Posts Tagged With: sermon

A Minor Prophet with a MAJOR Message

Welcome to Peter’s first-ever sermon.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this fisherman-turned-preacher’s initial foray into the world of sermonizing is memorable in extreme.

And whether you realize it or not, Peter’s first sermon out of the gate is all about… Grasshoppers. As in locusts. Lots and lots of locusts.

A plague of locusts. A past-plague of locusts. A coming plague of locusts. And a future (even future for us) plague of locusts. See it there in Acts 2:14-16?

Listen as I read it to you, and see if you can hear ominous chomps of locusts:

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel.”

See any locusts in that? No? Well, then, keep listening. Because as you are about to hear, it is vital that we do.

His name is Joel. He is one of so-called 12 “Minor Prophets.” But make no mistake about this: Joel may have been a “Minor Prophet.” But there was absolutely nothing minor about his message.

Let me ever-so-briefly remind you of structure of the Old Testament…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Mysterious Member of the Trinity (Part 2)

flickr-holy-spirit-stained-glassYou could call the Holy Spirit Jesus’ going away present, first to His disciples, and then, of course, to each of us. As you will hear in this PODCAST, we’re talking about The Third Member of Trinity, the Mysterious Member of the Trinity.

Here in John 14-17 — the so-called Upper Room Discourse, even though as we noted last week, Jesus taught the amazing truths of John 15-17 after He and the disciples-minus-Judas had hastily departed the Upper Room, steps ahead of the Judas-led-posse seeking Jesus’ arrest — we have the first extended theological discussion of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, actually in the entire Bible.

Up until now the biblical writers have been largely silent regarding the multifaceted ministry of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit is mentioned throughout the Old Testament. But the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is not developed in the Old Testament. This, as you are about to hear, for very good reason, one that harkens all the way back to the very first podcast in this series.

So here we have, in the Upper Room Discourse, one of the very few places in Scripture where the biblical writers (in this case, John) devote much ink and parchment to a discussion of the Mysterious Member of the Trinity.

One of three principle themes that Jesus develops in this, His  farewell address to His men, literally minutes before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Underscoring this entire Upper Room Discourse is a vitally

important principle to which Jesus alluded in High Priestly Prayer that we will study in detail in John 17. A declarative sentence of very few words that speaks volumes as to how Jesus wants His committed followers then and now to engage the world in which we live.

John 17:15: “Father, I do not ask you to take my followers out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.”

HOW UTTERLY IRONIC!!! (I’ll tell just how ironic in this podcast. Enjoy!)

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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In a Word… “Irresistible.”

Someone near and dear to my heart shared with me something from his heart that, to be honest, broke my heart.

He admitted to me,

“If all I had to go by were many of the Christians I have known — the things they have said, the way they have said them, the way my family and I have been treated by those in the ‘church,’ especially when we needed them the most — I never would have become one.”

Ouch! That was painful to hear. But you know what? Upon sober reflection, I understand exactly why he said what he said.

He wasn’t the first to say it. He most certainly won’t be the last. 

I heard in his words an eerily-familiar echo. An echo of something the famous Gandhi once said. 

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Let’s say it together: “Ouch.”

It was this very sentiment that compelled me fourteen months ago — after experiencing what you could appropriately call a crisis of faith — to begin at the beginning. Laying aside everything that I thought I knew about Jesus — all that I had heard preached in “church” over all these years, all that I see lived out in so many “Christians” — and starting over with no preconceived ideas whatsoever about who I thought Jesus was/is.

With my fragile and faltering faith literally hanging in the balance, I dove headfirst into the four Gospels with but one singular goal in mind: 

To discover who Jesus REALLY is.

By harmonizing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and moving ever so slowly and deliberately through the life of Jesus from before His birth to after His resurrection, I was and am desperate to cut through all the haze, filter out all the noise, and see Jesus as He really is.

The dear people at the Safe Haven have joined me in this journey that we have called, Jesus in High Definition. And for each of these dear people walking this road with me, I am profoundly grateful. (By the way, you are more than welcome to join us on this journey. You can even start way back at the beginning. You’ll find each of our studies — free downloads each — by clicking HERE.)

Well, fourteen months later, we are halfway through the Sermon on the Mount. Want to know what I have discovered thus far?

Jesus isn’t anything like I’ve been taught that He is. Jesus isn’t anything like I’ve been shown that He is.

In a word, the Jesus who is emerging from the pages of the Gospels is irresistible.

jesushug

Gandhi had it right when he said so simply and yet profoundly,

“I like your Jesus.”

Well, with all due respect to Mr. Gandhi, may I amplify that just a bit? Fact is, “I LOVE my Jesus.” 

Not the Jesus I hear about in church, a picture that is far-too-often distorted.

Certainly not the Jesus of church history. You know, the Jesus of the Crusades, Inquisition, or Holocaust. The Jesus of the Gospels was NEVER a part of any of that.

Not the Jesus I hear pontificated about by politicians who invoke His matchless name to pander to the so-called “Christian right” (whatever that is) to win votes. (People looking to the talking heads at Fox News, or any other news, to see modern-day reflections of Jesus are looking in the wrong place!)

Not the Jesus I see when so many of His “followers” treat others unkindly, harshly, rudely, critically, uncharitably, insensitively, impatiently, judgmentally, with unnecessary cruelty. With an “I’m-better-than-you” arrogance. With a “You’re here to serve me” attitude. Quick to complain when inconvenienced. With an unwillingness ever to be wronged, a refusal ever to turn the other cheek. You know… an empty “fruit-of-the-Spirit” basket.

Jesus was NEVER.ANY.OF.THOSE.THINGS. Ever!

Yes, I LOVE my Jesus. The irresistible Jesus. The Jesus of the Gospels. The Jesus whom I get to introduce each week to the precious people at Safe Haven.

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