When we do something wrong we might say, “What was I thinking?” So we commit to do differently. Next time will be different. But we find ourselves doing the same thing again and again. How do we use 2nd chances wisely? Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on January […]
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on January 6, 2019 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on December 24, 2018 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg
Life sends us curve balls. We lose our job. Our spouse dies. We file for bankruptcy. We get a divorce. We are hurt in a severe accident. A child becomes addicted to drugs. The list goes on and on. Mary the mother of Jesus was thrown a curve ball when the angel tells her that she will give birth to the son of God. Her reaction to Gabriel’s curve ball is a helpful example of how we might react.
God loves us more deeply than most of us can imagine. We intellectually understand that God loves us but the Apostle Paul uses imagery that helps us understand the deepest depths of his love. You may feel that you are unlovable but God declares otherwise.
Signs of quitting are everywhere…a half read book placed back on the bookshelf, a car jacked up on blocks rusting away, a diet which was abandoned or a faith that has grown cold. The Christmas story deals with the issue of giving up. Zechariah and Elizabeth were close to giving up in their old age when a surprising event changed everything. Instead their waiting paid off.
Being thankful is not enough. There is one more step to take. One more step that makes it real. Jesus pointed this out after he healed ten lepers and only one returned to thank him. What was different about the one?
Faith is the most powerful force in the world. When an individual believes something, it can energize them to act. When Jesus was crucified the closest people to Jesus believed he was dead. They believed that his death meant the end of their call to be disciples. But something they saw caused them to believe differently.
There is a big difference between seeing God as a just God or as a merciful God or as a God who acts with grace. Your perception of God will affect your choice in what you do in relationship with God. All seem to describe God but there is one that triggers in us a deep response of gratitude.
We have all done things we regret. Some of those poorly chosen actions might cause us to feel guilt or shame. How do we get rid of our guilt? How do we remove our shame? Some use drugs, alcohol or over-achievement to mask the guilt only to find it doesn’t work. Christianity offers one thing to overcome the guilt. One thing that no other religion offers.