Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Acts 7: A Little History Lesson

We only just met Stephen in Acts 6, and we must already say good-bye to him in Acts 7.  Stephen is regarded as the first Christian martyr (one killed for his or her faith), but he would not be the last.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Acts 6: Division of Labor

Ever wonder why a church often has so many committees and officers?  The church is not a "one-man band."  Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!  Very early in its existence, the Church of Jesus Christ discovered that there was more work and leadership required than could be provided by the original disciples.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Acts 5: Multiplying By Subtracting

Some day I hope to preach a stewardship sermon on Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Psalm 16: True Peace

The sixteenth psalm is a song of true peace.  David releases his heart to pour out his feelings of security and steadfastness in the Lord.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Acts 4: There's Something About That Name

Something incredible is happening in Jerusalem in the weeks after Jesus' ministry.  His disciples (Peter and John) are carrying on His practice of working miracles!  They admit that they don't do this through any strength of their own, but through the power of Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Acts 3: Visual Aids

Most preachers know that the more concrete and visible you can make your point, the easier it will be for your congregation to understand and remember your point.  That explains why we so often employ "object lessons" in the children's message, as well as the growing popularity of video screens in the sanctuary for use during the sermon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Acts 2: Pentecost

Pentecost is regarded as the "birthday" of the Church!  Something about the disciples fundamentally changed on that day.  With the coming of the Holy Spirit, poured out on them in power, they received not only spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues) but were also empowered with courage and boldness.  Gone were the half-hearted followers who deserted/denied Jesus a scant 50 days earlier.  In their place were the (literally) on-fire men and women who would turn the world upside-down!  Peter, who had spent Good Friday shrugging and asking, "Who's Jesus?  Never heard of Him," rides out Pentecost telling the crowd exactly who this Jesus is!  Looking for a clue to the success of the early church?  It starts with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Acts 1: After Easter

The disciples were confused.  Hadn't they just spent years traveling around the countryside with Jesus?  Hadn't they seen him arrested, killed, and raised to life?  Wasn't it now time for His kingdom to be established?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Luke 24: The Beginning

Just when everyone thought the story of Jesus was over...Easter happened!  Has Easter happened in your life yet?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Luke 23: The End

Imagine if the story of Jesus ended abruptly here, with Luke 23.  We know it didn't, of course.  But the same could not be said for His contemporaries.  When they went through it nearly 2000 years ago, they were watching the story unfold for the very first time.  They weren't expecting a resurrection  They had never seen someone come back from a crucifixion before.  Quite naturally, everyone supposed the cross would be the end of Jesus.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luke 22: The Power of Darkness

Every so often, the world starts disbelieving in the existence of evil.  It's as if we figure that the evil/good dichotomy is merely a matter of perspective and only for the simple-minded to accept.  Then the holocaust happens, or 9/11, or an elementary school shooting, and we see evil up close and personal and come to believe in it all over again.  Until the memory fades.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Luke 21: A Look Ahead

Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.?  Have you walked on the Mall, seeing the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian buildings lining the way?  Imagine hearing someone say, in full earnestness, that a day was coming when not one of those marble blocks would be left upon another.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Luke 20: Of Death And Taxes

Here's the scene: it is Holy Week.  Jesus has already entered Jerusalem triumphantly.  Supporters are watching and waiting to see if He will announce His identity as Messiah and thus begin the revolution.  Enemies are trying to trap Him and catch Him in a mistake.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Luke 19: In The Mean Time

People always seem to expect the end to be imminent.  Even in the days of Jesus' ministry, the crowds were all ready for the final judgment to hurry up and come already!

Psalm 15: A Picture of Righteousness

David asks the question in Psalm 15: "Who may live in God's sanctuary?"  The answer is a description of a righteous person, one who takes no bribes and speaks no evil, who honors his promises and fears God.  While the Bible just made it clear in Psalm 14 that there is "no one who does good, no, not one," we know it is also possible to strive for righteousness in this life.  This Psalm gives us a picture of what that looks like.  Of course, true righteousness comes only by Christ through faith in Him!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Luke 18: Insights

Luke 18 is a very helpful chapter in shedding light into the character of God...and Jesus.  The various events and teachings in this chapter set us straight in regard to some important truths about God.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Luke 17: Holding Life Loosely

What kind of grasp do you have on life?  Is it a white-knuckled, fists-clenched "grip of death?"  According to Jesus, a looser hold on life is what is called for.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Luke 16: Surprising Stories

We have come to expect the comfortable parables of God's unconditional love and amazing grace that we find in Luke 15.  But what do we do with the surprising stories of Luke 16?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Luke 15: The Lost Is Found!

It's difficult to over-state the compelling nature of the three (four?) parables we find in Luke 15.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Luke 14: Human vs. Heaven

In Luke 14, we see the human way contrasted with the heavenly way again and again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Psalm 14: What Does the Fool Say?

Nobody likes to be called a fool.  But David doesn't pull any punches in this Psalm.  He makes it plain that fools choose the path of disbelief in God, which leads them into ruin.  In fact, David says something rather harsh about everyone: We've all missed the boat on righteousness.  There is no one - not one - who does good.  It's a good thing that Jesus came for precisely this reason: to reclaim the lost and get us back on track!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Luke 13: Getting It Right

Yesterday's blog entry attracted a comment that someone posted arguing for a specific understanding of water baptism.  He felt very passionately that Christians need to get it right.  In Luke 13, Jesus also cares very much for the truth and about getting our theology right.

Luke 12: Be Prepared

A unifying theme in Luke 12 is getting ready for what the future holds.  Jesus has a lot of advice and even some parables regarding our spiritual preparation.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Luke 11: Fiery Jesus

There's an interesting progression in this chapter: Jesus among His disciples, teaching them about prayer; Jesus driving out demons, accused of using satanic power; Jesus preaching to the crowds, pestered to work a miracle; and Jesus eating with the Pharisees, unloading both barrels at their hypocrisy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Luke 10: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

"The only good Samaritan is a dead Samaritan."  While we don't have that quote in the Bible, it's probably fair to say that was a sentiment widely shared by Jesus' audience.