Based on: James 5:1-11
The air conditioning in my office hasn’t been working for awhile now, but it should be fixed by Monday. You can be sure I will appreciate it. You can be sure I will understand more clearly that even though A/C is a human invention, it is still a blessing from God and not something to which I am entitled or deserve.
Based on: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
“Listen to me!” Have you ever said those words? Or heard them? I imagine that most parents have said similar words and most children have heard them. Usually parents say this because they have something to say for the child’s own benefit – telling them how to behave in a God pleasing way or telling them something that will keep them safe. It isn’t only parents who say, “Listen to me!” While they might not use these words exactly, there are many who want us to listen to what they say for our own good. The doctor tells us to eat healthy and exercise, the dentist tells us to brush our teeth, and the government tells us to obey certain rules. Most important of all is what God tells us for our own good. He tells us about our Salvation. God is speaking. Listen to him and listen to those through whom he speaks.
Based on: Luke 10:25-37
Normally, when you come to church you expect to hear a message of comfort. You have had to endure the suffering and hardships that this world throws at you and you want to hear that God still loves you. Today as we look at the story of the Good Samaritan, we look at the person to whom Jesus told that story and why Jesus told that story. We realize that this story is not intended to comfort. These words tell us how we fail to love our neighbor. These words tell us that we cannot love our way to heaven – we cannot by loving our neighbor get ourselves into heaven. It is not our love for others that makes us look good to God, but God’s love for us.
Based on: Luke 10:17-20
Do you remember the great victory Elijah had over the prophets of Baal? The false god, Baal, couldn’t even produce a spark to ignite the offering that was set up in his name, but when Elijah called on the Lord, fire rained down on the offering Elijah had prepared – even the stones were consumed. It was a tremendous victory, but soon after this Elijah was running to hide – afraid and depressed. Did he see the real victory? The victory God had won in the hearts of 7000 people in Israel who did not worship Baal? What about the disciples? They saw Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead. They saw the power Jesus had, and yet when Jesus was crucified, they hid behind locked doors. Did they see the victory Jesus had won for them? What about you? Do you see the victory Christ won for you? He destroyed Satan’s power over you and even gives you authority over Satan. This victory is yours both now and forever.
Based on: Jonah 3:3 – 4:4
Today is the day to celebrate freedom, right? It’s the fourth of July. Today the whole country celebrates the freedoms freedom from a foreign government, freedom to tax ourselves and decide how that money is used, freedom to worship God in our own way, freedom to pursue a better life, and the list goes on..
Based on: Jeremiah 11:18-20
If you find yourself in Indonesia someday you might see a man holding a bag at a busy intersection looking for donations. He is not raising money to cure a disease; he is collecting money to fund a war against Christians in Indonesia. In Canada now there is a law against “hate speech.” In certain cases using portions of Scripture that call homosexuality a sin violates this law and could be punished by a fine or imprisonment. In this country if you follow Christ’s command to “preach the good news to all creation” and you tell a coworker about his or her Savior while at work you could be guilty of religious harassment.
Based on: Philippians 1:18-26
“To be, or not to be, — that is the question.” These words begin one of the most famous soliloquies in the English language. Written by William Shakespeare in the play “Hamlet”, these words describe the intense inner conflict of Hamlet as he considers taking his own life. Which would be better – to live or to die?
Based on: 1 John 4:13-21
Was there ever a relationship that you were unsure of? Perhaps you just offended a friend and you didn’t know if you were still friends or if that person even wanted to see you again? Now just imagine the relationship Adam and Eve had with God before they sinned. It was the closest relationship possible – God lived in them and they lived in God. God blessed them with everything they needed and more, and God was pleased with everything they did. Pleased, that is, until they ate the fruit God told them not to eat. They realized they had ruined their perfect relationship with God, and they were afraid. They had no hope of restoring this relationship on their own. Yet, in love God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to restore this relationship. Now as a believer in Jesus Christ we have this close personal relationship with God. God lives in us, and we live in God. We know this is true by God’s display of love and we can see this from our own display of love.
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.