Monthly Archives: February 2011

Back in time: The Huber Family circa 1965

For those who know our family, it is probably not hard to identify each of us. Eric either did not exist or was asleep in his cradle. I must be doing my best “pirate” imitation. And my dad is just being cool!

SERMON LEFTOVERS 2/28/11

Mark 14:43-65  ‘Taking Jesus at his word’               

 

Jesus makes some mighty claims for himself in vs 61-62

 Again the high priest asked him,  “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

 

Will we take Jesus fully at his word? 

 1.  Do we take Jesus at his word, when he says he is the Christ?

      Do we live knowing that Jesus is the totality of how we come to God (Acts 4:12)?  Or do we allow ourselves to think it is Jesus plus our being a good person?

 

2.  Do we take Jesus at his word, that he is exalted above all earth?

       When we think about Jesus, each day we should be freshly amazed.  It is easy to say, we exalt Jesus, but the evidence is found in the time we spend with him and the way in which we repent quickly when sin is found in us.

 

3.  Do we take Jesus at his word, that he has power beyond the earth

      Christ is not simply more powerful or most powerful, he is all powerful.  As Creator, he is the source of all power.  It is impossible for any power to exist of to be exercised apart from him.

       If we take him at his word, we will turn all our fears and anxieties over to him (Psalm 27:1-3, Philippians 4:6-7).

       If we take him at his word, we recognize we cannot handle any aspect of life on our own (John 15:5).  We need to stop trying to be a good parent or spouse on our own.  We need to stop trying to overcome sin on our own.

 

4.  Do we take Jesus at his word that he is Lord over this world?

       We show the Lordship of Christ through our submission.   Who chooses how we use our life?  How much obedience do we consider to be enough?   If we truly see Jesus as exalted and as Lord, his rule will not seem intrusive to us (I John 5:3).

 

5. Do we take Jesus at his word that he is returning to judge the world?

     Certainly the one who created, sustains and rules over this world, will also judge it.  We accept that principle in sports leagues and business.  Why do we struggle to accept that God will exercise judgment over what belongs to him?  

    When that judgment comes, do we actually think our standards or opinions will have validity at all?!  Yet, we are often tempted to bend to the world’s opinions as if they had some measure of authority concerning what is the correct way to look at life (I Corinthians 4:3-4)

           

What would change if you took Jesus fully at his word? 

Blood and Other Stuff

Yesterday I gave blood for the 72nd time, which equals 9 gallons according to my meager math skills. If you have never given blood, or if you have fallen out of the habit, consider doing so. Just think if a family member was in an accident and needed to recieve blood. You would be very thankful someone had given to make that possible!

Giving blood is really not that bad, and this is from someone with a low threshold of pain. You even get a snack when you are finished.

Well, anyway, I was walking out of the primary school where the blood drive was taking place, when I read a clever sign. It is nothing memorable, but it did make me chuckle.

“Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy”

MIGHTY AS THE OCEAN

I still have sounds of the ocean on my brain, so I will share one more thought that came to me during my vacation. It has to do with the overwhelming power of the ocean.  This is a thought that comes to me often when I stand along the shore.  Here is something men cannot tame or stop. When push comes to shove, the ocean will always win.  Yet to God, the ocean is an instrument that lies helpless in His hands, unable to do anything except His will.

Psalm 89:8-9

O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
with your faithfulness all around you?
You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.

Psalm 93:4

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty!


Men who have any sense in their heads, fear and respect the awesome power of the sea. Do we fear and respect the infinitely more awesome power of God?  As great as the power of the ocean, it does have a limit, God’s power is without limitation. However, God’s power is controlled by something; the perfections of His will. God’s power cannot contradict His perfections. But then, why would we want it to?!

We fear what may happen to us, as if God was not in control. We become anxious over our circumstances, as if God was not sovereign. If the mighty ocean bows its knee to God, we do not need to fear the other mighty forces that are greater than us or beyond our control. Nothing causes God to be anxious. He is confident in all His purposes; and everyone whose trust is in Christ, is safely held in those purposes.

If you are having a struggle with fears or with trusting God, stand before the ocean and be awed by its might. Then remember what the Lord our God says to the waters:


Job 38:11

‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’

VACATION IS OVER!

On the last night of our vacation I was descending into gray and gloomy thoughts, because this enjoyable time away was drawing to a close. It was a state of mind that we can all understand, yet I was convicted that this was not a Christ centered or God honoring perspective. Although being on vacation is a extra special blessing of refreshment, my joy flows from the fountain of Christ, not from the fountain of my situations.


If my first day back to work produces a sense of drudgery, then I have the wrong attitude about going back to work. If I can agree with the Apostle Paul that to live or to die is all about Christ, then I should certainly be able to say that to be on vacation or to be in my routine is all about Christ. How do I have joy either way? Because my relationship with God gives me ample reasons for joy. At all times Christ cherishes his love for me; everywhere I go, the Holy Spirit goes with me; and the perfect purpose of God is the path I walk.


As Brian Brookins reminded us on Sunday, we have reason to enter each day with anticipation. Each day is an opportunity to enjoy our loving relationship with God – – will we engage in that relationship? Each day there are people around us who deeply need expressions of God’s grace – – will we be open to God working through us?

Do we see ourselves as people of the gospel? We are people who are precious to God. And whether they realize it or not, we are people who the world desperately need.


I am trying to have my routine dominated by the amazing relationship I have with God. That should be an even happier way to begin the day then sunrises over the ocean.



Dog Church

Sermon Leftovers: Vacation Edition 2/20/11

Sunday I was privileged to attend services at Riverside Christian Fellowship located west of Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Pastor Brian Brookins is a good friend and a faithful man who truly loves God. He has been preaching through Ephesians, and today he covered 4:7-11.


Brian did a good job showing us that in this passage the victorious Jesus Christ is shown as a giver of wonderful gifts to those who trust in him. Brian had grown up in a sphere of the church that does not believe the so called manifest gifts still exist in the church today. His view has changed (we both would say improved) and he sees that the Bible clearly describes these gifts and many others, in action in the New Testament church.

I would add that to remove something that is openly declared as being given by God to the New Testament church, you need POWERFUL biblical evidence; and that simply does not exist. In truth, many Christians who claim certain spiritual gifts no longer exist, do so as a reaction to abuses of those gifts; which is not a biblical reason to deny them.


But Brian’s main point was that we should not be so caught up in these debates about spiritual gifts, that we neglect to see that God has gifted us! This is a wonderful and powerful truth. It should give us lives of expectation, because God gifts His people in order to use His people. How often do we honestly consider that God wants to, and will, use our lives for glorious purposes? Yet, if we simply love and obey Him, that will be our reality, not because we deserve to be used, but because our God so wonderfully loves using us. Being used by God is not complicated!!


Riverside Christian Fellowship has put their teaching into action. It is one of the most culturally diverse churches I have seen. They are a loving family of believers who are being used by God in their communities.

May we each have a heart to be used by God this week. This desire is God’s desire, so love Him with the actions of your life, and the giver of good gifts will exercise His gracious works in and through you.

Oceans of Grace

I have been reading a lot, as I am prone to do on vacation. From my vantage point, I have a splendid vista of endless ocean and sky. It is a scene which invites contemplation about big things. How can anyone feel mighty, when standing before the pounding surf? How can one not feel small, when your eyes are filled with such a vast horizon.


In between the pages of my current book, I looked out over the ocean and was struck by the thought of God’s grace. Here is something even greater in might and measure than this amazing ocean. For God’s grace overcame the entirety of my sin. His grace is greater than my insolence toward Him. His grace is deeper than the whole of this world’s burdens and blessings! His grace washes over my weaknesses and foolishness, leaving the contours of His perfect will.


When spending time at the ocean, I am usually reminded how I don’t spend enough time in this wonderful place. Today, if God’s grace does not seem like an ocean to you, then you are not spending enough time contemplating it. Start thanking God for His graces by naming them individually; read Ephesians 1 or Romans 8; put on some music that exalts our God, and focuses on the cross which makes each eternal grace possible. Dive in and rediscover the wonders of this ocean in which all God’s people dwell.

Beautiful Mornings

It is easy to feel great about the day, when you wake up to beautiful scenery and to the realization that you have absolutely nothing to do all day but relax. Yet, the true beauty of this morning is the presence of God’s grace. Through Christ I am His forever beloved. Whatever will come today will be part of His gracious plan which ends with me being with Him endlessly. In every storm, the reality is that the sun still shines, we just cannot see it. This reality is even more true for those who are “in Christ”. Whatever storm you may be in today, the Son still shines. We are never at the mercy of events and problems, we are always in the mercy of Christ our risen and victorious Savior.


Today, let us have eyes of faith for Christ, because today He remains faithful to us.

ON VACATION

We are on vacation this week. I would like to say that I wish you all were here, but that would make it very crowded; plus it would defeat the purpose of getting away. I will compromise and send you photos of our present view – and say I wish you could be somewhere else that is like this.