Based on: John 1:1-14
Multiplying minas. That’s what Jesus is talking about, isn’t it? It’s about multiplying minas and a mina is a sum of money – about $15,000. So, someone gives you a sum of money and you work with it and turn it into more money! But Jesus isn’t talking just about money, as we will see later. Just like the more familiar parable of the talents that Jesus told at another time, Jesus uses money to represent greater treasures.
Based on: Judges 10:6-16
One of the main themes of Lent is repentance – the focus for today. Repentance has two parts. First, it is a sorrow over sin that shows itself in words and actions; then repentance is also a trust in God’s forgiveness. These verses from the book of Judges describe the repentance of the people of Israel and are a good way for us to look at repentance. We are so much like a them.
Based on: Luke 13:31-35
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing, but you were not willing!” With this brief illustration our Savior opens his heart and allows us to see his heart breaking over those who refuse to accept his help. He came to them as their Messiah to rescue them, to save them the with his almighty power from an eternity of suffering. He loved them with such a love that he was willing to live a whole life of service to them. He drove out demons. He healed their sick. He told them the truth about God. He even died for them.
He came to give them the one thing they truly needed and in return they did to him what they did to so many others sent by God. They killed him. They would not listen to what he had to say and like a stubborn little baby chick who ignores its mother, they would not stand still under the protecting wings of the almighty God. They refused the protection he had to offer against our enemies in this world or against God’s wrath on judgment day.
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.
Based On: John 12:20-33
When Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous composer, would write a piece of music he often began with the letters J. J., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help”. Then, at the end of the piece he wrote the letters S. D. G., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” which means “to God alone the glory”. Bach said, “The aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God.”
Based On: John 3:14-21
Did you hear it? In our Gospel for today, did you hear those familiar and comforting words of John 3:16? I think that most people would agree that it is the most familiar verse in the Bible. And yet those familiar words were not originally spoken to thousands as Jesus sat on a hillside, but to just one man, named Nicodemus, at night with only the disciples as witnesses. Today we and many others find comfort in these words of Jesus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
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.
Based On: Genesis 22:1-18
Have you ever had a child hurt himself or herself while doing something you had just told them NOT to do? You have in that situation a teachable moment. The event has created a unique learning opportunity for the child. So, after you take care of the immediate medical emergency you sit down with the child and gently say, “Do you understand why I told you not to do that? You know, Mom and Dad love you and when we tell you not to do something it is for your good.” The idea is that the unpleasant experience will make the lesson more memorable. It doesn’t always work.
Based on: Ephesians 5:-14
You probably feel safer in the light. If you go to the cities and do some shopping and then come back to your car after the sun has gone down you probably prefer that the parking lot be well lit. First of all it is easier to see where you’re going when there is light, but you also know that those who want to do evil will often try to hide their actions in the darkness.
Based on: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
What if your boss handed you your paycheck and it had a little bow on it with a card attached and the card said, "Please accept this generous gift I am giving you. Signed, your boss." Would you be a little upset? Would you want to talk to your boss and make sure that he didn’t start thinking too highly about himself because of how generous he thought he was? You might want to explain to him that this check wasn’t a gift but it was what he owed you for the work you did. Or what if someone gave you a gift, but then said, "Now I want you to cut the grass and shovel the sidewalks around my house for a year in exchange for this gift." You might quickly give the gift back to him, because a gift that needs to be earned is not really a gift.