayer of intercession for the people who were crucifying  him.  “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  This is the Christ that we are supposed to be like.

There are some older posts I thought about re-posting, but instead I will just link them here.  He Cannot Save Himself is a poem about the crucifixion.  It is based on the sermon I preached for Easter last year.  Feel free to copy and paste it, print it in your church bulletin, or read it outloud.

Other good topics for Holy Week are Jesus’ Examples: Washing Feet and Passover Becomes the Lord’s Supper.

Thoughts on Holy Week: Jesus Died

jesus_crossI know, perhaps you’re thinking “Well duh.” But give it just a little more thought than that. This is God’s only son we’re talking about here. As a matter of fact, Jesus is God.

On Easter we will celebrate the resurrection. Jesus wasn’t just resurrected, he IS the resurrection. So we’re not simply celebrating the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. He was not the first to rise again. That miracle had happened more than once already. But when Jesus hung on the cross, it was the first time that God had ever died. Two of the gospels recorded Jesus’ birth; all four record the crucifixion. In Matthew’s Gospel, he records the sky going dark until the 9th hour (3 p.m.).  Only Matthew goes on to say that the veil was torn in the temple from top to bottom, and the graves of the saints opened up.  The Old Testament saints went through the street of Jerusalem prophesying (Matt. 27:45, 51-53).  The darkness, the earthquake, the veil, the saints, all highlight an extraordinary event taking place that day.  I’m thinking of a few other scriptures beyond the gospels: Continue reading

Christianity, Truth or Fiction

jesus_crossThere is an old saying that is Christianity were a lie, they would have made up a better lie.

Think about it. The basic tenants of the Christian faith are that a carpenter from a small town in Israel was crucified by the Roman Empire, buried, rose again from the dead, and that faith in these events is what gets one into heaven. These are just the basics. We could make a long list. To be a faithful Christian, one must believe: Continue reading

Ash Wednesday, Lent, (and p.s. Mardi Gras)

ash-wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter, 40 days if you don’t count Sundays.  This year it fell on February 25th.  This marks the beginning of Lent, a time of preparation for Holy Week.  At an Ash Wednesday service, part of the ceremony is placing ashes on the forehead as an outward symbol that you will be observing Lent.  During the 40 day period something is given up, anything typically important to the individual, and more time spent in prayer, worship and meditation.  Lent is about preparing ourselves spiritually to observe Holy Week, the days between Palm Sunday and Easter. Continue reading

Hindsight is 20/20

hindsight-rear-view-future-past-road-mirrorHindsight is 20/20 means that anything you look back on is easier to understand that it was at the time.  We make decisions in the now, then sometimes realize later we acted too quickly, neglected certain facts, or else were simply uninformed.  Hindsight being 20/20, we would have done things differently if we could just have seen the big picture. Continue reading

In Christ Alone

I’ve never been one for blogging song lyrics, but the gospel message is all over these verses.  In Christ Alone  (Keith Getty, Stuart Townsend) is one of my favorite songs that any Christian artist has ever produced.

In Christ Alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, and strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ Alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love, and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
‘Til on the cross as Jesus died
the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live. Continue reading