And this Sunday we will be in Luke 24:36-49. We are almost finished with the Gospel of Luke. I think I have enjoyed Luke with you more than any other study we have done together. A question to ask is, what does God have next for us?
This week’s men’s community group has been moved to Thursday at 6:30 pm. We are working through 1 Thessalonians.
In his fighter verse discussion this week Pastor James said that he was looking for something, and saw a relation to David’s thoughts in Psalm 27:13-14. David’s, and Pastor James’ answers both centered on having faith in God and who He is, and believing that He would take care of our needs and feelings of uncertainty. God’s Word is filled with examples of those who are looking for something. Do they find what they are looking for? Yes, if they look in the right place for an answer.
The writer of Hebrews gives an account in chapter 11 of many who looked to God in faith and received a positive answer from Him. One of those mentioned is Abraham:
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Abraham knew that God had something special in store for him and he wanted to be prepared. He expected a result in faith.
By now you might be wondering, “OK Joel, but what does a picture of a bird have to do with this discussion?” The bird is a green heron that I saw while walking through a local park a few evenings ago. I first noticed him when he plunged into the creek and grabbed a fish, which he swallowed headfirst. He then walked through the creek slowly and quietly, looking for a second serving. He didn’t find another one then, so he hopped up to the vantage point on the log. He watched and listened quietly until he saw a second course to grab. I believe he knew that if he was patient, and watched and listened quietly rather than simply taking action, he would be sure to find another meal. Wading through the water looking around didn’t bring him any results, so he did what he knew would work. He planned and waited. He expected a result in faith.
I pray we will be able to expect results in faith as David, Abraham, and the green heron demonstrated.
In Psalm 27:14, it struck me that part of what David wrote– “be strong, and let your heart take courage”– sounds a lot like my traditional closing for this weekly message–
As summer begins (or hopefully will soon begin), I would like for us to keep thinking about community groups. Each every community group involves two or more people and is always about each one of you watching out for each one of you. This is always true whether a group meets for coffee, Bible study, prayer, whatever or whether a group meets once a week, every other week, once a month or whenever. The point is that community groups matter to the life of Calvary. A biblical basis would be and is Hebrews 10:24-25.
I was in a community group this morning and felt compelled to tell these men something. I need you, each one of you. LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY TO THE RESPONSE. It was then said, “We need each other.” So as you think about community groups, think about that statement. We need each other. This may be more true now than ever.
This week’s fighter verse is Psalm 27:13-14. Praying that it gives you courage.
This Sunday will be thinking through Luke 24:13-35.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
How Great Is Our God
GRACE & ASSURANCE — Psalm 136:23-24, 26
It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; He rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever; Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
His Mercy Is More
QUIET MEDITATION | Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“And You Must Remember His Words, Too” – Luke 23:50-24:12
Last Sunday’s sermon from Pastor James left me with these words in my mind:
“In the old rugged Cross, stain’d with blood so divine A wondrous beauty I see For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above To pardon and sanctify me”
I think you will recognize them as the third verse to the classic hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” written by evangelist George Bennard. These four simple lines capture the essence of the account written by Luke in chapter 23 of his gospel. There are many more words and specifics given in the chapter, of course. But these verses remind us of these key truths:
1) Jesus died on a simple rugged cross, in an undignified way. 2) The cross was stained by His blood, reminding us of His suffering. 3) His death was a moment of wonder; it was a period of horror that resulted in beauty for His followers. 4) He was the Lamb of God; the sacrifice and offering to God to cover our sins. 5) He left His glory above with His Father to die in an unimaginably painful and inglorious way. 6) He died on the cross to pardon and sanctify ME (each one of us who believes in and accepts Him).
I don’t know how many times I have sung this hymn and those words in my lifetime. I don’t have a guess, but it would be many. I really haven’t stopped to ponder the words of this verse until considering now how they capture Luke’s account. Many times a few words tell a lot.
While considering Jesus’ death and sacrifice on the cross, it is most important to remember that He suffered that death for us, an did so to move both Himself and us beyond the cross. He was there for a short while and moved to His place of glory next to God. We can all be thankful that the cross was only a temporary stop for Jesus– He was always meant for a more important role beyond it. So are we!
We will also be coming to the Lord’s Table together for communion.
And I really encourage you to check the blog Thursday for the weekly encouragement and check again on Friday for the order of Sunday worship. This all prepares us for gathering together Sunday morning.
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Yesterday Pastor James shared a link to an update from Prince Sabena. His post had great news to share about both Heidi and their baby Ruby. Ruby had improved in health and condition enough to be released from the NICU. She was allowed into the regular room with Heidi. Heidi had also improved in health, with her spinal headache subsiding. Prince’s most telling observation was that, “Most importantly, she has sweet Ruby in her arms.” His next comment was that “We now long to be sent home and reunited with Naomi, Hannah, and Grandma.”
These words from a devoted and loving father reminded me of how God sees us. In 1 John 3:1 John writes, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” From the beginning it was God’s intention that we should live with Him and be His family. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden it separated them (and us) from Him, because God cannot live in the presence of sin. He established the plan through which Christ would be sent to Earth to die for those who accept Him. Those of us who do then have Him living in us while we are here on the physical Earth. Yet God’s ultimate goal is to once again have us living with Him. After our earthly lives we will be reunited with Him, Christ, and the Holy Spirit in a form unknown to us until we reach that time. At the future point in time of His choosing He will end our current world and establish the eternal world (the New Heaven and New Earth), which we will inhabit with new incorruptible bodies. The promise of that place is described by John in Revelation 21:3-4:
“’And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”
God longs for the time when He can be completely present with His people. He can once again walk among His beautiful creation and be present with us as He was with Adam and Eve before they were banished from the garden. I believe being created in God’s image endowed us with the same type of love for our earthly families. As we can see with Prince and Heidi, having their new child with them is a huge blessing. And yet the ultimate goal is for them all to be together as an entire family. I am sure it wasn’t Prince’s intention to preach a sermon as to how his own family is a pattern or type of God’s family, but his words and actions do so in a beautiful way.
Lord, thank you for loving us as your family. And thank you for giving us families for our own support and good here on earth, to help us understand your principles and love for us.