Second Wednesday Night Lenten Service – Feb. 24th, 2016

Jesus unmasked: “Jesus is Seven Festivals.”

Leviticus 23:23-25. Numbers 10:9-10.

The true God is a God of Joy who invites – no- He Commands – His people to celebrate! When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness God ordered them to celebrate 7 times a year. Festivals were meant to be parties that honored God! The Epistles of St. Paul tells us that festivals were an Old Testament type for Jesus.

“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance BELONGS TO CHRIST. (Col 2:16-17).

So let us continue our study of the 7 festivals commanded by the Lord God as we seek to know how they are a type, a foreshadowing of Jesus the Christ. We began with the Feast of Booths-Tabernacles on Ash Wednesday night. Last week we celebrate the second feast of Tabernacles: Yom Kippur. They are known collectively as the Tabernacles.

So, tonight we continue with the third feast of Tabernacles: The Feast of trumpets.

The Feast of Trumpets: First day of the Seventh Month.

The blowing of the Trumpets was a reminder to the nation Israel of God’s protection during times of war when an enemy attacks. As God saves the nation from enemies, a burnt offering in offered to God for He alone has restored the peace. The Holy convocation of all called together by the sound of the trumpets for protection and celebration are recorded in Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 10:9-10.

According to Jewish ritual during Passover, the trumpets were sounded at the ninth hour as the sacrificial lambs were brought to the temple for a blessing of dedication.

On the day that Jesus was crucified, at the moment when the trumpets were being sounded at the temple in Jerusalem for the blessing of the lambs dedicated to the Passover meal, Jesus died upon the cross of Calvary. As God saves the nation from enemies, the offering of Jesus has been consummated. His body and blood is offered to God for He alone has restored the peace. Jesus is the revelation of the true celebration of the feast of Trumpets.

The Feast of Trumpets is significant for Christians as a Holy Convocation of believers in Christ as He returns in Glory.

Matthew 24:30-31.

1st Cor 15:51-52;

1st Thessalonians 4:16. “Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”; … for the last trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable: … with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Perhaps the Feast of Trumpets was a foreshadowing of Jesus which will be fulfilled by Him when He returns to earth for Judgment Day.

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Second Sunday in Lent – Feb. 21st, 2016

Psalm 4: Jeremiah 26:8-15: Philippians 3:17-35: Luke 13:31-35.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8).

We are to trust in God when things go wrong. In Christ, we are brought to a faith that suffers in patience. In all seasons, we are to hope in God and endure hardship and every need with patience. We are not to be impatient! Our peace comes from faith in God that wills to bring us peace.

Children’s chat:  “Bundles of Fun”.

Grace, mercy and peace to you children in Jesus name. Good morning children.

I would like to ask you a question: When you want to give a hug- do you get close to the other person or away from them. You get close right? And how does it feel when you get close and give a hug to someone? It feels: warm, tight, united, loving and really safe.

Today, Jesus tells us that He wants to keep us warm, tight, united, in love and salvation. Would you like to receive a really nice hug in God’s name? Paula, please come up and offer the children a really nice Jesus hug would you please? Thanks Paula- next week you’re going to be doing a children’s skit during this time. We can’t wait.

Children, let us pray: Dear Jesus, thank-you for hugging us all the time. We love you.

Adult Sermon: “Fox Tales.”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13:35b).

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Faith question: Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today? Announcements can bring great joy and great despair, relief and anxiety; delight and suffering; a sense of mission, a postponement of present plans. During this political season of caucus and debate, we are experiencing daily announcements of some kind or another. Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today?

 Jesus is preparing to make an announcement about the Kingdom of God for the good of creation. And with His announcement what is revealed  is four fold: the intention of Jesus’ adversaries, the determination of the Messiah, the unwillingness of Jerusalem, and the fulfillment of the will of God.

Jesus ministry is characterized by one announcement about the Kingdom of God: salvation in Him alone. And by His presence, He is saving already, by releasing those who are captive in bondage to Satan: sickness and sin, hunger and famine, temptation and testing by the devil, demon possession. Death will not dissuade Him from the work He has been given by His Father in Heaven. In fact, Jesus mission on earth is to die for: His death for our salvation! While testifying to the Kingdom of God coming close- present in the gracious announcement of the Gospel of Jesus as the Christ of God, Jesus faces His prophetic destiny of rejection, suffering, death and resurrection. Knowing that all is happening in time according to the will of God as spoken through the prophets, Jesus announces a word of lament: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it…(Luke 13:34a).

Behold your house is forsaken.” (Luke 13: 35a).

Let’s look at what is revealed by Jesus announcement:

  1. The intention of Jesus adversaries is quite clear: “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”(Luke 13:31b). Murder is on the minds of those whom Jesus expects to save.
  2. The determination of the Messiah: Not taking the bait to run away, Jesus intends to make the proclamation of God for all time: “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish My course.” (Luke 13:32b).
  3. The unwillingness of Jerusalem: “Behold your house is forsaken.” (Luke 13: 35a). “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wing, and you would not!”(Luke 13:34b). Jesus offering a hug only to become the One hung from a cross.
  4. The fulfillment of the will of God. “And I tell you, you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13:35b).

The salvation pattern is set by God:  adversaries intentions meet with the determination of Jesus. His resolve to be Messiah, which is rejected by those who are unwilling to follow Jesus. Unwillingness to follow Jesus ultimately leads to destruction of those who will not be faithful followers of God Sons- Jesus. God the Father has made the announcement of who Jesus is: He is the One facing adversaries with His Divine determination to faithfully meet and challenge disbelief on every occasion. That is His role as Messiah that will glorify God.

And, here is the Gospel announcement that we have been waiting to hear from Jesus: although Jerusalem is forsaken, it is not abandoned by God. And for Christ’s sake, we are not abandoned by God! Say it with me: And for Christ’s sake, we are not abandoned by God! He holds us and gathers us with a hug, as we are stirred by evil to leave His grasp.

Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today? We are not abandoned by God!

Jesus awaits- patiently- His time and place in Jerusalem is where the atonement for sin must take place by God’s will. And it is by God’s will that Jesus death, threatened by His home town people of Nazareth, will now be coming to fruition. Jesus is just at the brink of testimony to proclaim who He is, in truth before those who will judge Him. He waits to make the messianic announcement in public: That He truly is the “Son of God!” Can’t you just feel His passion to make such an announcement? Jesus, the Messiah, is well aware of the resistance and tragic rejection which lies in the path of God’s announcement of His saving purpose. Knowing the heart of men to be against Him, Jesus, the Messiah, is caught up in God’s passion, love, and judgment, as the struggle of God and human will is far from completed. Yes, the intention of Jesus’ adversaries, the determination of the Messiah, the unwillingness of Jerusalem, and the fulfillment of the will of God are all a part of the salvation walk of Christ Jesus which He embraces. It is kind of like part of the Job description that goes with being our Savior. (Isaiah 53).

And as we walk by following Jesus in faith, we also will know adversaries intentions, as the determination of our shared faith in Christ meets those unwilling to believe. And as the unbelieving reject the will of God, our faith question remains the same as Jesus: will we abandon the unbeliever to the grasp of the devil whose soul purpose is too resistance and rejection God? Or, will we remain in relationship, hugging them and holding onto unbelievers to become proclaimers of the purposes of God’s will. God’s will is to save unbelievers and every unbelieving moment that we experience in our lives.

Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today? As disciples of Jesus will we confront unbelief in Jesus name or conform to unbelief in Christ. Will we challenge other by our confession of faith in Christ while suffer evil intentions and reject for Christ’s sake? Jesus, knowing the rejection that awaits him in Jerusalem, still expresses the wish to love and protect these people. In a sense, Jesus doesn’t play the game: “Because you don’t like me, I won’t like you.”

Jesus does not leave them and states, “You will not see me.”(Luke 13:35b). The people “will not see” him properly, i.e., as the Messiah, the Son of God.

Do we not experience similar times of not seeing Jesus in our unbelievable lives? We hurt ourselves – perhaps physically or emotionally or spiritually because of unbelief. We do not see Jesus or His disciples that are in need of a hug! A parent, friend, pastor, parishioner gives us a lecture about how stupid we were. “Rats,” we may say to ourselves, “I was hoping for a hug!” The kind of hug that Jesus seeks to embrace us with as He is saving us each moment of this very day! There are those times when what we need most is to know that somebody still cares and loves us, because we already know we have acted like jerks. Should we make an announcement: That we are jerks for Jesus?

Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today?

One of the most dreadful Christian sins is that we are too quick to open our mouths and give lectures to others. It is so easy for us good and righteous believers to judge and condemn others for their stupid mistakes. What compounds our sin is that we think that we are doing the proper and right thing by giving them all our good advice. “You shouldn’t have done that. You should have known better. You’re getting what you deserve.” And so on. Sometimes people need good teaching. Jesus is often teaching the people, but many times, especially after making a stupid mistake, people feel more like saying: “Rats…I was hoping for a hug!” The image of a hen wrapping her wings around her chicks, seems a lot like a hug to me – and that’s what Jesus wishes he could do for all of us sinners. A hug from Jesus: is that an announcement that you are expecting in reality? Is that an announcement that you would like to proclaim today?

“Hugs from Heaven- here today.”

I witnessed the proclamation of “Hugs from Heaven Here Today”- in reality.  The hug of Jesus over the past week came to us while watching Presidential primary candidate from the Republican party Gov. John Kasich on the political stump in South Carolina. A young student in his twenties spoke about the transitions of loss that were happening around his life. The college student had lost to suicide an older mentor friend of his: “more like a dad”. His parents got divorced and then his father lost his job. That was his year of 2015. As the college student told his story, Gov Kasich moved down from the banner stage platform from which he was listening and approached the student as he heard the words: “I have found hope in the Lord, in my friends, and now I found it in my presidential candidate that I support, and I’d really appreciate one of those hugs you’ve been talking about.”  (The banner on the stage: America Never Gives Up.) Gov Kasich responded in the moment with a hug and a word: We need to slow down: slow down for the hugs Jesus wants to give us through His means of Grace and His body: church family members.

Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today?

Offering an embrace is much more risky than lecturing. Suppose that when the demon-possessed man came to Jesus, Jesus just gave him a lecture about the evils of the occult. “You shouldn’t have ever gotten involved with that kind of stuff.” That wouldn’t have done the man any good. But with a lecture, we can keep our distance from other people. If they reject our wise advice – they’ve rejected our wise advice. When we get close enough to people to really care about them, to offer an embrace as a gesture of love, and that is rejected, it is much more painful. They are rejecting us. “Don’t touch me,” says a spouse. “I’m too big for that,” says a son.

When a daughter admits to her parents that she is pregnant, it’s not the time for a lecture about morality. When a son admits to his parents that he is hooked on drugs, it’s not the time for a lecture about the evils of addiction. When the police bring a child home after a car accident, it’s not the time for a lecture on irresponsibility. Such people already know about the problems of immorality, addiction, and irresponsibility. They are in much more need of a sign of love and acceptance than judgment.

Saints, Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today?

The image we are given of God/Jesus as a hen gathering a whole bunch of chickens under her wings implies that we are one of those chickens. What might that image also imply about our relationship with the other chickens gathered under those wings? It requires a physical closeness to be packed together under those wings. It implies a learning to get along with one another if we wish to stay packed together under those wings. How do we balance our own comfort level of space with this image of physically gathered together under God’s loving wings? Being packed together in a pew? Rubbing shoulders with others on the way out of church? Sharing the peace by touching others with a handshake – or an embrace (when appropriate) – or even a kiss between spouses?  Does anyone here have an announcement that you would like to share at Divine service today?

Perhaps in a world that needs to feel the embrace of God, our proclamation ought to be: Christians never give up: Jesus offers Hugs through His People. Come and Get Your Hug!

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8).

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1st Wednesday Lenten service – Feb. 17th, 2016

Reading: Lev 23:26-28.

The Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur, Tenth day of the Seventh Month.

Jesus unmasked: “Jesus is Seven Festivals.”

The true God is a God of Joy who invites – no- He Commands – His people to celebrate! When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness God ordered them to celebrate 7 times a year. Festivals were meant to be parties that honored God! The Epistles of St. Paul tells us that festivals were an Old Testament type for Jesus.

“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance BELONGS TO CHRIST. (Col 2:16-17).

So let us continue our study of the 7 festivals commanded by the Lord God as we seek to know how they are a type, a foreshadowing of Jesus the Christ. We began with the Feast of Booths-Tabernacles on Ash Wednesday night. Tonight we celebrate the second feast of Tabernacles: Yom Kippur. They are known collectively as the Tabernacles. So, tonight we continue with the second feast of Tabernacles.

  1. The Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur, Tenth Day of the Seventh Month.

Leviticus 23:26-28, records the command of the Lord God to Moses that a day of atonement for sin be commemorated on the 10th day of the seventh month. A holy convocation was gathered of all the people. Humble of soul, an offering by fire was to be presented by the temple priests, for all the people of the nation Israel. The people were not to do the work of their own hands, but the High Priest was to present two male goats for sacrifice. The first goat was sacrificed for the nation’s sin: a sin offering for the nation. The first goat was burnt as a sacrifice outside the gate of the city of Jerusalem. The second goat was offered as a “scapegoat”. Laying hands on the scapegoat, the High priest would present the scapegoat alive before God to make atonement for sin. The scapegoat carried the burden of the sin of the nation. Then the scapegoat would be released into the wilderness alive.

Jesus is our sin offering. Jesus, our scapegoat, who was crucified outside the city to make atonement of our sin. (Hebrews 13:11-12). On Sunday last, we heard the Gospel message about Jesus being driven out into the wilderness. Jesus is the One who was driven out into the wilderness to confront the devil. Jesus, the One who the devil and humans laid hands on in order to use Him for their own purpose. And what is the purpose of God for Jesus? That He would carry our hiding, fear, blame and shame away from us into the wilderness. Why, in order that we might be restored to the Kingdom of God by having our sin against God and one another atoned for by God Himself.

Jesus lives out the dual role of first and second goat offered during You Kippur: The Day of Atonement.

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First Sunday in Lent – February 14th, 2016

Psalm 91:1-13: Deuteronomy 26:1-11: Romans 10:8b-13: Luke 4:1-13.

“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

(Ps 91:2)

Psalm 91 is a psalm of comfort that exhorts us to trust in God in all distress and affliction. Angels are proclaimed to be our guards and protectors which brings to us comfort and peace. So, during this first Sunday in Lent, let us recite responsibly; men odd verses, women even verses and no glory be during lent.

Children’s chat: Doubt.

Grace, mercy and peace in Jesus name. Good evening children. Oops, did I get that wrong? Don’t you believe it is evening? Why don’t you believe it? So, what are you saying: that it isn’t evening? So, you are doubting my word to you? YES- that is what doubt is: not believing. In the next reading, we are going to hear St. Paul tells us: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do you doubt that statement? I pray that God will send faith to you and me so that we may believe that Gospel message.

Jesus, thank-you for saving us. Help our unbelief in doubt so that we may find You in truth. Amen.

Adult Sermon: “If Then.”

“The devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God…” (Luke 4:3a).

Grace, mercy and peace to you in Jesus’ name.

Faith question: What circumstance do you face in your life that is a wilderness experience? The wilderness experience would be characterized as one we may experience as without support for our life. “Un” would be the prefix associated with our faith question about a wilderness: uncultivated, uninhabited, and undisturbed by human activity, uncontrolled, or an un-chartered area, Desolation may relate to the physical aspect of wilderness. Soulfully, we may feel, forsaken, forbidden, or foreboding.  Spiritually, or sense of our life may be understood within the grasp of being abandoned, deserted, disconsolate, dilapidated, devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope. Wilderness circumstances, as we have experienced them, may have deprived us of joy, casting us into an existence of wretching and gloom.

 

What circumstance do you face in your life that is a wilderness experience? What ever the barren experience we may find ourselves within- please listen to this Gospel proclamation: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordon and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”(Luke 4:1-2a). With abundant water and the rich vegetation around the Jezreel valley river bed, why would Jesus ever go into the wilderness? Jesus goes into the wilderness because of the loss of Adam and Eve from Paradise. As they were tempted by the devil to abandon the Lord of their life, all that was Godly and good in their life was un-done. Jesus, Messiah, goes into the wilderness, not led by the word of Satan, but by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads Jesus across the river and goes forth into the wilderness of temptation to leave God’s presence of goodness, on our behalf to face every “un” part of life that we will experience in the world.

In facing the uncultivated, uninhabited, and undisturbed by human activity- but full of demonic presence, uncontrolled by the promises of God, it is an un-chartered area for Jesus. Up until His baptism, Jesus had not been tempted to deny His Father in Heaven. Only after Jesus was shown in His Baptism to be Messiah, did the vetting by the devil begin. And in the vetting process, Jesus faces the sum of all that is desolate, forsaken, forbidden, and foreboding in life. Jesus faces the devil. And in facing the devil, Jesus is tempted by the devil to abandon His Father, desert humanity, become dissatisfied with His mission on earth, and to accept the kingdom of the world forsaking the Kingdom of Heaven. All that will decay, become dilapidated, devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope; that is what the devil offers to Jesus.

Now, it seems like a fool’s choice to accept a proposal that would ultimately deprive Jesus of joy, casting Him into an existence of wretching and gloom. Foolish maybe, but, please consider the alternative. Jesus as Messiah will suffer the rejection of His own family, friends, synagogue, and nation. Not only will everyone deny Him, but His own disciples will not be able to save Him. In fact, they all will abandon Him. Ultimately, Jesus will experience a miserable death. But here is something worse than death that will bring the greatest despair to Jesus. Jesus will be cursed by His own Father in Heaven as He is crucified upon the cross of Calvary. Filled with all the sin of humanity for all time: wow, what an offer! Does becoming the Christ of God seem like a good deal to you?

Jesus does not desert us to the life of wilderness wretching. Jesus deals with the devil in three ways:

  1. Jesus takes away the curse of disobedience to the Law that marked Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve fell by eating food that was not theirs that they were commanded not to eat. Jesus conquers the curse of lawlessness by not eating food that Satan tempts Him with at a moment of great hunger after 40 days of fasting.
  2. Jesus refuses to accept Satan’s rule in the world. As the devil has taken this world by fraud, Jesus stands up against the liar while being the way, the truth and the life of God for the world.
  3. Tempted to worship Satan, Jesus refuses to follow Adam and Eve’s desire to make the devil the lord of their life. Jesus endures: He is the pinnacle of belief in God. And as the pinnacle of our belief in God, the devil will not succeed in drawing Jesus away from His Father by answering the call of the devil to deny God’s call to be present in worship, prayer and fellowship each week and everyday. Jesus will not be coerced by the devils temptation from obeying His responsibilities to His Father in Heaven.

Saints, What circumstance do you face in your life that is a wilderness experience?

We walk into wilderness situation of our own making, or tempting by the devil every day. Every moment of every day we face the test of faith, being tempted to become unbelievers in our thoughts, words and deeds. What does a wilderness walk look like in the church? We get tempted to deny the responsibilities of attending Devine service offered at this table every Sunday. Distracted by our work, we avoid bible studies and continued education offered in this church. We refuse to make time beyond an hour and 15 minutes each week to become partners in prayer with one another in the congregation. Ash Wednesday service is lightly esteemed and Lenten services will find a faithful few in attendance. What a wilderness experience: we feel comfortable with private devotion rather than public proclamation, and participation within the worship life of the church- the body of Christ. Worshipers: what are you worshiping if you are not here? Are you and I being responsible to Jesus charge to follow Him in a faith walk that is daily blessed by God?

Please consider:

  1. Jesus the Son of God incarnate, The Word of God, is the bread of life from Heaven who shall feed us bread- Himself- and He defeats Lucifer, Satan and the devil with this heavenly bread- the Word of God.
  2. Now that Christ has come, He wills to restore this world- even our work-a-day-world, back to its proper authority through His obedient suffering and death.
  3. In all temptation to serve ourselves instead of God, Jesus remains true to His person and unchanging nature. Though we may become destroyed by our unfaithfulness, Jesus endures. Although Jesus will continue to confront Satan through His ministry, the devil will become a roaring lion again at the crucifixion. The temptation of Jesus by the devil foreshadows the conflict of the passion and Jesus’ victory on the cross. Jesus cross fills the burden of our own wilderness walk with the blessing of His presence, His promises, and His protection, provision and perseverance. And as we may feel like we are fasting from our worship life in the church, our study of His Word, and our fellowship in which we physically show up and participate with each-other in prayer and community, Jesus defeats the power of every excuse, every extracurricular activity, or engagement that seeks to take us away from the paradise of His Kingdom.

Saints- in Christ, we are the body of Christ, who stand in His Word as we are tempted to consider the devils question:  ‘If You are the Son of God…”

Here is the truth of God:

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordon and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”

Jesus the responsible One has come to fill our inability to be responsible for the relationship that He has offered us with God and one another in our congregation.

 

What circumstance do you face in your life that is a wilderness experience? Do you not know that Jesus is already there, in our wilderness, awaiting our presence in His Word? Please do not despair in your wilderness. By His Spirit, we will be led past the temptations to deny Christ, and beyond our present faithless walk, for Jesus has come into our wilderness on our behalf to lead us back to paradise. Will you and I follow Jesus during our wilderness walk this Lent?

Please, on this Valentine Sunday as we warm ourselves from the bitter cold of the Artic blast of air that has taken over our area, take a moment- reflect upon Jesus faithfulness, as reconsider our own responsibility to spend more time – daily time in prayer and devotion: start to attend bible study with joy and renewed anticipation and attend weekly Divine service. The time spent in service is a minimum- barely able to sustain each of us as Christians. Consider how your body would feel if you were a daily gym participant, and now you only exercised 1 hour and 15 minutes each week. Not good- right? How much more ought we be to our spiritual welfare each day?

Please consider joining  Jesus and me this Lent and renew your love of Christ Jesus by worshiping weekly, praying in community, and participating in bible study. With Jesus, our wilderness is turned into paradise. What do you all say? Stay warm this day, in Jesus name I pray… Amen.

 

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2016 Ash Wednesday Service- Stay with Us Lord – Feb. 10th

Reading: Lev 23:33-36

Last year, we started to study “Jesus Unmasked”:  God showing to us in signs and symbols and shadows the revealed Jesus in reality, to be the One promised by God to save us. We discovered that Jesus is: the Word; The Truth; The scarlet thread in the Old and New Testament; the Ark; the Rock; the Living Water; The Bread; the Bronze Serpent, the Tabernacle and the Sabbath rest.

During our time together this Lenten season, we will talk about terms like: truth and preferences about Jesus: Is He Messiah or Myth: descriptive (quality of a noun- to describe) and prescriptive understanding (adjective-practice and procedure) of who Jesus is: Shadow (a slight suggestion) and types (category of qualities that belong to a certain classification) that seek to reveal the truth in reality about who Jesus is.

The passion of the Christ of God is that you will know the truth and that He will set you and us free from our bondage to preference, opinion, falsehood and deception.

As lent is all about seeking Jesus in reality, let us continue to look for Him as savior: Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and if you are in Christ, you will too!

Now, May Christ Jesus send to us God the Holy Spirit that we might know the truth of our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Jesus unmasked: “Jesus is Seven Festivals.”

The true God is a God of Joy who invites – no- He Commands – His people to celebrate! When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness God ordered them to celebrate 7 times a year. Festivals were meant to be parties that honored God! The Epistles of St. Paul tells us that festivals were an Old Testament type for Jesus.

“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance BELONGS TO CHRIST. (Col 2:16-17).

So let us start our study of the 7 festivals commanded by the Lord God as we seek to know how they are a type, a foreshadowing of Jesus the Christ. We begin with the three fall festivals. They are known collectively as the Tabernacles. The four spring festivals will follow as we come into the late winter and early spring season. The four spring festivals are the Harvest Festivals that celebrate the wheat harvest. So, tonight we begin with the feast of Tabernacles.

  1. The Feast of Booths: Fifteenth through the Twenty-third Day of the Seventh Month. (Lev 23:33-36).

To commemorate God’s faithfulness and supernatural provision during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Jews were to live in tents (tabernacles/booths) for seven days and then hold a sacred assembly on the eighth day. (Numbers 29:35). The first day is a holy convocation; no work is allowed. An offering by fire is made for seven days. On the eighth day, a holy assembly is gathered and an offering to the Lord is made with fire.

Jesus became flesh and tented with us and among us. Presently, we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Peter alluded to this “tenting” last week at the time of Jesus transfiguration. In the future, at Christ’s second coming, He will again “tabernacle” with those who are His.

Fire and water were very earthly elements that we part of the Festival of Booths.

  1. 1. Water: Each day of the Feast of Booths, the priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple to be poured out. The significance of their action was to commemorate the water God gave the Jews in the wilderness and served as a symbol that when the Messiah comes, the whole world will know God as “water covers the earth. (Isa 11:9).

John 7:37-38, brings to us the picture of water at the feast of the booths as symbolizing Jesus as the Christ. Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” Some believed but most rejected Jesus.

  1. Fire: During the seven days celebration, torches were lit to illuminate Jerusalem. The number of lights increased each day so that by the eighth day, Jerusalem was brilliant- gloriously ablaze. The light was to be a symbol of the Messiah who would be a light to the Gentile nations. With Jerusalem ablaze with fire, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the Light of the World; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12).

Jesus, not Jerusalem is the light to the world.

Saints, seven hundred years before Christ, Isaiah proclaimed, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” (Is 9:2). Unfortunately, the darkness did not understand who Jesus was. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5).

Jesus came as the light, Immanuel- God With Us- and the Jews rejected Him People did not understand what Jesus, the Light of the World was proclaiming to them. They were blind and could not see. They suffer from blindness to the blessing of God in Christ because their happiness was focused upon people, places and things. Our Joy is in Jesus!!! Let us consider the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit who has come to tabernacle with us in Jesus name.

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Transfiguration Sunday – Feb. 7th, 2016

Psalm 99: Dueteronomy 34: 1-12: Hebrews 3:1-6: Luke 9:28-36.

                    “Exalt the Lord our God; worship at His footstool! Holy is He! (99:5).

Last week we started to talk about the gifts God the Holy Spirit has given us in order that we might become light in our world that has rejected the Lord God. Psalm 99 exhorts the people of God to praise the Lord God inspite of the suffering that comes to us. We suffer in the world because we are with our Holy God. Holy His are we as witnesses of the wonders of God filling us with hope and joy. So let us praise the Lord God together for His steadfast grace and faith for He alone is our God.

Children’s chat: “The Voice.”

Grace mercy and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Children, what do you think God’s Voice sounds like?  The Old Testament tells us that when God spoke to Moses and Elijah, that the voice was still, small and with power. What does a powerful voice sound like? Is it really loud? Probably not: for a really loud voice is a “SHOUT”! Is a powerful voice one that is like a whisper: SHEEE! NO Way! A powerful voice is one that is always with us and never leaves us for any reason. That is what God’s Voice is like: always with us, always guiding us, always showing us the way that He has chosen for us to live out our lives in serving Him and our parents, our family and neighbors and friends- and sometimes people we don’t know at all: friends in the making.

Let us pray with a still small voice always thank our Lord God for His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Let us pray, Dear Jesus, thank-you for coming to tell us about Your Father in Heaven. Thank-you Father and Son for sending the Holy Spirit so that we might always hear the Voice of God through the Divine worship, our Pastor, parents, teachers and the members of this church. Amen.

Adult Sermon: “Divine Majesty.”

“And as He was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white.”(Luke 9:29).

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

During this political season of debate, caucus, and primary voting, the hills of Judea are filled with joy, anger, burden and blessing. Jesus is preaching about the Kingdom of God come near: so near that it could touch you! And as His Words are spoken, the people are amazed and bewildered: astonished and marveling: Jesus- for Messiah? Could it be true? What would be the consequence of such a platform of election?

Faith question: What is the Voice that will bring to you a sense of peace, purpose and position in terms of the proposal God has made to you through His Son Jesus Christ? The Divine proposal that Jesus is proclaiming is simple: believe in the Son and you will know salvation. Salvation is the platform upon which Jesus mission is based. Messiah and Jesus are by Jesus own words to be understood as to have the same meaning. In Nazareth Jesus preached from the text of Isaiah 61:1-2, Today this scripture is fulfilled in Your hearing.” (Luke 4:21b). Get out of town- literally was the response to His claim.

We have heard so many voices speaking about Jesus/savior over the last two months.

The Angels declared to the shepherds of Bethlehem: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10b-11).

King Herod told the three magi: “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.” (Matthew 2:8b).

Joseph receives the angels warning in a dream: “Get up’, he said, ‘take the child and His mother and escape to Egypt.”(Matthew 2:13b). What a coincidence: another Joseph in Egypt!

Simeon and Anna were overjoyed and at peace hearing the cry of Jesus. “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, you now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 229-32) And with that cry of life born and circumcised under the law, the Gospel of Jesus has become public. The public proclamation has started first with the temple scholars who gathered together and marveled at Jesus word of revelation concerning the scriptures.

Then from the wilderness, the Baptist, John says of Him, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Matthew 3:14b). And from above the voice from heaven: This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17b)

At Cana’s marriage feast the steward of the feast announces…”but You have saved the best till now.” And now today, we again hear the heavenly Word: “This is My Chosen One; listen to Him.” (Luke 935b).

Saints, What is the Voice that will bring to you a sense of peace, purpose and position in terms of the proposal God has made to you through His Son Jesus Christ?

 

Jesus is the incarnate God and His voice is the Voice of God! The voice of Divine truth claims the high ground of Mt Tabor and there is a total transformation witnessed by the disciples, Peter, James, and John. Where does Jesus get His preaching with power and authority: that was the question of the faithless Jesus left behind in the Jezreel valley of the Jordon River! Jesus is the Son of Divine authority!

On the mountain top, Jesus was vetted- before Peter, James and John, as to the truth claims that Jesus claimed for Himself in Nazareth. The dazzling Divine display was reminiscent of things from the very beginning of time. First, there was light that altered Jesus face. Then followed the form of Moses and Elijah: truth witnesses from the past who had become faithful in the service of the Lord God. The voices of their conversation gave understanding of mission of Jesus to become Messiah. Their words are joined to the wisdom of God as the words of the Divine Father are proclaimed by His own voice, “This is My Son, My Chosen One: listen to Him”. (Luke 9:35b).

What is the Voice that will bring to you a sense of peace, purpose and position in terms of the proposal God has made to you through His Son Jesus Christ?

Peter, James and John do not understand about salvation. They have been listening all their lives to everyone else’s voices concerning the coming Messiah. Now, they hear for the first time, the point of Jesus, as was long ago before their time, foretold. Jesus is the chosen One. (Duet 18:15-20). Jesus is the light to the nations. (Is42:1-7). On the mountain top, Jesus Divine Majesty was shone. Moses and Elijah pointed to Jesus all of their lives. Now Jesus has become the point of our salvation. Silence please was the Lord God’s response to Peter: listen to Jesus and say nothing of this matter at this time! All the elements of creation are present: “Let there be light”; “Let us make man in our own image and likeness”; “It is not good that the man should be alone; ‘I will make him a helper fit for him.” All the covenant promises spoken in Eden to Adam and Eve, to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, are brought to fruition in Christ Jesus. His Voice alone will command all life here now and in eternity.

What is the Voice that will bring to you a sense of peace, purpose and position in terms of the proposal God has made to you through His Son Jesus Christ? The Voice of Jesus- listen to Him!

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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Jan. 31st, 2016

Psalm 71:1-6: Jeremiah 1:4-10: 1st Corinthians 12:31b-13:13: Luke 4:31-44.

         “In You, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.” (Ps 71:1).

Psalm 71 focuses upon concerns that we have as we reach old age. When we become feeble and gray, facing times of disease which may bring us to the brink of death, we may know the comfort of God’s righteousness. In the end we find a new beginning as promised by God Almighty. So let us praise God who brings Gold to our golden years.

Children’s chat: “Sonship”

Grace, mercy and peace to you in Jesus name. Children, whose son or daughter are you? You are the son or daughter of your parents. What benefit does that give you above everyone else sitting here in this church? You have the benefit of their love, support, forgiveness, understanding, protection, care, comfort, and guidance. Guidance is very important as we grow up. In the first reading today, we heard the Lord God speak words of Divine guidance to Jeremiah. And do you know what the Lord God’s Word of guidance was for Jeremiah? The Lord God told Jeremiah that in the womb, God knew him: before he was born- God had consecrated and appointed Jeremiah’s life to be that of a prophet to all nations. WOW- does the Lord God have a plan for your life as you grow up? YES- and by His plan, we will become sons and daughters in His name, fulfilling our mission that He has created us to accomplish while we are alive on earth.

What a blessing- God even knows us in the womb, while we are at home and while we are at school. God knows what we are to be: sons and daughters through His Son Jesus Christ. Amen. Let us pray: Dear Jesus, thank-you for being Son of God so that we might become sons and daughters of God. Amen.

Sermon: “You Are!”

“… and they were astonished at His teaching, for His Word possessed authority.” (Luke 4:32).

“I know who you are- the Holy One of God.”  (Luke 4:34b).

“… but He said to them, ‘I must preach the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’” (Luke 4:43).

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Faith question: What word of authority brings blessing and peace to your life?

If you are in a hospital situation, a word of authority may come from a doctor or nurse: “Your tests have been completed- the disease is in remission! Remission: a great word which means to be released from the present condition: to postpone or defer, to abate the symptoms; to restore to a former status or condition: or to release from guilt or penalty.

Remission is the state of affairs that is the focus of today’s Gospel pericope. What is in remission in the time of Jesus? “And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice..,” ( Luke 4:33).

Demons, unclean spirits are commanded by Jesus to “Be silent and come out.” (Luke 4:35b). Their power is in remission as Jesus restores a relationship of God’s Word taking command of the relationship between the man and God! Jesus voice overtakes the deceitful lure of temptation upon humanity by the devil. The persistent attack of the demonic is commanded to come out of him and he suffered no harm from the unclean spirit. The Holy One of God Jesus Christ drives the unclean away with authority!

And what is the authority by which Jesus sends iniquity into remission? The authority by which Jesus commands is Divine for He is the Son of God. And as Son of God, everything created through Him alone, His authority comes from His relationship with His Father in Heaven with the power of God the Holy Spirit to enforce the remission of evil spirit among man.

Faith question: What word of authority brings blessing and peace to your life?

Jesus is the name of Son-ship, and in His name, we are… Holy His. Say it with me: In Jesus name we are Holy His! Rebuked by Jesus authoritative Word were the unclean spirits within the man in the synagogue. He was restored to God and man. Rebuked were the unclean spirits in the surrounding region of Capernaum! The region of the Galilee knew true peace. That is, the truth of the Kingdom of God coming near- in fact- not proximal- but really present in reality! Rebuked was the fever that had seized the mother-in-law of Simon. She was restored and served the Lord and His disciples.

What word of authority brings blessing and peace to your life? Jesus is the new Adam who has come to restore and revive our relationship with God. Jesus is the One who steps in as the demon attempts to enslave us by lies and evil so that we will surely die! Death by the devils lies brings sickness to our soul and spirit. Through Christ Jesus, we are put into remission from our sin. And not only is their a remission of the sickness due us in our sin, but we are rehabilitated by His grace to find out lives blessed, healed and restored to our Lord God.

What word of authority brings blessing and peace to your life? Jesus!

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