Last week we started a sermon series on the seven churches of Revelation. A lot of times when people read this book, they don’t realize it contains seven letters by Jesus sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). (Rev.1:11) Each of these seven churches was unique, each had its own struggles and issues to deal with. For instance, the church in Ephesus Jesus commanded to repent since they had forsaken their first love. The church was not as loving as it used to be.
The book of Revelation is a fascinating book, it’s the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to the readers. (Rev.1:3). Within this book we find seven letters written to seven churches in the province of Asia Minor. Why these seven? We don’t know, but the messages we find in these letters is relevant to the churches today. The church is to represent Christ in this world, but sometimes churches go through many issues and may be distracted from their main mission as Christ’s agent in the world. Through the messages Jesus sent to these churches you get to learn what God expects of his church in this world. What does Jesus expect of his church today? We find answer to this question in our study of the seven churches of Revelation.
With the start of a new year, people tend to think about changes and resolutions as if it is the year that would bring such changes in their lives. Resolutions don’t happen automatically. This year is already moving forward, but you may choose to change or not to change anything. Every year will bring joy and sadness; victory and defeat; life and death; it could be a year to plant or to uproot what has been planted. It is good to make resolutions, but we don’t have to wait for a new year to start. You can begin anytime, any moment. But the choice is yours.
I hope and pray you had a great Christmas celebration. Just like people respond differently to Christmas, they also respond different to the good news of Jesus. We have been journeying through the story of the first Christmas and how people responded to the news.
Christmas is the time in which followers of Jesus remember the time when God sent his Son into the world, the Savior announced to Mary. Last week I talked about how the news of the Savior was announced to shepherds in the field. “I bring you news of great joy for all the people, today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.”
People respond to Christmas so differently; some choose to celebrate it, others don’t. For some it could be a time of joy and celebration. For others it could be a time of sadness and gloom. Some people would love if this holiday didn’t exist. Some tend to hate this holiday because of how commercialized it has become. Regardless of the commercialization of Christmas, some try really hard to focus on the birth of Jesus. Regardless of what people do in Christmas, some people try their best to remind themselves of the time when God sent them a Savior. This is how they choose to respond to what Christmas has become these days.
Some information tends to carry huge implications to our lives. Some news could change our lives drastically. The visit to the Dr. as you wait the test results to find out you have a terminal disease. A shooting at the school where your kids attends. Sudden death of a loved one in a car accident. These things are shocking, disturbing to your ears.
A young girl was planning a wedding; she was so excited, but one day she had an unexpected visitor who brought to her some disturbing news. She may need to put the wedding on hold.
To communicate is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs or behavior to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc. to someone else. Sometimes, there is miscommunication (failure to communicate clearly); at times there is misunderstanding (failure to understand something, misinterpretation).
With all the technological advancements you would think that it would be nearly impossible for us to miscommunicate or misinterpret the message. But it happens all the time.
It is my hope and prayer you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gratitude doesn’t come natural to many of us. This is one of the first things we were taught, and we then tried to teach our children-to be grateful.
During the holiday season, people tend to be much nicer to others. (Except on black Friday lines). During holiday season we witness generosity take place. Have you ever wondered what motivates people to be generous? What motivates you to give of your money, your time, talents? For some people it is compassion, for others competition, jealousy, guilt, pride, or the spot light.
Throughout centuries people have wrestled with the identity of Jesus. The question “who is Jesus?” has puzzled many great minds for centuries. Some people have viewed Jesus as a prophet, a great teacher. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet like Muhammad; Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus was a created angel (Michael the archangel). Mormons believe Jesus was Lucifer’s brother. Scientologists believe Jesus was a great teacher who taught us how to be spiritually advanced. Who do you believe Jesus is?
We all have to fight battles in this life; perhaps you may be fighting one right now. We all face challenges that make us feel afraid, helpless, hopeless, to say the least. At times these challenges get the best of us; stress and anxiety and insecurity. This is how the first king of Israel felt for over a month; he faced a huge problem. He didn’t know how to overcome it; he was afraid and the whole nation with him.