READ: John 18.33-37 Picture a pastoral setting.
The warm sun is dropping off the horizon.
A shepherd builds a fire against the cool of the evening.
Behind the shepherd, hemmed in by a hillside, is a flock of so sheep.
They are grazing contently, unaware of the wolf hiding in the thickets just a few yards away.
But the shepherd knows of the wolf’s presence.
And he is prepared to raise his staff against the ravenous predator, no matter the cost.
All the shepherd has is a
READ: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 What did you want to be when you grew up?
And then in adulthood, are you who you thought you would be?
Are you living the way you wanted to?
Is it better or worse than you thought?
Are you living in the place where you want to live?
I never in a million years would have thought I’d be a pastor.
I never thought I’d be a cancer survivor.
Never thought I’d be a divorced, single father of two boys.
And I never thought I’d have three graduate deg
Mark 13:1-8 “The world is going to end.”
We’ve heard those words numerous times in our lives and from every possible source from scientists, to saints, to rogue priests and crackpot astrologists and psychics.
Whole mainstream church congregations have sold everything they owned because they were certain their pastor’s prediction was spot on — this time.
Forget about all the doomsday predictions since the beginning of doomsday predictions;
in the 20th century alone, there
READ: Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25 We hear it a lot…
I’ve even said the same words:
“I don’t think I want to go to church today.”
Where do we even begin to address what’s wrong with that statement?
First, we can say, “Well, the church feeds you.”
Second, we can say, “Well, the church isn’t a building; it’s a people;
therefore, if you’re a person who gave his or her life to Christ, then you’re the church.
Third, if you don’t feel like going to worship, well, then you have to
READ: Mark 12.38-44 There is a series of commercials on television recently by an aggressive auto insurance company asking the viewer to consider certain scenarios that happen to us when we have an insurance claim.
In one of the commercials, a woman is talking about how her old insurance company only would pay for three-quarters of the replacement cost of her car after it was totaled in an accident.
She asks rhetorically, “What am I supposed to do, drive around on three whe
READ: 1 Kings 17:8-16 When I was 28, one late winter day, I packed everything I had in the back of my Camaro and drove straight to St. Pete Beach in Florida.
I knew a guy in the construction business who could give me a very low-paying job working in his outfit.
I stayed with a friend for a couple of weeks, then put a deposit down on a tiny garage apartment in Old St. Pete.
I made friends with a couple of the guys in my crew.
They were very helpful.
One in particular was
READ: Revelation 21:1-6a John 11:32-44 Anyone who has been a good parent, sibling, child, spouse, relative or friend has known what it feels like to sit beside another who is grieving.
We try our best to comfort them with our words, but we quickly find out that it’s actually just our presence that matters most.
Rather than trying to come up with some blanket statement or empty cliche to just fill the space or try to fix the problem,
simply sitting beside them, staying with
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