Simon Peter is mentioned in the gospels about two hundred times. In those passages, he sometimes gets it wrong. Other times he shows tremendous courage. And then, in a different moment, Saul argues with Jesus. He is a flawed but faithful disciple of Jesus. Through his story, we can learn how to be better followers of Jesus.
Sometimes people beat themselves up about their friendships. Why is that? Some medical studies report that fewer friends lead to higher stress and shorter life. There is value to having friends over the long term. That’s no surprise to most of us. You might wonder if you have enough friends. In this message, we will look at the importance of stretcher-bearer friends.
Jesus gently confronts the socially isolated woman at the well and challenges her to look beyond herself to the living satisfying, saving, Jesus as her truth.
Jesus went out of his way to show that the much-hated people of Samaria mattered to him, He went out of his way to lift up the people that had been left behind, marginalized and dehumanizes. He refused to walk by. Reflecting on the Good Samaritan story and Mr. Rogers’ handling of discrimination on his program we are challenged to do the same.
Everyone is sacred because we were made in the image of God, and for that reason alone, he or she is to be valued. Mr. Rogers believed in the sacredness of all creation – including sinful humankind – because of one Man, “the true light, which enlightens everyone.”
So often we miss the sacred space afforded us between us and another person or us and God. Fred Rogers embraced those moments using them to bless and affirm his viewers. As we look at Jesus’ life, time spent with everyone was considered sacred.
Have you had to deal with difficult people? Not just in your community but your family? Resentment can build and escalate and finally get out of control. Because of interactions like these, fights have broken out on aircraft, in stores, workplaces, lines, and homes. People retaliate against each other. Fortunately, there is another way to deal with troublesome people.
Many of us would rather skip thinking about our upcoming death. We push it out of our thoughts. But whether we like it or not, the subject of death captures our attention. Filmmakers, songwriters, and many others have reacted to the idea of their death. As you might imagine, the Bible also reminds us of our impending death, but it does so that we might gain something. The scripture thinks we might grow a wise heart.
Why do some of us create lives that are so burdened? We don’t consciously want more stress. We don’t consciously want unhealthy relationships. Lack of disciple, disorganization, or a type-A personality might be part of the problem. Even fear can drive us to fill our lives with too many commitments and activities. Surprisingly enough, the Bible and Jesus think this is a problem. Fortunately, they also have a solution.
Modern song lyrics, classic poetry, and movies often speak of the heart. But what is the heart? What does it mean to give our hearts and especially what does it mean to give our hearts to God?