Archive for June, 2014
Happy Father’s Day! Men, I’m grateful to the Lord that you are here today. If you are a husband or a dad, having your family in church with you is so important in living and leaving a legacy. And for the ladies, Father’s Day is also known as “National Elbow Your Husband in the Ribs During the Sermon Day.” Hopefully that won’t be the case today, but rather that the Holy Spirit might elbow all of us in the ribs today. And when He does that He often uses the Word of God. So let’s open our Bibles to Esther 5.
If you’re just joining us today, the book of Esther is about a period in history, 400-500 years before Christ was born, when Jews living in the ancient Persian Empire woke up one day to the news that a law had been passed that they would all be killed. A young Jewish woman named Esther has become the queen of Persia, married to King Xerxes or Ahasuerus. Her father is a man named Mordecai who realizes that Esther, being confined in the palace, doesn’t have a clue what is about to happen. So he alerts her to the situation and tells her that if she doesn’t persuade the king to stop this, the consequences will be grave. So Esther tells Mordecai to gather all his friends together and have them fast. Then she will muster the courage to go to speak to the king. The first eight verses of Esther 5 tell us how she plans her approach to the king. This is important because you don’t just pop in for a chat with the king. So here’s what she does: Read Esther 5:1-8.
ILLUSTRATION – I was thinking again this week about the life of Brooks Douglass who shared his story with us on Easter Sunday. If you were here you may remember that when Brooks was a teenager a horrific tragedy occurred in his family that would forever change everything for him. Two strangers entered their home, murdered Brooks’ father (who was a well-known pastor), his mother, and shot Brooks and his sister leaving them to die. After that awful event Brooks’ life took many twists and turns. He was a naturally gifted person and ended up becoming the youngest state senator in Oklahoma history. Yet all the outward success in his life masked the inward reality that he had never fully dealt with the murder of his parents. He was still filled with hatred for the men who had destroyed his family and his life. In his role as a senator he found himself one day visiting the prison where one of the killers was waiting on death row. After cutting through the red tape, Brooks was finally allowed to sit down face to face with the killer. He just wanted some answers. The man had apologized, but Brooks wasn’t sure he was sincere. After grilling the killer for two hours, Brooks got up, ready to walk out the door, when the killer once more said, “I’m truly sorry.” Brooks said that he felt the Lord saying to him, “You’re not finished here.” (more…)
If you had a piece of paper in front of you I’m sure you would have no trouble writing the names of people you know have made a lasting impact on your life. The first person that comes to your mind may be a parent or a grandparent, a teacher or a coach, a boss or a mentor, a servant of God somewhere in the church you attended. But you know that your life is different today because their life intersected your life.
ILLUSTRATION – I think about John and Rene Harmon who were friends with my family when I was a boy. John was an Air Force master sergeant who worked on airplanes; Rene was a stay-at-home mom for their two children. They were strong believers and attended church each week. Often they invited my sister and me to spend the night with them on Saturday nights so we could go to church with them on Sunday morning. One summer they invited me to Vacation Bible School at their church. I went every day with them; it was the first time I remember hearing the Gospel and realizing that I needed a Savior. It was a few years later before I was saved, but they made a lasting impact upon my life. I wouldn’t be doing what I do today without people like that. I’m sure that you can think of people in your life who have made a lasting impact. (more…)