Sunday was a special day, with Doug Cox and our Elders lifting up the wonderful and faith-growing experience in being an Elder; Olivia Street lifting us up with her beautiful voice; and Chris Davis lifting us up with the news that we are only $7000 away from retiring one of our mortgages!
And Jesus lifted us up with his new Sermon Series – offering invitations that lead to blessings…
Invitations to Blessings
On Sunday, Jesus invited us to be blessed by his Good News, by trusting that his Good News is good; it can get us through our darkest times; it only comes by giving control to him. (Mark 1:12-15,40-45)
- Jesus invites us to “Repent and believe the Good News, the Kingdom of God is at hand!” The key word is “believe,” which means “trust with your life.” Jesus shows what the Good News is by driving our demons and healing bodies, minds, spirits; cleansing a leper… Jesus wants so much for us to grab on to the Good News and be changed, cleansed, healed – so he gives us three Good News Grabbers.
- The 1st: Trust that Jesus’ Good News is good – By letting go of whatever is getting in the way! Too often we hang on to our status quo, so that we are not able to grab and live Jesus’ Good News – his ways that change, cleanse, and heal us. The Parable of the River lays out some primary Good News blockers that we should let go, and the Good News to exchange them with: The ways, values, and priorities of our culture – Jesus’ Abundant Life; judging and blaming – Forgiveness, compassion, and encouragement; Self-devaluation caused by the belittling by others – Affirmation that we are a precious child of God…with a new start just a “Yes Jesus” away…
- Jesus 2nd Good News Grabber is this: Trust that Jesus’ Good News can heal and save you in your darkest times – Because Jesus has experienced your worst news! Harry Treuchert discovered this truth. His marriage, his life was falling apart; he was ready to end his life, until he saw a poster on a church library wall, showing a man in despair, with three crosses at the bottom; below the center cross were these words, “I know how you feel, I have been there..to save you!”
- Jesus died on the Cross to take away our sins and burdens; and he descended into Hell to experience whatever Hell we will ever live in…and he was raised from the dead to be our living Lord to guide us through our dark times with his ways. Jesus has been in “both Kingdoms” – and he knows how to lead you from the Kingdom of darkness and death to the Kingdom of light and new life!
- Provided that we embrace Jesus’ 3rd Good news Grabber: Trust that Jesus’ Good News comes only through his ways – By pleading with him to take control of what or who needs changing, cleansing, healing! We should always ask Jesus for what we want, but we must resist the temptation to attempt to control how Jesus answers our prayers…instructing Jesus in the ways we want it done.
- This is the insight experienced by Jim Morgan. His son Jamie was smart and musically talented, but something was missing in his life, and he filled it with crack and heroin. “For eight years,” Jim said, “Peggy and I prayed for Jesus to save Jamie, to bring him home; we could get him in the finest rehab facility.” But Jamie stayed away…his life spiraled down. Then one day in an office devotional, a colleague read the Leper’s pleading, “If you will , you can make me clean!”
- The truth of those words opened Jim’s eyes: “We had been praying for Jesus to save Jamie, but we wanted him saved on our terms, with our efforts; honestly, we were not trusting Jesus.” So they changed their prayer, “Jesus, we give Jamie to you; he is yours; save him; make him clean your way.” A month later, as Jamie played a gig, a man spoke to him, “You have a lot of talent, but you are destroying your life and wasting your talents. Will you come with me to NA tonight; will you let me pray with you for Jesus to make you clean?”
- As of last count, Jamie is at least 7 years a 3 months clean. He lives in Nashville, writing and singing Christian songs…thanking Jesus for his love, grace, the Good News that grabbed his life, when Jesus was given control….as Jamie expressed so beautifully and powerfully in his song, “Enamored” – which means “inflamed with love…” the love of Jesus that blessed him when he answered “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to grab his Good News!
Connection for the Week: Pray and talk with your family or a friend about the invitation I gave you to respond with your life to trust in Jesus’ Good news; ask God to show you what you need to let go to be changed, cleansed, healed in some way by the Good News ways of Jesus; trust that Jesus can lead you through your dark times; and give control to Jesus to change, cleanse, heal you, someone you know, in his way…and experience his blessings begin to flow.