SHC Weekly Sermon Reflections Week of September 20- September 26, 2015 Sermon Series- Divine Healing Sermon Theme- Christ Calls Us to Repentance

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Today’s focus- Blog entry



After writing about situations that make me uncomfortable last week, I experienced one this week.


I traveled to Atlanta to take part in what we call Preacher Camp. There are 14 ministers who have been invited into a mentoring relationship with Don McLaughlin and Randy Harris.Somehow, I was fortunate enough to be invited into this group. We spent several days together praying, sharing, dreaming, and asking questions about what God could be calling us to do in our churches, our communities and the Kingdom of God as a whole. It was a wonderful time.


But to get to preachercamp, I had to fly. Ick.


Flying is often so much faster than driving and can be less stressful too. But unfortunately you have to deal with the details of travel. Printing boarding passes, meeting up with fellow travellers to carpool in a rental, securing and settling into said rental car, navigating unfamiliar streets, living out of a suitcase, and many other details of travel can be less than relaxing. But in my opinion, all of that isn’t so bad. The awkward, painful part is the airport.


Getting a boarding pass isn’t bad. Getting through security is not too bad unless you look threatening. Removing my shoes, belt and jacket and then putting them back on in front of 1,500+ strangers isn’t my favorite thing, but I can live with it. Carrying all my bags into the restroom stall with me is a challenge. But by far the moststressful and difficult part of airports for me is walking in those huge crowds.


As you walk through the airport, many people are moving with purpose and urgency. Some are standing in the middle of the walking path, oblivious to the rushing crowds around them. Some are running with their bags like the McCallister family trying to get back to Kevin in Home Alone. There are people in wheelchairs, Segway riders, motorized carts and even golf/utility carts.Walking in this setting brings about anxiety and discomfort for me. I don’twant to run into people or walk too slow or too fast. And the worst is realizing you’ve gone too far and having to turn around.

When you have to turn around in a crowd, it is nearly impossible to do so without bumping people and meeting resistance. In that moment, you begin to feel like a salmon swimming upstream. Going with the flow is so much easier by comparison. You don’t feel nearly the degree of difficulty or resistance. But you have to turn and walk towards the correct destination, right? If not, you will end up in the wrong place.


As we spend the week in Luke 13-18, we will focus on the call of Christ to repent. Repent means to change or to turn from sin and back to God. At times, we may feel like we are swimming upstream. It may have been easier to swim with the crowd rather than experience resistance, but Christ assures us that walking towards God puts us on track to the right destination.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 13:24-30


“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”


While it is true that we are invited into the fold of God through grace, God still expects a response from us. Jesus calls again and again for God’s people to repent and live lives that honor God. Spend time today reflecting on your life. How would Jesus assess your actions, thoughts and words if you were face to face with the Messiah?




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 13:34-35


“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”


As Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, we get some insight into the way sin, rejection and rebellion impact God’s heart. He desires for you to follow Him and serve Him. He wants your life to honor and proclaim His goodness. When this is not the case, His heart is broken. Today, consider your response to your sin, rejection and rebellion. Does it break your heart? Are you numb to it? Do you rejoice in it? Consider how God’s reaction to your sin should impact you.





Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 14:1-6


“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in thelaw, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say.”


Jesus has a lot to say about legalism and the rule-keeping mentality that some of the religious people of the day embraced. Instead of experiencing God through Jesus, they were dedicated to working their way into God’s favor. They could not see God in flesh standing before them because of their focus on the rules. His call to them was to turn to Him. Rules have their place. Works of service are wonderful. Holy living is a call from God. But none of those can replace God. Today, think about your approach to grace, works and righteousness, and fix your gaze on Jesus.





Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 15:1-7


“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”


In response to criticism Jesus was (yet again) receiving because of the company He kept, Jesus decides to teach through a trio of stories. The first of these three ‘lost parables’ in Luke focuses on a lost sheep. As you read this, think of yourself and all of humankind as the lostsheep and God as the shepherd. Reflect on how this changes your reading of the story, and how you view yourself, God and the people around you.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 15:8-10


“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


Jesus speaks in a language we all understand- money. We want money. We chase after money. We rejoice when we get money. And on a much deeper level, this is how God responds to a repentant heart. Spend some time today reflecting on the idea that God values you and rejoices in all who come back to Him.





Saturday, September 26, 2015

Today’s focus- Luke 18:9-14


“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else,Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all Iget.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


One of the vital elements of repentance is humility. Who displayed humility in this story? Who did not? What is it that Jesus is trying to teach us with these words? Spend some time today thinking about how you view yourself. Do you think more like the Pharisee or the taxcollector?