“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).
Since Jesus is Risen, I will go to the house of the Lord and put my hope in his Rule and Reign over my life. If you want to fight disillusionment, excessive boredom, and cynicism, you have to set your heart and mind on something bigger than the mess, and more fascinating than the latest gadget from Apple. Let’s worship him who has made a way for everlasting life – see you at 9:30 am.
O How I love frost, let me count the ways:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to die . . . a time to pluck up what is planted . . . a time to kill . . . a time to break down . . . a time to laugh . . . a time to dance . . . a time to lose . . . a time to cast away . . . a time to tear . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:1-11).
When frost comes, my wife cries but I rejoice. Frost is proof that God wants all gardeners to take a break. It’s proof that he really does love the non-gardener, too. Frost is God’s way of saying, “Man shall not live by gardening alone, but by watching College Football, The World Series, and eating venison.”
Enjoy God’s gifts to you this weekend, but enjoy him above his gifts – worship Him who made all things, including frost, for his own glory and our delight (especially mine).
What if that were this mornings headline in the newspaper? It was in February, 1949, when the post-war muscle-flexing was reaching new proportions between the U.S. and Russia. These are my great-grandpa Sears sermon notes with newspaper clippings warning of what could happen if a Nuclear War breaks out between America and Communist Russia.
That’s what was troubling then. What troubles you today in your life?
Do you believe that the same ascended King Jesus who was ruling and reigning then, is doing the same today? Hear again his words of what to do with your anxiety for today and for all your tomorrows:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:25-34).
I doubt that grandpa Sears is anxious about atomic bombs today; reading through his sermon notes and knowing the witness of his grandchildren, how can you be fretful standing by the One who held all your days in his hand? One day, whatever troubles you today and tomorrow will be used to show-off just how powerful the Risen Lord is – he can even old atoms in his hand (Heb. 1:1-3).
I really do enjoy living about an hour away from one of the mega-cities on the planet. The food and entertainment, the traffic, the sports, and the outrageous parking fees makes for a wonderful evening. The windy city has much to offer – especially to the big spender (which is not me). But why does it exist? I’ve picked my words carefully. I know how it came to be, and how transportation on water sparked a migration frenzy to this part of the great lakes, and how it survived a fire, and how its massive train and cattle yards are part of its history. But why?
Because sometimes God sends missionaries to people groups across the world to proclaim the gospel and sometimes God brings people groups across the world to hear the gospel proclaimed. Paul said it this way,
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. (Acts 17:26-27)
Chicago Exists because God determined that multiple ethnic groups would exist there in a certain time in history and with a certain boundary and location in that city. Also, one cannot speak of a perimeter of existence without implying the total number of that people. God determined that a massive amount of Jewish, Polish, Russian, ect., kinds of people would migrate here but with a limit so that the boundary of their existence would be established. And the reason God did it this way is so that they might hear the truth and seek him and come to know him, him who made them for his own glory.
Six thoughts about your heart and the big city:
1. Don’t despise the big cities of the earth. Yes – they promote massive materialism, self-centeredness, and more corruption than one can stomach. But this is God’s plan to get people near the gospel.
2. Remember that big cities are filled with lost souls, not just millionaires and pan-handlers. The millionaire and the beggar both need the gospel. Both are empty and both matter to God.
3. Give a dollar to a beggar once in a while and thank God that you were able to contribute to God’s common grace. “But he’ll just use it to buy whiskey or drugs or cigarettes.” Yes he just might. So? Have you always used the good gifts and graces of life that have come your way to the “Glory of God”? Jesus once healed nine lepers, easing their pain temporarily, giving them healthy bodies for who knows what they did that evening with their new-found freedom. But he did it anyway. It is good to give to those who have reached their zenith of joy, for when they die, it is an eternity of unfathomable misery. Have some pity! This is as good as its going to get for them.
4. Pray for the churches in the big cities that they will live and proclaim the gospel. “Lord, we ask that you would continue to equip Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and Erwin Lutzer at Moody Church with a vision, determination, and a passion to reach the lost of New York City and Chicago (respectively). Raise up men and women in these churches with various language skills to move into new areas of the city where the gospel is not proclaimed in the native language of a particular people group.”
5. Visit a big city and stop and think about what you are seeing. Then let God’s Spirit move over you with compassion as Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Turn to scripture in your mind and then pray for the people of the city. Ask God to be merciful as Abraham pleaded for the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
6. Finally, don’t besmirch the migration of people groups whether they move into your city or your back yard. God is moving people around so that they will come under the sound of the gospel. Be ready to speak and love. Be watchful for broken and lonely and homeless people. Be thankful that God put you in the path of people on the move. This is what God did with Philip in Acts 8. The sovereign Lord of immigration put an Ethiopian in his path. Philip explained the gospel of Jesus Christ from Isaiah 53, the black man repented and turned to Christ, was baptized, and went back to Africa a new man.
Remember: Immigration might be an American problem, but it is not a Church problem, or at least, it shouldn’t be.
Proverbs 5:18ff commends enjoyment with the girl you married when you were young. Yesterday, I enjoyed spending the day with her. I’m not in the dark about how this was made possible – much grace in many ways made the day. Contributors to our life together: loving family, skilled doctors and nurses, good eating and exercise habits, world-class hospitals, and an exceptional godly church family, all put together make one’s life a display of grace. For it is pure undiluted grace that explains the richness of life.
Now I’m not tell’n how old she is, I’m just say’n that . . .
. . . she’s thrifty, enjoying some German cuisine at Prost with a $15 coupon that she found on the internet. I had pork belly and she had veal.
. . . she’s nifty, which means she’s an enjoyable person to spend time with. She loves good tasting tea.
. . . she’s frisky, as long as she gets her chocolates at The Fudge Pot!
. . . she’s shifty, because no matter how hard I try to steer clear of things that grow in gardens, she suckers me in to stopping at these spots.
. . . and she’s pithy. (that’s a synonym for “short” as clearly seen above standing beside a security guard). Visiting Hershey’s in Chicago is always a must. BTY, I just love how cinnanyms give us other options so we don’t use the same word twice – especially on sweet rolls – don’t you!?
Happy Birthday Cheryl. It was a great day in Chicago with you.