A message from the series "Aligned." 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
A message from the series "Easter 2019." Several years ago I was called by a frantic mother whose 20 year old daughter had just been hit by a car. When I arrived at the hospital, the girl was on life support and the doctors were uncertain about her prognosis. Because she was young she had a good chance to live, but the injuries were severe. I asked what happened and quickly abandoned any thought of discovery. Mom could not bring herself to speak so I watched as she stroked her daughter's hair hoping and praying that she would see a marriage, have children and live a full life. At the same time mom knew where her daughter was ultimately headed - to a new life. Nothing makes you think about the reality of Jesus' resurrection and heaven itself than when a loved one is facing death. She lived. Later I learned this young lady was attempting to rescue a dog in the street. The first responders rescued her from immediate death. The doctors rescued her from internal damage. But her greatest need for rescue occurred before the accident. It was already met by Jesus on the cross. He rescued her from her sins. Ever since the Garden of Eden God has been on mission to bring people back to life. The sacrificial death of Jesus is proof of this and Easter is that miracle!
A message from the series "Easter 2019." "It is finished." Stop and listen a moment. Let the words move through your heart. Imagine the cry from the cross. The sky is dark. The other two victims are moaning. Jeering mouths of the crowd are silent. There is thunder. There is weeping. There is silence. Then Jesus draws in a deep breath, pushes His feet down on that Roman nail, and cries, “It is finished!” What was finished? The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished. . . . The sting of death had been removed. It was over. When Jesus tasted the vinegar, He said, “It is finished.” Then He bowed His head and died. John 19:30 But let us never forget that Friday is paved to Sunday!
A message from the series "Easter 2019." This Sunday is traditionally known by Christians as "Palm Sunday." Palm branches were laid before Jesus as he rode a donkey into the city of Jerusalem. Crowds cheered. Jesus was hailed as the king who saves - "Hosanna!" But people are fickle. By the end of the week some of these same fans will shout, "Crucify him!" What happened? It's all about expectations. People want heroes and champions. They want to be on the winning team. They want to be associated with the high and mighty not the weak and lowly. A crucified messiah was unexpected and therefore rejected. On the other side of town there was another triumphal entry. Yes, there were actually two that took place. Pontius Pilate rode into Jerusalem on a war horse. He led an army of troops dressed in brilliant battle gear. The sound of the drummer could be heard beating out the foot soldier's cadence. It was a show of force and power. As the Governor of Judea Pilate worked for the Emperor Augustine and Augustine was considered a god. So then, Pilate was considered the son of god. The crowds would be forced to decide. Do I follow the one who comes in humility or do I follow the one who comes in power? Most are drawn to power. Christians are drawn by sacrifice. Every day people make the choice to choose power and might over sacrifice and love. They make the choice to choose “the way we think things should be done” over “the way God intends them to be.” They make the choice to exchange a fake son of god for the real Son of God. What kind of king do you expect? The fact is, God is much bigger than you think he is. The one riding a donkey was far more powerful than the one riding a war horse. Believe it! God can deal with all your doubts and your failures, he’s the creator of the universe and he has sent his son to be the sacrificial king that captures your heart.
A message from the series "Aligned." In the spring of 1989 syndicated talk show host Larry King interviewed Shirley MacLaine on the New Age. When a Christian caller challenged her view with an appeal to the New Testament, MacLaine brushed him off with the objection that the Bible has been changed and translated so many times over the last 2000 years that it's impossible to have any confidence in its accuracy. King was quick to endorse her "facts." "Everyone knows that," he stated and the conversation moved on. The case against the BIble's reliability goes like this...How can we know that the documents we have in our possession accurately reflect originals destroyed almost two millennia ago? Communication is never perfect; people make mistakes. Errors are compounded with each successive generation - have you ever played the telephone game?? By the time 2000 years pass, it's anyone's guess what the original said. This criticism comes from those who don't know the real issues. They are ignorant of the facts. The question of authenticity is not really a religious concern at all; it's an academic one. It can be answered in an academic way which is completely unrelated to spiritual convictions. So I'd like to introduce you to our special guest speaker this Sunday: Dr. Peter Williams. He is the principal of Tyndale House Cambridge. I had the privilege of studying at Tyndale House in the summer of 2015 and the library is remarkable. Dr. Williams is a also a lecturer on Hebrew language at the University of Cambridge. He earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D., at the University of Cambridge studying ancient languages related to the Bible. Prior to leading Tyndale House, he was a Senior Lecturer in New Testament in the University of Aberdeen. In other words, this guy knows his stuff and I'm super glad he will be with us. Dr. Williams helps us understand that the facts reveal the Bible has not been altered and can be trusted!
A message from the series "Aligned." The story itself was still pretty raw. It was a certainly a touchy subject. Jesus and the cross didn’t have tradition yet. It wasn’t in the fabric of any culture yet. In fact, the message of Jesus was still shocking to most who would hear it. Imagine telling someone an improbable story using unfamiliar words about an event that happened a few years back where the leader died; at the same time, you have to communicate that it is the secret to everything. You would have to be pretty adept at presenting this one – especially given the competition in Corinth. Speaking and telling stories publicly was a big deal in Corinth. It was a pre-social media, pre-mass media, pre-printing press world. Public speakers were a major source of entertainment. The elite speakers were called Sophists – and they were wise. They would make a living by going around and speaking and debating at public gatherings, banquets, and parties. They would come with a bit of “truth” wrapped with fancy logic and clever presentation. When they debated, it wasn’t always about who was right, it was about who made the greatest presentation. And these speakers knew how to work a crowd with their stories. Paul finds himself right in the middle of this scene in Corinth. And the reality is that he could have gone toe-to-toe with the Sophists in public with the message of the gospel. He was an educated man with great reputation. He was an expert on the law. His writings show he was an expert in persuasion. He could have easily wowed the crowd with his skill. And yet, he chose, on the basis of all he says in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, to present the gospel in a much different way – in a way to which you and I can easily relate 2000 years later. Sharing the gospel today in north Scottsdale poses many of the same challenges for us as it did for Paul among the Corinthians. This Sunday, you’ll discover how simple it can really be.
A message from the series "Aligned."
A message from the series "Aligned."
A message from the series "Blessed."
A message from the series "Blessed."