Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 1 Hope

Isaiah 2:4-5

We are a people of hope living in the world with anticipation of how God would desire for it to be.   Our participation in this desire of God always draws us closer to Him and brings it closer each day.

The scripture points out that He will settle disputes between nations and people.  Not the power of our armies, or the strength of our weapons.  The true judge will render that unnecessary, for both his judgement and justice will be true and final.

The repurposing of time, energy, and resources will move us from death to life.  Swords used for killing will now be turned into plows for tilling the earth to plant crops and sustain life.  Spears turned into a means to provide life.

Nation will not need to train and study war anymore.  Training for what is no longer necessary.  Not need to become efficient in the art of death, destruction, power, and might.

Come people of God, let us walk in the light of the Lord.  We have walked in a way for so long it seems like it is just “the” way of the world.  Nations must be prepared to fight and defend.  While other nations carry that on to conquering and expanding their borders and influence.  When the righteous judge of nations comes to us it will no longer be necessary to study war anymore.

When the Lord comes, we will walk in the light of the Lord.  Yes, come quickly Lord that we may walk in your light.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 1 Hope

1 Thessalonians 2:8

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

Does our love for people go beyond just a sense that we need to share the gospel with them?  Too often we have sought for people know about Christ by the sharing of the gospel.  It is powerful and can change hearts and lives.  We go from learning about Christ to knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection alive and at work in the world today because it is alive in us.

For years, we reported numbers and information to our denominational bodies as a tool for gauging our effectiveness in sharing the gospel.  This may not seem bad, but is too narrow view of the life changing transformation that comes from each of these encounters with Christ.  We run the risk of seeing people as a number, a commodity, rather than seeing them.

The sharing of the gospel should always include the sharing of our lives.  It is not my life any longer but Christ living in me.  The love of a gospel devoid of relationship is a flawed understanding of the gospel.  We are saved “from” our sins and “for” a purpose.  The purpose that we share the life changing gospel of Christ with others as we share our lives with them.

This is the hope we have, that in the doing and sharing of life and the gospel together we become the presence of Christ in the world today.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 1 Hope

Isaiah 1:18-20

“Whiter Than Snow”

Dingy streets filled with the dirt and clutter of life

The noise of life overpowers the screams of our souls

Then a single pure flake captures our attention

Almost impossible to focus on, but hard to ignore

Then…just as the first appeared

A rush of snowflakes falling into the dingy intersections of our lives

Blanketing the worn and weary comings and goings of our lives

The screams of our souls are heard and honored

By the dizzying snowflakes, clapping silently together as they fall

Their presence, not their sound drowns out the noise that fills our lives

Changing the landscape to something almost unrecognizable to its former self

No longer dingy, worn, and weary

But beautiful, pure, and gleaming

Reflecting the light of the sun.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 1 Hope

Matthew 25:1-13

This Parable deals with hope, anticipation, expectation, and preparation.  The hope of the coming of the bridegroom for the bride.  The anticipation of the promise of his coming should keep the bride excited even if the bridegroom is delayed.  It is with full expectation that waiting take on an active waiting rather than a lazy waiting.  When we expect the return of Christ we too need to be ready.  Preparation is the truest way of demonstrating that we are hopeful, anticipating, and expecting his return by preparing.

There are many who are hopeful, anticipate, and expect Jesus’ return but, yet remain unprepared.  In this parable only some of the people made the necessary preparations for the coming of the bridegroom and the other half didn’t.

The unprepared group tried to get the prepared group to help them.  They could not get any preparations from the others.  They went trying to do things at the last-minute and missed the coming of the bridegroom to take them away.

What about us?  We must be prepared or we may miss his coming?  No one else can prepare for us.  Does our hopeful waiting include preparing for his arrival?

As we begin this Season of Advent we need to have hope, but we need to prepare our hearts for his arrival!  Even as we anticipate his coming again.

Sermons

There has been a little while since I have posted a manuscript.  A sermon is part preparation, but is also a conversation with the Holy Spirit, and the Congregation in that moment.  With that said and the available technology.  Sermons are now made available online through our church’s You Tube channel.  Just search Antioch Baptist Church, Sandston, VA

Tidings for the Tidings

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all the people.”  Luke 2:10 K.J.V.

I love that our newsletter is called The Tidings, because tidings are the news.  Today we get news through so many different means.  It comes through newspapers, television, and internet.  It comes almost as it is happening in real-time.  No delays and no filters.  Most of what passes for news today is not so much news as it opinions or editorials.  Promoting or prompting a response or trying to persuade another to someone’s opinion.

The news we seem to receive today generally is bad or sensationalized to play toward our fears or amazement.  They are playing to the least common denominator and trying to get a reaction that is good for them.  News today seems to be an attempt to manipulate the masses rather than inform.  Each time we have an election there is an enormous amount of energy, money, and news coverage trying to persuade us to do what is best for us, which also is best for them.

The word Tidings comes to us from the root word Tidan in Old English meaning “to happen.”  What’s happening here in our midst?  What is happening in our communities?  Does our news inform or reflect where we are in our communities and world?  What about news that is for everyone?  Generally, if it is for everyone by now it is no longer news.  If it is good, it seems only to benefit a few.

The message that the angel said unto the shepherds, first don’t be afraid at this type of greeting.  The fact that an angel was there could have caused fear for sure.  How many angels have you seen?  The angel immediately tells them not to be afraid this is good news.  “For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.”  Good news guys more than that the King James translates this passage as good tidings, meaning it is happening now.  Not it might happen or you are last to know, but it is happening right now.  How is that in the days before internet and cable news.  They hear as it is happening.

It is also interesting that the good tidings of great joy for all the people.  The angel didn’t show up to broadcast this event to the kings and dignitaries, not in the town square, but the good tidings were shared with the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Not a glamorous job, not one that would have been given too many breaks or have things work out for their benefit.  The good tidings of great joy, is for all the people.  People like the shepherds and like us.  So, fear not fellow believer, there is a good happening and it is for all the people.

I Am Grateful

I Am Grateful…

To the ones who chose to serve
In times of war or times of peace

To the ones who count the privilege
As much as the cost

To the ones who lived their lives
Willing to die to protect freedom

To the ones with the courage
To put boots to their convictions

To their families who daily sacrifice
For the service of their loved one

To those lives that are remembered
As the costly price of freedom

To those who have served, are serving, and will serve
I am honored and humbled by your service and sacrifice.

God Bless Our Veterans and their Families