Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 90 Journey of Worship – Part 1 

Matthew 2:1-2

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The question has been posed: “What would have happened if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?” The answer: They would have asked for directions immediately commencing their trip, which would have allowed them to arrive on time; they would have helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought cute little outfits that baby Jesus could have worn on his trip home. But as it happened, they were wise men (not wise women) – and while we think of these men as part of the Christmas story, they were not present at the birth of Christ. Yet even though the story of the wise men is shrouded in mystery leaving us with a lot of unanswered questions I want us to focus on what we do know. These were men who recognized God at work in the world surrounding them. 

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; 

   the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; 

   night after night they display knowledge. 

3 There is no speech or language 

   where their voice is not heard.[a] 

4 Their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, 

   their words to the ends of the world.

This was the perfect sign that the light of the world had been born, a light in the darkness. 

The wise men, these men of science and the stars came to a decision to seek out and find “the King of the Jews”. They didn’t have all the facts when they started, but they had enough to know they needed to search. God gives men enough light that they might search for more. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church. That is not true. God works through the many circumstances of our life to direct our attention to him; and quite often those circumstances involve our place of employment. 

• Moses – was tending sheep.

• Gideon – was harvesting wheat

• Peter – was cleaning nets after a night of fishing

• Matthew – was at his table collecting taxes

• Wise Men – were in their study of the stars

The first thing that we see in the Wise Men’s journey of worship a:

1. Journey of worship always involves FAITH.

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East.”

What would prompt someone to leave the comfort of their homes to go on a dangerous journey? Romance? Yes. Wealth? Most definitely. But faith? Yes – faith. “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” What a probing question – there is no doubt in their language that He had been born – the question is “Where is He?” They had seen the star – the evidence was real – now where is He? They had faith that He was alive – that He existed – now all they needed to do was to find Him. Their purpose was established – find Him. And so, they were willing to risk everything to find Him. They were willing to leave the safety of their homes – to risk a pearliest journey to seek a King. Can you imagine their neighbor’s reaction? “Are you going on a journey?” “Yes.” “Where are you going?” “We don’t know for sure.” “How far is it?” “Well, we don’t know that either.” How long are you going to be gone?” Well, were not quite sure on that either.” “Boy for wise men you sure don’t much do you?” But I’m sure they said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land. They must have said the same things to Noah who was building an ark. They must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, John and James when they left the fishing nets to become fishers of men. What are you crazy? Are you insane? Are you out of your minds? No not crazy – not insane – not out of their minds – men of faith. Today are we shying away from faith because we are afraid of what others will think and say? Are we more motivated by faith or by our fear of appearing foolish? Faith is not motivated because it know all the answers instead it’s because it knows the Author. Scripture reminds us that God’s journeys always involve FAITH. For it is impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him Hebrews 11:6. People of faith have been willing to respond to the challenges of the unknown over and over again down through history. William Cary was a shoemaker when one day he heard of the millions of people in India who had not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. He believed the great commission to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” He believed that that verse was speaking directly to him. So he volunteered to go to India but was told “Young man, sit down. When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help.” Cary went anyway – supporting himself. For seven years he worked without seeing a single convert – but by the end of his life he saw hundreds of churches and thousands of converts. Today he is known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” Why because he stepped out in faith. Where in your Journey of worship do you need to step out in Faith?


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 89 Courage in the Crisis – Part 6

John 11:28-44

28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” 40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

It’s here in the midst of the heartache that we hear Christs:

Call

Christ commands them to roll back the stone. To the crowd this would have come across as a very uncaring command. But Jesus wanted to remove anything that would have prevented the people from witnessing the wonder of the resurrection. So, let me ask you what are the stones in your life that cause you to miss the miracles? What is it that’s blocking the blessings? What is it that needs to be rolled away in your life so you can witness God’s wonder? For Martha it was her fear, she was reluctant to roll the stone away because she didn’t believe. Faith follows God and obeys but fear will cause us to falter and focus on the obstacle. But belief is not just an attitude it’s an action, belief should cause us to boldly obey. You will either agree with God and obey or argue with God and object. While Lazarus was bound by death, the disciples were bound by doubt. So, Jesus reminds them of the goal, God’s glory. Rolling the stone away comes down to whether you believe in rotting or in raising. Jesus was giving them a glimpse of what was to come on that Easter morning just around the corner. The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word. On Friday it seemed like wickedness was winning but on Sunday we see God triumph over the grave. But what about Saturday, that in-between time of uncertainty, sandwiched between disaster and deliverance? Are you going to believe or are you going to bail? As they remove the obstacle to belief Jesus gives the order for Lazarus to live. Why does the Savior shout the command, because He is in charge. This is the miraculous moment when Jesus defied death and they discovered that death can’t separate us from the Savior. It is here that we see despite all the obstacles Lazarus rise in obedience. But it wasn’t just Lazarus that was commanded to obey, Jesus invites the disciples to join Him in the joy of freeing Lazarus from his grave clothes. Jesus invites us to join Him in the privilege of partnering with God. How do you think they felt about getting to unwrap Lazarus? Do you think they were merry or mad? Partnering with Jesus is a privilege not a pain. Look Jesus has done all the work, He paid the price we just get to unwrap the present. If you have responded to salvation and have gone from being dead in your sins to saved, then you can’t keep wearing you grave clothes. Sadly, many Christians today look more like Lazarus as he came out of the grave bound up in his grave clothes. They have life but not liberty; they have forgiveness but not freedom because they want to keep on wearing their old grave clothes. It’s time to strip of the old clothes of death and exchange them for Christ’s clothes of life.  To stop being defined by death and start being defined by deliverance. What about you have you responded to Christs call to come out of the grave and live for God, or are you still stuck in the dead life of serving self instead of the Savior? Sadly many Christians today instead of dressing to serve dress to show off. But Christians don’t dress to impress, they dress to express the Glory of God.