Trust in Jesus and belief in the resurrection does not mean we will never face challenges or suffering. What does our Easter faith say to the big questions? This morning, Pastor Kim’s message explores “Why do the Innocent Suffer?”
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest. Psalm 22: 1-2 NRSV
#1 Christians are called to be and know about “good news”
To counteract constant bad news visit these sites regularly:
#2 So our faith does mean our behavior should improve, and mature faith means we operate on the highest level we are capable of no matter how other people are behaving. But it does not mean that because we are faithful we will never suffer.
#3 There are lots of reasons the innocent suffer this side of heaven. But never is it God’s will.
Chris Gribnau on trumpet and Julia Blocksma on piano play Teleman’s Concerto for Trumpet in Bb, Allegro for our offering at the Easter Sunday worship service.
Based on Mark 16:1-4
Sermon Notes: Easter Sunday April 1 2018
“When they looked up, they saw the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back!” Mark 16: 4
#1 Easter is God’s gift that says don’t focus on your worries, don’t focus on the storm, look up to me.
#2 Easter says even in your worst nightmare: Look up. Keep the focus on a Savior Even and especially when you can’t see it. Even and especially when you can’t feel.
#3 Looking up with Easter faith means we are meant for community.
“Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
‘Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!’” John 12: 14-15 NRSV
#1 Jesus sits up but in our midst not ‘Lording it over us’.
#2 Jesus sits up to live out God’s faithfulness and love. This is another way of saying God is faithful to the Covenant God voluntarily makes with us.
#3 Jesus sits up to take on our suffering and death and to defeat these enemies with love and life.
Pastor Kim’s message is based on John 12: 20-33 . Jesus came so that all people could be lifted up into God’s love. What uplifting message do we pass on to others?
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 John 12: 20-22
- Are we open to people we least expect being open to Jesus?
Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. John 12: 23-26
2. So Jesus attracts us by love for love. Jesus reaches most people through friendships with other people.
3. Put a name down after each category below of someone you would invite to try something at our church: worship, Mid-week study, Alpha, Men’s group Wildberries etc. But first pray about this and let the Spirit guide you and that person.
b. family member
Pastor Kim’s sermon text is John 3:14-21 NRSV
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. John 3:14 NRSV
- When we are facing a tough challenge is our first thought to the ways God has been faithful to us in the past or is our first thought about how we can’t possibly deserve this current challenge and why isn’t God erasing it without any effort on our part?
- Do we believe that there are no problems for Christians only opportunities to live our faith?
- Love yourself enough to be honest about your own darkness, and love Jesus enough to get to welcome his love into your life so that you are on the path to healing, the path of love. That is the Christian path to living joyfully, courageously, and hopefully in the present.
Why Bodhidharma Went to Howard Johnson’s
“Where is your home,” the interviewer asked him.
“No, no,” the interviewer said, thinking it a problem of translation,
“when you are where you actually live.”
Now it was his turn to think, perhaps the translation?
~ Jane Hirshfield ~
(The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry)
What does it mean to take up our cross? Christians are NOT to take up unnecessary suffering. We are to be faithful witnesses to Jesus’ love, no matter the cost.
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Mark 8:34-37 New Revised Standard Version
We have choices if we are to take up the cross:
- The first choice is to run from or run towards our transformation in Christ.
- The second choice is: Have we come to die to selfishness?
- The third choice: Are we following a transformed cross?
Based on Mark 1: 9–11 NRSV: In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
#1 Jesus is baptized in order to show his solidarity with us.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 2 Peter 9-10 NRSV
#2Low Self-esteem, whether it leads to cattiness and envy or to beating up on ourselves unnecessarily, does not honor Jesus or our baptism.
#3 Choose one of the next questions that really strikes you, and then try to answer it.
- If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most dear to you, what would it be in 25 words or less?
- Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
- Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
- If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
Sermon Notes “Store up True Treasure” February 18, 2018
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[b] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 NRSV
#1 Are you looking at life with ___________________________ in the midst of whatever life is dishing out to you?
#2 Prayer and all spiritual disciplines are about ______________________
Or to put it another way true prayer leads us to ______________________
#3 How do we function in our modern society and honor Jesus?
___________________________________________ from the light of God’s love.
- Are you looking at life with the enthusiasm of a child, convinced that you will find a God of love in the midst of whatever life is dishing out to you?
- Prayer and all spiritual disciplines are about growing more faith, hope, love and joy in our lives. Or to put it another way true prayer leads us to more faithful living.
- How do we function in our modern society and honor Jesus? Question everything from the light of God’s love.
This sermon reviews the previous sermons on forgiveness in this series, and then examines issues that are particularly hard when it comes to forgiveness including apologies, reconciliation, and the lack of either.
At the end, Kim tells of a powerful story of forgiveness and transformation among a man (Azim Khamisa) whose son was killed by another man’s grandson, that grandfather (Ples Felix) and now the grandson himself. You can watch the TED Talk of Azim and Ples by clicking on this link: Aziz Khamisa and Ples Felix