The Radical Reversal (Luke 16:19-31)

Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do?

Why are some people rich and other people poor?

Why do some people die young and other people live to an old age?

Why do some people get incurable diseases while others live life without ever going to the doctor?

Why do some people seem to have an easy life while others struggle and struggle and struggle?

Why is it easier to be mean then to love?

Why is it easier to do wrong then to do right?

Why do the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper?

What happens after you die?

Have you asked these, or similar, questions?

Do you look forward to the day when justice will be done and everything will be set right?

Is such a day ever coming?

If so, when?

These questions have been debated by philosophers and theologians and people around water coolers since the beginning of time. I’m quite confident no single answer will satisfy everyone’s queries. There is a story in Luke’s gospel that doesn’t answer those questions, but it does, in a small way, address them. Continue reading

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For WILLIAM GAIGE BOLDEN (Thursday, December 15, 2016)

I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on Sunday, December 11, 2016. At approximately 8:50am, while at church, I received a phone call from my wife, Misty, that our 25 year old nephew, William Gaige Bolden, had been killed in a tragic care wreck. In an instant, our lives were forever changed. Gaige was a big part of our family. He was a brother to both Kat and Zach. His mom, Robin, is extremely close to us, and so is Pa. The family asked me to preach his sermon. An incredible honor. Below is a manuscript of that sermon. I post it in hope that it will be a continual encouragement to my family. (If you would like to help the family with funeral expenses, a go fund me page has been set up. Click here to help.)

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A Feast Fit for a Peasant (Luke 14:15-24)

The idiom, “fit for a king” is used to describe anything that is of exceptional quality. The meaning behind this idiom is obvious: Anything fit for king is flawless. Only the best of the best is given to a king. More than likely this idiom originated around the 18th century when many countries were ruled by royalty. In contemporary usage the phrase, “fit for a king” is most often used to describe lavish meals. “That meal was fit for a king.”

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Woes Xs 6 = 8 Signs (Luke 11:37-54)

The story is told of a farmer who had become restless at his work. He began praying for a sign from God about something else he could do besides farming. One day he saw a strange cloud formation that spelled out the letters, “GPC.” He interpreted “GPC” to mean, “Go Preach Christ.” Taking this as the sign from God he had been praying for, he sold his farm and took to the road as a traveling evangelist.

Things did not go well. After several weeks his wife asked him if he had misunderstood the sign. “Perhaps,” she suggested one morning at breakfast, “GPC really meant, ‘Go Plow Corn.’”

You have to be careful in asking God for a sign. You have to be even more careful in interpreting those signs from God. Continue reading

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It’s All or Nothing (Luke 11:14-28)

The last two springs, Misty and I have had a problem with little birds, I think they are sparrows, nesting in our garage. I have tried to get them out, but they keep getting back in. We never leave our garage door open and so I could not figure out how they were getting in and out. Finally, I noticed that when the garage door is shut, in the lower, left corner, a small piece of rubber is missing around the garage door. and so the birds where coming in through that small passage. If you think about it, a garage is both warm and dry and a good place to build a nest. I really can’t blame the birds. I can scare them off every day of the week, but if I don’t fix that hole in the corner, the birds will always come back and bring more of their friends. When I see eggs in their nests, I have pity on the birds and leave them alone. The first spring this happened, there was only one nest. This past spring there were at least three nests in our garage! Needless to say, the birds made a mess, and some of the mess was on my scuba diving gear! That’s where I draw the line. You mess with my scuba stuff and I will no longer take pity on you! The birds have to go! Sometime between now, and next spring, I have got to fix the rubber around the bottom of the garage door. Continue reading

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WWJP (Luke 11:1-13)

I’m going to start a new fad to replace an old fad. The old fad is the bracelet WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). That phrase, What Would Jesus Do?, actually comes from a novel written in 1896 by Kansas minister, Charles Sheldon. The title of the novel was In His Steps: What would Jesus do? In it, a town is revolutionized when Christians “pledge themselves, earnestly and honestly for an entire year, not to do anything without first asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’”.…[1] Almost 100 years later, in 1989, a youth leader in Holland, Michigan, read the book with her youth group. The youth leader, Janie Tinklenberg, hired a local printing couple to make 300 “friendship bracelets” with the letters WWJD on them. She asked members of her youth group to give them away and wear them for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days more bracelets were needed. Then, someone much more cunning then Janie, saw the bracelets, made their own versions, and marketed them nationally, making lots of money. By the time Ms. Tinklenberg tried to register WWJD as her trademark, it was too late. Ironic, isn’t it? I don’t think stealing someone’s idea and making money on it is something Jesus would do.

My idea, and I guess I need to get started on the trademark, is to make another bracelet, but this time, instead of WWJD on it, have WWJP—What would Jesus pray? It’s an interesting question, and one the disciples asked. Think about that for a moment. Out of all the things Jesus said and did, and out of all the questions His disciples could have asked, the one question they did ask was, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). It’s an interesting question because Jesus’ first disciples were Jewish. They had been brought up in the synagogue, and in the synagogue schools. They knew their Old Testament. They had been praying their entire life. They knew the words to say. They knew the ritual of prayer. But they knew there was something different about Jesus’ prayers and how He prayed and what He prayed, and so they asked, “Teach us how to pray and what to pray.” Continue reading

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The Good and the Better (Luke 10:38-42)

It’s always harder to do right and easier to do wrong. But what is really difficult is choosing the better over the good. In other words, often, we can get stuck doing what is good and miss out on what is better. This is a difficult lesson to learn!

For example: Ice cream is good, but yogurt is better for you. Eating steak and potatoes is good, but it would be better to eat more vegetables and a salad…every once in a while. Not acting out on your anger is good, but reaching out to the other person in love, and performing an act of kindness, is even better. Staying busy is good, but using your time wisely is better.

You get the idea. Continue reading

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