Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Luke 9:57-62: As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." To another He said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God."
Jesus Seems Harsh:
Following Jesus seems harsh. There is no cushy bed in which to sleep. Not even an old "No tell motel." Jesus also seems down right mean to tell a person who wants to follow Him that he can't even bury his father. Nor can another say goodbye to the family he loves. Why is Jesus so mean?
I think that Jesus is not being mean, but being brutally honest. Following Jesus takes commitment, dedication, and even a single minded focus. Jesus is basically saying, "Don't let the past hold you back from the future life that you have."
What Keeps You...
From following Jesus? Is it work? Is it play? Is it entertainment? Is it self pleasure? Is it other priorities? What is holding you in the past? What is keeping you from seeing the future?
What is keeping you from following Jesus? Where is you commitment to Him?
When we realize what Jesus has to offer, following Him in all that we do will seem like a no brainer. When we realize the total and complete forgiveness of sins by means of His death on the cross. Think about this. You think it's hard to follow Jesus? Would you take on the curse of dying on a tree in order to give you life? Jesus did. His death was brutal, hard, and mean. Jesus knew what was coming. Jesus knew the harsh reality that His life was going to face. And He took it.
Then, in order to bring new life to us, Jesus was raised from the grave. We are free from the pull of the past in order to embrace the future with Jesus. And that future is freedom from sin and eternal life with God.
Commitment to Follow:
Now with that freedom "In hand," we see our lives from a Jesus point of view. We see our homes, work, family, play, and pleasure as secondary to following and living with Jesus. Following Jesus takes some harsh reality questions to ask.
Does that mean we quit them?
If what we do gets in the way of spending time with Jesus and what we already know what He wants us to do, then... If how we focus our lives on ourselves and our wants and not on what Jesus has already told us to "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself" then...
This is worthy of more discussion. Please weigh in with your comments.
Tuesday June 18, 2019
Luke 8:30-32...38-39: Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion." for many demons had entered him. And they begged Him [Jesus] not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged Him to let them enter these. So He gave them permission. ... The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Him [Jesus] but Jesus sent him away saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for You." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
What Jesus Did:
Picture the scene for a moment. Jesus dares to travel to a "non-Jewish" region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus and the disciples meet up with a man, demon possessed, chained up and going berserk.
Some how, and the man and Jesus had not previously met, knew Jesus and the power that He possesses. "Legion," pleaded with Jesus for mercy. And Jesus was merciful to the demons AND the man possessed. And a lot of bacon went over the cliff. :-)
What Jesus Does for You:
Have you ever struggled with life? Have you been plagued by doubts, insecurities, as well as personal "demons?" Have bad things happened to you? If you answered no to one of the questions, you're either very young and don't realize what's going on or you're not recognizing reality.
We all struggle with something. AND God never left us without relief, hope, and salvation. And the source of our relief, hope, and salvation is JESUS! Jesus went through struggles, especially those at the end of His life, that we will not face. Jesus endure them in order to spare us and save us. Jesus is our hope. Hope, that is built through sufferings, perseverance, and character building will never disappoint us because it is built on Jesus. And Jesus is our salvation. He removes those demons and casts them away. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.
The "Legion" possessed man wanted to leave the area and follow Jesus. Jesus gave him a different path. The man was to stay in his home town and tell the people there what Jesus did to him and for him. This was, for the man, his "bloom where you are planted." This was his call to "make disciples" where he was.
It's the Same for Us:
We are also placed in our community, congregation, school, and county in order to tell the world around us "what Jesus has done for us." We are in the opportunity of a lifetime that will walk the Disciple life where He wants us. We are in our community to live for Jesus, with Jesus, and powered by the Holy Spirit through the Word. We are equipped with faith and life, encouraged with the hope that does not disappoint to engage people with the love of God in Jesus.
What do you think? Ready to go and serve?
Monday, June 10, 2019
Acts 2:36: [Peter is saying,] "Let all the house if Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him [Jesus] both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
This sentence is Peter's last sentence of his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. What a way to wrap up a message. It was a great ending. Why do you ask? Look at the result. About 3000 people became believers in Christ.
And it all points to the work of the Father.
I would encourage you to read verses 22 - 35. I don't think that there is a better connection made to Jesus the Son and His work along with God the Father and His work.
God the Father Has a Plan:
The plan was previewed and prophesied about in the Old Testament, kind of like a movie preview at a theatre. God's plan came to a glorious conclusion in Jesus. Peter brings that out in his sermon.
For us today, let us concentrate on the ending.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord, the Christ, also known as the Messiah, was crucified to save sinners. God also raised His Son so that you and I will one day rise from death to life and live with our Father forever. What great joy these words bring. What great life these words bring. And God the Holy Spirit used those words to convict people of their sin and lead them to life and forgiveness with God.
Let us walk then with God. Let us dedicate our lives to Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Let us love Him, our Savior, our Christ, and our Lord, with all of our hearts, minds, and being. And let us love one another as well.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it fillet the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now That I Have Your Attention:
Shortly after the departure of Jesus back to heaven on the Day of Ascension, the promised Holy Spirit arrived. And there was no mistaking His arrival. The sound of the mighty wind and the sight of the tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit made Himself known.
It was like "Now that I have your attention..." And this is consistent with God. When He wants to make Himself known, He leaves no doubt. Whether it's the flood, the chariot of fire that scooped up Elijah, or the birth of God in baby Jesus, God makes Himself know in a dramatic way.
The Power to Tell:
Jesus told His apostles that this was going to happen. Just before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His apostles, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
After the sound and the tongues, the power of the Holy Spirit came to the apostles.
Some might say that the apostles began to talk about Jesus on their own because they summoned the courage to do so on their own.
Let's explore this a moment. Could you, who have been sitting in this house with a locked door for fear of the Jews who hated Jesus and you, suddenly with passion and power proclaim Jesus to a hostile crowd? It would be very unlikely, even impossible for you to do so. People do not overcome their fear it that radical of a way without a giant push.
And that push was the power of the Holy Spirit. It was as if the apostles were new men. And they were.
They Were New Men:
They were no longer timid. They did not act upon fear or worry about what someone might think of them. Even some in the crowd thought that this "display" was a result of too much alcohol.
Their confidence to speak of Jesus did not come from a bottle. It came from God. They were living new lives! They were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak of what they knew of Jesus. The Holy Spirit made them different. They no longer were timid, shy, and fearful of themselves and others. God the Holy Spirit gave to them the power to set all that aside and trust Him.
We are New People:
The same Holy Spirit changes us and inspires us to be bold and strong in our disciple life. When we come to grips with that reality, when we trust the Holy Spirit and His guidance, we then let go of the fear, timidity, and reservations. When we trust the Holy Spirit and the truth He speaks of Jesus, it is the power of God that leads to move forward with confidence and boldness in what and in whom we believe.
It's like this, when we begin to more fully realize what God has done for us in Jesus, we will more fully worship, pray, and serve Him.
Any thoughts? Please share.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.