Arthur Roche once said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Did you know anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States? Fortunately, the Apostle Paul gives us a remedy for anxiety and fear in Philippians 4:4-9.
The topic of heaven can certainly spark questions. What is heaven? What does it look like? What will the people be like in heaven? Ghosts? Angels? Will people argue in heaven? Will there be cheating or bullying in heaven? No, of course not. Will heaven be perfect? How can heaven be perfect if you and I are in it? In this message, we will look at how heaven might come down to earth.
We, humans, are naturally fearful. We feel insecure. Our confidence may go up and down with the stock market. Lately, it has been going down and down. There will always be problems, disasters, wars, and shootings. During elections, politicians play to those fears. So, where do we find security? Where do we find life-giving water when we are under attack? In this message, we will look at how Psalm 46 points us to several sources of security in fearful times.
Christ came to make us into a new creation. We ceased to resemble what we once were. The essence of Christianity is that each person is given a new script, a new reality, and a new identity. There is a moment when people change. A thief on a cross becomes a guest in paradise. A prostitute becomes an example of divine love. A murderer of Christians becomes the most significant Christian missionary of all time. This week we focus on how the old has passed away and everything has become new!
Imagine asking Martha what she planned to do for the arrival of Jesus. She might’ve said, “I feel pressured to get it right, so I will deep clean the house. This is my duty: after all, anything else would disgrace my family.” And we might ask Mary, “what do you plan to do?” “Sit at the Lord’s feet,” she says. “Listen to what He is teaching. I will use this time to soak up the word of the Lord.” So, Martha might have thought she was the worker and Mary was the shirker. But Jesus decides differently.
In Matthew 10:40, Jesus says that anyone who receives one of the disciples is thus receiving Jesus, which is like receiving God. Do we understand how this impacts hospitality? There are profound implications in this teaching by Jesus. There are also implications to Jesus talking about a cup of cold water. What’s the big deal, we wonder? But it is a big deal, and we will explore it in the message, “How is Your Heart: Serving Heart.”
The apostle Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 9 that we have a choice. We can shape our lives in terms of abundance or scarcity. Our choice affects how we look at life. This is to say, we have to decide whether we will live by faith or by fear. To live by faith is to live out of the confidence that God provides; there will always be enough. To live by worry is to believe that there isn’t and won’t be enough. How do you live? Do you think that your life is filled with abundance or scarcity? We will dig into this question in a message titled, “How is Your Heart: Generous Heart.”
The seed goes everywhere. God flings grace in all directions. It’s a gift. It’s there to be taken. God is no miser or hoarder of blessings. On the contrary, God is a God of abundance. Jesus knows this when he encourages us to evaluate what type of soil we are. How might we be the fertile soil receptive to God’s grace?
Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Just as Peter denied any knowledge of Jesus three times on that hideous night, Peter is now allowed to announce his love for Jesus the same number of times. In this interaction, Peter has a chance to realize how deep and genuine his love for Jesus is. It’s easy to imagine Jesus asking us, “Do you love me?” As Christians, we know our answer would be, “yes!” Then how do we show it? This message will look at how our answer changes our actions toward others.
We are continuing our sermon series on questions Jesus asked. This week we turn to an important question Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do what I tell you? We see examples of Christians failing to follow Jesus’ directions all around us. They are pretty easy to find. Then if we are honest, we realize that our behavior falls short of Jesus’ call to live with love and grace. None of us are Jesus. We fall short. It’s why Jesus asks the question. Interestingly, we haven’t changed in 2,000 years. Fortunately, Jesus has a construction plan to help us.