Our Next Gen Pastor ( whose name just happens to be Pastor Jen) preached the Mother’s Day Message today.
Here are some powerful quotes from the sermon entitled “Forgotten”
Not everyone gets to see the miracle. Lack of faith can cut us out of the room where the
miracle happens.- Jen Lewiston
When we refuse to read the Bible we make a God of our own creation.- Jen Lewiston
If we serving Jesus, we will walk in freedom.- Jen Lewiston
We are Jesus’ inheritance. He will never let us go.- Jen Lewiston
Stop Panicking. God will not fail you!- Jen Lewiston
Today is the last segment of this sermon series from Palm Sunday. It has been a long time in coming but we are at last at the finish. I hope it has spoke to you.
If you would like to hear the sermon in its entirety you can find it HERE AT NOTES FROM THE VICARAGE.
Here is out final segment:
We are called to draw our lines in the sand with meekness and love and one more thing. Jesus drew His line in the sand at the triumphal entry with worship. Let’s look back at the Scripture:
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
‘Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!’
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’[c]
‘Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!’.” Ma. 21
Now please understand me Jesus line was not about music. It was not about any song. Worship is not music. It is the act of putting God first and obeying what He tells you to do. It is about suspending your wants and desires because you know what God wants, what God desires and you are going to do that instead.
Can I just say you can come to church every Sunday and sing songs with us and still never worship God. Your song does not become worship until it is directed from a heart that is focused solely on loving God and obeying His will for your life.
Jesus worshiped the Father when he rode into Jerusalem that day. Do you know why what he did was worship? It was worship because in the chapter right before Jesus Triumphal entry Matthew records another event.
“Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!’.” Matthew 20:17-19
We know from His prayer in Gethsemane that Jesus did not want to die, but he had suspended his wants and desires in order to worship His Father.
Your line in the sand is going to require that you suspend your wants and desires in order to fulfill God’s purposes. You are going to have to go against your own flesh in this because your flesh does not want to honor God. It will raise up any reason it can find to keep you from doing honoring your Lord.
We are all coming to our line in the sand moments. Do my white socks offend you? Well hold on because my white socks are nothing in comparison to the choices I…we are about to make for the kingdom of God. The lines in the sand are good things. It is only beyond these lines in the sand that the miracles our lives were always meant to be are found…but there is a cost. In order to draw our lines in the sand we have to say good bye to the status quo and we have to follow the advice of our lead Pastor’s wife, Pastor Jen, to be “All In”. God has called each and everyone of us to this place we are in for this season of our life and the life of our community. God is asking, “What will you do with this moment?”.
It is time for another installment of “Do My White Socks Offend You”. This is a sermon I recently preached.
Here is today’s installment.
When we draw our lines in the sand we have now learned we have to do it meekly but more than that we also need to draw those lines in the sand with a loving spirit. Jesus entered Jerusalem and drew His line in the sand declaring himself king of the world with love as his governing motive. He did not come to Jerusalem thinking of himself he came thinking primarily of others. How do we know this?
John chapter 13 gives us a glimpse into his heart when John writes,
“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.”
You see while Jesus’ disciples and followers looked at his triumphal entry as his declaration of power over Rome and the Sanhedrin, Jesus understood that the week he was about to face was not about his power but about his sacrifice. He didn’t ride into Jerusalem thinking about becoming king of the world. He came into Jerusalem with the mindset of loving the world and sacrificing Himself for it. His kingship meant little to Him at that moment. What mattered was His relationship to the people of the world He was about to die for.
You need to understand that your line in the sand must be drawn with love. If it is going to matter for eternity your line in the sand must not be about what is good for you. It must be about what is good for the people you are sent to: the people of your family, your neighborhood, your workplace, your community.
Your line in the sand if it is drawn with love erases the question “What’s in it for me?”
It causes you to ask this question instead “What will help them?”
When that becomes the real question of your life then no price is too high to pay in money, work or reputation. Nothing matters except loving others as Jesus did!
Here is Pt. 4 of Cornerstone’s Palm Sunday service, “Do My White Socks Offend You.”
Jesus triumphal entry teaches us how we are to draw our own lines in the sand when the time comes. Here is the first of three takeaways from Jesus’ triumphal entry that will inform how we are to live and enter and draw our own lines in the sand when the time comes.
We need to draw our lines in the sand with meekness.
Jesus drew his line in the sand at the triumphal entry with meekness or gentleness.
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
Jesus had all the power in the world. He had hands that cleansed leprosy with a touch, a voice that controlled demons and raised the dead. He had the power to walk on water and to control the weather. He could make food appear out of thin air, and he had the ability to see the future. He could kill with a word as he had demonstrated with the fig tree, and heal people without even being present. He had the favor of the people at that moment, and you know he could have chosen a Roman war horse to ride in on. Instead Jesus , the king of Kings and Lord of Lords decided to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. He had all kinds of power he could have used and yet he chose to ride in among the people the same way his mother had ridden into Bethlehem 33 years before, on a donkey.
A week later Jesus said this to his disciple Peter when Peter tried to defend him with violence,
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:52-54
If Jesus line drawing was done humbly and gently and non-violently should our line drawing be done in any different attitude?
So many of our brothers and sisters have forgotten that our warfare is not like the world’s warfare. We don’t fight like the world fights any longer. Galatians 5:20-23 tells us we are called to leave behind malice, hatred, quarreling, division, dissension and jealousy and we are called to fight with the weapons of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If you lilked this you can find the whole service by clicking HERE TO GO OVER TO NOTES FROM THE VICARAGE.
Today we continue with Part 3 of our Pal Sunday sermon from Cornerstone Church.
If you want to hear the service in its entirety you can click HERE.
Now here are today’s thoughts:
I don’t know about you but for myself I do not mind having people disagree with me about little things like the color of my socks, but on things that are really important I do not want to cause a kerfuffle with the community around me. I want to be seen as nice and wonderful and totally acceptable. When it comes to the important things in life I am more liable to just keep a low profile so as not to make waves.
Unfortunately, that is not how Jesus works. That is not how Christianity works. Wherever God goes He makes a palpable difference. Even if people do not realize it right up front God always makes a splash, a change, a tectonic shift. His church is no different. God’s church should be an agent of change in a community.
Here are some of the things people said about Jesus church in the first century:
“A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
In another place it says this:
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying,“This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
Assault on Jason’s House
5 But the Jews [a]who were not persuaded, [b]becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:1-6
We are about to start drawing lines that matter in the sand. When we do it may very well turn the world upside down because the healing message of Jesus is not a subculture of our current culture. It is a counter culture to our current culture. We preach Christ crucified, risen and coming again to judge the living and the dead and the world says, “There is no God except the ones we make with our own hands and minds and God serves us. We are the real gods.”
I had the privilege of preaching the Palm Sunday Message at Cornerstone Church in Winchendon MA last weekend. Below you will find part 1 of the Transcript of the sermon. To see a video of the whole service you can CLICK HERE.
DO MY WHITE SOCKS OFFEND YOU?
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. That is the day the Christian Church celebrates one of the most controversial moves Jesus made in his entire ministry, the triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The triumphal entry was bigger than Jesus healing people on Saturdays (for which he almost got stoned). It was bigger than rebuking the Pharisees and Saducees together ( that would be like taking on both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress and telling them they all smoke crack). It was more important than Jesus feeding 5,000 people with two loaves of bread and a few small fish or his walking on water. It was even bigger than His raising of Lazarus from the dead. This one act was more important than the sermon on the Mount, or His teaching about the last days of mankind. This one act was Jesus line in the sand moment where He made a stand about who and what He was.
By this act, He was stating to all the Jews and by extension all the world, “ I am not just a teacher. I am not just a prophet. I am not just a healer. I am the Messiah, the Savior of mankind. I am the One promised to Eve at the beginning of time, the One who has come to crush the serpent, the Devil, the ancient enemy of God and all mankind. I am the One promised to Moses. I am the Son of David the One destined to sit on the throne of the world forever and set all things right. I am the One promised to all the prophets that was coming to take away the sin of the world and bring light to all mankind.”
Oh, Jesus said that He was the Messiah to small groups of people throughout the course of His three year ministry, but never had He given the nation and the whole world a clear cut sign that He was laying claim the throne of David. That is until this day.
Let’s read it in the Scripture
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
A few weeks ago God gave me a devotion for one of our prayer meetings which He later had me develop into the sermon I presented this Sunday morning to our people at Cornerstone.
Here is part 1 which begins with the opening Scripture reference and a piece of flash fiction.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, I Peter 3:15
Tom sat on the white marble bench rocking himself gently back and forth. He clutched his hands tight under his armpits and mumbled incoherently to himself. He thought he should stand and offer his seat to the elderly lady behind him, but he was concerned if he did he might start pacing again and bring down the ire of the guards arrayed in shining white stationed all over the halls. None of them bore weapons but they were so big Tom thought weapons would hardly be required to bring down the sad gathering of prisoners standing in line for the judge.
So, Tom sat and rocked wondering how he had gotten here. He looked at the old lady and wondered what she had done to earn her place in line, then he gazed at the teenager standing behind her. He thought once again about giving up his seat, but cast the thought quickly away. He had stood long enough in the line to get to the judge. It had taken hours to get to the door of the courtroom and this one seat of cold white marble, that matched the stark surroundings of the judgment hall. Besides she didn’t speak English. Tom knew this because he had tried to engage her in conversation in the first hours of standing in the long line of people called into the forced march toward the judgment hall.
Tom was still dismayed at the turns his life had taken. In December of 2016 life had been normal. Well, as normal as those days could have been. He remembered the election. He remembered voting. He remembered the riots afterwards. He remembered the earthquake. He remembered the moments of pain as he lay pinned under the rubble of his Boston brownstone. Then he remembered waking up and being strangely pain free. He remembered being brought up out from the rubble by a burly men dressed in white. His rescuer had plucked Tom from where he lay as if Tom were but a feather.
The first question Tom asked as he was carried from his tomb was, “how long was I trapped?”
“A thousand and seven years.” Was the sad reply.
Tom chuckled, “Thanks bud…. No really.”
The man would say no more. Tom had learned more, though. As he was placed in the line of what seemed to be millions of souls and forced to march slowly, inexorably up a hill that receded high into the clouds, Tom understood he was nowhere in Massachusetts. The air felt like the sweetest spring. The trees leading up the hill were in blossom and the song of birds filled the air along with something else, something deeper, richer. A sound like he had never heard came from every rock and tree and even from the guards. It was as if their lives themselves sang and rejoiced in this place. Light streamed from everything while all around the line of marchers the air swelled with exuberance and joy. Yet all the marchers were cast down. None lifted their heads and not one sound came from their lives or their mouths. Tom and his million-billion companions were like a blight of darkness on the surface of this world of light.
At length Tom asked the question to no one in particular, “Why are we all so sad?”
The man in front of him answered, “Because we are sinners and we have come to the time of our judgment.”
Tom almost laughed out loud at that. He was no sinner. He didn’t even believe in sin. He didn’t really believe in God. Well, he believed in the Universe, that power existed in higher forms, but God like: Jesus or Allah or Odin or ultimate power …well gods like that… no, he didn’t believe in them. He also didn’t believe men were really evil but that everyone was basically good. At least he was basically good. After all he was a productive member of society. He did what he thought was right. He tried. He voted. He gave some money to good causes. He didn’t discriminate. He was nice to everyone, mostly. What was there to judge?
Those thoughts had been hours or days before the white marble bench. During his time in line Tom had thought long and hard about his life. He realized it really was the year 3023. He realized the world he had fallen asleep in was not the world he had awoken in. He realized there was a God, and that His real sin had been in never acknowledging that fact. He realized that he had missed something in his life. He had missed God. Somewhere along the line he had failed to seek God out. More than that, he couldn’t remember ever hearing about God or that what he was living through now was a part of God’s plan. He realized, though, that all this was true. All of this was real; And as he realized these things Tom slipped deeper and deeper into a depression from which he knew he would never recover, because as he sat on the white marble bench awaiting his turn before the judge he realized it was too late to change anything.
Today I am sharing the final excerpt from my most recent sermon at Cornerstone church.
If you missed:
And now here is Run Pt. 5
Yesterday we concluded by saying, God’s word doesn’t call us to run away or to run to battle. God’s Word tells us to run to God and nowhere else. Let’s look at Hebrews 11 and 12 to start this discussion.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.2Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.4It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.”aFor before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.7It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
30It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
31It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.35Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,d and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.a Because of the joyb awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.3Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;c then you won’t become weary and give up. 4After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
So how are we to run?
Not away. Do not withdraw from society.
Not to Battle. Your role is not to fight people who disagree with you or even to fix the problems or change society.
We are to run to Jesus and then He can fill us and change the world through us, but our first priority in running is never to fix the problem; It is always to find God in the problem, because if we find where He is, then we can stand with Him in the midst and watch as He changes the problem into a possibility.
Warriors of Fire is a prayer group here at Cornerstone that meets every Thursday afternoon from 1:30- 3. Most Thursdays the group prays but once or twice a month we do a teaching. At our last teaching we had a lengthy discussion on the fact that as Christians we complicate Christianity by trying to do God’s job in fixing the problems of life and culture. We quote verses like 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says,
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
That verse tells us how to fix our culture in 4 steps humble yourself, pray, seek God’s face and repent of your personal sins. Then God will move miraculously and heal your land.
We say we believe that but rather than use God’s four steps which would involve us running to God. We either give up on our culture and run away or we attack our culture and run in to battle it. We’ll rally and campaign by the hundreds and sign petitions by the thousands to stop the gays from practicing gay marriage and the at risk moms from practicing abortion. We’ll swear and scream on Facebook to get Christians to vote for a guy or a gal neither of whom have one lick of anointing or strength to change the fall of our culture into spiritual darkness. Meanwhile we all think it is a huge victory that 20 out of 300 show up for prayer on Saturday nights to ask God to anoint our services and if we can break 10 at our weekday prayer meetings we think we’ve achieved something. Personally we celebrate if we manage a full 15 minutes in prayer and Bible reading a day.
Folks by and large today, some Christians are running away from life. Some are running in to battle life in their own strength but honestly most of us are not running to God in the way He has called us to.
Only running to God is ever going to effectively change your home, your situation, your family, your neighborhood, your city, your state or your country. No amount of running away or running in your own strength to fix the situation is going to work only running to God by humbling yourself, by praying, by seeking His face, by turning from your personal individual wicked ways will work!