Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reasons

Yes, it has been awhile since I posted to "The Pastor's Study." Reason: I was on vacation, but now that is over and I am getting ready to enter back into the "Pulpit," even though we don't officially have a pulpit anymore.

Just because I was away does not mean that things were not happening or that God was at work, in fact, while I was away two young men made that greatest of all decisions, the decision was to respond positively to the grace of God offered through the Person of Jesus Christ. These two men made that choice to say I want to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Of all the news I heard while on my vacation that was some of the best! We give God praise and glory!

There are lots of reasons that people finally respond to God's gift of grace, and sadly there are many reasons why people do not, or if they do, seem to hide it away from public view.

Our sermon text for this week is John 12:37-50, where we see Jesus coming to the end of His earthly public ministry. Things are at once both winding down and winding up. The public miracles and preaching will be finished and the public attacks, ridicule and His very public crucifixion are beginning to come to the fore. In the midst of this Jesus once again makes it clear that some will choose to reject Him and some will choose to receive Him, and the reasons why are as varied as the people who seek Him out.

What is evident is that the choice of how we respond to Jesus is highly personal. A crowd can witness a miracle, or hear His stories, and within that crowd some will believe and some will not. Some will stand boldly to declare their new faith in Jesus, the Messiah, and others may hide in the shadows afraid of what people might say and do.

It is important to note that Jesus reminded His listeners that their choice not only affected their relationship with Him, but also with God the Father. To reject one is to reject the other. To receive one, is to receive the other. The choice we make is truly a BIG one.

I am so glad that those two young men made that BIG choice, and made it correctly. For that we can all truly rejoice!

Friday, July 03, 2009

GLORY in the SKY!

HAMBURGERS WITH SLICES OF GRILLED PINEAPPLE, the family gathered around the patio table savoring the flavors of summer while making plans to attend the local gathering in Scotts Valley to experience the evening sky filled with the glorious colors of exploding fireworks and the reverberating concussive thud to be felt in our chests. Ah, this is the joy of celebrating our American Independence Day.

We are willing to walk a mile carrying the needed provisions for the evening. We deem it fun to cuddle up and wrap blankets around us to keep off the evening dew-filled chill. We even graciously tolerate the traffic-filled ride to find our way back home. It's what the holiday is all about. It is even better enjoying it together as a family. (Especially since this may be the last one for awhile for my two eldest kids, Trinity is headed to Rome, and Krista, back to Africa.) Of course, the fireworks, with their attendant oohs and ahs, are truly the much-needed icing on the cake.

The Bible tells us that there is coming a Day, another day in which we shall look to the sky in the celebration of our freedom. But this freedom is not from the tyranny of some earthly empire, but from the tyranny of sin and death! A Day is coming in which we shall look toward the heavens as our souls will be filled with the reverberating sounds of a trumpet call and we shall see the Glory of the coming King of kings and Lord of lords. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) I surmise it shall be even better than all the BBQ's and fireworks we could every imagine, and it is shall be the greatest gathering of family ever! A Day to declare our independence from this world and our complete dependence upon Jesus, God's Son, the Messiah, our Savior!

As we celebrate our national independence let us not forget to celebrate our spiritual dependence upon Jesus. As the evening of the Fourth of July draws to a close and we pick up our blankets and make our way slowly back home, as we lay are weary, but thankful heads upon our pillows, let us not forget to set our alarms to awaken us to celebrate the fifth of July by gathering with God's people in worship as we draw together to celebrate the reality of our Lord's promised return and His sacrifice upon the cross which made our true freedom possible!

Come! Let us worship the Lord with the anticipation of His glory in the sky!


(Note: heading out on vacation for a few weeks...Pastor's Study will be vacationing, too. See you on my return.)