Sun, 22 October 2017
In the mid-1900s Detroit, Michigan was one of Americaâ€™s greatest cities. Its population swelled to some 2 million. Its industrial base, centered on the production of automobiles, made it affluent. The architecture of the city reflected its optimism and wealth.
But in more recent years its fortunes have changed. People began to move out into the suburbs. The population plummeted. Buildings fell into disrepair and ruins.
The demise of Detroit was captured in a series of photos by a pair of Parisian photographers named Marchand and Maffre. Thereâ€™s a heavy sadness that these photos prompt (show photos). The sadness arises from the chasm that exists between what once was and now is.
This morning weâ€™re going to take a closer look at a majestic, ancient city that once stood proudly. It enjoyed the blessings of heavenâ€”Jerusalem, the city of David, the capital city of Godâ€™s people. It gleamed with golden facades beneath the sunâ€™s rays. But that once mighty city fell tragically. Thankfully, that fall was not the final chapter in its story.
The reason its fall was not its final chapter is because of the amazing faithfulness of our God.
Now you may wonder, â€œWhat does Detroit, much less an ancient city like Jerusalem, have to do with me?â€ Good question. I want you to consider whether they might be a parable of our own lives. Is there a gap between what once was in your spiritual life and what now is? If so, that doesnâ€™t have to be the final chapter in your story. In God we all have a future and hope!
â€œGod Is Faithfulâ€
Key verses: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (3:22-23).
Sun, 15 October 2017
One of the first choruses I learned to sing is entitled â€œGod Is So Good.â€ It is simple and child-like, but it is also true and priceless. Here are the lyrics:
God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
Heâ€™s so good to me!
The famous and brilliant Swiss theologian Karl Barth was once asked if he could summarize his lifeâ€™s work in theological studies in one sentence. He answered that he could. He said it could be summarized in a sentence he learned at his motherâ€™s knee, â€œJesus love me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.â€
â€œGod is so goodâ€ is another summary statement that could encompass the whole of theology and Bible truth. It will be our focus in this message from Psalm 34:1-10.
â€œGod Is Goodâ€
â€œOh, taste and see that the Lord is goodâ€ (Psalm 34:8)!
Sun, 1 October 2017
An elementary school teacher gave her children the assignment to draw anything of their choosing. The children happily began to draw. She went from seat to seat, looking at each childâ€™s work. She offered them encouraging comments.
One boy was drawing a fireman. A girl was drawing a pony. She came to Johnnyâ€™s seat and stopped. She watched him work for a moment but could not quite make out what he was drawing.
â€œWhat are you drawing, Johnny?â€ â€œA picture of God,â€ he responded. â€œBut,â€ she gently offered, â€œno one knows what God looks like.â€ Without looking up, he continued drawing unfazed, â€œThey will in a minute.â€
That boy was confident that he could portray God for those who didnâ€™t yet know what He is like. What about you? Do you know what God is likeâ€”who He truly is?
We can know Him because He has drawn us a portrait of Himself in the world and in the word. Today we begin a three-part series entitled simply, â€œGod Is.â€ The opening message is â€œGetting to Know the Unknown God.â€ It will be based on Acts 17:22-34.
It is vital that we know God. How vital? Jesus said, â€œAnd this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sentâ€ (John 17:3). Letâ€™s get to know Him and by so doing experience life at its fullest!
â€œGetting to Know the Unknown Godâ€
â€œMen of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For . . . I found also an altar with this inscription: â€˜To the unknown god.â€™â€ (17:22-23).
â€œThe God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by manâ€ (17:24).
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, â€œWe will hear you again about this.â€ . . . But some men joined him and believed (17:32-34).