Sun, 13 May 2018
About five years ago a wildly popular song was released. It is entitled simply, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. You can’t help but smile when you hear the lyrics and the music [may play a snippet].
The official video of the song was released on YouTube on November 21, 2013, and, as of March 2018, it has had over 1 billion views. Maybe its popularity is tied to the fact that everybody wants to be happy.
Here in America we’re so committed to the pursuit of happiness that we put it into the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
But in spite of our longing for it and our pursuit of it, happiness so often eludes us.
Here’s an important truth to grasp: “Pursue happiness and it evades you. Pursue Him--pursue holiness--and happiness comes to you as a by-product.”
God’s word never tells us to pursue happiness but it does promise us happiness, real joy, if we will live according to God’s word.
These principles are laid out for us clearly in God’s word. Let’s open our Bibles to Psalm 1 for a message entitled, “Happy
Songs of the Summer
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (1:1).
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (1:2).
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment (1:3-5a).
Sun, 6 May 2018
Bendice cada hogar
“Jesús se acercó y dijo a sus discípulos: «Se me ha dado toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra.Por lo tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos ..." (28:18-19a).
"Por lo tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones,bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.Enseñen a los nuevos discípulos a obedecer todos los mandatos que les he dado." (Mt 28, 19-20a).
"Y tengan por seguro esto: que estoy con ustedes hasta el fin del mundo" (Mt 28, 20b).
Sun, 6 May 2018
In our nation’s capital is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, a platoon of 30 honor guards protects the tomb through rain, snow, and even hurricanes! It's been guarded every minute of every day since 1937. The Unknown Soldiers laid to rest at the Tomb represent all missing and unknown service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.
Typically a single sentinel at a time guards the tomb, pacing back and forth throughout his watch. The soldier walks exactly 21 steps then pauses for 21 seconds before turning around and continuing his duty. The number 21 is in reference to the 21 gun salute which is the military's highest honor given to a soldier.
When the changing of the guard takes place, orders are passed from one soldier to his relief: Here is the heart of that dialog: " Post and orders, remain as directed.” Orders remain as directed. Their original charge remains their current charge. No change.
There is another tomb—empty now in Jerusalem. Our Lord, after his victorious resurrection, gave orders to his disciples some 2000 years ago and those orders remain as directed!
Do you know what our marching orders are as followers of Christ? Today we will revisit those orders.
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 28:18-20.
Bless Every Home
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples . . .” (28:18-19a).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”(28:19-20a).
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20b).
Sun, 29 April 2018
God’s heart is to bless every home. God wants to bless you and, through you, bless others. This is his missiological strategy and has been from time immemorial. Gen. 12:2 says, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
We are issuing a challenge this month to “bless every home” in our sphere of influence. We do this when we pray for, care for and share with others the story of Jesus.
We bless others when we share the story of what God has done for us. That’s the theme of today’s message. I’m going to relay to you the story of four desperate men who were blessed and became a blessing to others because they shared the story of what God had done on their behalf. This enabled virtually a whole city to experience the abundant goodness of God!
We can experience the same in our lives—receiving and relaying the blessings of God!
Bless Every Home
2 Kings 7:3-9
Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (7:3)
If we say, “Let us enter the city,” the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians (7:4a).
But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there . . . . they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them (7:5b, 8b).
Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household” (7:9).
Sun, 22 April 2018
The entire nation of China was rocked in 2011 by an incident involving a single two-year-old Chinese girl named Wang Yue. Her family called her “Little Yue Yue.” She innocently wandered onto a narrow, crowded road in Foshan, Guangdong Province. She was hit by a vehicle, in fact, two. Neither stopped. She lay broken and wounded on the road for more than seven minutes.
During that span of time, eighteen people either walked or cycled past the toddler before a scrap peddler named Chen Xianmei, finally stopped to attend to her injuries. The little girl was whisked to a hospital for treatment but succumbed to her injuries and died eight days later.
The whole incident, including the fact that so many people passed by the little girl and refused to render aid, was captured on a security camera. That footage was uploaded onto the Internet and it quickly stirred widespread reaction in China and even overseas. Many commentators saw this as indicative of a growing apathy in contemporary Chinese society. It has been referred to as China’s “good Samaritan problem”—widespread apathy for the hurting.
But we all know, this is not just a Chinese problem. It’s an American problem. It’s a global problem. It’s an ancient problem, because it is a human problem.
Thankfully our human problems have a divine solution. There is a true “good Samaritan” and we will meet him today. His impact on us can transform even the most cruel or calloused into good Samaritans who care for others.
Bless Every Home
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead”(10:30).
Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side(10:31-32).
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion(10:33)
Sun, 15 April 2018
Oprah Winfrey is an America pop icon. Her rags-to-riches story is remarkable. Her long-time talk show was famous for generous giveaways. While I don’t see eye-to-eye with her on theology and politics, I do admire her giving spirit.
One her most famous giveaways happened when all 276 members of her studio audience were blessed with a new Pontiac G-6 sedan. The cars carried an individual retail price tag of about $28,500.
The last giveaway was to celebrate her 25 years as hostess of the show. Every person in the audience was blessed with an 8-day, all-expense paid vacation to Australia!
Her favorite giveaway was in 2006. Every audience member was blessed with a bank card for $1,000 and a camera. Their assignment was to go home and within one week give that money away in a creative, charitable act and by so doing bless someone else. The camera was to video their respective acts of kindness. That giveaway unleashed some remarkable stories of generosity.
One example was a lady from Illinois named Minnie. She did not know whom she would bless with the $1,000. Upon returning home she learned about a father of nine children who had brain cancer. His name was John Newcomb. She not only was prepared to give that John’s family the $1,000, she rallied other people and businesses in the city to help. Within a week she had raised over $70,000. They paid off the Newcomb’s mortgage, his medical bills, provided groceries, and a two-year college scholarship for their oldest son.
Minnie was blessed to be a blessing. And she complied with that intent!
Did you know that you have been blessed to be a blessing? That is God’s heart and His missiological strategy. He has blessed us so that we might be a blessing.
We are launching today a 4-part sermon series entitled, “Bless Every Home.” Even more than that, what we’re truly hoping is to launch or augment a lifetime of missional living by each of us.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 12 as we open our hearts to embrace God’s call on our lives to “Bless Every Home.”
Bless Every Home
Genesis 12:1-3, 8b
Now the Lordsaid to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you . . . (12:1).
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (12:2-3).
. . . And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD(12:8b).
Sun, 8 April 2018
Yogi Berra was a catcher for the New York Yankees. He won 10 World Series and was an 18-time all-star.
But he is probably better known for his “Yogi-isms.” His quotes often mangled the English language in light-hearted ways, but also had a grain of truth in them. Here’s a sampling of five of his finest.
He was so well known for his sayings that sometimes he was given credit for things he didn’t even say. Thus another Yogi-ism: “I never said most of the things I said.”
Here’s one more he said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” The “Yogi-ness” of that quote is that it is redundant. Déjà vu literally means “already seen.” It’s a feeling that you get that you’ve been in place before. You’ve heard this conversation before. So to say, “Déjà vu all over again” is to say the same thing twice. Classic!
This morning “it’s déjà vu all over again.” We’re going to wrap up the “Final Word” by opening our Bibles to the 21st chapter of John’s gospel. In this story the disciples are going to encounter the risen Lord Jesus and hear his final words. They are words they’ve heard before but that bear repeating. In fact, we too need to hear them again.
It’s déjà vu all over again.
The Final Word
“Déjà Vu All Over Again”
Sun, 1 April 2018
If you've read any of Mark Twain's famous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer you know that Sawyer was quite the prankster. One time Sawyer convinced friends Huck Finn and Joe Harper to run away. By cover of night, the three left their homes, snuck down to the river, and set out down-river on a raft. They end up on Jackson's Island where have fun pretending to be pirates for several days.
Meanwhile, back at home, their families and the town at large are in state of near hysteria. After a few days they conclude the boys have drowned, and plan their funeral for the following Sunday. Tom quietly returns to town and discovers the plans for the funeral. He returns to the island where he convinces Huck and Joe they should all stay put until the end of the week when they will return to town and march in on their own funerals.
On Sunday almost the entire town gathers at the church building where the preacher leads the sad and grieving crowd in eulogizing and mourning the poor boys whom death has claimed so early in life. The congregation became more and more moved till the whole company broke down and joined the weeping mourners in a chorus of anguished sobs.
At that moment the three boys come through the church doors. They had been listening to their own funeral! The ones who were dead now are alive. Gloom gives way to gladness. Can you imagine attending a funeral and seeing the one for whom you grieve appear in your midst?
That’s exactly what actually happened to the disciples of Jesus. They saw him crucified. They knew that he had been buried. On that first Sunday evening they were gathered in fear, mourning, and bewilderment. Gloom prevailed. But into that room came the risen Lord Jesus and gloom gives way to gladness.
We too can rejoice on this Easter morning because Jesus crashed his own funeral!
The Final Word
“From Gloom to Gladness”
Sun, 1 April 2018
“Del pesimismo al gozo”
Sun, 25 March 2018
There is a common sight across the southeast region of the United States. It is a trio of crosses placed in a field near a highway or crossroads. They are the work of a man named Bernard Coffindaffer. He was a veteran of WWII and Iwo Jima. When he came back from the war, he came to know Christ as his savior. He became a successful businessman but never lost his gratitude for what Jesus did for us.
He spent his personal fortune to erect more than 1,800 trios of crosses.
But what is the significance of these three crosses?
The Final Word
“The Crosses of Calvary”