Sermon notes and the Word

Psalm 95… where Blessings and Joy meet sin ~

The Old Rugged Cross Cedar Necklace

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The Cross Makers of Seward, Nebraska are a group of men and women who give of their time to create these hand crafted wood palm crosses to extend God’s richest blessings to you. As of March 26, 2012, the Cross Makers have made over 10,000 crosses and shipped them all over the world.
Each cross is handmade to fit the hand. No two are alike. Each cross measures approximately 3.5″ by 4.5″ by .75″ high (exact sizes in cm are listed for each individual cross).
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John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
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There were several lessons in today’s sermon on Psalm 95.

It is an unusual Psalm, changing the tone midstream, from the Joy and Exhilaration of praise to “Listen to God,” and “Don’t be like your ancestors who complained when they were thirsty.”

The surface lesson of the Psalm is about Meribah and Massah, where the Israelites, having been led from Egypt through the parting waters of the Red Sea; having danced with joy at the Pharoah’s defeat at the Hand of God; having complained of the lack of food and offered quail and bread from heaven and then they complain of thirst, asking “Is God with us or not?”

Enough to try any human’s patience, let alone God.

The message, a merciful and caring God who, in spite of his anger, was not angry with the people forever, but only for forty years.

And even Jesus, knowing his future of being betrayed, sent to death, and utter loneliness, offered to his followers a gift of forgiveness on the very night he would be betrayed. He broke bread, gave it to the disciples and said “Take and eat, this is my body.” He handed out the wine, and said “This wine is the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.”

Jesus did this not only to demonstrate that he would die, but to demonstrate that he was the passover lamb. It was a yearly ritual sacrifice that required the shedding of the blood of an unblemished lamb. Now, once and for all, God was giving the sacrifice for sin to every man who would take it.

The gospels are clear. God is not a god of just one people. Jesus did not refuse to meet the poor, the downtrodden, or the sinner. The mixture of joy and sin in Psalm 95 accentuates this side-by-side glory of God meeting man. Where we may be afraid to tread, or refuse to visit, Jesus did. Jesus met the woman at the well, the tax collector, the centurion, and leaders willing to hear. God is the God of all. He has a gift, that which does not condemn, but that which says,

Yes, walk with Me, and listen to what I have to say, and accept My gift of Love, and I will be by your side, forever!

What a promise!

God is with you until that day that He meets you face to face and you tell Him that He is not your friend. My prayer is that the day YOU meet Him face to face is a day you can honestly say “Thank you for hanging in there with me, and I’m sorry I didn’t know You sooner.”

Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

What a sermon I heard today!



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Water and the Spirit…

printable fall coloring page windy autumn day

John 3:3-5 proved to be a difficult task to explain for the intern pastor. He spent most of the sermon discussing how confusing this passage was.

Bible Gateway has this:

John 3:3-5

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”

To me, explaining the power of the Spirit is easy.

You see someone’s smile, you hear their kind voice. You feel the warmth of their skin as you share a touch. Your brain has no understanding of this except through the energy transferred by nerve impulses into various areas of the brain. Your body can generate energy that is read by machines.

Okay. lets get practical. Jesus also uses the metaphor of the wind a little later in this passage.  “You do not know where it comes from or where it is going…,” Jesus said a few verses later.

If I throw you a beach ball, can you catch it? Can you throw it back to me? Can you see it and feel it? How do you know?

Good. If I throw you a ping-pong ball, can you catch it, throw it back to me, see it and feel it? How do you know?

Good. Let’s get smaller… how about a peppercorn? How do you know?

Smaller still… how about a mustard seed? How do you know?

There are smaller things that we can’t see until they’re under microscopes. Wait… Don’t you know?

Yes, you do…you feel the wind as it touches you and passes by… What you feel, and what you see in the effect of the wind as it moves objects in its path, is the movement of many small atomic particles. If they weren’t there, you would feel nothing.

You can’t catch the wind and throw it back – well, maybe you can, you just wouldn’t know whether or where you threw it.

So, where am I when it comes to tying all this together? The Spirit of God is the energy God has created to power us, to power change, to make a difference in this world. That question I asked above, “How do you know?” makes all the difference in being Born of the Spirit. You don’t know because someone tells you – you know because you’ve experienced it. You know the power of God, and that He exists.

Jesus said, “Where two or more of you are gathered, there I am in the midst.” Mt. 18:20

He also said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it is yours.” Mark 11:24

Prayer, for the believer, is a special gift. Like other skills that we learn, our knowledge of God and how He works gives us a special confidence in Him. It takes experience with Him to know that your prayer is powerful and that concentrated prayer is even more so. Scientifically, when energy is focused, it holds more strength and power. Prayer also is sometimes answered in years instead of days or hours, or instantaneously. Is it any wonder that Jesus would speak of these things?

As you explore the supernatural, you may just find yourself returning to the One who told it all… our Creator and our Lord.

Finally, If you aren’t “there” yet, don’t worry. Touch God, and you will touch eternity.


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