Is Every Trial a Court Case?

If you’re a pastor or teacher who uses the Revised Common Lectionary, you might be interested in my Bible Talk based on the readings for October 28. God bless your study of God’s Word!

Source: Is Every Trial a Court Case?

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For God – or against?

Based on readings from The Revised Common Lectionary, here’s the Bible Talk I’ll present, Lord willing, this Sunday September 30 at 11 a.m. in the Lake Como Community of Hope, Lake Como, Florida.

Source: For God – or against?

10 tips for sermons that keep everyone awake

Source: 10 tips for sermons that keep everyone awake

Sermons aren’t meant to be lullabies or long songs that drone on and on, lulling people to sleep! The idea of a weekly message is not to offer advice or tell people what to do but to show the relevance of God’s Word as you work and pray for a Christian faith community of Christ-like love.

These tips will help you get to the point, be concise, and, most important, encourage Christlike lives and actions.

poem for Holy Week

Impassioned by Christ

Gethsemane –
and i am a pebble
pressing against His knee
as He kneels in the garden.

i am a stripe on His back
when He’s beaten
thirty-nine times.
Yes, count them –

thirty-nine times.

i am a thorn
in His crown,
a nail
in His palm,
a cave
where, lifeless,
He’s lain.

i am a hollow
space, an empty
shelf, an unoccupied
self
absent at His revival –
but filled
with passion
at His arrival.

i am forgiven.

I Am Risen.

by Mary Harwell Sayler from poetry book Lost in Faith

Getting real with God

Lent brings a 40-day reminder to get real with God – a practice among Christians that encourages us to give serious thought to our words and actions, which better prepares us to receive the joy and power of Easter.

Instead of glossing over flaws, failures, or areas of unforgiveness, we can face our realistic struggles with doubt, fear, or worry and arrive at a new understanding of how powerful faith is — even when it’s no bigger than a mustard seed.

Jesus’ apostle Thomas understood this. Although he’d been willing to die for Christ, he didn’t want to take the word of other followers when Jesus returned from death. He needed to see for himself.

Thomas

Why did you doubt
the real live blood that sprouted
from Christ’s side and bloomed
in the room where you gathered –

   a bouquet of wine
   poured behind
   closed doors?

Could you not see the pores
opened, aching for you, always
to be, not beside yourself,
but Him?

His side lay bare to let you in,
so enter now. Come round His side
and worship Him again.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2014, from poetry book Outside Eden

 

Thomas did “come round,” immediately declaring “My Lord and My God!” and that declaration carries even more impact because the Bible did not previously cover up his doubt.

The Bible does not pretend we’ll have a perfectly lived life. Expecting that can become a hindrance to our relationship with God, especially if we think we’ll have nothing but prosperous, carefree days. If, however, we expect no special exemptions from trouble — and if we believe our Perfect Father God never, ever leaves us — we’re poised to relax and take an Olympic-sized leap of faith.

Lost in Faith

Abandoned
by You, Lord?
Never!

Abandonment
by me….
Yes!

I throw myself
on Your mercy.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017, from poetry book Lost in Faith

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