“THE VALUE OF IT ALL”

 

Text -LUKE 12:13—21

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR...JESUS THE CHRIST.

In our text, we have a Biblical scene we have become very familiar with. Jesus is sitting and teaching when so many thousands of people had gathered that they were trampling one another. Most of them were listening intently because they know Jesus is The Man Who teaches with The Divine Wisdom and Authority of God Himself.

Jesus is frequently interrupted by someone with a question. One man moves slowly and methodically through the crowd - barely hearing what Jesus is saying.  Subjects like the Kingdom of God, love and faith were of little interest to him so as he reaches the front of the crowd, he immediately seizes the opportunity to petition Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”

The man approaching Jesus knew the authority and prestige people attributed to Jesus and he wanted to use Jesus’ support against his brother in the dividing of the family possessions.

Jesus’ answer may have surprised some in that crowd. It shouldn’t have.  Jesus – like all Truth – is truly consistent.  

Jesus said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or divider over you?” 

Where matters of personal dispute were concerned Jesus refused to allow Himself to be drawn into the dispute. Where issues of ethics and morality were concerned, Jesus always began “Have you not read ….” and pointed to the unalterable Word of God.

Without God’s Law we have no guide to show us how God created us to live – to give us The Foundation for our morals, ethics, and lifestyles and to show us that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God and therefore totally need what only Jesus can and does give us.

Jesus warned the man, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a person’s life does not consist in his abundance of possessions.”  “Look to The Word God has already given you. 

“LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY”

 

Text - LUKE 11:1—4

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR ... JESUS THE CHRIST.

As our Gospel text begins, Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

The disciples’ request may at first seem unusual.  These were devout and committed men who had left an extremely prosperous fishing corporation or an extremely lucrative tax collector’s booth or an exciting political agenda to become full-time students of their Master Teacher Jesus.  For two and a half years, they had been focusing totally on what Jesus did, said, and taught.

Any accurate description of Jesus would have to emphasize the fact that He prayed a lot.  How constantly the disciples saw Him off by Himself praying — how meaningful every word He uttered was when He prayed with them or lead them in prayer. Certainly they had learned a great deal about the value and content of prayer from Him during those two and a half years.  Why did they now ask Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”?

Communication must constantly grow and mature in marriage, in parent-child relationships, among siblings, between friends, between business associates. As we grow and mature in any relationship, our communication becomes more meaningful — it must or the relationship will not grow and eventually will die. Still, in every relationship, there is always room for improvement in the way we communicate.

Prayer is nothing more and nothing less than communication with God — and, as with all communication, our prayer life must grow and mature or that great gift will lose its power and die. We all need to join the original  disciples’ request - “Lord, teach us to pray”.

“THE STORY WE LOVE TO TELL”

Text – MARK 6:7-13

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

I remember the first time I met Guenther Tharp. He was such a little guy – cute as only a child of four could be – and shy as is so typical of a child that age.  The whole time I talked to him he never stopped looking down at his shoes and did not utter a single sound.  Soon the Tharps and I went on to other topics and Guenther returned to his toys – apparently totally oblivious to what his parents and I said or did.

Then his father made reference to the family’s visit to Disney World on their recent vacation.  Those two words – “Disney World” – were like an alarm clock alerting Guenther to an interesting shift in what Guenther had considered a boring adult conversation. Soon he was directly in front of me talking about Mickey Mouse, “It’s A Small, Small World” and all the other characters and attractions he had seen at Disney World.  Ten minutes passed and Guenther was still telling the story of his visit to Disney World. It was obvious the shy Guenther had a story to tell and loved telling it.

Smitty Weaver is the shyest and quietest of all the workers at the GM plant – until someone mentions the year the Cavaliers won and the Indians almost one it all. Then Smitty comes to life drawing vivid sketches with his animated and lively speech – he has a story to tell and loves telling it.  Mildred Gunderson is that way about garage sales.  She always knows where the best ones are, has a story to tell and loves telling it.

I guess we are all somewhat that way. We each have our own stories to tell. We each have some subject or subjects which interest us more than anything else in life and which become our story to tell – the story we love to tell.

“WHEN GOD COMES CALLING”

Text – LUKE 10:38—42

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVOUR — JESUS THE CHRIST – AND FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Nate – confined to a wheelchair throughout his life – at the age of ten was playing basketball with his brothers and a few friends in the school gym when a particularly violent thunder storm erupted.  

The electric went off leaving the windowless gym totally dark. 

Panicked all the boys fled through the door – all but Nate in his wheelchair.  He cried out for someone to lead him to the safety beyond the door. Everyone else had fled – no one heard his plea.

He had never been that scared before – and hasn’t since.  He prayed “Lord Jesus, help me, please save me and I will always try to be a better person.”

Just then a giant flash of lightning lit up the entire gym and even lasted long enough for Nate to retreat to the safety beyond the door.

We never know when Jesus The Divine Host of the universe will come among us as our Divine Guest as He did that day in the school gym and as He does in our text this morning.

As the 10th chapter of St. Luke began, Jesus and His disciples were traveling across the totally barren Wilderness of Judea. Jesus was approached by a scribe who interpreted the law which he as both theologian and lawyer had learned through constant copying of God’s Word. Seeking to put Jesus to the test, the scribe asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What must I do to gain Divine Favor and reward?”

Jesus responded with The Parable of The Good Samaritan. In His words and in His parable, Jesus explained the essence of the life to which we are called by Christ to live is to loveThe Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind; and to love our neighbor as we love our self.”

“Decisions - His And Ours”

Text - LUKE 9:51, 57—62

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR PERSONAL CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR … JESUS THE CHRIST.

I’m often asked for more stories about Guenther Tharp.  Our text this morning always reminds me of the time Guenther was studying The Ten Commandments with Mrs. Nielsen’s Sunday school class and she decided to give the class an oral quiz.  She asked, “Which commandment are you breaking when you sneak some money out of your mother’s purse?”

Sally Nolan replied, “The Seventh Commandment, Mrs. Neilsen, ‘You shall not steal’.”

“What commandment are you breaking if you are disrespectful to your mother?”

Tim Ryan said, “The Fourth — ‘Honor your father and your mother’.”

“What commandment are you breaking if you cut off part of a little puppy’s tail?”

The children were shocked.  There were very few things they could think of as horrible as cutting off part of a little puppy’s tail.  

They knew it was a terrible sin — but wondered which commandment was being violated.

Mrs. Neilsen repeated her question several times.  “What commandment are you breaking if you cut off part of a little puppy’s tail?”

Finally, Guenther Tharp somewhat tentatively raised his hand, “I think I know the commandment, but I am not sure of the number.”

“O.K., Guenther, which commandment is someone breaking if you cut off part of a little puppy’s tail?”

“What God hath joined together let no one rend asunder.” (MATTHEW 19:6)

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