Based on: Luke 10:38-42
Aristotle sat at the feet of Plato and Plato sat at the feet of Socrates. Their ideas still influence the world today. Johann Sebastian Bach had several children who learned much about music while sitting at their father’s feet and became excellent musicians themselves. Consider what a privilege it is to sit at the feet of learned and accomplished men. Consider, also, the privilege Mary had as she sat at the feet of Jesus. Imagine, sitting at those feet that would one day walk to Golgotha, sitting at those feet that would be pierced by a nail in order to save us. What a privilege that must have been.
Based on: John 13:31-35
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” That was the new command Jesus gave to his disciples as they left the upper room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified. It is also Jesus’ command for you. It is not a suggestion. It is not some optional feature to being a Christian, nor is it some hopeful wish on the part of Jesus. It is a command.
Based on: Revelation 5:11-14
“Is it really worth all that time and money?” Has anyone said that to you? We are well aware of what it means to think that something is worth your time and effort. Sir Edmund Hillary thought it worth his time and effort to climb Mount Everest. Mikhail Gorbachev thought it was worth his time to turn the Soviet Union into a democracy. Bill Gates thought it was worth his time to write a computer operating system and look where it got him!
Based on: John 20:19-31
On the wall of the gymnasium at MVL there is a large reproduction of a famous painting. The painting is called “The Incredulity of St. Thomas” and the original was painted in 1601 by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The painting shows Jesus on that Sunday evening when he returns to see Thomas. He has pulled back the top part of his cloak so Thomas can see the place where the spear pierced him. Jesus has grabbed Thomas’ wrist and gently pulled his hand closer so that Thomas’ finger is in the wound. Thomas and two other disciples are focused intently on the hole in Jesus’ side, but Jesus, with a slight smile, is focused on Thomas.
Based on: John 20:1-8
Place yourself into this scenario: It is early in the morning and sadness overwhelms you. Your heart aches because a few days ago a close, personal friend died. It was all very unexpected. He has been buried now and you are mourning the loss. The fact that you will not see him again is still sinking into your mind.
Based on: Revelation 12:1-6
Have you ever witnessed a car accident? Your perspective can make a big difference in how you think about what happened. Imagine that you were just at an intersection and you saw a car coming from your right. It swerved out of its lane and hit a car coming from the other direction. Perhaps you think how foolish it was for the one driver to not pay attention.
But what if you saw the accident from another perspective? What if you were looking down from above and you saw the little boy get away from his mother and run toward the street? You would understand why the driver swerved out of his lane. What if your perspective even included the thoughts of this driver as he recognized that little boy as his own? Your broader perspective helps you better understand the event.
Now let me ask, “With what perspective do you watch the events of Christmas?” Is it from the side, is it from above, or do you know what God thinks about Christmas?
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.
Based on: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Think about Job for a minute – that man that God allowed Satan to test so severely. Do you admire his faith? Job suffered so much in a short period of time. He lost all his wealth. His children were all killed in one tragic accident. He suffered from a painful skin disease. On top of all that his friends caused even more suffering by telling him that it was all his fault. The amazing thing about Job is that in spite of all his suffering he held on to the promise that the Lord Jesus was coming. He didn’t know that his name would be Jesus, but the coming of his Savior was the one thing greater than all of his suffering. So he couldn’t help but exclaim, " I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God."
Based On: Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11
I was poor. I was completely and utterly destitute. I had nothing – not even hope. You couldn’t tell by looking at me but it was true – I was poor. I was longing for some good news – just a little bit of hope. You were poor too. You were in exactly the same condition I was – poor and destitute.
God told me, “You must love me perfectly. Every single moment of every single day I should be the most important thing in your life. You must serve me in everything you do. This is what you must do to be holy – and you must be holy because I am holy. Anything less will be justly punished.” He tells you that too. I knew I had failed already. The burden of this command made my knees buckle and back give out. It made my heart break. I had no hope, only hell because I couldn’t pay the price. I was poor. So were you.
Based on: Mark 1:1-8
Someday, off in the future, it just might happen that the President of the United States comes to Sleepy Eye. I don’t know who the President will be when that happens, but you can be sure that if and when it does happen, someone will come ahead of him to make sure everything is ready.
This person will need to prepare the town of Sleepy Eye for the arrival of the President. He will make sure the road is suitable for the President to travel on. He will make sure people will show up to listen to the President when he stops to speak. Of course he will also make sure everything is safe for the President so that no one is able to hurt the President.