Sep 8, 2013
The Dark Knight Rises: Counting the Cost
Go into any store and you’ll find that everything has a price on it. Well, any more these days, there’s a bar-code, but the point is the same. If you want it, you have to pay the price. Jesus tells His disciples, and us today, effectively “if you want to be my disciple, you have to pay the price!” But why is there a cost? Doesn’t God offer grace for free? Certainly! Salvation is a free gift from God that none of us could pay for … but discipleship is a lifestyle that comes at a cost. For you and I to follow Jesus in a world that is hostile to Him and His followers, there is a price to pay – a “cross” to bear: We can be assured that we will encounter persecution and resistance; and to live our lives longing for a world that is yet to come, we must forsake (“renounce” in Luke 14:33) the things of this world. There is a significant cost to being a disciple of Jesus.
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  • Sep 8, 2013The Dark Knight Rises: Counting the Cost
    Sep 8, 2013
    The Dark Knight Rises: Counting the Cost
    Go into any store and you’ll find that everything has a price on it. Well, any more these days, there’s a bar-code, but the point is the same. If you want it, you have to pay the price. Jesus tells His disciples, and us today, effectively “if you want to be my disciple, you have to pay the price!” But why is there a cost? Doesn’t God offer grace for free? Certainly! Salvation is a free gift from God that none of us could pay for … but discipleship is a lifestyle that comes at a cost. For you and I to follow Jesus in a world that is hostile to Him and His followers, there is a price to pay – a “cross” to bear: We can be assured that we will encounter persecution and resistance; and to live our lives longing for a world that is yet to come, we must forsake (“renounce” in Luke 14:33) the things of this world. There is a significant cost to being a disciple of Jesus.
  • Sep 1, 2013The Blind Side: Having a Humble Heart
    Sep 1, 2013
    The Blind Side: Having a Humble Heart
    "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans. And Jesus reminds us in our Gospel today, "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled." The truth is, we allow ourselves to be "puffed up" and exalted by our position, authority and possessions. It's easy for us to think of ourselves as better than someone else. However, there are lots of reasons we should not do this. The greatest of which is that before the Lord we are all sinners. When we compare ourselves against His perfect and righteous laws, we all fall short. When we gaze upon His glorious majesty and power, we are ALL beggars and hoodlums. Without Christ we are without power and without hope. It is best for us to realize that now, and live our lives humbly and thankfully.
  • Aug 25, 2013The Life of Pi: Do All Roads Lead to Heaven?
    Aug 25, 2013
    The Life of Pi: Do All Roads Lead to Heaven?
    So many today believe that all roads lead to God; even famous celebrities are noted as saying, “there can’t be only one way to heaven.” Yet the Bible is clear that Jesus is the only way to salvation. We learn in the Word that invitation is broad – meaning that God welcomes all, without prejudice, who will turn to Him. But we also learn that the way is narrow – only those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord will inherit eternal life. So how do we respond to claims like, “we all believe basically the same thing,” or “there are many paths to salvation?” How did Jesus respond?
  • Aug 18, 2013Cast Away: Time and Eternity
    Aug 18, 2013
    Cast Away: Time and Eternity
    Time. It is so much a part of our life that we cannot even comprehend existence without it. We try to fathom eternity, but we cannot. We think of time going on and on and on, and yet God is without time – He was before time. Time doesn’t even apply to Him; He created it! And He created us to live forever. Someone once said, “I’ve never met a mortal.” What this means is that every soul in existence will go on for eternity. Once time stops for each of us, eternity begins. We thank the Lord that He has secured our eternity forever with Him through Jesus Christ!
  • Aug 11, 2013Apollo 13: Do Not Worry
    Aug 11, 2013
    Apollo 13: Do Not Worry
    I don’t even know if it’s still in print anymore, but the cover of the old “MAD” magazine was always graced by a picture of a character named Alfred E. Neuman. Somewhere on the cover there also appeared Alfred’s slogan, “What, me worry?” as if to say he didn’t have a care in the world. “MAD” may have been a pretty irreverent, and probably politically incorrect, publication, but Al made a good point. What is the point in worrying? Jesus said, “Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried… instead, seek his kingdom” (Luke 12:29, 31a). Admit it or not, we all worry about something: jobs, prices, our kids, our parents, our spouses… and the list goes on. Rather than waste precious time in worry, God calls us to focus on one thing: his kingdom.
  • Aug 4, 2013Brewster’s Millions: The Rich Fool
    Aug 4, 2013
    Brewster’s Millions: The Rich Fool
    All of us are concerned about our material possessions! The “Gold Guy”(William Devane) says, “I’ve worked hard for my money and I don’t plan on losing it now.” His solution, “It’s time to buy GOLD!” In contrast Jesus tells us “don’t be concerned about tomorrow” …..”Lay up for your selves treasure in heaven.” That sounds foolish doesn’t it? This morning our Lord Jesus tells us a parable about a “Rich fool” who built “larger barns to store all his possessions” so as not to lose them. The foolishness of the rich man was not that he worked hard and became rich. His foolishness consisted of the fact that he left God out. He foolishly chose to remain outside of the Kingdom of God. “He was not rich toward God.” God provides everyone rich and poor, young and old, strong and week, the TRUE riches of His eternal Kingdom….Jesus Christ “though He was rich yet for our sakes became poor that by His poverty we might become rich!” We rejoice together as we receive and partake of THE TRUE LASTING RICHES.
  • Jul 28, 2013Evan Almighty: God’s Response to Our Prayer
    Jul 28, 2013
    Evan Almighty: God’s Response to Our Prayer
    We sometimes struggle with how God answers our prayers. C.S. Lewis is said to have confessed that he was grateful God hadn’t given him everything he wanted. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s good that God doesn’t give us everything we ask for? As a loving Father, God can’t give us everything we ask for when we ask for it the way we ask for it to happen! If our request is wrong, God says "No." If our timing is wrong, God says "Slow". If we are wrong, God says "Grow", and if our request, timing, and we are right, God says "Go!” Since God’s ways are higher than our ways, we should expect that His response to our prayers would be different than we often anticipate.
  • Jul 7, 2013Chapter 9: The Light of the World
    Jul 7, 2013
    Chapter 9: The Light of the World
    Today John paints a portrait of Jesus as the Light of the world. He actually opens the Gospel with the words, “the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). So Jesus as the Light is not a new concept to John – nor to us. In the Nicene Creed, we profess Jesus as “Light of Light.” Quite simply, we recognize that Jesus is the very source of all light – and that even when God said “Let there be light!” in the third verse of Genesis, Jesus was its source. In today’s Gospel, Jesus brings light to the eyes of a man who has only known darkness. We pray that He will open the eyes of a world darkened by sin and unbelief. Illumine us, Lord Jesus
  • Jun 30, 2013Chapter 8: The Sympathetic Savior
    Jun 30, 2013
    Chapter 8: The Sympathetic Savior
    As the world around us embraces sexuality without bounds, we see Jesus in John’s Gospel simply say to the adulterous woman, “go and sin no more.” (John 8:11). He doesn’t condone her sinful lifestyle choices, but He doesn’t reject her as a person either. He is sympathetic to both her need as well as her shortcomings. He addresses her need with His Gospel, and her shortcomings with His Law. Likewise with us. Jesus knows we are sinners, and yet He loves us anyway. His Law calls us to holiness, and His Gospel forgives when we fail.
  • Jun 23, 2013Chapter 7: The Fountain of Living Water
    Jun 23, 2013
    Chapter 7: The Fountain of Living Water
    Water – it’s essential to life. Jesus – He’s essential to life. Jesus *is* the living water. Not only does He supply us with the water we need for life, but He supplies us with so much living water, that we overflow. “Streams” of living water flow from within us – who believe in Jesus – the Bible says! How can we bring that living water to a dry and thirsty land? Who do you know that needs Jesus, the Living Water?
  • Jun 16, 2013Chapter 6: The Bread of Life
    Jun 16, 2013
    Chapter 6: The Bread of Life
    Hunger. It’s common to all living things. Our hunger for food is as strong as our desire to live. And yet, the food we eat only brings a temporary and physical life. As humans we are more than just physical beings. Our spirit hungers and longs for sustenance as well. Our soul has a hunger for its lifespan too – eternity! What can one eat that satisfies an eternal hunger? … only one thing – an eternal food. And Christ gives us that food: His Body, the Bread of Life. Today as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we receive that Bread of Life, the Body of Christ!
  • Jun 9, 2013Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gallery – Chapter 5: The Great Physician
    Jun 9, 2013
    Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gallery – Chapter 5: The Great Physician
    The Apostle John makes clear in John 20:31 that his purpose is to exalt the person of Jesus so that people put their faith in Him and are saved. To portray Jesus so that more people will receive Him, John reveals Jesus in a variety of ways that are different in each chapter. Today we see the "portrait" of Jesus as The Great Physician. What makes Him the Great Physician is not that He can heal the body, but that He can heal the soul! The body is still fragile and eventually dies - even those Jesus healed eventually died. Rather, Jesus is the Great Physician because of the healing that He brings to the soul - that's an eternal healing!
  • Jun 2, 2013Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gallery – Chapter 4: The Soul Winner
    Jun 2, 2013
    Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gallery – Chapter 4: The Soul Winner
    Jews and Samaritans had a deep seated dislike for each other, so we are amazed that in Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), it is the Samaritan that is kind to a Jewish stranger, rather than the Jewish priest or Levite. In today’s portrait of Jesus we are similarly amazed that it is a Samaritan woman whom Jesus reveals himself to as the living water and the Messiah. Jesus talks to her about wells, water, worship and wisdom. What can we learn from observing their conversation and her response?
  • May 26, 2013Chapter 3: The Divine Teacher
    May 26, 2013
    Chapter 3: The Divine Teacher
    John 3:16, probably the most well-known verse in all of Scripture, is found in the chapter of John we study today. But what else is in John chapter 3? In fact, what is the context in which Jesus utters his famous words about God’s love being so great as to prompt His sending his only Son to save the world? The context, we will see, is Jesus explaining what it means to be born again. How is one born again? Have you been born again?
  • May 19, 2013Chapter 2: The Son of Man
    May 19, 2013
    Chapter 2: The Son of Man
    In the first chapter of John we see a picture of Jesus according to His divinity – the Word of God. In today’s snapshot from the ministry of Jesus, He is seen in all of His humanity. This scene from the second chapter of John’s gospel pictures a Jesus who is concerned with, and gets involved in, the problems and situations of ordinary, everyday life. In this passage, we encounter a Christ who cares. And we see a picture of a Jesus who can and does come through for His own!