People “label” themselves and other in all sorts of ways. Think of what you may have been called when you were younger? Labels can communicate truth, and they can motivate. Jesus used one label perhaps more than any other: hypocrite. He criticized those who were “hypocrites” more than anything. And that is what Pastor Jeff’s sermon is about.
Sending St Paul to be a missionary to the gentiles?! How crazy can that be? He was a perfect candidate to reach Jews; why would God send him to the gentiles? Well, that is just one example of how God does things we would never expect, and it is also a demonstration that God can use you and me to accomplish what He wants, whether we think its crazy or not.
The epistle of St Paul to the Galatians is a favorite of many historical church “giants”. It in the Apostle Paul dispenses with formalities and immediately gets puts his “beefs” on the table: “I can’t believe that you are forsaking the Jesus of the gospel I delivered to you!!” We risk the same admonition if we drift off to one or the other “feel good” idea.
Pastor Jeff’s main text today was John 21 – Jesus helping his disciples refocus on the mission he had given them after they had slipped back into what was comfortable for them – Fishing. But much of what Jesus was teaching in Chapter 15 is foundational for what comes in Chapter 21. Jesus wants; he expects his followers to bear much fruit. And the way Jesus says this will happen is if the disciples “abide in him”. The same is true for us today, except we usually don’t take this command as seriously as we should.
Its in St Paul’s letter to the Galatians that he talks about reaping what you sow. A familiar text. What may be less familiar is the connection St Paul makes between that sowing and serving.
Music. Songs. Singing. There is something about music which moves us in ways little or nothing else can do. Think of The Ohio State fight song; the lyrics alone may move some one a little, but combined with the music and you can have a whole lot of people energized! People who follow Christ are similarly moved, energized, consoled, and much more, with songs and singing. In fact, the Bible commands it, as Pastor Jeff explains.
We’ve all are likely getting tired of hearing how “unprecedented” the times are. Pastor Jeff takes us into the Old Testament book of Habakkuk where we see that, “No, Times like ours have been around for a long, long time.” The sermon was a good reminder that God is at work on His timeline, not on man’s. We can trust that He is still in control!
There’s a quote attributed to Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, don’t stop. Keep going.” While this quote might not be exactly Biblical, Pastor Jeff’s sermon suggests that believers should do somewhat the same when, not if, we experience trials, or testing, or hard times, or suffering. The Bible teaches that we should expect difficult times, and face them with God’s help, with the help of other believers, and with the confidence that God is in control of all that we have to face.