One key to deal with the stress and worries of today is to focus on what we are thankful about. Thanksgiving day is not a one day occurrence. It is a daily remembrance of all the blessings we have been given. In this message we will use an old tool to refocus our life around giving thanks.
Often we hear about death and disease, tragedy and betrayal, poverty and pain. In light of this suffering we might ask, why do these things happen God? Where are you in the midst of suffering? As we gather today as people who’ve experienced the deep wounds of pain in our lives we are hungry to hear the voice of hope and to know that God hears our cries.
We live in a time of conflict. Two opposing forces or opinions pull us in different directions. Not much communication is taking place between the sides. Both sides think they need to apply more power and they will persevere. But many people get hurt in this type of struggle. Would it surprise you to learn this was going on in the Christian Church in Corinth 2,000 years ago? Fortunately the Apostle Paul had a solution for them.
You can tell a lot about a person’s heart by who has a place at their dinner table. Jesus was constantly getting into trouble for sitting at tables with sinners. It was partly from sitting at too many tables that got Jesus killed. Two thousand years later we sit at a table with Jesus. In this election week may find strength and peace at Jesus’ table.
Did you know there’s a difference between being great at something and being great? You may have known a musician or singer who was great at making music so you idolized them. But then they did something that made it obvious they were far from great. Athletes, politicians, pastors, bosses and even spouses can be great at something but fail the test of being great. The Apostle Paul and Jesus give us the missing ingredient they needed.
Jesus told a parable using talents as the focus. Even though the talents were money in Jesus’ day this is not a self-help story about improving your finances. Jesus is not talking about multiplying the amount of money that we make. He is talking about something else. He is talking about the life we are given. The successes and failures we experience in life. The strengths and frailness that makes up our life. And we are challenged to use these good and bad experiences in our life to make the world a better place. But sometimes our tendency to avoid risks causes us to bury these talents.
In the weeks leading up to a national election, divisions and dissension are increasingly talked about. Advertising and news keep us mindful of fearful events. Many people are stressed and worried. Times of worry are not new for Christians. We can learn this week from Barnabas and how he dealt with fear and uncertainty. While others were fearful, Barnabas did something different. Something that would eventually impact the world by changing the trajectory of a life. Barnabas was a Dream Releaser.
Faith is the bridge between where I am, and the place God is taking me. Hear what skydiving, Peter’s walk on the water, and making a decision to follow Christ all have in common.
Do you like to argue? Some of us love it. Many of us became experts at arguing when we were teenagers. Evidently Jesus’ disciples loved to argue with the Scribes and Pharisees because Jesus asks, “What are you arguing about with them?” This is a great question for the climate in which we live today. But in the same scripture there is a God given command that tells us how to deal with the arguing that surrounds us.
What matters to our Creator is not the image we present to the world, but the image God created in us.