We wish that things we see-able and thinkable when it comes to God's interactions with us. But the truth is that many times they are not. Is the Ascension a point of confusion for the Church? What is the hope built into the Ascension?
Sermon Index – Rev. Benjamin Delin
The short sentence, "I love you" has come to mean many things. It's surprising that this is possible, but when we're not careful with our words, they can come to mean other things. If we struggle to understand how we use this sentence with other humans, then do we truly understand what it means to say, "I love you, God."?
Our hearts become troubled for many reasons. One of the hardest thing is for us to admit that we cannot fix our own troubled hearts. Fear, guilt and shame drive our reluctance to let Jesus Christ remove our troubles.
A young man in our community took his life this last week and was very close to one of our members in particular. Good Shepherd Sunday also served as an opportunity for us to live out 1 Corinthians 12:26 and to suffer with the who in our family who is suffering.
The Shepherd who brought us true comfort on Easter morning, also brings us the restoration of our souls.
To have your hope restored is a good thing. But this assumes that you lost hope at some point in time, and no certainty of it being restored. There is not sadder statement than when a human utters from their soul "We had hoped" Luke 24:21. "If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" 1 Corinthians 15:14. Hope hinges on these words and it is how hope can be restored.
So often we are handicapped in our faith because we are able to see so much. We don't need to have faith for much of anything because we can see it all. When it comes to the swim of faith, we must surround ourselves with the encouragement and support not to stop swimming, we haven't reached the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls...yet.
The resurrection of Jesus is the pinnacle of Church celebrations...but the story doesn't end there. You've seen the first flower bloom in spring, but you know that there are more coming! Jesus is the first fruits of a bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20)! This means you were intended to live physically for eternity!
Why would we want only a spirit life after having the joys of this physical life? God promises a physical life removed of sin and pain. The message that Jesus has risen is the message of a bodily resurrection for you and me as well.
It isn’t until you are offended by Good Friday...that you are ready for Easter!
The Words of Christ are the main thing in the sacrament. But the way you receive those Words is by Christ embedding them in something, and it is only by His Words that we know this to be true. God's Word does what it says.
This week has been called both "Holy Week" and "Passion Week". Both are appropriate and express different truths for us to contemplate. We get our first glimpse of Jesus' "Passion" in the garden of Gethsemane when he prays for fervently to His Father, but also becomes all the more resolute towards His cause.
In learning to pray the Lord's Prayer, we seek to align our will with God's and the passion that drove Him to the cross.
Our Savior uses His hands for many things, but one of the great things we need is protection. Protections from sin, death, the devil, this sinful world and even from our own selfish weaknesses.
Before Jesus comes back and creation is completely restored, God has a plan and means of giving us comfort that we are restored with His Spirit. This is no small thing, but we struggle to talk about the Holy Spirit because there is much that we don't know or understand.
There wasn't just one resurrection act for Jesus. He gave a hint to what was coming by what he did, and that he resurrected more than just one. Restoring and remaking has always been His plan.
It may have been easier for God to just start over from scratch. But instead He decided to redeem the creation and restore it to what He intended it to be. Since we wouldn't have done it that way, the way that God goes about redeeming His creation is all the more perplexing to us. Praise be to God, that He didn't consult us but gives us the benefits of His work to save us.
Why did Jesus pray if He was God? For what would Jesus even need to ask for in prayers? These questions are essential for understanding why we should pray and for what we should ask for in prayer.
Do we care more about our body or our soul? Should we even answer that question? If we place one over the other are we actually believing what the Bible asserts regarding God's relationship to His creation?
Creation is often something that we only attribute to God in the beginning of Genesis. But we forget about God's continue work of creating and providing for that creation.
Every human places "faith" in someone or something. Christians place their faith in God. Non-Christians place their faith somewhere else. But we all have an intrinsic desire to understand the meaning of life. But before you determine where you will place your trust, you need to have a world view that shapes your decisions. Will you focus on the Creator or the creation?
We don't look at hands and say what they "are" we talk about what they "do." Jesus' hands are no exception, other than to say they are exceptional. They are constantly engaged in activity to heal, even if you cannot see them.
During Lent we focus on the things that Christ gave up, for us. In this way we see His passion and how He used His hands to demonstrate His love to us.