Sun, 25 November 2018
There are lots of things about the wise men that we don’t know.
We don’t know how many wise men there were, though tradition teaches us that there were three. We don’t know their names. In the sixth century, someone decided that their names were Melchior, Baltazar and Gaspar. Operas have been written ascribing these names to them. But no one really knows what their names were. We don’t know exactly from where they came. The “east” is a pretty big area. China? India? Babylonia? We don’t know what their professions were. Were they kings? Philosophers? Astronomers?
There are lots of things about the wise men that we don’t know, but we do know this: they knew how to worship.
Three times in this brief passage it refers to their worship. In verse 2 it says, “We . . . have come to worship him.” Even evil and envious King Herod recognized that they had a heart to worship. In verse 8 he hypocritically says, “when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” Right. In verse 11 we are told that the wise men, “bowed down and worshiped him.” Yes, they knew how to worship. From their example we too can learn to worship.
There are three elements of their worship that we will highlight this coming Sunday and that we ought to incorporate into our own worship of God. We can share in their journey, their joy, and their generosity.
Join us at Istrouma as we celebrate the season with our new Christmas series entitled, “The Thrill of Hope.”
The Thrill of Hope
“Here Come the Wise Men”
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (2:1-2).
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother . . . (2:10-11a).
. . . and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh (2:11b).
Sun, 18 November 2018
ESPN has a realtively new feature called “#YouHadOneJob.” It focuses on people who had one task to do, but failed spectacularly doing it. It’s a light-hearted look at some sports bloopers.
In life we sometimes think we have a lot to do—go to school, do homework, shuttle the kids, pay the bills, etc. But the truth is, we really only have one primary task. That “job” is clarified in Philippians 3:13b-14, “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This Sunday at Istrouma we’ll focus on how to pursue this prize of surpassing value. Let’s not fumble at the one priority that surpasses all others!
Turkey Bowl Sunday
“Press on for the Prize”
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind . . . (3:13a).
. . . and straining forward to what lies ahead(3:13b).
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (3:14).
Sun, 11 November 2018
It won’t be long till Christmas! One tradition of this season is the sending and receiving of greetings. One site estimated that 1.6 billion greeting cards will be sent and that those cards will have a value of some two billion dollars.
It is important to greet one another.
The tradition of greeting one another has strong roots in the Christian faith. Over 90 times the word “greet” or some form of it appears in the New Testament. At least four times the command to “greet one another” appears and often that was to be done “with a holy kiss.”
Warm, heartfelt greetings go hand-in-hand with the gospel.
This morning we’re going to open some “gospel greeting” cards. They’re an intimate window into the kind of relationships that we, God’s people, are to have with one another, especially as we together labor to take the good news of the incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended, and returning Christ to a needy world.
Colossians 4:7-18 include a stack of these “gospel greetings.” Let your heart be touched by the love and camaraderie they reveal as we open them this Sunday morning
Sun, 4 November 2018