Sermon Reflection

On 11 June we took a valiant stab at coming to grips with the Triune nature of the Godhead.  The Trinity is a very difficult concept (reality).  We can be assured that  understanding the Triune nature of God is worthwhile, because the self-revealed God of Scripture has repeatedly informed the people of faith about his Triune nature.  So, even though the Trinity is a mystery,  we ought to wrestle with the biblical material we have.  Surely God wishes to bless us with knowledge that will aid us in our spiritual journeys.  In our Children’s Message, we looked at a hard boiled egg that had been cut in half – one egg with three separate and easily identifiable regions: shell, white, and yolk.  We then made Kool-aid from water, sugar, and flavor packet.  It was a single beverage that could not be properly called Kool-aid without all three parts mixed into one.  In the Trinity, both metaphors (i.e., the egg and the Kool-aid) are true at the same time.  If this last thought is comfortable to you, you are well on your way to understanding the Triune nature of God.

On 7 May 2017, we had a children’s message based on John 10, where Jesus refers to himself as the sheep gate.  I was delighted and encouraged by the engaging attitudes the youth brought to this time of worship.  They were eager to demonstrate their own understanding of the text.  They were not self-conscious that another 60 adults were listening in on our conversation.  Everything that they said was solid and orthodox.  In my heart I was praising their parents.  Since the church family is a team, I am also grateful for Sunday School teachers and Vacation Bible School teachers and all who have helped shape their awareness of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

On Easter Sunday we explored the credibility of the empty tomb.  My intention for the sermon was “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15).”  I reflected on the martyrdom of the those who claimed to be eye-witnesses of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The tradition of martyrdom for the Apostles stands up to historical scrutiny, at least for several of them.  What did they gain by proclaiming Christ and his resurrection?  Not wealth, not leisure, not security.  They suffered and were abused the rest of their lives and (at least some) died hideous deaths.  Chapter 5 of Josh McDowell’s book, More Than A Carpenter, is entitled “Who Would Die for A Lie?”  The reasoning behind this chapter was rooted in my head over 35 years ago.  I have examined it ever since.  The argument does not unravel with additional research; it only gets stronger.  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

It seems that our website had some technical difficulties but we are back.  It is good to be back.  On  2 April, we looked at the Goodnews contained in Romans 8:5-11.  Verse 11 contains a tidy encapsulation of the Easter story and its meaning for us.  A promise was made to the followers of Christ that the death of their mortal lives would mark the  beginning of their eternal lives with resurrection bodies.  Through the Apostle Paul, God points to the resurrection of Jesus as proof that he is able to fulfill his promise.  God then rassures Christ followers that a down payment on this promise has already been made; we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  This is a really good news story!  May you have a spiritually prosperous Lenten season.

On 19 February, we looked at the amazing truth of God’s design of the human race.  We are told in Genesis 1:26-27 that God chose to make us in his image and likeness.   This is so incredibly, outrageously awesome, that no man-made religion had ever previously made such a claim.  God made us in his image because he intended to adopt us as daughters and sons and to love us most deeply.  Our truest identities have been revealed in the Word of God, in the very beginning, as if it were of first importance.  God’s identity, our identity, and our relationship with each other and with God are of primary importance every day of our lives.

On 12 February, we opened up Philippians 4:4-7.  It is an amazingly dense text, rich with guidance on living in spiritually wellness.  The key to the passage is that the Lord is near (4:5b).  Practicing the presence of God changes everything around us, by first changing us.  It may be unexpected, but at the core of it all is this truth: God wishes to bless those around you by first blessing you.  You and I must be open to the idea that, like Jesus, a life lived well has a balance between time spent with the Father and doing acts of compassion.

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