Posts tagged Sermon devotionals
Monday Message: On Holy Week from Pastor Andrew
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21
 
If we follow the liturgical calendar, this past Sunday marked Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.  Led by his disciples, Jesus entered Jerusalem for Passover at the head of a parade.  He was celebrated as the king of Israel who would save.  It was a social and political high that would only make Jesus’ crucifixion five days later all the more difficult to experience.
 
Imagine that you are one of the disciples.  It is Monday after Palm Sunday.  Your heart is full of the hopes that Jesus might just pull off a revolution.  Perhaps the crowds would recognize Jesus for who you know him to be and you would all be swept into power with Jesus.
 
Of course, these hopes will eventually be dashed in the Garden of Gethsemane.   Any potential of Jesus taking power will seem ridiculous when he is nailed to the cross.  It would be easy to be swept up in the cynicism and unbelief of the world that Friday.  Is it possible to believe when everything else in the world seems to point to unbelief?  How can we hold onto faith when the rest of the world has no faith (and circumstances seem to show they are right)?
 
Perhaps you are familiar with this doubt in your life, in your work, or in your community.  Perhaps the ways that you had hoped Jesus would break through in your life and circumstances have been disappointed.  If so, be encouraged by the words of our text from the book of Ephesians.  God’s power is at work to the ultimate end of glory to Jesus and those who cling to him.  It is able to accomplish abundantly more all you have asked for or imagined.
 
The doubt that was part of Holy Week would have been most overwhelming at the cross.  Even at this point when all hope seemed lost, God was not done.  He moved through cross and tomb to achieve abundantly far more than anyone would have imagined.  Social and political victory in Jerusalem proved a goal far too small.  Instead Jesus moved to break the power of sin and death over all of humanity.
 
This Holy Week, be reminded that Jesus is still moving in our world.  Do not give up hope but cling to Jesus in faith.  Then do not be surprised when Jesus moves in resurrection.
 
Jesus, remind us this Holy Week of the ways that you meet the doubts and expectations of your followers.  Remind us that when all seems lost, you are not at an end.  Rather, you are moving still for your glory and ours.  We glorify you this Easter for what you have done and what you are still to do.
Monday Message: On Lent and Love

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
- John 15:13
 
The Season of Lent is a gift the liturgical calendar gives us.  We need the time to prepare ourselves to grapple with the greatest gift of love we will ever receive.  In this verse in the gospel of John, Jesus’ disciple reminds us that Jesus’ Passion, his death on the cross, and his resurrection are all testament to the love that Jesus has for us. 
 
Now, there is both promise and problem in that opening paragraph.  The promise is that it is possible to discover ever more deeply the love that God has for us.  The problem is that most of us think about it in one of two ways.  Either we think we already know and therefore don’t bother to truly discover its ever greater depths.  Or we think that John is talking about Jesus’ love for someone else.  Our own shame, guilt, or lack of self-worth keep us from believing that Jesus’ testimony of love is fully and truly for us.
 
To answer the first way, I will simply point you toward the sermon series we will be walking through together through the Season of Lent.  To answer the second, let me point you to the apostle Paul’s take on our John verse.  In Romans 5:7-8, Paul writes, “Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.  But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
 
Did you read that?  While we were still sinners, Jesus testified to his love for us in the greatest way possible.  No amount of shame or guilt or lack of self-worth can disqualify us from this.  Jesus loves you even at your worst.  Still does.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing can change that.  It may take Lent done right for you to receive that.
 
Gracious Lord, we are thankful for your love for us.  We are also pretty poor receivers of that love.  We ask that you work in us to unearth our defenses and overwhelm our doubts so that we might become people rooted and grounded in your love.  We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.