Our neighbors “across the pond” are all astir with the royal wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine (Kate) Middleton this Friday, April 29. (The lady in my house already has the DVR set!) Americans have nothing that equals the weddings of British royalty. (more…)
Archive for April, 2011
I’m trusting that many of you are here today because you need to hear from God. Some of you are here today in your Sunday best … inside and out. Things are going great. Others are here with broken hearts, and shattered dreams, and deep regrets, and messed up lives. But we all need to hear from God today. (more…)
I love the biblical scene captured for us by Luke in his account of the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus:
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them…” (Luke 24:13-15).
Here are two of Jesus’ disciples who are walking along the road out of Jerusalem after the events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was Sunday, and as far as they knew, Jesus was dead. One of them, according to v.18, is named Cleopas. His companion is not named, but many believe it is his wife, and together they’re going home talking about the things that had happened in Jerusalem that day. (more…)
Years ago I read what was called the “Parable of the Twins.” I’m not sure who originally authored this amazing story, but it is underscores the powerful questions we have about life after death.
Once upon a time, twin boys were conceived in the same womb. Weeks passed and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy: “Isn’t it great that we were conceived? Isn’t it great to be alive?”
Together, the twins explored their world. When they found their mother’s cord that gave them life, they sang for joy: “How great is our mother’s love, that she shares her own life with us!”
As weeks stretched into months, the twins noticed how much each was changing. “What does it mean?” asked the one, “It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end,” said the other. “But I don’t want to go,” said the other one. “I want to stay here always.” “We have no choice,” said the other. “But maybe there is life after birth!” “But how can there be?” responded the one. “We will shed our life cord, and how is life possible without it? Besides, we have seen evidence that others were here before us, and none of them have returned to tell us that there is a life after birth. No, this is the end.”
And so the one fell into deep despair, saying, “If conception ends in birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It’s meaningless! Maybe there is no mother after all?” “But there has to be,” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?” “Have you ever seen our mother?” said the one. “Maybe she lives only in our minds. Maybe we made her up, because the idea made us feel good?”
And so the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear. Finally, the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had passed from their world, they opened they eyes. They cried. For what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams.
In light of the surety of the resurrection of the dead, the Apostle Paul issued this admonition: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Easter is just two weeks from today and we have planned a powerful celebration of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus. We will have our regular schedule that day with services at 8:30 and 11:00 and Bible study at 9:30. Remember that the angels said to the people who came to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, “Come and see…” (more…)
As children we watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and listened, as the animals in Snow White’s house performed their housework, while she sang:
Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace
The scene of Snow White cheerfully whistling and singing while she and the animals swept the floor and washed the dishes seems a bit idealistic, doesn’t it? That’s fine for a children’s cartoon, but not the way things go in the real world. Our tune more likely begins with “grumble while you work.”
Imagine what would happen if we brought our work into the realm of our following Jesus Christ. Would it change the way we think about what we do as a homemaker or a business executive?
This goes all the way back to Creation. Genesis tells us that humans were created in God’s image and immediately given work to do:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ … God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” (Genesis 1:26,28).
Beyond that God has called us to join Him in His redemptive work in this world.
“The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers…” (I Corinthians 3:8-9a).
So we are privileged to work with God in His glorious purposes for the creation and for the re-creation of all things.
And we are to see our daily lives and work in this context. It floods all we do each day with meaning and purpose … even the tasks that are routine and mundane.
So we are called to work with God. But we are also called to work like God. Just think of God doing His great work in creation. At each step along the way He stepped back and said, “It is good!” He rejoiced in His work. It was impossible for God to do anything other than His best. Scientist will explore the universe until time is no more, and they will never get to the bottom (or the top) of the magnificence of God’s creative work.
So when we work like God we give it our best, and rejoice in what we do. And the Scriptures admonish us…
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him … Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:17,23).
So as Christ-followers we live out our high calling in the work we have to do each day in our studies, in our manufacturing, in our housecleaning, in our parenting, or in our computing.
Ask yourself these questions as you go about your work:
- How might God be working through me today as I do my work?
- If I did my work today like God did His work, what would it look like?
- If I knew God was with me, what difference would make in my attitude and actions at work?
Whistle while you work, and your fellow-worker may think you’re odd. But worship and witness while you work and they’ll see something is really unique about you.
Before I begin today I want to take a moment to prepare us for Easter. This is our next great opportunity for inviting others to join us. Recent research has proven what we all instinctively know is true. A very high percentage of people (nearly three-fourths of those surveyed) said they would respond favorably to the invitation of a family member to attend church with them. Two-thirds of them said they would respond favorably if a friend or neighbor invited them. Research also revealed that this number was increased if that invitation came at time like Easter. (more…)