The first ever sermon I heard

I was thinking about the first sermon I ever heard the other day. It was a sermon on the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37.

It was on a Saturday night at the local church in 1988. I had the desire to go and I just walked in and sat at the back. The Minister read the passage, then talked for about five minutes on it.

He explained the story that it was a religious person asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered, “Love God and love your neighbour”. The story of the Good Samaritan came in when the man asked who is his neighbour.

From the explanation it was very clear that it was the man in need who had been beaten on the road was the neighbour. It was also very clear it wasn’t the Priest or the Levite that was the hero. It was the despised Samaritan.

The short message ended with the challenge from Luke 10:37… “Well go and do likewise”.

It was only a short message but it had a profound effect on me. It was amazing how 5-7 minutes in total could whack me between the eyes. Love God, love your neighbour and live like the Good Samaritan.

I guess this sermon also shaped my preaching too. It taught me that not all sermons need to be 30-60 minutes to be effective. They just need to have a powerful message and give the listeners something to think about and aspire to.

God Bless,

Dave

 

Fullness and abundance in surrender

Here is a snippet from today’s Our Daily Bread titled, “Losing And Finding Our Lives In Him”. These two paragraphs jumped out at me so I thought I would share them.

“I suspect that many of us may be afraid of what will happen if we obey Jesus’ words: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

Our Savior reminded His followers that He came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10). We are called to lose our lives for Christ, and in so doing discover the fullness of life in Him.”

I think it is a good reminder today. The more we surrender to Christ, the more fuller and abundant our lives will be.

God Bless,
Dave

Reflections on the healed Leper

On the weekend I spoke on the Leper that Jesus healed in Matthew 8:1-4. The full message is available here.

I have heard this passage preached on a number of times. Each time it has been about the Leper saying to Jesus “If you are willing, You can make me clean”. The messages focused on “I am willing” from Jesus and the healing.

On the weekend I felt led to focus on the bigger picture of the healing. The fact that as a Leper he would have been an outcast from society and the world he knew. He couldn’t see his family, he couldn’t work, he couldn’t worship at the Temple. He had to live outside and alone.

This miracle healing was done by Jesus out of compassion for the Leper, but it also had greater implications for him as a person. He was restored in body, he was restored to family and community life, and he was restored spiritually as he could attend the Temple and Synagogue once more.

As a part of the message I shared some application points we can use for today.

1. Bring your problem to Jesus – in Matthew 8 & 9 Jesus intervened in 8 different miracle type situations. He can handle any problem we bring Him. Prayer should our first reaction, not our last resort.

2. We see how important community life is to Jesus – He restored the man to his former life and world. Community is important to Jesus and it should be to us too. This life is about our journey, not just my journey.

3. We need to follow Jesus’ instructions correctly – In the Mark version of the story (Mark 1:45) we see that the man telling everyone impeded Jesus’ work in the town. He couldn’t move around freely. Obedience is vital even when we don’t understand. There is always a bigger picture God is working on.

4. We can’t treat people like outcasts – Jesus was a Saviour to all people. He welcomed all races, backgrounds and he even touched Lepers! We need to welcome all peoples no matter how different they are to us.

5. This story is a picture of God and mankind – In this story we see that the leper was outside the city alone. This is what it is like for many people who are living outside the family of God. People need the loving and saving touch from Jesus too. He wants to deliver this through us.

As you can see the story of Jesus healing the Leper has more layers to it and more we can draw out for us today.

God Bless,

Dave

 

 

Trusting God’s thoughts and ways

In the Bible God says “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NLT).

I am so glad God’s thoughts are above my thoughts and His ways are far above my ways. I am so limited in my thinking and my power, actions and abilities are limited.

Compare this to God. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. He knows the beginning to the end. He knows how it is all planned and how it will all turn out.

That is why I can trust Him. That is why you can trust Him. Trust Him with your today, Trust Him with your tomorrow. Just trust His thoughts and His ways.

God Bless,
Dave

Proverbs 3 promises

I was reading Proverbs 3:1-10 NLT this morning. The commands to follow and the promises attached to them really jumped out at me this morning. If you have a read you will see them. They don’t need any commentary…

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.

3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

God Bless,

Dave

Bring your problem to Jesus

I was reading Matthew chapters 8 and 9 for a message I am preparing. In this section Jesus performed eight miracles in a short space of time. Here they are…

  1. The man with leprosy (Matthew 8:1-4) – He knelt before Jesus and said if you are willing I will be healed. Jesus was willing and healed him.
  2. The Centurion’s slave (Matthew 8:5-13) – He asked Jesus to “say the word” and his servant would be healed from a distance. Jesus said the word and he was healed.
  3. The calming of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) – The disciples were terrified as the storm on the lake threatened their lives. They called to Jesus and He stilled the storm.
  4. The Paralytic man – (Matthew 9:1-8) – Some friends brought the paralytic man to Jesus in faith that He could heal him. Jesus told him to pick up his mat and go home. He got up and walked.
  5. The Dead Girl (Matthew 9:18-26) – A man came to Jesus and told of his dead daughter. He said if you touch her, she will live. Jesus touched her and she lived.
  6. The Sick Woman (Matthew 9:20-22) – The woman who had been bleeding non stop for 12 years came to Jesus. She knew if she could touch His cloak she would be healed. She did and she was healed.
  7. The Two Blind Men (Matthew 9:27-31) – Two blind men came asked Jesus to have mercy on them. He asked if they believed He could heal them. They said yes and they were healed.
  8. The Mute Man (Matthew 9:32-33) – A man was brought to Jesus who was demon possessed and could not speak as a result. The demon was driven out and he was healed.

The thing I find interesting about these miracles is that in all of these cases the people brought their problem to Jesus. They came in faith or their friends brought them in faith, and Jesus dealt with their problem and restored the situation.

Nothing was too big or too small.  It didn’t matter if sickness, a demon, death or  the threat of death, Jesus handled it all.

If you are struggling today with an illness, a broken relationship or there is another type of storm in your life, I would encourage you to bring it to Jesus today. He is more than willing and capable of handling it today.

Simply come in faith. Simply bring your problem to Jesus.

God Bless,

Dave