We have a Great High Priest

Based on:  Hebrews 4:14-16

Does the name F. Lee Bailey sound familiar? He was one of the lawyers hired by O.J. Simpson.  Why did O.J. Simpson hire him? He is simply one of the best defense attorneys in the country.  How about Leslie Abramson? She is another defense attorney.  One of her clients even said,  “Leslie was so good.  For a while there she even had me believing I didn’t do it.”  Percy Foreman is another famous defense attorney.  Out of almost a thousand accused murderers that he defended, less than 100 were convicted.  One of the few cases he lost was that of James Earl Ray who plead guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

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A Sign to Believe

Based on:  John 2:1-11

Last Monday when I came into the office I had an e-mail from someone asking me to perform their wedding. I also had a message on the answering machine from someone else asking about a different wedding, and then during the day I had a call from a third person asking about yet another wedding.  I thought, "is God trying to tell me something?" Is he giving me a sign that I should preach on the only verses recorded in scripture where our Lord is an invited guest at a wedding, the wedding at Cana?

And here I am, preaching on those very verses from John Chapter 2. But, I have to admit, I had already made the decision to use these verses for my sermon today, even before those people contacted me.  The interesting thing is that these verses are not primarily about a wedding.  Certainly, Jesus gives his blessing upon marriage and even on the wedding celebration by attending this wedding at Cana, but the main reason John records what Jesus does here is that Jesus, by turning water into wine, is giving a sign, a miraculous sign. 

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Rejoice with your life

Based on: Philippians 4:4-7

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is coming – two times when family and friends like to get together.  Are there people you look forward to seeing?  People who bring a little joy to the gathering?  I remember as a kid I looked forward to seeing my Uncle Joe.  His gregarious smile and humorous wit added to the joy of the occasion.  We looked forward to seeing him.  I even remember some of the things he said.  For example, as he was leaving sometimes he would say, “I’m glad you got to see me.”  He was just teasing us – I think.

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A Family Meal is More Than Just Food for the Body

Life seems so busy sometimes, doesn’t it?  Certainly families with school-age children have their own set of challenges.  Perhaps you or a family you know has so many outside commitments that family members are often going in opposite directions to meet those commitments.  Sometimes, sitting down to a family meal is not easy.  I do not intend to discount the value of being involved in activities outside the home, but  perhaps we underestimate the value of a meal shared as a family and the things that happen during that meal.

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Are You Confident?

What does it mean to be confident?  Webster’s dictionary says it is having a strong belief or a full assurance about something.  Wouldn’t it be nice to live that way, with assurance and a strong belief that your life will go well?  That would be nice.  Of course, the opposite is uncertainty and doubt.  No one wants to live like that. 

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Perform a Miracle

Based on: Acts 3:12-20

When you see someone sick or suffering have you ever thought, “If only I could put my hand on that person and say something like ‘In the name of Jesus may this sickness leave you’ and then the person would be whole again.  If only God would work a miracle through me!”  Have you ever thought something like that?  I have.

But it doesn’t work that way, does it.  I don’t have that gift.  I don’t think any of you have that gift.  If you are disappointed because of that, if you think you are missing out, then let me remind you that you have been given a much greater gift.  God has given you the privilege and even the command to perform a far greater miracle.  Through us God performs the miracle of faith.  He has given us the means to do it.

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A Clear Temple

Based On: John 2:13-22

It is time again to say thank you to all of those who helped my family move to Sleepy Eye.  It was nice to have people carry boxes to the place they needed to go.  Not just nice, it was fabulous.  Everything was approximately where it needed to be and you could still walk through the house without too much trouble.  We have moved several times and it isn’t always this way.  I remember one move where most of the boxes ended up in the living room.  You could barely get through the living room and let’s not even talk about trying to actually find anything in the living room.

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What Do You Need?

Do you have needs?  Don’t we all?  Psychologists sometimes use a drawing of a pyramid to describe all the needs we have.  (I’m referring to the hierarchy of needs developed by Abraham Maslow.)  They place the most basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid – things like food, water, and air.  Above that they put safety, security, and health.  The pyramid continues to build with needs that don’t seem as vital near the top.  Eventually you get to the need for “self-actualization” . . . and perhaps the need for a double hot fudge sundae.  The point of the pyramid is that you will try to fill the most basic needs first.  For example, your safety is a more basic need than ice cream so if you are in a burning building you probably are not going to be thinking “I would really like a hot fudge sundae about now!”

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God works in his own way to make us clean

Based On: 2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman was a great and powerful man.  He was a leader in the army of Aram (also known as Syria) and he worked closely with King Ben-Hadad – the king of Aram.  It is difficult to determine exact dates, but he lived more than 2800 years ago – somewhere between 900 and 800 B.C.  Because of his position he was one of the most powerful and influential men in one of the most powerful and influential countries of the time.

But Naaman had a problem.  He had leprosy.  The word leprosy was sometimes used for other skin diseases, but most often we think about the disease that eats away at the body and eventually brings death.  Today we have a treatment for this type of leprosy and so to understand what Naaman was going through it might help to think of a terminal form of cancer.  Except that instead of destroying the body from the inside out, the leprosy was destroying Naaman from the outside in.  As far as Naaman know, he would one day die from this disease.  And yet, this leprosy was a gift from God.

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