Some of you know the story of how Stacie and I came to Redeemer, but for those who do not it started in the Spring of 2014. We had been praying for about 6 to 8 months about leaving where I was serving on staff, but were unsure on how best to depart.
This weekend Revelation 20:11-15 came to mind when I read the “Abuse of Faith” (HERE) article in the Houston Chronicle. The passage speaks of a coming day of the Lord where “Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:13). There are a lot of Southern Baptist (SBC) congregants who have not experienced justice in this world, but a day is coming…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Pastor Pomeroy preached from this verse on Sunday, October 29th, the weekend before the shooting at his church in Sutherland Springs, TX. The shooting at the First Baptist Church last Sunday, November 5th was the worst church shooting in our nation’s history. Last Sunday a troubled atheist killed 26 Christians as they worshipped. How should we respond to this tragedy?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Jesus incarnated himself into a human! The divine became human! But, Jesus did NOT change his divinity. Jesus did not become less God. The essence of his being remained divine. When this verse says he “became flesh” it doesn’t mean he changed from being God. Jesus has always been and will always be God.
Existentialism is a failure! It is absurd to believe that life has no meaning except what we give it. If we chase the belief that everything is meaningless then we are left with our own futility. The great test of this truth is when we assume something will lead us to joy, yet it leaves us lacking. The gospel teaches us that salvation is not found through looking within, but looking outside of ourselves. We need something outside of ourselves to guide us to joy. We need a Word from God. We need Sola Scriptura.
“Wait, what?! Did he just say Houston could receive over 50 inches of rain?!” I don’t remember where I was when I heard that a hurricane was headed toward the Texas coast, but I do remember stopping in my tracks at the news report that Houston could receive over 50 inches of rain. I was born in Houston and lived there for 5 years prior to moving to Denton. If you have lived in Houston then you know the city is flat and right at sea level, thus a heavy rain can cause flash floods.
500 years ago Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety-Five Theses” to the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Therefore I are going to unpack the foundations of the Reformation over the coming months as a celebration of this glorious event. I am a Protestant rather than a Catholic for very convictional reasons. Our church is not hostile to Catholicism, but we chose to be Protestant due to essential doctrines of the Christian faith. The early Protestants rallied around what became known as the “5 Solas.” “Sola” is Latin for “alone” and these doctrines outline the exclusivity of 5 essential beliefs.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
Ronald Reagan described America as a city on a hill because it is the hope of immigrants from for a better life. Do you remember the second Godfather film? There is a great scene after young Vito Corleone flees Italy. He comes through Ellis Island yet must be quarantined due to an illness. His little hospital room faces the Statue of Liberty. The sick little boy sits in his room looking at Lady Liberty and begins to sing a hopeful little Italian tune. Even in his sickness he was hopeful that America would provide him a better life. Lady Liberty was lighting the way!
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus is a lot of things. He is a King who sees into the future gives us direction on the way we should go. Jesus gives us order. He is also a Prophet who knows what is best and gives us teachings on how we should live. Jesus gives us the truth. But, he is also a Priest comforting us when we are in pain, giving us the right emotions and feelings when we need them.
Acts 10:38 says, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
We tend to forget the role the Holy Spirit played in the life of Christ. Jesus "went about doing good" but it was attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Therefore, the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus! The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was God, but it also explains that the Spirit was empowering him during his life and ministry.
Luke 15:11-32 is the story about a wild son whose selfish loveless heart produces reckless living. He shockingly asks his father to cash out his property in order to get his inheritance early. He would rather his father be dead so he can get his stuff! He took that money and lived like a brute with no regard for virtue.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. (Matthew 5:13)
We need to begin by pointing out that Jesus says that "you" are the salt. Jesus is our hope and the truth, but individual Christians (as well as the institution of the Church) have missionary calls.
500 years ago a glorious spark was fanned into a flame. Martin Luther nailed his now famous “Ninety-Five Theses” on the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Some, even now, view this flame as destructive. However, the houses it burned down needed to be destroyed. This was a purifying fire, a return to the biblical gospel.