Tag Archives: Jesus

Meyer Minute Suicide in the world, those who see no other way Nov 5

This subject is vitally important and Rev Dr Dale Meyer really hits it on the head. The rate of suicide is climbing, especially in terms of middle aged people, although it is one of the leading causes of death for those under 30. Of all the ways to die, suicide is clearly the most controllable and in Jesus it is even more so. The hope of the world is Jesus and we trust what He is doing in our life. We may not like the way our life is going, we probably think we have a better plan, but we trust that in the end Jesus’ plan is much better and it always is. Rev Dr Dale Meyer is the president of Concordia Seminary, he was the voice of Lutheran Hour Ministries.
Dale Meyer

Meyer Minute for November 5

When Charles Gliniewicz was killed on duty in northern Illinois, an extensive manhunt searched for the cop killer. Yesterday: “This investigation has concluded…that this is a carefully staged suicide. He had been stealing and laundering money from Fox Lake” (Wall Street Journal, November 5; A6). Gliniewicz concluded that suicide was his only way out.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014. Recently his widow Susan said that he struggled with depression, Parkinson’s, and Lewy body dementia, an illness that leads to declining mental ability (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 4; A18). Again but for different reasons, Mr. Williams saw no way out.

“Death rates are rising for middle-aged white Americans, while declining in other wealthy countries and among other races and ethnicities. The rise appears to be driven by suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse” (New York Times, November 3; A15).

Whatever sad reasons lead someone to choose death, suicide goes directly against the God who gives life and promises hope (Psalm 42:11). “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13). So it’s a sin against God but a sin for which Jesus died. While God only knows the eternal destiny of the suicide, we who survive can know suicide is temptation to be avoided, by you, by me, and by those around us. Easily said, but overcoming the temptation when you’re in emotional or physical despair seems insurmountable. Each of us in our individual and sometimes lonely lives needs to be in a safe place where support and love are dependably present to help us overcome the temptation. Does our family, our congregation and our presence at work and in community promote a culture that cares for the weakest? Even if we do, sin is so insidious that all of us can rely on only one guarantee.

“When the righteous cry out for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).

“When all things seem against us, to drive us to despair, we know one gate is open, one ear will hear our prayer” (Lutheran Service Book, 915, 4). God, help us all.

The Temple, was it refurbed by Herod just for Jesus?

Our tremendous minister of music, Ken Sanders, took over adult Bible study for the summer and picked a study on the Jewish temple.

The first place of worship for the Jewish people was the Tabernacle. Yahweh guided them to build the tabernacle to house the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments that God handed over to Moses for safe-keeping. It also included some manna and Aaron’s staff. Obviously hugely important to the Jews.

Now the Tabernacle was designed to be mobile, the Israelites lugged it around the wilderness and even after they settled in Israel, the location of the tabernacle varied and was finally settled in Jerusalem. Seems as if it was right outside David’s palace in Jerusalem and David, rightly so, felt that the holy items in the Tabernacle, well deserved a better place to be housed then in, essentially, a tent.

David brought it up to Samuel who agreed, but then advised David that he wasn’t going to be the guy to do it. David had fought for Israel, and that was honored, but God’s Temple was going to be built by a King of peace, Solomon. And Solomon did build the temple. It was magnificent, a wonder of the ancient world. It stood for about 400 years and was destroyed. The temple was rebuilt by Nehemiah and Ezra. It was built while Israel was still a captive of Persia so needless to say, it was no where near to the scale of Solomon’s. But it was a temple, met their needs and stood for another 516 years.

I found it interesting the timing of Herod the Great to vastly improve the temple. In contrast to other “Greats”, Herod achieved his “Great” moniker because of his incredible building achievements. He did more in a few years that has stood until today, then anyone in Israel’s history. Herod started the temple around 1 BC. According to Josephus it was magnificent.

I would hazard a guess that around the time Jesus was ministering in the Temple, around 30 AD, give or take, it was at the height of its magnificence.

Now this is all supposition on my part, but was this part of God’s plan? Did God guide Herod to restore some of the glory of the Temple in order that His Son may have a place, at least, more worthy for His Son to minister in? Also of interest that the Temple did not survive much past Jesus’ incarnational ministry. About forty years after Jesus’ ministry the temple was destroyed and hasn’t been restored in almost 2,000 years. The book of Revelation says that it will be rebuilt as part of the return of Jesus.

I submit that the Temple was restored by the God the Father so that Jesus, God the Son, would have a place that would be more worthy of His Son Jesus. Certainly our Lord and Savior, the Man who has most profoundly changed the history of man should have such a worthy place.

There will be another temple at the end of history and then, in the eternal resurrection, there will be a Temple that will be beyond the imagination of anything seen on earth. Where Jesus the King of Glory will rule those who He has saved to eternity. The Temple has been important for about 3,000 years, it will be important to the second coming of Jesus and then there will be an eternal Temple in the New Jerusalem the Resurrection. Herod’s Temple was where Jesus spent a great deal of time ministering. He was presented at the temple as a child faithful to Jewish tradition and it will be where He reigns for eternity. As a Christian, the Temple may not be important in my worship, but it will be important in our eternity.

Original sin

Part of my responsibility in preaching is to preach about Law and Gospel. A good Lutheran sermon always contains discussion that we are condemned under the Law, we all break the Law, we all offend God, when I say all, I mean ALL. That therefore means all those who are human and are alive and have ever been alive (except of course Jesus). No one is exempt and so the pushback I always get is that there must be some, yup like babies, that aren’t sinful. Some Christians will even assert that there is an “age of accountability” and for those who fall below that age they are not sinful. I mean how could cute, sweet infants be sinful? I have to wonder if the person that brings this point has ever had to deal with a baby. Does a baby mean to be selfish, angry, demanding? Of course not they will respond, that’s just their nature. Uhm yea, and that’s the point. We are all naturally sinners, King David writes: “ESV Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” This is Scriptural, there is no reference in Scripture about an “age of accountability”. This is just a way for man to overcome an uncomfortable truth, from birth to death we are immersed in sin and death in this life, that is our condition. You don’t slowly develop into being a sinner, you are one right out of the gate.

And of course you always have the “…well I’m a good person…” Really? In general I’m sure you love your momma and don’t kill people, I’m really not trying to offend, but for every person who thinks they’re a “good” person, I bet I could ultimately turn up five people who would not think they’re so good, would have some problem with them. That’s the human condition, not so much that any of us are “bad”, we are and we do sin, we do things that offend a pure, holy, just God. We sin because we are born of two sinners, into a sinful world, a world of death and defect. None of us can be anything else. So you oh so sensitive souls who take offense at every little slight, first off, get over your sensitive little self. Second, deal with it, you are in this world, with us people and you are as sinful as anyone else. This state of sin cannot but separate us from God whose nature is completely opposite to ours, completely holy.

Having said this, there is a qualification. While we all remain sinners until the day someone’s throwing dirt on our face, some of us have been brought back into relationship with God. There is only one way we can be brought into relationship with God, and that is through the righteousness of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are still sinners, but because Jesus paid for our sins through His sacrifice on the Cross and in His perfect righteousness we are saved and restored into right relationship with God.

Martin Chemnitz was the next generation of Lutheran theologians after Martin Luther. Chemnitz picked up Luther’s mantle and wrote and taught extensively on Lutheran belief, or as he and Luther would have taught what was original, genuine Christian teaching. In the following Chemnitz writes about what “original sin” is, that which we are all under and is only healed through baptism in Jesus. Also why sin separates us from God and why that separation needs to be closed in order for us to be in God’s will and not condemned to the sin, death and lostness of the world. We can reject God, but that leaves us in the human condition of sin and death, and that only results in condemnation. If we reject God, there is only one option, we are all condemned by sin and if we stay in that condition and reject Christ we are condemned to Hell. By our rejection of God, because Hell is the final end for all who want their way and not God’s.

To rewind, this is from Chemnitz, in “The Doctrine of Man” (p 196), giving a description of our spiritual condition from birth to death unless it is remedied by baptism, the faith that God gives us and maintained through confession, absolution, taking the true Body and Blood of Jesus and hearing the preached Word of Law and Gospel.

Chemnitz writes about the condition of those who are not in Jesus: ” Original sin is darkness of the mind, aversion to the will of God and stubbornness of the heart against the Law of God. These evils are not called actions, but out of them arise the actual sins, both inner and outer. In the mind come persistent doubts and blasphemies. In the will arise false security, neglect and mistrust of God, admiration of self and the placing of our life and wishes before the command of God. Then come great confusions and a flood of vile affections. Let us not imagine that original sin is an inactive thing. For though indeed a few men are held in check by honest discipline, nevertheless there are great doubts in the minds of men and many inner drives pulling them away from God and running contrary to His Law. It is as Jeremiah says: The heart of man is wicked, brazen and inscrutable (Jer 17:9)”

“Thus with the original depravity there are always actual sins, which in the unregenerate are all mortal. And the total person is damned with his fruits, as John says: ‘He that believeth not the Son … the wrath of God abideth on him’ (John 3:36)…”

Of course we have those who will just reject God’s say. “Who’s to say what is good or bad? I didn’t vote for God!” They will ask up to the point when someone does something to them, then of course it requires a federal investigation. If it happens to you, eh, too bad for you. get over it. If it happens to me? Well of course that’s wrong, I demand justice! This is of course the immature, selfish, sinful nature of the world. The dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, if I can take from you to bad for you and good for me. That’s why there is God, He is a God of justice, completely holy and wrathful against those who sin and offend. He is there to assure that ultimately those who offend, who reject Him, who make themselves their idol, their ultimate end, that they will not be allowed to offend again. That His people will be saved to eternal life. They will no longer be subjected to the evil, sinful lusts of those in the world who truly believe that it is all about them. In Christ we have the promise of eternal life the way it was meant to be, the new world of the resurrection. Yes there is a God, who does love us, who did give His Son to save us. Who also is not going to tolerate anyone else presuming to be God, to set the rules, to determine what is “fair” and “unfair”. It always amuses me to hear someone say something to the effect that they don’t need God, they can operate their own life, it’s not fair, I didn’t vote for this. There really are presumptuous, arrogant people like that. But if we’re all honest, we’re like that to some degree. The world and all who are in it are sinful by nature and man is just fine with that, we want it our way. We are all condemned by original sin which is our nature, God will not tolerate that. He did give us a way to be in relationship with Him even in this lost world and that is through Jesus. So you can live in your fantasy world that denies the sinful world around us and that you don’t need to be saved. Or you can really decide to follow where the Holy Spirit is leading you and to start living true life in Jesus. You are a sinner and you need to be saved in Jesus.

One flesh

My sermon for the past Sunday was on “One Flesh”, it refers to the Genesis 2:24 and Mark 8 passages. Clearly these passages speak to the physical marriage of man and woman, but we seem to not remember that as Christians we are the part of the Body of Christ, that His Church is the Body of Christ, which we, who are saved in Jesus, are part of. As discussed in Revelation 21, 22, the Church is the Bride of Christ. Now I’m not trying to get cute or all weird, but it does seem to follow that because of that, because we take the true Body and Blood of Jesus, that we all become one flesh. Yes, the Bible passages are to be understood as a man and a woman becoming one flesh. They should both readily understand that and that Jesus’ command that “…What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6) An aside, I have to tell you for those who are involved in facilitating divorce; judges, clerks, lawyers, I truly feel at least a concern. I do not know how people can participate in something that Jesus clearly condemns.

I was also reading Henry and Richard Blackaby’s devotional (Experiencing God Day by Day p 277) which starts “Christians do not live in isolation”. No we certainly don’t, and yet too many who call themselves “Christian” will simply not understand the idea of the Body of Jesus, Bride of Jesus, one flesh etc. We are too much about what are we getting out of this and not at all about what is the Body of Jesus about. I get it, most of us have difficult lives, pressing concerns and different demands that we do need to confront immediately. Certainly the media is beating us into submission, compassion fatigue and when things happen, over and over, in the Body of Christ, we just have to withdraw or be overwhelmed. Yea, I get it. However, we are, nonetheless, part of the Body of Christ. One flesh? Not now, but ultimately, in the resurrection, in the same sense of a married man and woman? Yes. But just because we are not in the same sense as Genesis and Mark describe, does that make it any less genuine? And now, in the shadow of the murders at Umpqua Community College, Charleston SC, Columbine, Lancaster, Pa, just for the United States and the horrific murders in Iraq, Syria, China, Africa on and on shouldn’t that be a signal pain in the Body of Christ, and if we are part of that Body shouldn’t we at least wince?

Maybe there is a fatigue going on, but if the persecutions of Christians throughout history that resulted in resolve and strength to the Body, shouldn’t that be apparent now? If so, how does that look? If your reaction is “wow that’s too bad” or “see that’s why we need gun control” or “every Christian should carry a gun” as the Lt Governor of Tennessee suggested, shouldn’t that suggest to the individual that maybe they’re not in communion with the Body of Christ as they should be?

The Blackabys write: “We depend on one another, and this influences everything we do. Jesus said that even when we pray, we are to begin by saying ‘our Father’ (Matt 6:9). We must do everything with our fellow Christians in mind. (1 Cor 14:12)” Yes, He is our Father. OK, that means children? Yes, it does. Is this another mystery of being in Christ along with the Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption, Resurrection? Yea, apparently. Does it mean that just because the concept seems obscure, it’s not valid? No, I don’t think so. The Blackabys suggest: “Ask God to place a burden on your heart for fellow believers.” I do think it’s necessary. Can you ignore such profound pain in your body and not feel it, dismiss it? I’m not sure what the “cure” is. Certainly we are always called to pray. We should remember Tertullian’s words, a Roman, in the middle of the persecutions of the early Christian. He said “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Certainly those who are martyred receive great reward, but for us still in our earthly life, to simply dismiss the suffering and murder of Christian brothers and sisters is not acceptable. As with everything in our Christian life we are always in prayer. We also are to be guided by the Holy Spirit, where is He moving us to confront or to help those in persecution? What are the opportunities He is presenting us and our local church with in order to witness to Jesus to a world that is lost and filled with death. A world that hates God and His people and believes that it is somehow serving a greater God by killing Christians. “”If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) Jesus’ words, we certainly trust His Words and this is face to face reality for many. The answers aren’t easy we are to trust in God. Paul certainly appealed to civil law for protection against the mob and unfair judgment. I’m not saying to roll over and play dead, but certainly we remember those Christian Martyrs  who gave up everything they had and witnesses to Christ and sacrificed their life. That is a witness to the world that the Holy Spirit uses to change lives and bring them to salvation in Jesus. Stay in prayer, pray for those who hate and abuse you, and know what the Holy Spirit is putting on your heart and act accordingly.

Confess and pray to one another that we will be healed James 5 First St Johns September 27, 2015

[For the audio version of this sermon click on the above link]

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 trust in the Lord for healing body and soul said … AMEN!

If you have been to a healing service here, our epistle lesson this morning will sound familiar. The first verse is instructional to all of us “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. We should not just pray, but also praise.

Certainly I appreciate the faith of those who come to the healing service and are looking to God for healing. This service isn’t my invention, it is in the Lutheran Service Book and we who are brothers and sisters in Jesus know the pericopes in the Gospels that are about the many healings that Jesus did. He healed people who were suffering from demonic possession, the man with the withered hand, the woman with the flow of blood, the man who couldn’t walk etc. We know that if it is God’s will and we lift up in prayer, by ourselves and/or part of a Christian group that God will heal. I think that the line “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick” is interesting. It says the prayer of faith will “save” the one who is sick. We know that it is not always God’s will to heal. The healing service includes “we also pray that those who are suffering do not lose faith.” As much as the healing service is about physical healing, it is also about spiritual healing.

I do not give them a 30-day money back guarantee when I do the healing service. I can’t promote this service as if it’s some Benny Hinn football stadium rally in front of 30,000 people. What about the people who don’t make it on the stage in time? Too bad for them? How come Benny Hinn can’t heal everyone in the stadium, if he has this miraculous power? Seems they have to come up on stage in front of the crowd and cameras so that he can make a spectacle out of his “healing”. I very much believe in the healing power of God. I very much believe that when faithful brothers and sisters gather together to pray for healing that it is effective. I don’t believe that I should turn it into a spectacle. Because I’m special? That I just send healing requests to the Throne of God and He heals on command? “Oh was that Driskell, he needs someone healed of cancer? OK, Jim’s my boy, there ya go healed.” This is the sin of presumption. I don’t set up the stadium, have a whole lot of people show up and bibady, bobady boo, everyone’s healed on my word. That would be great, but that’s not how God works. It’s about His will and who He wants healed and, in some cases, who He wants to take home. As one wag on the internet said, if these Benny Hinn types are so great, why don’t they stop at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which specializes in the treatment of pediatric cancer in Boston and heal all the children there? Seems the people who do this are more interested in self-promotion and the spot-light.

This is one of the ways the world sees Christians as gullible, superstitious, and presumptuous. Because of this many dismiss Christianity as silly and fatuous. They dismiss the Lord Jesus, He who died to save us, to be our redemption for our sins, to put us in right relationship with the Father. Yes our earthly life is important, but our eternal life in the resurrection is so much more important. That is all dismissed by the world because they don’t want to be one of those silly, easily influenced Christians. It does make me wonder: “OK, you don’t believe that Jesus can heal, what do you have that’s better?” I never get a straight answer, but the attitude seems to be, that they are too dignified, just plain too full of themselves to believe in silly Christian superstition. It really is kind of a metaphor of the world. I’m not going to believe what Jesus did for me for the sake of my dignity. There is no other solution, so I’m going to make my pride, the important factor, reject Jesus and be eternally condemned. OK, whatever? I can relate to the feeling that there are too many out there who try to make a side show attraction out of healing, which never seems to help the sick person and just makes Christians look silly.

The old country preacher was holding a healing service and he invited anyone to come up for healing. Billy comes up and says “Pastor I need help for the hearing.” Preacher raises his hands up in prayer, puts his hands over Billy’s ears, sticks his finger in Billy’s ears, loudly pronouncing and appealing for healing. Finally he stops and looks at Billy and asks can you hear? And Billy says I can hear fine, I need prayer for the court hearing next week. Yes that was a Chuck Swindoll.

Even the secular world has come around to the fact that there is power in faithful, prayer. Dr Harold Koenig, MD, was a professor at the Harvard Medical School for many years, and one of the things that he taught on was how prayer, faithful Christians have helped many people. Much research has shown that people who are prayed for actually do have better recoveries, fewer complications. Even more compelling those who know they’re being prayed for have even better results than. We have our prayer list that we pray over at every worship, at the prayer group that meets Sunday after worship, and at our prayer breakfast. You are encouraged to take the list in your bulletin home with you and include it in your daily prayers at home. When people ask me to put someone on that list, I ask them to give me the persons mailing address so that I can send them a postcard telling them they’re being prayed for. Sure I do that partly because I’ve seen the research that shows they will have a better result when they know they’re being prayed for and also I do it in faith for what St James tells us, to pray over the person, and our healing service is an effective way to pray over a sick or ailing person. But it’s always in trust that regardless of the outcome it is according to God’s will.

Dr Koenig is now the director at Duke University’s Center for spirituality, theology and health. We’re not talking about Bob Jones University, we are talking about very secular institutions of higher learning, Harvard and Duke have both come to recognize man isn’t just a physical machine, we are also spiritual beings that can be healed through the power of prayer that St James tells us about.

An article in Web MD states: “Research focusing on the power of prayer in healing has nearly doubled in the past 10 years,…” Dr Mitchell Krucoff states: “All of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.” The article quotes other research: “These studies show that religious people tend to live healthier lives.  In fact, people who pray tend to get sick less often, as separate studies conducted at Duke, Dartmouth, and Yale universities show. Some statistics from these studies:

  • Hospitalized people who never attended church have an average stay of three times longer than people who attended regularly.
  • Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in a religion.
  • Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had astrokerate double that of people who attended regularly.

Also, says Koenig, “people who are more religious tend to become depressed less often. And when they do become depressed, they recover more quickly from depression. “[1]  We are told to raise up prayers to God and to ask Him for prayer. I would never, ever tell you not to pray for healing. But our prayer has to be in terms of trusting God, relying on His will. His will is not always to heal, but He often does and when it happens it is staggering. But we don’t do it in a prideful, presumptuous way as if God performs services on demand. It is about the faith God gives us and His will, His plan. His will is always, better than ours. Even at the times when we don’t see it that way, we realize later, that whether God chose to heal or not, it was the best result and God uses that healing or lack thereof to His glory, not making it a spectacle. Clearly, as St James tells us: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

We lift up prayer here at First St Johns for a reason. We are not here to make gratuitous gestures, go through the motions, we are a people of faith and we trust when God tells us to pray for those who are sick. Yes, the secular findings are interesting, but regardless, we trust God’s word to heal or to take a loved one home. We trust His will and we will continue to be people who take prayer seriously. Not just for physical healing, but as Dr Luther tells us, as a pastor I am a seel sorger, a “soul healer”. I want to be involved in physical healing, but also in the healing of the spirit. Healing of the spirit is certainly for life in this world, but our Lord Jesus has given us the ultimate healing, the forgiveness of our sins, our reconciliation with God the Father who heals our soul that we will live in the eternal perfection of the resurrection.

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

[1]http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/can-prayer-heal

Being aware of your environment Ephesians 6: 10-20 First St Johns August 30, 2015

[Click on the above link for the audio of this sermon]

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 aware of the world around them in Jesus said … AMEN!

We should be familiar with; “those who are in Christ are in the world, but are not of the world.” Jesus’ priestly prayer for His disciples John 16 and 17, Jesus stresses “ESV John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

We are Jesus’ disciples, we are in the world, but we are not of the world. We are His, Jesus is our Lord, our Savior. We also know the things that are constantly around us. St Paul’s quote reminds us that we are of a different mind then those who are in the world: “ESV 2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Despite the words of Jesus, of St Paul, we still have many in the church who believe we can somehow reconcile this and be at peace with the world. That’s certainly not Jesus’ idea, “ESV John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” The world will do whatever it can to separate those who are in Jesus from Him and influence us into anything, so long as it’s not Jesus.

We should all be very aware of the influences that surround us and defend ourselves against them, not give into them. Many of those influences are very tempting, often they’re made to look like “ehh, not such a big deal”. But it’s the little bad influences that can keep affecting us, impacting us, slowly separating us from the truth that is in Christ Jesus. Do these bad influences “defile” us? Jesus says no in today’s passage. The Greek word koino,w means: “1) to make common 1a) to make (Levitically) unclean, render unhallowed, defile, profane 1b) to declare or count unclean.”[1]  Jesus is telling us loud and clear in our Gospel reading No! The things that are around us, don’t make us unclean. You find something on the Internet or on television, or happen on something in your travels that makes you feel unclean. I’ve seen things that made me want to run and take a shower. Let’s face it a lot of those things make you feel “defiled”, kind of violated. But in Christ those things don’t make us unclean, if they do, turn them over to Him, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a spiritual hose down… AMEN ?? But don’t feel as if you’ve become unworthy or so unclean that you can’t take it to Him, to be a part of His church.

But that doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of being aware, of just avoiding the things that do make us feel that way, that do make us feel violated and separated from Jesus. Today more than ever, one of the most common things you will hear in the military, police work and other areas that require interaction in the world is the warning to “be aware of your surroundings, of your environment”. For most of history war or crime was pretty straight forward. There’s the enemy, there’s the bad guy, go and get him and restore control. On Sept 11, 2001, an unremarkable Tuesday morning, the biggest issue for most people was summer was over and dealing with the reality of the coming fall and winter. No one in their wildest imagination would have thought that at the start of their day at the World Trade Center that the building would come crashing down around them and many would not be home that evening. There was no apparent threat, no reason to be aware, another day like so many others they had lived through. And yet, out of no where, came a very real, very deadly threat.

We have spiritual threats like that all around us, day in and day out. Television, the internet, so much in print, there are spiritual threats at the flip of a switch.

So we agree, we live in a dangerous world. There’s no question that our physical safety can be of concern too. But frankly, more importantly our spiritual lives can be even more readily destroyed, temptation to degrade our spiritual lives is all around us, right in our homes, much nearer than what could kill us physically and this is the case even more so now than ever in the history of mankind. We agree we have to be readily aware of the fact that spiritual danger is all around us and we have to be very aware of our surroundings. That doesn’t just mean walking down a city street, being in a crowd, but the surroundings in our own home. What do we keep right around us that can negatively impact us, can spiritually kill us? We agree on these things, but what do we do about them? Paul tells us that we continue to trust in God and what He has given us, has already done for us.

We are told that our strength is in God, in His might. That we put on the whole armor of God. I don’t pull my helmet out of my helmet bag, my Kevlar vest out of my closet, our greatest enemy is “cosmic powers … spiritual forces of evil”. What do we have to defend us? Paul tells us: the belt of truth. When the world tells us what we should do we know the truth, it is right there around our waist. The breastplate of righteousness, protects our heart, soul, the things that do corrupt us. He gives us the shoes of readiness, not just to protect what supports us, our feet, our stability in the Word, but also to move us into the world to proclaim Christ, against the evil that is around us. We have a shield, the shield of faith what God gives us to protect us against the attacks of the world, the many attacks of the world. The helmet of salvation, reminds us of what is really important. We can get all involved in the evil and temptation of the world, or we can remember that our true life is in the resurrection, the world that God saves us for, the way God intended for us to live. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, the Bible. This is what we bring to thrust God’s Word into the world. It’s not enough to just stand there and take the hits from the world, we have God’s Word and He calls us to bring His Word into the world. Being aware of your surroundings isn’t just to be defensive, but it is to pro-actively go into the world and proclaim God’s Word, to push back against the darkness with His Word, the Bible, the Gospel. AMEN??

Of course Paul ends with “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplications. The church’s most powerful weapon is prayer, us lifting up our prayers to the Father and the Father guiding us in our prayers so that we will be in His will. In five years of being ordained, I’ve seen God do some amazing things in answer to the prayer of His faithful people. So we put on the whole armor of God, all the things that protect us while we maintain “situational awareness”, and we lift up our situation to God in prayer and trust that He will answer and He will also lead us to where He wants us to be, for His best interests and ours. Our safety, our family’s, those we love, our awareness, is in Him and the armor that God has given us to stay in Him. Physically we may be hurt and suffer, but that is only for a time, our real danger is in the eternal life, letting the world drag us down because we were not aware of our surroundings and we let them influence us and not God’s protection. Spend some time this week in your journal to really work out where you need to improve in the use of the equipment God gives you.

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

[1] Strong’s in BibleWorks

El respeto a Jesús, uno a Efesios 5, Marcos 7 First St Johns 23 de agosto 2015

[For the audio of this please click on the above link]

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 los que escuchan y respetan la Palabra de Dios y no del hombre dijo … AMEN!

El plan de Dios es tan perfecto, que es una especie circular de la situación, que no quiere decir, como siempre, que obtenemos lo que queremos todo el tiempo, parece que no entienden esa relación no es “bueno saltar a través de aros para mí y luego tal vez te amaré “. Esto es lo que tenemos en la sociedad actual y por qué existe esta infelicidad generalizada y profunda, e incluso el resentimiento. A todos nos sometemos a Jesús. Presentar a su marido, porque él es el que está llamado a amar a su esposa y no sólo nuestra especie blanda de amor, pero el mismo amor que Jesús tenía para la iglesia! Jesús murió por el amor de su iglesia, los hombres son llamados a amar a sus esposas, el amor ágape, hasta el punto de sacrificar a sí mismos. Si su marido lo hará por usted, no hace que sugieren respeto y sumisión a él?

Oh baby, nadie predicando en Efesios 5: 21-33 solo se puede sentir el hielo grietas alrededor de sus pies. ¡La espada! OHHHHH, a nadie le gusta “S”, S es por supuesto “submit, sumisión”. Oh no! En el mundo de hoy, todo el mundo es un experto, todo el mundo lo sabe todo, somos la sociedad más igualitaria en la historia de la tierra. Al parecer, si has nacido un americano, usted es un experto inmediato en todo y cualquier cosa. Cada vez más estoy empezando a ver que actitud bastante cínica. A mi edad, uno pensaría que me hubiera convertido en casi irreparablemente cínica y sin embargo, cada vez más me encuentro darse cuenta de que cuando me someto a Dios como su ministro, a su pueblo, Él trabaja a cabo conforme a su voluntad . Romanos 8:28 parece conseguir un entrenamiento, “Y sabemos que para los que aman a Dios, todas las cosas les ayudan a bien, para aquellos que son llamados conforme a su propósito.” ¿No es esto parte de lo que la vida cristiana es ¿todo sobre?

Cuando decimos “para los que aman a Dios”, no amar a alguien significa someter a Él con el fin para el bien de todos los interesados? Sumisión no significa, simplemente tirar la toalla y sin pensar siguiente. Lo que significa, en algún momento sólo hay que confiar en que la persona.

Ciertamente, los ambientes militares y corporativos son una lección de esas áreas. Hay un montón de veces en las que no está seguro acerca de algo que se tiene que hacer, que desea quejarse sobre él un poco más, pero en algún momento es obvio que tienes que hacer lo que está confiado a hacer, hazlo a el mejor de su capacidad, por lo que no habrá éxito. Si esto es lo que está guiado a hacer, puede que no sea perfecto, pero se convierte en su responsabilidad para que sea tan perfecto como puede ser.

El profesor Jeffrey Oschwald observa el cambio de capítulo 6 al capítulo 7. Las personas se están ejecutando a Jesús, el pueblo: “corrió sobre toda la región y comenzaron a traer a los enfermos en sus camas a donde oían que estaba. ESV Marcos 6:56 Y dondequiera que llegó, en pueblos, ciudades o zonas rurales, ponían a los enfermos en las plazas y le imploró que les dejase tocar siquiera el borde de su manto. Y los que lo tocaban quedaban sanos. “Oh, sí, ellos querían que Jesús entonces. Sermón de la semana pasada después de que Jesús alimentó a miles y luego dijo: Bien, ahora que usted tiene el estómago lleno, vamos a hablar cosas de verdad, tienes que comer mi cuerpo y bebe mi sangre para llenar tu alma, para tener la vida real. Sí, no eran mucho en eso y decidieron recoger y dejar. En la lectura de hoy, las personas están acudiendo a él y Jesús ha sanado a varias personas, ¿qué sucede? Los fariseos y los escribas le enfrentan sobre un pequeño problema ticky pegajosa sobre los discípulos se lavan las manos. Obviamente estos chicos están tratando de provocar una confrontación. Está a unos 90 millas de Jerusalén, donde han venido desde, hacia la parte norte del Mar de Galilea, que no van a hacer ese viaje a la ligera, se sienten amenazados y han decidido encontrar cualquier pequeña cosa que pueda con el fin para recoger una pelea con Jesús, para desacreditarlo alguna manera. Por supuesto que puede ver la frustración de Jesús. “Aquí estoy, Dios Hijo, mira todas estas cosas que he hecho. Estoy tratando de llegar a ver la vida real y lo que estás haciendo? Levantarse en mi parrilla sobre un pequeño problema ticky pegajosa sobre el lavado de manos? ? De verdad “:” ESV Marcos 7: 6 Y él les dijo: “Bien profetizó Isaías de vosotros, hipócritas, como está escrito:” Este pueblo me honra con los labios, pero su corazón está lejos de mí; ESV Marcos 7: 7 en vano me honran, enseñando como doctrinas, mandamientos de hombres “. ESV Marcos 7: 8 Usted deja el mandamiento de Dios y mantienen fieles a la tradición de los hombres “. ESV Marcos 7: 9 Y él les dijo:” Tienes una buena manera de rechazar el mandamiento de Dios para establecer vuestra tradición! “Jesús se refiere a la cita en la lectura de hoy de Isaías:” ESV Isaías 29:13 Y el Señor dijo: “Porque este pueblo se acerca con su boca y me honra con los labios, pero su corazón está lejos de mí, y su mi temor es un mandamiento dictado por los hombres, ESV Isaías 29:14 por tanto, he aquí, volveré a hacer cosas maravillosas con este pueblo, con asombro a extrañar, y la sabiduría de sus sabios perecerá, y el discernimiento de su exigente los hombres se esconden “.

Obviamente Jesús se siente frustrado y les está diciendo a obtener un control. ¿Vas a pegarse a sus sutilezas pequeñas tradiciones o vas a ver lo que está pasando aquí. Dios Hijo ya está aquí! Es el momento de someterse a su voluntad, dejar de preocuparse por las cosas insignificantes y ver lo que realmente está pasando! ”

Dr Oschwald observa: “Si tuvieras la oportunidad de una audiencia privada con Jesús, ¿te discutir sobre la forma correcta de lavarse antes de una comida … los adversarios de Jesús parece tener completamente perdido de vista lo que realmente importa ante Dios. La forma en que piden a su pregunta sugiere que la raíz del problema es que han empezado a poner las preocupaciones humanas antes y por encima de lo que es importante a los ojos de Dios. Nuestra simpatía inicial con la preocupación de los fariseos sobre las manos limpias en la mesa va a la derecha por el desagüe cuando empezamos a ver el verdadero problema en toda su seriedad “Nosotros, ustedes y yo, a menudo tenemos que parar y preguntarnos a nosotros mismos.; vamos a comenzar una pelea sobre las cosas triviales o nos miramos a nuestro alrededor y ver lo que Jesús está haciendo, qué grandes cosas están sucediendo a nuestro alrededor. Cómo para señalar, a contribuir a ese enfoque en lo que el Espíritu Santo está haciendo y hacerlo a su gloria, la gloria de la iglesia de Jesús. ¿Cómo nos proclamamos al mundo lo que está pasando en su servicio, para su gloria?

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

The “S” Word Ephesians 5 Mark 7 First St Johns Church Aug 23, 2015

[For the audio version, please click above link]

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 those who hear and respect God’s Word and not man’s said … AMEN!

God’s plan is just so perfect, it’s a circular sort of situation, that doesn’t mean, as always, that we get what we want all the time, we seem to not understand that relationship is not “hey you jump through hoops for me and then maybe I will love you”. This is what we have in society today and why there is this widespread and deep unhappiness and even resentment. We all submit to Jesus. Submit to your husband, because he is the one that is called to love his wife and not just our squishy kind of love, but the same love Jesus had for the church! Jesus died for the love of His church, men are called to love their wives, agape love, to the point of sacrificing themselves. If your husband will do that for you, doesn’t that suggest respect and submission to him?

Oh baby, anyone preaching on Ephesians 5: 21-33 can just feel the ice cracking around his feet. The “S” word! OHHHHH, no one likes to “S”, S being of course “submit, submission”. Oh no! In today’s world, everyone is an expert, everyone knows it all, we are the most equalitarian society in the history of the earth. Apparently if you are born an American, you are an immediate expert on everything and anything. More and more I’m beginning to see that attitude rather cynically. At my age, you’d think that I would have become pretty much irreparably cynical and yet, more and more I find myself realizing that when I submit to God as His minister, to His people, He does work it out according to His will. Romans 8:28 does seem to get a workout, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Isn’t this part of what the Christian life is all about?

When we say “for those who love God”, doesn’t loving someone mean submitting to Him in order for the good of all concerned? Submission doesn’t mean, just throwing in the towel and mindlessly following. It does mean, at some point you just have to trust that the person.

Certainly the military and corporate environments are a lesson in those areas. There are plenty of times where you’re not sure about something that has to be done, you want to fuss over it a little more, but at some point it’s obvious you have to do what you’re entrusted to do, do it to the best of your ability, so that there will be success. If this is what you’re led to do, it may not be perfect, but it becomes your responsibility to make it as perfect as it can be.

Professor Jeffrey Oschwald observes the shift from chapter 6 to chapter 7. People are running to Jesus, the people: “ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. ESV Mark 6:56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” Oh yeah, they wanted Jesus then. Last week’s sermon after Jesus fed thousands and then said OK, now that you have a full stomach, let’s talk real stuff, you have to eat my body and drink my blood to fill your soul, to have real life. Yea, they weren’t so much into that and decided to pick up and leave. In today’s reading, the people are flocking to him and Jesus has healed a number of people, what happens? The Pharisees and the scribes confront Him over a ticky-tack little issue about the disciples washing their hands. Obviously these guys are trying to provoke a confrontation. It’s about 90 miles from Jerusalem, where they’ve come from, to the northern part of the Sea of Galilee, they’re not going to make that trip lightly, they feel threatened and have decided to find any little thing they can in order to pick a fight with Jesus, to somehow discredit Him. You can certainly see Jesus’ frustration. “Here I am, God the Son, look at all these things I’ve done. I’m trying to get you to see real life and what are you doing? Getting up in my grill about a ticky-tack little issue about washing hands? Really?”: “ESV Mark 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘ This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; ESV Mark 7:7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ESV Mark 7:8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ESV Mark 7:9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Jesus is referring to the quote in today’s reading from Isaiah: “ESV Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, ESV Isaiah 29:14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

Obviously Jesus is frustrated and is telling them to get a grip. Are you going to stick to your quibbling little traditions or are you going to see what’s going on here. God the Son is here! It’s time to submit to His will, quit worrying about the petty stuff and see what’s really happening!”

Dr Oschwald observes: “If you had the opportunity for a private audience with Jesus, would you argue about the proper way to wash up before a meal?… Jesus’ opponents seem to have completely lost sight of what really matters before God. The way they ask their question suggests that the root of the problem is that they’ve begun to put human concerns before and above what’s important in God’s eyes. Our initial sympathy with the Pharisees’ concern over clean hands at the table goes right down the drain when we begin to see the real problem in all its seriousness.”[1] We, you and I, often have to stop and ask ourselves; are we going to pick a fight over the trivial stuff or do we look around us and see what Jesus is doing, what great things are happening around us. How to point to, contribute to, focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing and do it to His glory, to the glory of Jesus’ church. How do we proclaim to the world what is going on in His service, to His glory?

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

[1] Rev Dr Jeffrey Oschwald   Concordia Pulpit Resources Vol 25, Part 3, Series B p 39

El Señor siempre nos está animando a 1 Reyes 19: 1-8 First St Johns 09 de agosto 2015

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 hacen un testigo fiel a Jesús dijo … AMEN!

Mi último sermón me habló de Noé, como Dios destruyó todos los seres vivientes. El hombre se había convertido en su totalidad e irremediablemente mala y que Dios había tenido suficiente. Estas personas habían pasado por encima y Dios, a diferencia del mundo que es sólo en el amor con la “tolerancia”, que se aplica de manera muy informal, la tolerancia de Dios se agotó. En la lectura de hoy del Antiguo Testamento vemos lo mismo en menor escala. Breve historia de fondo, Jezabel se había convertido en la reina de Israel. Ella era bastante desagradable y sobre la parte superior y su esposo Acab, era más o menos de un brindis leche, “sí querida, no querida”. En desafío directo de Dios, Acab permitió Jezabel para mantener una plantilla de 450 sacerdotes de Baal y 400 profetas de Asera. La Enciclopedia Judía describe algunas de esta “religión”: “no se colocó al lado del otro con el Baal un símbolo correspondiente femenino, la Astarté (Babyl.” Ashtar “) y la relación entre las dos deidades fue establecido como el ejemplo y el motivo de la desenfrenada sensualidad. El mal se convirtió en todo lo peor, cuando en la opinión popular a sí mismo Yahvé era considerado como uno de los Baales. “Por supuesto que esto viola los dos primeros de los diez mandamientos, adorar a Dios y no debe adorar a los ídolos. Baal y Asera son ídolos, no son “dioses”, alguna evidencia sería que nadie adora a cualquiera de ellos nunca más. Si fueran verdaderamente “dios” que sin duda ser lo suficientemente potente como para afirmar su adoración. El culto a Baal se describe como: “Este culto a la naturaleza pagana fue descrito a propósito con este tipo de lenguaje sexual gráfico precisamente porque la prostitución de culto y el misticismo sexual fue una gran parte del proceso de adoración de la naturaleza. Cultos de la fertilidad sexuales y el deseo de una fertilidad agrícola correspondiente se tejen juntos en un esquema de carácter culto pornográfico que corrompe a toda la nación y su gente. “¿Suena familiar? ¿Suena como el mundo de hoy? Era, hacia arriba, el culto que no sólo permite, pero animó a cualquier tipo de práctica sexual. “Además de abandono sexual, el culto de Baal también incorporó prácticas ascéticas severas en su culto a la naturaleza también. Eufórico placer y dolor sangrienta se utilizaron para propiciar a los dioses de la naturaleza por el bien de buen tiempo (1 Reyes 18: 25-29). Por lo tanto, la naturaleza culto a Baal era completamente indulgente con respecto al misticismo sexual, por un lado, pero excesivamente estricta, severa y grave, por otro lado, con respecto a las prácticas ascéticas, con ataques ocasionales de sacrificios humanos en el camino (2 Reyes 17: 28-41). “Obviamente, esto es una violación del séptimo mandamiento, ¿No cometerás adulterio. El mandamiento es acerca de la fidelidad conyugal y también acerca de la fornicación, el sexo entre dos personas no casadas. Obviamente, en nuestra época, no hay una “iglesia de Baal”, pero las prácticas de nuestra época son ciertamente todo acerca de lo que se practica en los tiempos del Antiguo Testamento por los adoradores de Baal.

Dios nos dio los diez mandamientos. Él no estaba murmurando cuando Él los puso en tablas de piedra y se las dio a Moisés. Dios, Yahvé, Dios Padre de Jesucristo es inequívocamente perfecto, perfectamente santo y no tolerará el pecado. Todos somos pecadores, todos tenemos nuestros violaciónes personales de los diez mandamientos, pero que están en Cristo estamos perdonados, Jesús murió por nuestros pecados y cuando confesamos y arrepentirse de los pecados, estamos absuelto de esos pecados, tenemos el perdón porque Jesús murió para pagar el precio de esos pecados. Pero mientras que hay personas en el mundo que sienten que cualquier y todo debe ser tolerada, debe permitir, nosotros que somos cristianos sabemos que si bien no es pecado, y hay perdón, para que nosotros también ofendemos y fallamos a Dios Padre cuando cometemos estos pecados. Dios no tolerará cualquier persona que simplemente se burla de sus mandamientos y opta por hacer lo que él o ella quiera hacer. El mundo que nos rodea, nos dice que es una tontería, pero el mundo no tiene ninguna esperanza, ninguna promesa, hay otra manera de tratar con él es el pecado y los que están en el mundo mueren a esos pecados y están condenados eternamente.

Así que podemos menear el dedo y cacarear nuestra lengua y pretender castigar a Dios cuando Él destruye el mundo, ya que ha llegado a ser tan consumido por sus pecados, o nosotros le podemos dar a su palabra. Él nos da la esperanza y la promesa de la vida eterna, el mundo simplemente nos dice que hagamos lo que nos hace feliz y eso es simplemente correcto. Cuando mueres, estás muerto pase lo que pase después, la suerte bien difícil! Un poco de historia de fondo, es posible que recuerde, ¿cómo Elías estableció un reto con los profetas de Baal? Cada uno de nosotros sacrificamos un buey, estoy seguro que has visto lo grande que es un buey, ponemos sobre el altar, y lo que Dios consume por completo el buey con fuego, pues, que Dios debe ser verdaderamente Dios. Bueno sacerdotes de Baal bailan durante horas, finalmente caer de agotamiento, y nada, gran panecillo de edad, cero, nada. Elías tenía una maravilla simplemente relajarse y decir a los sacerdotes de Baal lo desordenado que es esto. ¡Oye! Baal tan grande, ¿cuál es el problema? ¿Cómo es que no sólo puede quemar hasta un buey? Finalmente Elías toma su turno, dice una breve oración de unas cincuenta palabras, entonces Woosh “… Entonces el fuego del Señor cayó y quemó el holocausto, la leña, las piedras y el suelo, y hasta lamió el agua de la zanja. “(1 Reyes 18:38) Tipo de forma de poner un signo de exclamación en todo el evento de Dios. Entonces Elías, siguiendo las instrucciones de Dios, estoy seguro de que con sus propios hombres, conduce a unos 990 sacerdotes y profetas de Baal y Asera abajo de la montaña estaban en un arroyo y se los mata. Un poco duro? En realidad no. Estos sacerdotes, junto con la reina Jezabel están decididos a imponer estas prácticas pecaminosas enormemente en el pueblo de Yahweh, el pueblo de Israel, esencialmente les condena a la muerte eterna y Yahvé le no tolerarlo! No más de lo que tolera el mismo comportamiento en la actualidad. Pero, gracias a Dios, tenemos la salvación en Jesús, Él es nuestra fuerza, nuestro poder, nuestra Elías que mantiene a su pueblo fuera de estas prácticas groseramente inmorales. Él es nuestra redención, el que pagó el precio por nuestro pecado. Para la tarea de esta semana, lea 1 Reyes 18: 16-40.

Pero no mostrar lo que una ignorancia bíblica bruto y el analfabetismo no es hoy en día, cuando se tiene la gente, que probablemente no son cristianos, que constituyen los estereotipos sobre los pastores cristianos y cristianos en general. Por otra parte se ve la forma en que son tratados por el mundo en la lectura de hoy. No estamos a tolerar la inmoralidad que vemos a nuestro alrededor, tenemos que hablar. Cuando los no cristianos tratan de estereotipar a usted y básicamente decirle que se callara, lo guardes para ti, dicen los cristianos se supone que es manso y humilde. Bueno, primero que no saben lo que están hablando. Jesús no tuvo problemas responsabilizar a las personas por los pecados sexuales y otros. Juan el Bautista llamó a Herodes por casarse con la mujer de su hermano. Diablos para los estándares de hoy en día, eso es un pecado muy venal. Juan el Bautista tenía ningún problema llamando a uno de los hombres más poderosos del país y perdió la cabeza por ella. Pablo ciertamente no anduvo con rodeos con las iglesias como los corintios.

Elías fue fiel a Dios y su dirección, no la opinión del mundo. Elías fue expulsado por el mundo, acosado por el mundo, y los cristianos son y serán hoy. No porque el mundo tiene razón, sino porque el mundo es odiosa e ignorante y hará lo que sea necesario para cerrar una persona fiel a. Pero Dios fortalece y nos anima. ¿Te imaginas cómo Elías sintió? Había sido acosados, expulsados, amenazados de muerte. Se siente abandonado, solo, se siente como si él es el único de la gente de Yahweh izquierda. Un ángel lo despierta, uno de los poderosos ángeles guerreros de Yahweh, le ofrece la comida y el agua y el descanso, y también para recordarle que Dios está mirando por encima de él, así como él nos cuida cuando tomamos una postura impopular por su Hijo Jesús y la iglesia de Jesús. El mundo ama el teatro, que ama a pesar de Dios, que le encanta tener su propio camino y que odia a todo el que es fiel al Señor Jesús. Tenemos que aceptar que, lidiar con eso y confiar en que Dios proveerá y nos proteja como lo hizo con Elías y continuar siendo un testigo fiel a Él en un mundo que es cada vez más hostil a Jesús.

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

Let’s have some mutual respect instead of playing your agenda

I seem to have had a lot of “wow, it’s good to hear someone else had to deal with this and it’s just not me!” OK, this may not be particularly Christian of me, but there is nothing in the Bible that says “hey be stupid.” I could even refer to the pericope about the unjust steward (Luke 16: 1-13). I’m not sure I’d camp there and I’m not going to take the time to make the case. The point is the world seems to think that Christians, and especially Christian pastors, are there to just hand over things and not give it a second thought. Show me in the Bible where that is and we will talk. I can’t find it and so I know of no reason to be the naive and gullible victim that the world thinks I should be.

I did find this from one of our Founding Fathers, he’s even a distant relative, John Adams. “Be not intimidated … nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy or decency.” In some ways, ya I do tend to be a little naive. I’m not looking for duplicity and disingenuousness in people, I’m really not. Ya, sometimes it’s pretty obvious. As an inner city  pastor I get a lot of people just looking for money and because I’m a clueless, naive pastor in a big church, I just have gobs of money to hand over to people, no questions asked. Well it also seems to apply to most other people. In this day and age, most people seem to have a political, professional, social, or some other agenda going on that they’re sure they’re supposed to impose on the church. Reminds me of more modern iteration of President Adams quote by the O’Jays, “…they smile in your face, all the time they want to take your place, the backstabbers.”

Ya, sure, sometimes it’s innocent passivity or callousness, but way too much it seems to be an issue of well I’m smarter than everyone and I’m going to show you how it should be. How to answer this, either this apathy or even disingenuousness,  that is the question? Should you light people up and let them know exactly where it’s at. Despite popular perception, Jesus had no compunction letting people know where they were wrong. Certainly Old Testament prophets were also as assertive. Nathan had no problem lighting David up after his affair with Bathsheba. Seems like there are too many people in the world today who think that they can skate through with no accountability to anyone or anything, and not be held to account. Then “oh, what a mean person you are for getting upset with me.”

Just another example of the duplicity you have to deal with as a Christian minister. Seems like people feel they’re almost entitled to play a minister. Should I always react loudly, ya maybe not, tell you what, you quit thinking you can take advantage, for your little political agenda, and I won’t get upset. At what point do you demand respect not only for you, but for the office?