Saved and Sanctified: But, I don’t wanna Die!

They’re saved and sanctified. You know that person…the one who’ll try to convince you how committed they are to Jesus Christ. They are so in love with Jesus Christ and always want to tell you have they’ve been saved and sanctified.

But, what does that actually mean?

Through the Bible, we know that Brother or Sister so-and-so is not the first one to be so sure of their love for Jesus. Yet, what happens when that love is put to the test? How many of those saved and sanctified men and women who walked with Jesus were actually there when Jesus was Crucified? Not too many…

Everyone believes they are saved and sanctified, yet no one wants to die! Why is that? I’m not trying to be hard on you. Even the great St. Peter had this problem. So, what must happen for us to truly stand with Jesus?

That’s what I’m getting at in this sermon…

At Death: How will you be remembered?

Death is a reality none of us really want to deal with. We tend to think we will have all the time in the world. No need to “get right” now. We think we can wait until later in life to make things right.

Maybe it’s because we don’t really believe in heaven and hell? We sho nuff don’t want to talk about either of them. (I spoke about hell once in a sermon and was called out for using profanity!) Rather, we want to assume that because we say, “in the Name of Jesus” that we’re automatically going to heaven. But is that true?

How will you be remembered in death?

Now, I’m not asking you how your loved ones will remember you in death. Humanity can be too generous and too critical. Some may judge you too harshly. Others might judge you to loosely.

I want you to consider: how will the Lord remember you in your death? How will the One who knows all, sees all and is present in all, remember you at the time of your death? Have you thought about that?

There’s a thought, eh?

But that’s what we see when we look up at the Cross. And, that’s what we hear when we listen to Christ.

First, He says: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Not, that we don’t know that we are doing wrong. We definitely know that. But, we don’t see the bigger picture beyond our self-interest. Nevertheless, Jesus offers us forgiveness – while we hang Him on the Cross.

Realizing this, one thief considered our question: how will I be remembered in death? Realizing that he was about to go to a very real place, he made a decision. He wanted to be remembered in a good way.

Sure: we all want to be remembered in a “good way.” But, do we live a life that would result in that type of memory? Or do we hope that our death bed confessions will be enough? Hear me out and let me know what you think…

Like Judas: They Walk the Way of Evil

betrayal-by-judasJudas betrayed Jesus. Jesus knew it was going to happen. Yet, he never stopped Judas. More than that, Jesus fed Judas and washed his feet before Judas went to complete his betrayal.

Why in the world would Jesus allow this to happen?

Jesus gives us plenty of opportunities to do the right thing. But we don’t want that. We prefer wickedness.

The crazy thing about this, is that Judas was a disciple. Judas took the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and he was washed in confession when Jesus washed his feet. So the reality is that Judas was a follower of Christ who participated in the life of the Church. Still, he betrayed Jesus.

Sometimes, no matter how close to the truth we are we prefer to walk the way of evil. Goodness is never good enough. People want to have it their way. So, despite all they’ve seen and heard, they ignore the truth and bring themselves to ruin. Most times, people think they are protecting something greater than themselves. They are protecting this thing from someone who they disagree with. In their wickedness, they plan on destroying that person. Yet, they only destroy themselves.

But Jesus knows this. He knows you will betray Him when you don’t like what Scripture has to say to you. He knows some will tear apart the Church because they don’t like when they lose their power. He knows all of this, but He still allows us all to remain in His good graces. He still allows us to participate in the life of the Church.

How deep is that love? Wow…

And, what should that love do to you and to me? How do you receive that love? And how does it change your life? Listen here and let me know what you think.

Folk Can’t WAIT to Crucify Jesus!

For some reason, folk can’t contain themselves. We can’t wait to crucify Jesus!

I know: you’re like “what is he talking about?” And, you might want to simply dismiss me right now. But, I bet if you hear me out you’ll find something worthwhile.

You see the interesting thing about Palm Sunday is that the very people who praised Jesus when He entered Jerusalem were the exact same people who later cried: “crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

And, it’s the same for us. The minute someone doesn’t look like, act like, live like we think they should look, act and live: we crucify that person. We chase them away like lepers proclaiming their uncleanness.

Day after day, we crucify Jesus. How did you crucify Him today?

You might say you didn’t, but most likely you did.

We all do something – daily. So what did you do to nail Jesus to the Cross today? What did you do to pierce Jesus in His side today? How did you divide His clothes amongst yourself? How did you mock Him? How did you spit in His face? How did you greet Him in the garden and kiss Him while you were betraying Him with your thoughts, your words and your deeds?

How did you crucify Jesus today?

We can’t wait to crucify Him! All we need is an opportunity and we’ll find the nearest tree on which to nail Him. Think about it…think about the way we conduct ourselves – especially in the Church. People are driven away because babies cry too loud, because they haven’t been at the place long enough to get involved, because their home life doesn’t live up to our standards. We dig…searching for a reason to crucify the least of these, His brothers and sisters.

We can’t wait to crucify Him! Like a fiend, we’re addicted to the rush of other people’s blood being spilled in the name of self-righteousness. I guess Jesus full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice is not enough for some. So, we must spill more blood. Well…go ‘head and crucify Him if you want to! But, I’d like for you to simply check this piece out…

Poor People: A Disease no Christian Would Touch?

Poor People and Raising LazarusJesus raised Lazarus from the dead…

I’ve read that passage many times before. It seems so plain, right? I mean…miraculous – yes. Here is a man, Lazarus, who had be dead. The mystery that reveals, I tried to capture in a poem I describe here. You can listen to a sample of that poem and download my poetry album here.

Yet, this miracle isn’t my focus here. Instead, I was struck by the disciples’ hesitance to go to Bethany with Jesus. They flat out object to going there. Eventually, they agree and go with Him. Yet, it was clear they did not want to return to that place.

And yes, the Jewish authorities had just tried to stone Jesus to death in Judea. But this is NOT the only reason the disciples did non want to go to Bethany. There’s more to it than that.

Poor people seem to have always been a disease to followers of Jesus. No one wants to go into the places where the poor reside. No one wants to risk their life to tend to poor people, especially when poor people, like Judas, might betray you for the chance to get a little money.

Sure, Jesus, let’s go there so we can die! There’s a plan that makes a lot of sense…let us go into a place where the authorities want to kill us…let us go into a place where we are surrounded by sick and poor people!

Why can’t we follow Christ without involving ourselves in the lives of poor people? Why must we face certain death in their defense, or in their care? Poor people are a disease no Christian wants to touch. And, that is revealed in John 11 and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Listen to this and hear where I’m coming from…