“Where in the World Is God?” He Is Helping You.

The parents have tried for so long to have a child. Finally, they are excited to announce to their friends and family that God has blessed them with that child. Then months later comes the heart-wrenching news that the new mother suffered a miscarriage.

The father of four learns he has cancer. He seeks treatment and the Lord blesses the treatment, so the doctor’s report is that the father is now cancer-free. Then half a year later, the cancer comes back with a vengeance. This time, there is no cure.

Where in the World Is God? He Is Baptizing You.

Last Sunday before worship, I sat down next to 7-year-old Adelina. She told me, “I’m nervous about being baptized next week.” I teased her, “Well I’m not nervous. I’ve done this lots of times.”

Then I told her, “When you’re baptized next Sunday, I’m going to get your head wet … and then my eyes are going to get wet.”

This morning in the early service, Bob, who is in his 60s was baptized and confirmed. In the late service, Allicia was baptized and confirmed and her four children, Angel, Ayden, Grace, and Adelina, also received the cleansing bath of baptism over their heads.

Praise the Lord

Charlie had been in a serious car accident. While he was fortunate to escape life-threatening injury, when his vehicle crashed and the airbag deployed, he almost bit off his tongue. A surgeon was called to stitch the severed portion. But the doctor gave no guarantee. He said, “It may heal and you will speak again, or it may not.”

Several months went by in complete silence. Finally, the stitches were removed and people wondered, “What would be the first words Charlie would speak?” Cautiously, Charlie positioned his tongue and said, “Praise the Lord!”

The Twelve-Year-Old God Who Is Our Passover Lamb

“Did you see his face?” Mary bit back a sob as she continued trudging up the rocky slope.

Joseph shook his head. “Mary, every boy looks like that the first time they see the lamb slaughtered. There is a stark contrast with the red blood on the white wool. They don’t realize what death is yet. They don’t realize what it is to sacrifice a lamb. And it was his first Passover, Mary. Of course, he looked like that.”

“No. No. Joseph, it was something more than that. It was like … it was like he was seeing his own death.”

Joseph and Mary had spent the past seven days in Jerusalem celebrating the high festival of the Feast of the Passover. This feast celebrated the redemption of the people of Israel from Egypt and was observed in the spring of the year. It was the most important of the Jewish festivals and the law required all males to attend.

A Light in the Darkness

This afternoon will be very difficult. We always go on Christmas Day to Shelley’s parents’ home. Today will be the first Christmas without one of Shelley’s parents in that home. God called Shelley’s mom, Sue, home to heaven earlier this year.

Many of you know what this feels like. You remember decorating the tree with your dad. You recall baking cookies with your mom. You reminisce about making Christmas candies with your siblings. But now dad is gone. Your mom is in the nursing home. Your siblings have moved away.

Silent Night, Holy Night

On a cold Christmas Eve in the year 1818, a young priest named Joseph Mohr quickly walked from his home in the small town in Oberndorf, Austria to the neighboring village of Amsdorf. He was carrying a piece of paper – a poem he had written two years earlier.

He made his way to the schoolhouse, walked up the stairs and knocked on the door of the second floor apartment. He was greeted by his friend, Franz Gruber, the schoolmaster in Amsdorf and also the church organist.

“What Shall We Do?”

What do you do when your child runs into a busy street? Do you ignore it? Do you hope that she’ll be OK? Of course not! When you see your child run into that busy street, you yell to her. You give her very stern and direct instructions on how to get back to you safely. You call her back because you love her.

What do you do when you notice that your neighbor’s house is on fire at 2 am? Do you ignore it? Do you let the house burn down because you don’t want to be rude and wake up your neighbor? Of course not! When you see your neighbor’s house burning, you shout, you bang on his door, you call 911. You do whatever you can to save his life.

Forged in Fire

One of my favorite TV shows is “Forged in Fire” on the History Channel. It is a competition series where four bladesmiths compete to create various kinds of knives that will hold up to the brutal tests of the show’s experts. The experts will try to chop deer antlers or bamboo stalks with their weapons to check edge retention. Then they will slice through a pig hide or cut through rope to check if their blades are still sharp.

A Location

The mantra of any real estate agent is “Location, location, location.” This is the number one rule in real estate. Homes increase or decrease in value based on location. You can change the structure of the house, remodel or alter the home’s layout, but what makes a home the most desirable is its location. Is it in a top school district? Is it close to a lake or a park? Is there is scenic view or entertainment and shopping nearby?

Are You the King of the Jews?

Pilate was an official of imperial Rome. Jesus stood before him as an accused traitor. The Jews claimed he was a king trying to usurp the power of Caesar. Pilate had a responsibility to question Jesus and assess whether or not He was truly a threat to the Roman empire. If Jesus was a king leading a rebellion, the Romans would oppose Him and His followers with the force of Roman legions. The empire was built on Roman military power, and Romans did not tolerate opposition to their power. But Pilate’s interview revealed that Jesus was not a threat. As a matter of fact, Pilate would conclude, “I find no basis for a charge against him” (Jn 18:38).

Still, Pilate was afraid to release Jesus for fear that the Jews would create problems with Caesar. Then, Pilate would be assigned an even worse place to govern than Israel. Pilate became downright terrified when he learned that Jesus claimed not only to be a king, but also the Son of God (John 19:8). To appease the Jews, Pilate issued the order for this king of the Jews to be crucified.