Monday, December 15, 2008

The Part I Missed

On Sunday, I had the privilege of kicking off our Christmas series at church. It was a great experience for me (I hope for others), but at the end, I completely forgot to talk about something I had planned to preach! So I thought I'd put it in the blog for anyone who was curious (if you didn't know that I missed something, now you do):

To recap, I preached on Matthew 1:18-25, and got through verse 23. Joseph basically has the choice to believe his pregnant future-wife over common sense, as well as the angel who appeared to him in a dream to assure him that Mary's not lying about where her baby came from.

So now, Joseph's got the choice to take Mary as his wife, or not. He's got the choice to join in God's saving mission, or not. If he does, he's going to take an incredible risk to himself. He'll likely lose the respect of family and friends who will assume that he's the real father of Mary's illegitimate child (at least, illegitimate in their eyes). He might lose business customers and a good standing with the synagogue.

The point is this: Following Jesus is dangerous. You're going to lose something. It might not be your life, but it might be the respect of your friends, colleagues, and family. You could be passed up for job opportunities. Believing in and following Jesus will not make you safer, wealthier, or healthier. If you don't believe me, read the New Testament (and stop reading certain authors who would tell you otherwise).

I'm not saying this will be easy. I'm saying Jesus is worth it.

(I also was supposed to say the word "Lego's," but forgot. In case you're curious, I was going to compare our broken, fallen, sinful world to a Lego set. You see what it's meant to be by the picture on the box, but inside, everything's scattered and needs someone to put it back together. This "reassembling" takes place in, through, and because of Jesus.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hell is for People Who Do Nothing

Matthew 25:31-45 has always been a frightening passage of Scripture for me because it peels back my self-righteousness and calls my greed into account. This isn't just a passage for Christmas, when people are more prone to give or volunteer their time. It's a description of true followers of Christ (the "sheep") and the result of the gospel hitting their hearts (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison). Two things hit me from this:

1. We sometimes don't understand the impact of our good works. The "sheep" sure didn't. They fed the hungry, not realizing that in a mysterious way, they also fed Jesus ("Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.") So don't give up on doing good to others, no matter how small it may seem.

2. Eternal punishment, in this passage, is reserved for people who saw those brothers in need and did nothing. Now I know that we're saved because of Christ, not our works, but our lives reveal whether or not we trust and love Him. You can't claim to love God and hate or ignore the people He loves; your actions will expose you as a liar and a hypocrite. Hell is for people who see others in need, others who are suffering, and do nothing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What might an Obama presidency do in four years? This Focus on the Family "letter from the future" offers some ideas:

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 18, 2008

After all our hands have wrought ...

"And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21)

God makes clothes for Adam and Eve after they've sinned, realized they were naked, and tried using fig leaves to cover themselves. After they have broken relationship with Him, He still tended to them and cared for their needs. Some people will take this as a picture of what Christ will later do for us (he covers our sin with his righteousness), but the idea that God continues to love us at all is amazing in and of itself.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Freshmen move-in

We had some great respones today from the people moving in. Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some things...

The City Council again postponed talking about Dr. Unk's, thanks to some great lawyer work. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Harmony is starting "Story," a series on the book of John, starting this Sunday. Come to it, or download the sermon here. But if you're in Greenville, definitely come to it. And then stay after for a Meat-Meat = )

Real Live Preacher is starting a discussion on hell.