Posts Tagged ‘preaching’

Preach the Good News

January 3, 2013

These are the sermon notes from 12/30/12.

Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

It is common for prophetic words to have multiple applications.  These verses could originally have been applied to Isaiah himself.  Later, they were applied to Jesus.  Today, I believe that we can apply them to ourselves.

We have the Spirit of the Lord within our hearts.  As Christians we believe that we have been ‘born again’ , that the Spirit of God dwells within our hearts through our faith in Jesus.

The disciples were charged to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”  As modern disciples of Jesus, we too, are expected to share the good news of salvation in Jesus.

The message that we bring is able to heal the broken-hearted. There are many people in our world today that need their hearts to be healed.

Our message is able to set people free.  In Christ, we are set free from the penalty of sin.  We are set free from trying to earn our salvation by being good enough.  We are set free from the bonds of sin, in that God will give us the power to change the way that we think and act.  Old habits can be broken.  We are new creations in Christ.

Could 2013 be the year that Christ returns?  Of course that is possible, but we do not make any predictions, for no man knows the time that Christ will return.  Remember, that the Day of the Lord will be a time of rejoicing for those who believe, but a time of mourning for those who have rejected the offer of forgiveness in Christ.

We offer comfort to those who mourn.  We do not mourn as those who have no hope, but we believe in a life that goes beyond the grave.  In the tests and trials of this life we believe that God will give us wisdom and strength, that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Our lives should be marked by joy, praise, and righteousness.  This is part of the abundant life that Christ has promised to his followers.

This message is indeed good news to those who believe.

Pastor Shot and Killed

March 9, 2009

On Sunday morning, March 8th, Pastor Fred Winters was shot and killed while delivering his sermon.  This did not happen in some far away country but In Maryville, Illinois,  a suburb of St. Lois.  At this time, there is no known reason for the murder.  The gunman tried to commit suicide, but was prevented from doing so, by members of the congregation, who were themselves, injured by the assailant.    I imagine that in the days ahead he will give the reasons for the attack.  My sincere sympathy is extended to his wife, family, friends and congregation.  May God help them to deal with this horrific tragedy.   

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come?  A colleage of mine keeps a file of the “hate mail” that he has received over the years.  People can sometimes have very strong feeling about the actions that a pastor takes in leading the church.  Furthermore,  I have noticed that Christians, and pastors in particular, have often been poorly represented in movies and television.  Finally, the  accusation is made of  “preaching hate” when activities are labeled as sin.  These three things when added together   are a powerful toxin to the attitude that people have towards the work of the church. 

Pastors are supposed to provide leadership for their churches.  They will make decisions that will not be popular with everyone.  Pastoral leadership is not supposed to be about popularity, but about doing the will of God.

It would be nice to see the entertainment industry portray Christians, and pastors in a better light.  There are many wonderful people of faith and it does not do anyone any good to make a mockery of what is so important to so many people.   

Finally, it is not hate to call sinful activities sin.  Christians are called first to love God, and then to love those around them.  Christians are motivated by love, not hate.  When we condem sin, it is an expression  of  a religious belief, not an expression of hate. We have religious freedom in this country.  That means that I am free to preach what I believe to be true.  You don’t have to agree with me, but I hope that I won’t someday be shot for preaching the truth as I understand it.