Category Archives: Sermons

Palm Sunday the next step to the Cross John 12 First Saint Johns April 9, 2017

[for the audio of this sermon click on the above icon]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who shout Hosanna, God save us said … AMEN!

Palm Sunday has been seen by Christians in many different ways. Some to the effect that this was Jesus’ big move, that the people were falling in line and Jesus would re-establish David’s kingdom. Certainly the people that day saw it as such. They are shouting “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” We see those words today almost as a platitude, something you say when David’s Son, Jesus, comes riding in as Zechariah prophesied and seems to be making His political or military move. The people greeting Him see it that way, recall from last week’s readings: “ESV John 11:47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Even Jesus’ disciples were sure that this was a power play. That Jesus’s being crucified, was a huge miscalculation. Maybe on His part? Who knew, but things just weren’t coming out the way they were supposed to.

To be clear, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the direct, immediate march to the Cross. There is no turning back, there are no backup plans. Maybe some second thoughts, you really can’t blame Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing full well what is going to happen to Him in about twelve hours, at least raising the possibility to the Father that maybe this isn’t how we want to go? But the plan was in place, everything is set.

We see prophecy of the passion going back to David’s time in some of the Psalms He wrote: ESV Psalm 22:7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Clearly a prophecy of the mockery from the Roman soldiers and the leaders of Israel. Matthew 27:41 is about the mockery about Jesus being King of Israel, that if He’s the Son of God that the Father would surely save Him. ESV Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet-17 I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me;” Clearly a description of a man who has been stretched out on a cross, nailed to it so that they could plainly see his ribs. David is being shown by God that his descendant, Jesus, is going to be killed in a way that he wouldn’t even know. Crucifixion wouldn’t be used as a means of execution for at least another 500 years after David lived. Yet he writes pretty vividly what we know of the crucifixion of Jesus. “18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” A clear reference to Matthew 27:35. No we can’t know for sure, but in terms of biblical prophecy, no one really questions that Psalm 22: starting with verse 7 is prophecy of the events that we plainly seen in each of the Gospels. The scene had been set over a thousand years ago when David wrote the words of Psalm 22. Yahweh told David quite plainly that his descendant, Jesus, would be killed in a very violent way.

Today is Palm Sunday and we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. The whole Jerusalem community turns out to see Jesus. He certainly has made an impact. John writes: “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.”(vv 17-18) As I pointed out in last week’s sermon, Jesus had done His miracles in Capernaum, about 117 miles away from Jerusalem. The place He raised Lazarus was about 2 miles away from Jerusalem. Everyone who mattered knew fully well who Lazarus was, knew that he had died and knew that Jesus raised him. Clearly Jesus had set up His notoriety in anticipation of His entering Jerusalem. If nothing else, everyone wanted to see the man who raised another man from the dead. If Jesus wanted to make sure there was a crowd He accomplished that, but soon that cheering crowd would be a jeering crowd, demanding His death which was prophesied 1,000 years before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Psalm 118 and Hebrews 9 is the Gradual for today’s worship. Psalm 118 is referred to as the “Great Halliel” a Psalm of celebration referring to the deliverance of God, and certainly the people of Jerusalem see that their deliverer is now entering Jerusalem: (v 16) “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous” … “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” … “With [tree] boughs in hand join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (vv 24, 27)

Dr Carl Fickenscher was talking about Palm Sunday on Issues Etc on April 4. He asserted that the crowd is shouting Hosanna, which means “come save us” that this Psalm is a coronation Psalm that they perceive that Jesus is coming to be crowned King of Israel. In fact Jesus is coming to enter into the holy places, the Holy of Holy in the temple. Only the priests could enter the Holy of Holy and that was only once during the year and that was on the Passover. If anyone else entered the Holy of Holies the penalty would be death. Jesus is now entering into Jerusalem because He is the Great High Priest, that by His sacrifice, His death, His blood, that He is tearing down the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies because by His death He has assured eternal redemption for all who are in Him. Jesus knows that He is going to the Cross, to be that sacrifice for the payment of all the sins of the world. The Cross becomes the Holy of Holies for all and He is proceeding into Jerusalem in full view of all in order to proceed to the Cross at the end of the week.[1] Matthew 27:51: “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” Why from top to bottom? The curtain was 60 feet long and 30 feet high. Certainly a massive curtain and no one would try to tear it from the top. But in this we certainly see that by Jesus’ death, the curtain that had separated man from God was now removed by God and Jesus is now that link to the Father. Jesus goes in to the Holy places by means of His blood and security, our eternal redemption. Jesus becomes our High Priest by becoming our salvation, our intercessor with God the Father at His right hand. People had gone out to see the man who raised the dead and was certainly the man foretold by David, Isaiah, Zechariah, all of the prophets. They thought that He was coming into Jerusalem to save them from the Romans. He came to save them and all of us through history from ourselves and our sins and to deliver us so that we would have eternal life in Him because He died for us on the Cross and then overcame death when He rose from the tomb and was resurrected on Easter morning to give us the assurance who are in Jesus of our eternal resurrection in Him.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Dr Carl Fickenscher   “Issues Etc” April 3, 2017

Why are you talking to her? John 4: 5-26

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who drink the Living Water of Jesus said … AMEN

In a sense it’s a kinda “what’s the big deal kind of encounters”. Jesus stops at a well in the middle of the day. It’s not just any old well, it’s Jacob’s well and that’s important. Jesus is well aware of what it is. It’s in Samaria, what’s He doing there? There’s a woman at the well. OK, so what’s the big deal? It’s the middle of the day, the hottest part of the day, no one else is schlepping water at that time. Jesus is thirsty, He’s been walking and it’s caught up with Him and they see the well. Last week we read about Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus. That was interesting, kind of a big deal. Sort of like the mayor of your city slipping into your house at night unobserved to share with you. What Nicodemus got was much more than he expected, he didn’t know how to deal with it, but Nicodemus became a disciple, albeit undercover disciple of Jesus and didn’t run out to share the truths Jesus taught him. Nicodemus was an important, righteous, upright man, who seemed to be genuinely seeking the truth. He initiated the encounter. The woman at the well, not important at all, in fact the general perception would have been that she was a very unrighteous woman, maybe just a half step above a prostitute. She certainly didn’t initiate the encounter, if anything she really shouldn’t have been at that well to begin with. Theodore writes: “When He [Jesus] makes a request of this woman for a drink of water, she demonstrates a concern for law and custom in her initial refusal”.[1] That’s kind of the route we all go isn’t it? When in doubt run for cover under the Law, refuse to deal with the issue. You can understand, she’s at the lower end of the social scale, she feels easily threatened and yet despite her fear, she actually listens to this strange man and because of that, her whole life changes.

All the women of the village would have been there right at the beginning of the day. The coolest part of the day. There’s still enough light so that they can make their way to the well, get what they need for the day and find their way back to their home. A really stark contrast, yet they both resulted in the people coming to know the truth in who Jesus is. This was an unlikely encounter for both persons. Jews would normally have nothing to do with Samaritans. They certainly wouldn’t have accepted water, or anything else from the hand of a Samaritan. But this is different for Jesus. He created this unrighteous woman as much as He created Nicodemus. She was a woman, and men and women in that time just didn’t interact with each other normally. Much like it is in many parts of the Arab Middle East today. If you had some reason to talk with a woman you found the husband, father, brother of that woman and talked with him. She really didn’t have that option because she wasn’t married, she’d had five husbands, which would have been a huge shame for her. She was living with a man now, which, as I said, really put her a half step above a prostitute and below the line of what a righteous woman would have been. She was a Samaritan who were “untouchables” to a Jew. Yet Jesus treated her with respect, shared His truth with her and she responded. She was His creation as much as anyone and for all we know, she might have been baptized as a result of this encounter. I doubt that Nicodemus would have accepted baptism, at least at this point in the game. But Jesus and presumably His disciples spent two days in the Samaritan village and perhaps Jesus directed one of the disciples to baptize this woman, and Scripture says “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony … And many more believed because of his word.” Puts me in mind of Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. To the effect “is there any reason I can’t be baptized here?” Philip saw no reason and gave the Ethiopian baptism. Philip gave this man the new life in baptism, the Ethiopian was reborn that day in Jesus, became a child of God, received the assurance of eternal salvation. Jesus and disciples were right there, the Ethiopian wasn’t a Jew, these Samaritans weren’t Jews, no reason to withhold baptism from them any more than Philip refusing to baptize the Ethiopian. Probably creeped the disciples out to no end being around these Samaritans at all, no less two days and then even baptizing them!! Yet, if they came to believe it would have to have been under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that would have happened only in baptism. While Jesus initiated this contact with this obviously unrighteous woman (it would have been obvious to any Jew of the time). Unlike Nicodemus, she picked up what Jesus told her, what He taught her and she ran with it. She told everyone in the village who Jesus is, based on His rather short witness. The big point was Jesus pointing out to her how unrighteous she was. There she was talking to a man she had no business talking to, but what’s the big deal there? She had already crossed the line below what was acceptable, being married to five men, that was horrible, then living with a man she wasn’t married to. Talking to Jesus was something a prostitute would do and she knew that she was below that line already and went ahead. Obviously she didn’t want to have to deal with the women of the village who would have been at that well six hours earlier. So she knew perfectly well that she was outside of polite society. Yet, unlike the righteous Nicodemus, she doesn’t just listen and take in what Jesus says for her own benefit, she even leaves her jar at the well. The whole point of her going to the well was to get water for the day. A jar wasn’t a cheap item, yet she gave up the jar, the water, because she had something much more precious to share and she did! The result was an entire village of people came to be saved in Jesus because she went and witnessed to the whole village. This must have been a difficult proposition for her, because she knew how the people in this village felt about her, they wouldn’t have had anything to do with her. Yet they listened when she told them about this man and what He said and welcomed Jesus and His disciples to their village and hosted them for two days. Hosting thirteen men for two days was probably an expensive proposition for them, no doubt everyone there was living day to day, hand to mouth. So there must have been something pretty compelling in Jesus for them to host Him and His disciples, listen to Him for two days and come to believe what He said to them. The righteous Nicodemus left his private meeting with Jesus and didn’t breathe a word of it to anyone, he came in the night, he left in the night, assuming he wouldn’t be observed. He wasn’t going to suffer the abuse he might have taken from his fellow important people by talking about Jesus. This unrighteous woman, right smack dab in the middle of the day, drops everything she has, rushes back to her village, knowing that she was going to have to deal with people giving her a hard time because who she was and telling everyone everything about Jesus. I think this is about hope and promise. Nicodemus was probably making his encounter into an academic exercise. Here’s this guy, he certainly is interesting, look at what He’s been doing. I’m curious enough to go and talk to Him and get the deal on what is going on. But my trust is still in my position, my power, my social status, my wealth, I’m not going to risk that with this guy. Admittedly Nicodemus stepped up after the crucifixion and did become a disciple. This woman, the complete opposite on the social scale, she had nothing, no hope or promise for anything. This strange man who stooped down to talk to her, gave her that hope and promise. She had gained everything in Jesus and now she was going to make sure that she shared this with everyone she knew, even though she knew she was going to have to put up with their contempt. She charged right back, leaving a valuable possession, her jar, because now she had something much more valuable. She had the hope and promise that Jesus had given her in a new life, and she obviously felt that she had no reason to keep this to herself, and every reason to share this with everyone she knew, even though she knew she was going to get attitude from them. While the rich, powerful man, just kind of slinked away from his meeting with all the amazing things that Jesus shared with him. This destitute, unloved, unvalued woman rushed away from her encounter with Jesus because she had something of true value to share with people and she wasn’t going to wait around and keep it to herself. She wanted to share with people who had no doubt treated her like dirt for years, she loved them enough to endure their disdain. Nicodemus? Well he probably got some intellectual stimulation, but did nothing with it. Went back home, and while he came around later, had an immense treasure that he decided to just keep for himself. He probably didn’t feel as if he really needed it, because he had plenty as it was and therefore saw no reason to share it with anyone else. “Living water is not stagnant. It gushes out as the Spirit of Christ for our eternal life and others as it waters our parched human nature.”[2] Are you going to leave your jar, whatever is valuable to you, to witness to people who might treat you with contempt in order to witness to the truth of Jesus, that He is the Living Water who gives us true life?

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Quoting Chrysostom Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture New Testament IVa p 146


[2] Quoting Augustine, Heracleon, Cyril of Alexandria Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture New Testament IVa p 146

Leaving it all on the course for Him Matthew 5:21

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who have left it all on the field for Jesus said … AMEN!

You’ve heard the interviews after an athletic contest, one of the most common phrases; “I left it all on the field”, basically I gave everything I had in order to win. It can get a little cliché, but by the same token, I have no doubt that each person who says that truly believes it. At the end of that contest; a race, basketball game, matholympics, I gave everything I had, physically, mentally, emotionally in order to win, or at least to do my best. I’ve done races where I expected it to be a little more challenging and at the end upset with myself that I was holding back too much and I could have pressed harder on the bike or the run. By the same token I’ve seen people sprinting to the finish line, giving everything and as soon as they crossed, going off somewhere and literally getting sick right after they finished. No question they exceeded their normal physical ability in order to find that tiny little bit that they had left in order to finish as well as they could.

We certainly see this in so many of the people described in the Bible. King David wrote dozens of Psalms, but if you think he was all about sitting at a desk pen in hand and dreamily wondering how to compose his poetry, you would be mistaken. Most of his prose was about the different ways that he was left it all out on the field for God. David was a powerful soldier, his soldiers followed him into many different situations, they trusted him as a leader who would be there for them, do whatever it took for his men and defeat his enemy. David had no compunction going out on that field and doing what God directed him to do and pouring every last ounce he had into the fight for his men, his country and very much so for his God. David lived his life for Yahweh, there were times when he failed in that and he failed in a way that only a great king and general could fail. As Dr Luther wrote: Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [or sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”[1] If King David had known about Jesus and written about Jesus, he would have understood completely what Dr Luther wrote.

In a lot of ways that is what Jesus is saying in the Beatitudes, you have to go over and above, you have to leave it all out there. There may even be a physical price to pay. The Beatitudes can be taken in a legalistic way. Jesus is not saying you have to do this, you have to do that in order to be saved. People have told me that they live by the Beatitudes. It’s not about grace, it’s about them and their performance, what they need to do, that God is keeping score and waiting for them to tank, to hit the wall, to not finish the course. If they somehow fail in one of Jesus’ directives they failed to leave it all out on the field for Jesus, they kept some back for their own pleasure, maybe cheated on the course somehow and didn’t completely live up to what Jesus directed us to do.

The fallacy is this, the Gospel doesn’t tell us that unless we are picture perfect, that we have somehow failed and therefore don’t manage to hit the finish line having left it all out on the course for Jesus. The Gospel does say that Jesus who is entirely perfect God and perfect man, something we could never be, a person that we will never be because there was only one Jesus. Jesus absolutely did leave it all out on the course and it was entirely for us, Jesus didn’t do all that He did for Himself. What’s the point? Jesus is the One through whom all creation came into existence, He is perfectly God, all He did was not for Him, but entirely for us. Nothing we can do, can add to what Jesus did for us, not one iota, not one jot or tittle.

Yet, many people are pretty sure it’s about sticking to the letter of the Law in the Beatitudes and that gets you over the line. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be obedient, Jesus said “if you love Me, you will obey Me.” But Jesus knows that we are fallible, that our obedience is qualified by our failings as sinful people in a sinful world. However, for all that Jesus did for us, how can we not strive to be obedient? How can we not strive to leave it all out on the course for Jesus?

Does a completely good, completely holy, completely gracious God want us to pluck out our eye and throw it away if we are not completely perfect in everything? In this day and age you can’t look anywhere that doesn’t offend your eye. The issue is, did you let your eye linger over that which offended? Or did you realize, “hey, this isn’t glorifying Jesus or doing me any good”, and just turn away? That’s what Jesus is asking us to do, in the Beatitudes. He exaggerates to make a point. He might say. “You really want to try to earn your way, this is what has to happen, if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. I’m thinking, none of us would truly stand that test. That does not, however, minimize the fact that we should strive to avoid things that offend our eye or what we do with our right hand, or our left hand in order to sin.

Marge and I were at Pastoral Leadership Institute immersion this past week, which, ironically is about us and our performance, and driving us higher in Jesus. It’s an honor to be asked to attend, not everyone is, and it’s recognition of the fact that we are striving in evangelism and discipleship and given the opportunity in PLI to push to the next level. It doesn’t makes us more saved, but it does push us to better serve you and the Kingdom of God as leaders of His church.

The Father is not trying to impose unrealistic expectations on us, He is trying to get us to realize that we can’t get there on our own effort. We will fail! We will have plenty of good efforts, being obedient to the things Jesus asks of us, but at some point we will fail to push as hard as we could. That doesn’t mean we’ve lost, that we should cut off our hand. Matt Popovits was one of the speakers, the overall subject was discipleship, which was great, I emphasize discipleship in my ministry. While we are called to be strong and faithful disciples of Jesus, our performance in that respect is not what saves us. The thesis was “How do I measure my worth?” For those who are so sure that it’s all about me and my “opinion”, because my “opinion” is so vitally important! I have bad news for youse, your opinion just doesn’t really matter. Heavens, how can I say such a thing, come on pastor, we all know it’s all about me! It really isn’t. I can tell myself how great and special I am, but despite what I think, it’s not going to get me diddly. Whose opinion does matter? Oh yes, God’s opinion. That is a great thing! By the way, I told Matt I was going to rip him off relentlessly here, he said “fine, go for it!”.

Anyway, Matt talked about “Performacism”, this idea that we measure our worth by what we do, how well we do it, in and of ourselves. Performacism drives you to the following: 1) The fear of and trying to avoid a horrible outcome, a false Hell that you’ve created, that you’re running from in order to make it to an “unfulfilling heaven, that you earn the applause and approval of your peers. That heaven can’t do what you want, doesn’t fulfill your life.”[2] God’s not all powerful, it’s all about you and what you do and more importantly the way you want it to play out. It drives me nuts hearing people talk about heaven as a boring place, “why would I want to end up there”. Heaven is not our ultimate destination, our ultimate destination is the eternal resurrection. We will be put back on this earth in our physical bodies in order to live our lives the way God intended us to live, a world filled with unlimited possibilities and life fulfilling beyond anything we could imagine. Matt points out that Adam and Eve rejected the “Garden of Yes” in favor of the “tree of no”. We make that wrong choice all the time, a garden full of all kinds of possibilities in order for us to indulge in our personal besetting sin.

Matt further observes that we make ourselves a “Functional Savior” that it’s all in our hands whether or not we make it to that amazing eternity. It’s our activity, and accomplishments that save us, so that we are valued by ourselves and by others, because, heavens! in today’s world, it is all about everyone else’s who so precious opinion. We have that problem on a massive scale in our society today and something that our youth get so caught up in, but we’re all susceptible to it. Our self-image, whether our physical attractiveness is valued by others. In a world where everyone’s equal regardless, ya right! Our hypocritical world is just so full of themselves. The fight is to be as superficially attractive as possible to be of value, if you’re not, you might be patronized a little, but just not taken seriously. We see girls today going to extremes because hey the vital thing is to be beautiful, get the right guy, have all kinds of worldly wealth and live happily ever after. Forgetting that despite all our efforts, some, like me, who’ve just been ugly from birth, end up simply being dumped out the other end of life, whether we were beautiful  or not because we no longer meet the standards.

The cut to the chase is this; Jesus tells us that we can do it the hard way, by our own standards, our own worldly, wrong opinions. Or, because Jesus did it the hard way for us, we can trust in Him, that He has done all that’s necessary. Yes, we should leave it all out on the course for Jesus, because that’s what He’s done for us, but never think that is what gets you His promises.

We are so incredibly valued by the Father and there’s not one thing that we can add to that, not by anything we’ve done, not done, or done wrong, but solely who we are in Jesus, so incredibly valued because of who we are in Him and that He died a horrific death in order to save us. For such a huge price and to be adopted into true life in the Father’s family in baptism, we are, each one of us, so incredibly valued and loved. There are those of us who the Holy Spirit is moving to do big things, to serve at high levels. There are those of us who just physically can’t or who are called to do what we feel are humble things. Doesn’t matter to the Father, yes we should follow our calling, but no, we should never doubt how precious we are to the Father and what we are to Him in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Dr Ryan M. Reeves

[2] Matt Popovits PLI seminar, Cary, NC, February 9, 2017

Too Comfortable? Amos 6:17 First Saint Johns September 25, 2016

[For the audio click the above icon]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are a “good person”, said … AMEN!  Aha, tricked you, now, all of you who are a good person, only and solely in Jesus said … AMEN!

It’s a question I continue to struggle with, how to be “good” in Jesus, especially as we, as a society, draw further away from God, that the perception in our society is that God really isn’t necessary. I often want to ask someone I get into this kind of discussion with: Do you honestly believe that this is all there is? Most of the time it really comes down to they just haven’t thought about it, it’s just not an issue, to the extent that “well, either way God’s just going to work it out for me, and since I’m a good person, well I don’t have anything to worry about.” Seems we’re all “good people”, you know except for like Hitler, Stalin, Alex Rodriguez, ok I’m kidding there because hey even ARod is a “good” person, even if he was a New York Yankee. We just refuse to reconcile the fact that it is about us and our sin. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are perfectly righteous, perfectly holy/ sanctified, perfectly just and while we like to live in our own little world, with our own rules because we are so smart and can do everything by ourselves, even though what we do is based on me/myself. I have no idea what people are talking about when we get into this discussion, but it’s ok, because they just know that they’ve got it down and they don’t need anyone, up to and including God to tell them otherwise. Until such time as they realize they don’t have it down and then it’s usually a lawyer, a social worker, a school teacher, an accountant etc. None of whom have any guidelines themselves other than professional ethics which too many today see more as guidelines and hindrances if it interferes with their personal agenda. Today the idol is money, comfort, personal satisfaction, basically the Led Zepplin song “Stairway to Heaven”: “There’s a lady who’s sure, All that glitters is gold, And she’s buying a stairway to heaven When she gets there she knows, If the stores are all closed, With a word she can get what she came for, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”[1]

That’s the way it is, as much in the church as it is for any “None”, garden variety pagan, Buddhist, we don’t have to worry about that stuff because we will work it out in the end. Give a little extra here, do a little something there, badda bing, it’s all taken care of, we’re all reasonable people, let’s move on.

While that may sound good to us, that’s not God’s perspective. Of course when I say that to someone who just doesn’t know/doesn’t care, I get this petulant/ adolescent response “well that’s just your opinion”. If you’re a Christian, to the rest of the world, your opinion just doesn’t matter. Oddly, their completely uninformed, prejudiced, and totally consumer driven mentality does matter and that’s what they’re going with. Critical thinking in this day and age is a rare commodity. It just doesn’t occur to the average person today that a model where everyone is right based on their uninformed opinion is not a workable paradigm. God created everything, God maintains everything and God is going to end everything and He will do it on His timetable. That will leave a lot of your neighbors to condemnation:  “ESV Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Jesus wasn’t stuttering, many will enter it, many just because they are perfectly happy in their ignorance. One of the creeds of this society is: “Ignorance is bliss.” You just mind your own business, do what you’re told by those who are smarter than you in business, academia, government, medicine, but heavens no, not ministry, and everything will work out fine. How that works out? No one seems to know, but in this world of the uncritical, “hey I pay my taxes, people are supposed to work those things out for me”. Really? I don’t see how that’s happening.

Probably the biggest threat to our spiritual health as Christians is the comfort and privilege that we live today. Certainly that is what God is telling Israel through Amos in our reading today: “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,” Scott Schilbe writes about this passage, the Hebrew: “yAh… Translated as ‘Woe’, this word interjects the idea of God’s judgment. Amos uses this word as a way to capture his hearers’ attention. ‘Woe’ is a warning.”[2] That is God basically saying I’m not playing around, you need to shake off this lethargy, this idea that you’re somehow entitled to just sit back and enjoy what you have and ignore God’s will and the things that you know you should be doing in order to serve Him. While we’re not where we should be today, there is much more being done for those who are poor and oppressed. I understand getting caught up in the headlines and other people’s agenda. We still have a long way to go for social justice, but we also need to back up to where we left the church of Jesus Christ and become a lot more motivated for our eternal life in Jesus. While there is much being done for social justice, and justice in the left hand kingdom of the world is important. But in Christ and to the eternal life of the resurrection we don’t get justice, that’s a really good thing, we get grace, and we get the Lordship of Christ in this world.

Your Christian church is about serving others, we continue to serve all who are here. In my role as a pastor, as a Seel Sorger I serve as a soul healer and if there’s something that the world today is in desperate need of is soul healing. We have, like the Israelites of Amos’ time, become way too comfortable and complacent, leaving the church to gather the crumbs, while we get way too caught up in the headlines and our own comfort. While there is need and we should apply ourselves to that, and your church does, we also have to make our Christian life, as the Body of Christ, His church, a priority in terms of our prayers, our financial support and our mission to continue to reach out to a world whose “god” is its pleasure and in subjection to social engineering while the only true remedy for the strife of the world is in Christ. There will always be a church of Christ, in some form. There will always be a remnant who will continue to enable the church to carry out its mission as God’s apostle. The issue is whether we who profess Christ and His mission will continue to see that as a priority, will we be that remnant? Last week I asked you to reach for that journal and to work out how that will be in your particular case. Will you reconfirm, renew and increase your support for your Christian ministry, for the church that provides you with healing, with presence, and works in our community to provide what we can. Please take out the pledge card from your bulletin and consider increasing your current offering, making a special gift, making a commitment to providing your time to the work of the church, where you can serve your church in order to help us to continue to be a strong and giving presence in our community.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Jimmy Paige, Roger Plant performed by Led Zepplin  1971

[2] Rev Scott R Schilbe, STM  Concordia Pulpit Resources Vol 26, Part 4, Series C p 30

Una sensación de urgencia en Jesús Lucas 12 Primera Saint Johns 13 de de agosto de, el año 2016

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo, y todos aquellos que tienen un sentido de urgencia en Jesús dijo … AMEN!

En el AT y NT pasajes de hoy, hay un evidente sentido de urgencia. Esta idea de que “todo es bello” que acabamos de deambular por el sendero fácil, siempre mañana, simplemente relajarse, la perspectiva del mundo en las cosas no es la perspectiva bíblica. En Jeremías, el Señor está diciendo a Jeremías para empujar a su pueblo. “He aquí que la tempestad de Jehová! Ira ha salido, una tempestad torbellino; va a caer sobre la cabeza de los malos … »¿Suena como una buena actitud fácil suave, acaba de tomar la vida? Para la mayoría de nosotros, la vida aquí en nuestra parte aislada de los Estados Unidos es fácil en comparación con casi el resto de todo el mundo. Pero que sin duda no nos da ninguna garantía de que siempre va a ser así, para nosotros individualmente o para todos nosotros. Las cosas que damos por sentado, engañarnos a creer que el mundo es todo simplemente agradable y plácida y no hay necesidad para que consiga todo giraba en torno a ella. Estamos increíblemente bendito, viviendo como lo hacemos y dónde estamos. Tantos derecho a nuestro alrededor no lo son, no sólo en términos de su situación económica ciedad, pero muchos se enfrentan a la muerte, se trata de una enfermedad grave, muchos se enfrentan el día a día de la desesperanza de perderse. Ellos no conocen a Jesús, que simplemente luchan en el día a día, pensando que algo va a suceder a derramar simplemente todo sobre ellos, hacer su vida oh tan diferente, y eso no va a pasar. La droga, el alcohol, los homicidios, sexual, avaricia, pecado de casi cualquier cosa que se pueda imaginar, la compulsión de querer y querer, tomar y tomar, se supone que nada de esto a dar a la gente una especie de esperanza o el placer de larga duración, y no lo hace. Todas las cosas que están sucediendo en el interior de la ciudad entre los residentes y la policía. Hemos sido bendecidos aquí en York porque no estamos viendo una gran cantidad de turbulencia que, tal vez nuestros líderes, nuestros policías, nuestros residentes, una combinación de los mismos son todos capaces de mantener un poco de verdad y no se sienten con derecho a o justificado en perpetuación de la violencia de aquí, aunque ciertamente hay violencia. Jesús nos dijo que no habría división, que el mundo odiaría a los cristianos, porque el mundo lo odia. Es evidente que hay una división, que no hay “dios” de acuerdo con demasiadas personas que nos rodean derecha, por lo que la única cosa que hacer en el mundo es el de contribuir lo menos posible y tomar tanto como sea posible, y no importa un bit que le duele; cónyuges, hijos, padres, hermanos, vecinos, siempre y cuando, por supuesto, no me hacen daño. La división que Jesús habla es bastante claro, para los que confían en Jesús y mirar a Él para proporcionar, a medida que hablamos la semana pasada, para los que están en Jesús que no se preocupe, no tomar lo que no es el suyo, que es la perspectiva cristiana, no es la perspectiva del mundo. Jesús dice a sus discípulos en Mateo 24: 9-10: “Entonces os entregarán a tribulación, y os matarán, y seréis aborrecidos de todas las gentes por causa de mi nombre. Y muchos entonces serán escandalizados; y se entregarán unos a otros, y se aborrecerán. “¿Cuántas veces al día ahora qué oímos cómo alguien es cielos a Betsy” ofendido “, su uso es tan juvenil y penetrante que se ha convertido en trivial y ni siquiera vale la pena el tiempo para hablar con alguien, simplemente no son intelectualmente capaces de discutir algo y se esconden detrás de los clichés falsos. La división es bastante obvio, los que tienen la esperanza, que quieren hablar con otras personas con la esperanza, la pasión, una servidumbre ágape, el deseo de dar realmente la esperanza y la promesa de tantas personas en el mundo, y los del otro lado, que sólo ver la esperanza en el próximo cheque, en la próxima comida, pareja sexual, en la próxima casa, vehículo, trabajo, y después de años y años de sus actividades sin sentido se preguntan por qué están tan faltos de esperanza, por lo que son más lejos que nunca de el logro de la verdadera esperanza, la paz y la sensación de verdadero amor y seguridad en su vida. En ello radica la división, los que tienen la esperanza y la promesa de Jesús y los que no lo hacen. Sabemos que hay todo tipo de personas que simplemente no pueden soportar ver a otra persona sea feliz o lograr, acaba de ser contenido a estar donde están. Los vuelve realmente loco cuando ven a los cristianos para servir y tratar de tomar un interés genuino en la otra persona. ¿Cómo pueden hacer eso? ¿No saben que se supone que deben estar agarrando y el arranque de todo lo posible, que se supone que es triste y atormentado por la envidia y la codicia. Sin embargo, que se verá en la cara y tratar de decirle cómo los cristianos no saben cómo divertirse. No tienen ni idea de lo destructivo y simplemente muy desagradable su “diversión” es, y cuál es la diferencia entre la diversión y la “alegría”. Pablo les dice a los Gálatas: “ESV Gálatas 5:22 Mas el fruto del Espíritu es amor, alegría, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fidelidad,” el mundo sería leído que en términos de agarre, el amor propio, la codicia, la impaciencia , contento. Para muchos del mundo que tienen tanto y han decidido de que están desinformados visión del mundo es superior a la Palabra de Dios en las Escrituras, que han elegido lo que C. S. Lewis describe como; “… El camino más seguro hacia el Infierno es el gradual uno – la suave pendiente, suave bajo los pies, sin giros bruscos, sin hitos sin postes indicadores.” Lo que muchos en el mundo puedan dejarse arrullar en la idea de que todo saldrá bien y pueden vivir en su maldad y que va a estar bien con Dios, a pesar de las palabras y las claras advertencias de Jesús. Robert Schmälzle que escribió los 7 Hábitos de Jesús, escribió: “Algunos de enseñanza [de Jesús] en perdón y la paz puede haber dado la impresión de que se estaba difundiendo un evangelio suave. Jesús asegura a sus oyentes que el discipulado cristiano es costosa, incluso causando división en la familia. El desafío del Evangelio es clara “.

Por eso, cuando Jesús dice: “¿Cree que he venido para dar paz en la tierra? No, te digo más bien división, … »Se puede oír la incredulidad en la voz de Jesús; “Todos ustedes oír lo que quería escuchar, usted no ha oído lo que he dicho” y tenemos que hasta este mismo día. Estos hombres eran los discípulos, pero no estaban maduros en su fe, los vemos discutiendo y escarbando entre sí hasta la época de Jesús de Jesús crucifixión. Ellos estaban tratando de hacer a Jesús en un pequeño cuento, el rey davídico que viene en y borra los romanos y los fariseos, escribas, saduceos, abogados, toda la gente mala. Todas las personas buenas, al menos sí mismos y algunos de los otros discípulos, junto con Jesús, serían luego rodar a la derecha y tomar el control, el nuevo reino de los cielos sería allí con cada discípulo, sin duda, pensando que Jesús va a ser lo suficientemente prudente recogerlo para estar en su mano derecha y las cosas en el mundo será todo enderezado. Jesús les dice: “oh no, no hay mucho más que pasar, tanta lucha y dificultad, tanto más que usted va a tener que lidiar con y será mejor que sobre esta idea en este momento que va a ser sólo un bonito fácil deslizamiento en el reino celestial. ¿De ninguna manera? Las cosas van a ser mucho más difícil antes de que todo se destruye y luego el mundo restaurado a la forma en que mi padre y yo tenía la intención de que en la creación.

Jesús es muy infeliz, me atrevo a decir enfadada. Él simplemente no puede creer lo despistados son sus discípulos. ¿De verdad crees que Jesús sería más feliz con su iglesia hoy? Ciertamente hay división en la iglesia hoy en día, gran parte del cual es creado por personas que simplemente quieren que su cuento cristianismo y hacen caso omiso de las palabras de Jesús en Lucas 12, Mateo 24, y tantos otros pasajes. Si Él nos ama, él quiere lo que es mejor para nosotros, pero para muchos en el mundo, que decidir qué es lo mejor para ellas. No se sabe muy bien, pero son bastante seguro de que tiene algo que ver con más y más, dame lo que quiero, disfrutar de mi definición de feliz, porque después de todo lo que realmente soy mi propio ídolo y sé mucho mejor que nadie y me acaba de proporcionar, con mis ideas mal informadas de “feliz”, y todo lo que va a ser feliz en nuestra negación de lo real, la alegría y el contento es en Jesús. Sí, todos tenemos esos momentos en los que nos deslizamos en la idea del mundo de “feliz”, pero que crecen en saber qué es la verdadera alegría está en Jesús y no engañamos en el paradigma del mundo. Que podemos incluso como hermanos y hermanas en Jesús, empezar a comprender lo que es la verdadera alegría en Jesús. La división es que sabemos que nuestra vida eterna en la resurrección, el mundo ideal es en Jesús. El mundo cree que su vida y la felicidad es aquí en el mundo como lo es ahora, un mundo lleno de pecado, el mal, la muerte, la destrucción, la codicia, la envidia. Nunca ha sido la verdadera alegría en el mundo y que nunca será realizado en el mundo a menos que sea en Jesús y que la alegría no será perfeccionado hasta que todos estamos resucitados en el nuevo mundo, el mundo que Dios había siempre nos destinado a vivir en. Hay muchos que se dicen “cristianos”, las iglesias que dicen ser “cristianos”, que han dividido el cristianismo, que han sido causa de conflictos y disensiones en la iglesia. Ellos ignoran la palabra de Dios en la Biblia, deciden que ellos saben mejor que Dios, porque Él es tan vengativa, por lo que significan y enseñan cosas contrarias a su palabra, porque tienen esa idea de cuento de hadas de Jesús. Ellos ignoran las enseñanzas claras y luego acusan a otros de odio y la ignorancia que son fieles a Jesús de Jesús palabras claras. Hay una iglesia indivisa de Jesús, que se compone de cristianos de muchas denominaciones diferentes, es la iglesia invisible que el Dr. Luther enseñó. Esa iglesia no trata de hacer que la Biblia sólo una de las muchas enseñanzas, que la iglesia no trata de hacer lo malo bueno, esa iglesia tiene una comprensión muy clara del mal en el mundo y que al final los que forman su propio mundo paradigma “cristiana” o no, será condenado junto con el resto del mundo, independientemente de su opinión o lo que ellos llaman a sí mismos. Es nuestra dependencia, la confianza y la fe en Jesús, o se trata en otras enseñanzas que tratan de “racionalizar” su Palabra y convertirlo en un intento de auto-servicio para justificar nuestros pecados y estilo de vida mal para que podamos ser felices acuerdo con nuestra ¿palabra?

El escritor de Hebreos dice de tantos que ignoró las mentiras del mundo y logró tanto a través de la fuerza y la visión que Dios les dio, muchos de ellos que sirve la voluntad de Dios en el mundo. Muchos de los que murieron a causa de su fidelidad a Dios: “Otros sufrieron burlas y azotes, y hasta cadenas y prisiones. Fueron apedreados, aserrados, que fueron asesinados con la espada. Se fueron cubiertos de pieles de ovejas y cabras, pobres, angustiados, maltratados, de los cuales el mundo no era digno – errantes por desiertos y montañas, por las cuevas y cavernas de la tierra “(Hebreos 11: 36- 38). Así que muchos hoy en día que son perseguidos y martirizados porque siguen fielmente la Palabra de Dios y no en el mundo del o de los que presumen de ser cristianos.

Sabemos que el Espíritu Santo está con nosotros y si vamos a salir de su camino con 24/7 guías. El escritor de Hebreos continúa para darnos la esperanza y la promesa de Jesús: “Por tanto, teniendo en derredor nuestro tan grande nube de testigos, vamos a despojémonos también de todo peso y del pecado que nos asedia, y corramos con paciencia la carrera que tenemos por delante, puestos los ojos en Jesús, el autor y consumador de nuestra fe, el cual por el gozo puesto delante de él sufrió la cruz, menospreciando el oprobio, y se sentó a la diestra del trono de Dios “(Hb 12, 1-3). contamos con la presencia del Espíritu Santo, tenemos una sección de animadores entera de los grandes, nube de testigos, tenemos nuestra vida en Jesucristo, no tenemos necesidad de la opinión de un mundo perdido y moribundo y tenemos que correr la carrera que se ha puesto delante de nosotros por nuestro Señor lo hizo todo lo que era necesario para salvarnos. Tiene que haber un sentido de urgencia para correr una carrera, las palabras de Jesús instan como para recordar lo que nos vamos a enfrentar y en la fe, que nos da tenemos nuestra fuerza para seguir tratando con la división en el mundo y seguir haciendo frente a la mundo. Los autores de Hebreos nos dice que vamos a tener todo el apoyo que necesitamos en el apoyo de esta nube de testigos y mantener nuestros ojos en Jesús, pero no podemos estar caballero de ello, tenemos que llegar al mundo en la esperanza , prometer y con un sentido de urgencia.

La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Amin y Shalom

A sense of urgency in Jesus Luke 12, August 14, 2016 First Saint Johns

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who have a sense of urgency in Jesus said … AMEN!

In the OT and NT passages today, there is an obvious sense of urgency. This idea that “everything is beautiful” that we just mosey on down the easy path, always tomorrow, just chill, the world’s perspective on things is not the Biblical perspective. In Jeremiah, Yahweh is telling Jeremiah to push on His people. “Behold the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked…” Does that sound like a nice mellow, just take life easy attitude? For most of us, life here in our insulated part of the United States is easy compared to pretty much the rest of the entire world. But that certainly doesn’t give us any guarantee that it will always be that way, for us individually or for all of us. The things we take for granted, kid ourselves into believing that the world is all just nice and placid and no need for me to get all spun up about it. We are incredibly blessed, living as we do and where we are. So many right around us are not, not just in terms of their soci- economic status, but many are confronting death, dealing with serious illness, many are facing the day to day hopelessness of being lost. They don’t know Jesus, they simply struggle on from day to day, thinking that something is going to happen to just spill all over them, make their life oh so different, and it’s just not going to happen. The drugs, alcohol, murders, sexual, greed, sin of pretty much anything you can think of, the compulsion to want and want, take and take, any of this is supposed to give people some sort of hope or long-lasting pleasure, and it doesn’t. All the things that are going on in the inner city between the residents and police. We have been blessed right here in York because we aren’t seeing a lot of that turbulence, maybe our leaders, our police, our residents, a combination thereof are all able to keep it a little real and not feel entitled to or justified in perpetuating the violence here, although there certainly is violence. Jesus told us there would be division, that the world would hate Christians because the world hates Him. Clearly there is division, there is no “god” according to too many people right around us, so the only thing to do in the world is to contribute as little as possible and to take as much as possible, and it doesn’t matter one bit who it hurts; spouses, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, so long as, of course, it doesn’t hurt me. The division that Jesus talks about is quite plain, for those who trust in Jesus and look to Him to provide, as we talked about last week, for those who are in Jesus not to worry, not to take what isn’t theirs, that is the Christian perspective, it is not the world’s perspective. Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 24: 9-10: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” How many times a day now do we hear how someone is heavens to Betsy “offended”, it’s use is so juvenile and pervasive that it’s become trivial and not even worth the time to talk to someone, they are simply not intellectually able to discuss something and they hide behind phoney clichés. The division is quite obvious, those who have the hope, who want to talk to others with hope, passion, an agape servanthood, the desire to genuinely give hope and promise to so many in the world, and those on the other side who only see hope in the next check, in the next meal, sexual partner, in the next home, vehicle, job, and after years and years of their pointless pursuits wonder why they are so lacking in hope, why they are further away than ever of achieving any true hope, peace and feeling of true love and assurance in their life. Therein lies the division, those who have that hope and promise in Jesus and those that don’t. We know there are all sorts of people who just can’t stand to see someone else be happy or achieve, just be content to be where they are. It drives them really crazy when they see Christians serving and trying to take a genuine interest in someone else. How can they do that? Don’t they know they’re supposed to be grasping and grubbing for everything they can, that is supposed to be miserable and wracked with envy and greed. Yet they will look you in the face and try to tell you how Christians don’t know how to have fun. They have no clue how destructive and just really nasty their “fun” is, and what the difference is between fun and “joy”. Paul tells the Galatians: “ESV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” the world would read that in terms of grasping, self-love, greed, impatience, happy. For too many of the world who have so much and have decided that they’re uninformed world view is superior to God’s Word in Scripture, they have chosen what C.S. Lewis describes as; “…the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones without signposts.” What so many in the world let themselves get lulled into, the idea that it will all work out and they can live in their evil and that will be OK with God, despite Jesus’ clear words and warnings. Robert Schmalzle who wrote the 7 Habits of Jesus, wrote: “Some of [Jesus’] teaching on forgiveness and peace may have given the impression that he was spreading a soft gospel. Jesus assures his listeners that Christian discipleship is costly, even causing division in the family. The Gospel challenge is clear.”[1]
So when Jesus says: “Do you think that I have come to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you rather division,…” You can hear the incredulity in Jesus’ voice; “You all hear what you wanted to hear, you haven’t heard what I’ve said” and we have that to this very day. These men were Jesus’ disciples, but they were not mature in their faith, we see them arguing and scrabbling with each other right up to the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. They were trying to make Jesus into a nice little fairy tale, the Davidic King who comes in and wipes away the Romans and the Pharisees, scribes, lawyers, Sadducees, all the bad people. All the good people, at least themselves and some of the other disciples, along with Jesus, would then roll right in and take over, the new heavenly kingdom would be there with each disciple, no doubt, thinking that Jesus will be wise enough to pick him to be at his right hand and things in the world will be all straightened out. Jesus is telling them: “oh no, there is so much more to happen, so much strife and difficulty, so much more that you are going to have to contend with and you better get over this idea right now that it’s going to be just a nice easy slide into the heavenly kingdom. No way? Things are going to get much more difficult before everything is destroyed and then the world restored to the way my Father and I had intended it at creation.

Jesus is very unhappy, I’d dare say angry. He simply cannot believe how clueless his disciples are. Do you honestly think that Jesus would be any happier with His church today? There certainly is division in the church today, much of which is created by people who simply want their fairy tale Christianity and ignore Jesus’ words in Luke 12, Matthew 24, and so many other passages. Yes He does love us, He does want what is best for us, but for too many in the world, they decide what is best for them. They don’t really know, but they’re pretty sure that it has something to do with more and more, give me what I want, indulge my definition of happy, because after all I really am my own idol and I know far better than anyone else and just provide me, with my poorly informed ideas of “happy”, and we will all be happy in our denial of what real joy and contentment is in Jesus. Yes we all have those times when we slip into the world’s idea of “happy”, but we grow in knowing what true joy is in Jesus and not delude ourselves in the world’s paradigm. That we can even as brothers and sisters in Jesus, begin to grasp what is true joy in Jesus. The division is that we know our eternal life in the resurrection, the perfect world is in Jesus. The world believes that their life and happiness is here in the world as it is now, a world full of sin, evil, death, destruction, greed, envy. There has never been true joy in the world and it will never be realized in the world unless it is in Jesus and that joy will not be perfected until we are all resurrected into the new world, the world that God had always intended us to live in. There are plenty who call themselves “Christians”, churches that claim to be “Christian”, who have divided Christianity, who have caused conflict and dissension in the church. They ignore God’s word in the Bible, decide that they know better than God, because He is just so vengeful, so mean and they teach things contrary to His word, because they have that fairy tale idea of Jesus. They ignore Jesus’ clear teachings and then accuse others of hate and ignorance who are faithful to Jesus’ clear words. There is an undivided church of Jesus, it is made up of Christians from many different denominations, it is the invisible church that Dr Luther taught. That church does not try to make the Bible just one of many teachings, that church does not try to make evil good, that church has a very clear understanding of the evil in the world and that in the end those who make up their own world paradigm, “Christian” or not, will be condemned along with the rest of the world, regardless of their opinion or what they call themselves. Is our dependence, trust and faith in Jesus, or is it in other teachings that try to “rationalize” His Word and turn it into a self-serving attempt to justify our sins and evil life style so that we can be happy according to our word?

The writer of Hebrews tells of so many who ignored the lies of the world and accomplished so much through the strength and insight God gave them, many of them who served God’s will in the world. Many who died because of their faithfulness to God: “Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated, of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb 11: 36- 38) So many today who are persecuted and martyred because they faithfully follow God’s Word and not the world’s or those who presume to be Christian.

We know that the Holy Spirit is with us and if we get out of His way guides us 24/7. The writer of Hebrews goes on to give us the hope and promise in Jesus: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12: 1-3) We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have an entire cheering section of the great, cloud of witnesses, we have our life in Jesus Christ, we have no need of the opinion of a dying and lost world and we need to run the race that has been set before us by our Lord who did all that was necessary to save us. There has to be a sense of urgency to run a race, Jesus’s words urge as to remember what we will be facing and in the faith He gives us we have our strength to continue to deal with the division in the world and continue to confront the world. The writers of Hebrews tells us that we will have all the support we need in the support of that cloud of witnesses and keeping our eye on Jesus, but we can’t be cavalier about it, we need to reach out to the world in hope, promise and with a sense of urgency.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Robert Schmalzle 7 Habits of Jesus email  Aug 8, 2016

La fe, Preparación, o preocuparse? Lucas 12, Hebreos 11 7 de agosto de, el año 2016 Primera Saint Johns

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo y todos los que conocen la fe que Dios les ha dado dijimos … AMEN!

Nuestras cartas que lee hoy en Hebreos se refiere a menudo como “el catálogo de los héroes de la fe”. También se conoce como el Salón de la Fama de la fe. Las personas que se ocupan de las cuestiones que se han presionando hacia abajo en su corazón. Abram y Sarai tienen décadas ido más allá de la maternidad años, y ambos tienen el corazón pesado, saben que Dios es consciente de su deseo, un buen deseo. Puede ser un deseo egoísta. Abram sigue refiriéndose al hecho de que quiere un heredero de su propio cuerpo para pasar todas sus riquezas a. Él no tiene idea de quién es este niño será, nada menos que alguna vez va a tener un hijo, pero la idea de dejar sus bienes a un sirviente, no alguien que va a continuar con su nombre pesa sobre él. Dios conoce el motivo de deseo y planes que Abram tendrá que el hijo de Abram, pero en el tiempo de Dios. Abram es de unos 80 años de edad, Sarai cerca de 60 años de edad. Dios ya ha hecho tanto por Abram, sino que además todos lo hacemos, Abram ha dejarlo de lado y está en busca de la siguiente parte de la promesa de Dios. ¿Cuántas veces lo hacemos en nuestra vida? Trato de mantener un registro de las veces que Dios ha respondido a mis oraciones, me mueve a lo largo de donde Él me quiere siguiente. Lo hago porque me he dado cuenta de que se me olvida demasiado fácilmente sobre las respuestas de Dios a la oración y recuerdo bien manera de las oraciones que Dios no respuesta que siento que debería tener. Cuando miro hacia atrás me doy cuenta de por qué Dios hizo una cosa y otra no lo hizo, pero es todavía muy en mi cabeza las otras cosas que creo que debería haber hecho. Yo también dan por sentado lo que tengo, como si Dios me debía las respuestas, pero llegar demasiado atrapado en espera de otras respuestas, o conseguir un “no” como respuesta. Dios se movió Abram de Ur a Canaán. Abram ya tenía la riqueza y Dios añadió a ella y le dio la tierra en la que podría proporcionar muy bien para sí mismo y el número creciente de su familia y sirvientes. Abram tenía el poder, la riqueza que tenía, no tenía tierra que Dios designó sólo para él. No tenía otras preocupaciones, pero quería que el hijo ya pesar de las cosas que se habían hecho por él, Abram decide que Dios no ha sido lo suficientemente fieles. Dios hace un pacto con Abram, Se trata de dar a Abram todas las razones para confiar en la voluntad de Dios y no la suya propia. “No temas Abram. Yo soy tu escudo: tu recompensa será muy grande “Esa promesa es para todos los que están en Jesús.. Luego pasó a prometer Abram que su descendencia será mayor que todas las estrellas en el cielo. Ciertamente, Dios cumplió su promesa ya que todos los cristianos, Judios y musulmanes afirman ser descendientes de Abraham, miles de millones de personas. Pero muy poco después de que Dios hace estas promesas con Abram, después que Él da a Abram este pacto, este contrato, ¿qué Abram y Sarai hacen? Ellos toman el asunto en sus propias manos. En ese momento, era una práctica común que los maestros puedan tener niños con sus esclavos, especialmente si su esposa no ha tenido hijos. Los niños eran valiosos en ese momento, algo que no debemos olvidar, que eran fuente de suministro en su vejez de los padres, y era importante que su familia continúe. Así que deciden que Agar debe tener un hijo de Abram, que no era parte del plan de Dios. En lugar de ser la respuesta a la oración, la presencia de Ismael causó problemas. El pueblo árabe de hoy dicen ser descendientes de Ismael. Los descendientes de Ismael, el pueblo árabe, y los descendientes de Isaac, el pueblo judío ha tenido un conflicto continuo desde entonces. Violar el plan de Dios no se ha solucionado el problema de Abram y los problemas creados por cientos de millones de personas desde entonces.

El escritor de Hebreos enumera a aquellos en el Antiguo Testamento que han sido notables por su fe. Sabemos que todas estas personas que se escriben acerca eran Judios fieles y ahora se presentan como grandes ejemplos de la fe para los cristianos que Dios les dio. Todos ellos confiaron en la palabra de Dios, sus promesas y direcciones, incluso en circunstancias muy difíciles.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee señala que todos queremos un plano. He tenido que esto ocurra a mí en varias ocasiones; “Ok pastor, dime lo que tengo que hacer y lo haré”. No funciona de esa manera, lo que Dios confió a Abram, lo que confiaba a Enoc, Noé, David, Daniel, Isaías, Samuel, una y otra vez, éstas eran todas personas muy diferentes, muy diferentes tiempos, lugares y circunstancias. Las “reglas” diez mandamientos, sermón de la montaña, los que son una línea de base, lo que se espera que siga, pero siempre y es sólo a través de la fe que vivimos nuestra vida de acuerdo con el señorío de Jesús. La actitud de es “He seguido las reglas, por lo que ahora dame lo que quiero”. El hecho es que no podemos ver lo que es verdaderamente importante, que realmente no entendemos lo que Dios quiere para nuestra vida y cómo es su voluntad lo que es realmente importante y nos dará la vida que es siempre lo mejor para nosotros. Como señala McGee, que le gusta tener un conjunto ordenado, clara de direcciones, que hace que nuestra vida más fácil. “Pero en este capítulo vamos a encontrar gente que fue una ruta totalmente diferente [que es la ruta de Dios]. Caminaron por la fe, y esa es la manera en que Dios quiere que andemos hoy “.

Siempre a la eternidad en la vida eterna de la resurrección. Es bastante difícil para nosotros imaginar la eternidad, cuando sólo queremos lo que queremos aquí y ahora. Jesús dijo: “No temas, pequeño rebaño, porque es la buena voluntad del Padre darles el reino.” Nos conformarse con tanta rapidez por migajas, cosas que no va a durar, cosas que van a perder su brillo en un tiempo muy corto y terminará siendo sólo basura. Así que muchas personas hacen con sus vidas. Comercio buena voluntad del Padre por lo que es de importancia eterna, por el poder, la riqueza, grandes casas, drogas, alcohol, sexo. “Porque donde esté tu tesoro, allí estará tu corazón también.” Todos nosotros hacemos ídolos de las cosas que creemos que debemos tener y que nos llevará a ninguna parte. Jesús nos dice: “En lugar de ello, buscan su reino,” el reino de Dios es la promesa para todos los que están en Jesús y ellos serán parte de todo lo que Dios se complace en darnos “todas estas cosas os serán añadidas.”. Esto no quiere decir que tan pronto como pensamos que deberíamos tener estas cosas, así que no están ahí para nuestro seguimiento fiel. Ciertamente Dios no proporcionan como Jesús nos está diciendo a través de esta lectura. Sino que Él proveerá para nosotros en el viaje, que Él hará lo que es necesario para nosotros seguir su voluntad.

Siempre había una “lista de la tripulación del barco”, las personas que se espera que salgan a una llamada en cualquier momento, día o noche. Si uno de nosotros era en que la tripulación nos gustaría simplemente dormimos en nuestra ropa. Si el timbre sonó, o si alguien entró en la sala en medio de la noche, no había tiempo para ir a tientas para nuestro uniforme, nos gustaría simplemente deslice fuera de la litera en nuestras botas ubicados estratégicamente y después correr hacia el cobertizo para ponerse en marcha para rescatar a las personas en peligro. Jesús nos está diciendo que para su pueblo, a los que Él murió por, que debemos “Stay vestidos para la acción y mantener las lámparas encendidas.” Sé listo para servir, estar listos en cualquier momento para hacer lo que era necesario, dijo Jesús, incluso en el segundo o tercer reloj, entre las 8 pm y las 6 am. No es que debemos obsesiones con ser listo, sentados alrededor constantemente preocupado, pero para ser conscientes de que Él puede venir en cualquier momento; “Porque el Hijo del Hombre vendrá a la hora que no pensáis.” Una nota para aquellos que piensan que pueden predecir ese tiempo, Jesús dijo así no se puede. Una nota para que se prepare y cuando confiamos en Él, cuando tenemos la fe que Él nos da, que nos centramos en Él y de su voluntad. Eso significa que no estamos todo sobre lo que queremos siguiente, lo que nos hará felices, lo que nos puede servir de ídolos, pero se centró en su regreso y su voluntad para nosotros.

No importa cuál sea nuestra circunstancia Dios proporciona para nosotros. Será a la vez y de una manera que nunca podemos anticipar. Puesto que no podemos anticipar que, nuestra preocupación de ella no hace un poco de diferencia y siempre está en sus manos y como cristianos sabemos en nuestro corazón que siempre será el mejor resultado. Incluso en esos momentos en los que no lo parece, nuestra verdadera vida no está en este mundo, Jesús es nuestro Señor y Salvador en este mundo, Él es nuestro Señor y nos salva de la vida eterna de la resurrección. Donde Él nos da vida y vida más abundante. El Padre sabe lo que necesitamos en esta vida y lo hacemos recibirlo, pero la verdadera vida está en la resurrección y nosotros, siendo su necesidad de estar preparados, vestido para que, no importa cuáles sean nuestras circunstancias están en esta vida corta y difícil.

Podemos quedar atrapados en nuestras “necesidades” aquí y pasamos todo el tiempo en preocuparse por él, o como escribe Pedro Crisólogo: “Todo esto es lo que trae consigo el tesoro. Ya sea a través de la limosna que eleva el corazón del hombre al cielo, oa través de la codicia se entierra en la tierra. Por eso, dijo, “Porque donde esté tu tesoro, allí estará tu corazón también.” Oh hombre, envíe su tesoro en, enviarlo por delante en el cielo, o de lo contrario su alma dada por Dios será enterrado en la tierra. El oro proviene de la profundidad de la tierra – el alma, desde lo alto del cielo. Está claro que es mejor llevar el oro a donde reside el alma de enterrar el alma en la mina de oro. Por eso Dios ordena a los que van a servir en su ejército aquí abajo para luchar como hombres despojados de su preocupación por las riquezas y no sujeto a nada. A éstas le ha concedido el privilegio de reinar en el cielo “.

La preocupación, la ansiedad, la codicia no son las formas en que el mundo va a ver a Jesús en nosotros. El mundo a nuestro alrededor no tiene ninguna esperanza, ninguna promesa, cualquier cosa que ponen su fe en la voluntad nunca duran y no da ninguna promesa de su futuro. Nuestro Señor Jesús murió por nosotros, alto y levantado en una cruz, Él entregó su vida por nosotros para darnos el camino a la vida eterna, la promesa muy visible de nuestra vida en Él, el mundo no tiene esa esperanza y promesa. Ambrosio escribe: “Jesús indica que la gracia no faltará para los fieles en el presente o en el futuro, aunque sólo aquellos que desean lo celeste no buscan lo terrenal. Es impropio de los soldados del reino que preocuparse acerca de la comida. El rey sabe cómo alimentar, cuidar y vestir a su familia, y por lo tanto, dijo, ‘tu peso en el Señor y él te sustentará “.

La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Amin y Shalom