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The Road Before Us

Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

There are times in the Bible when we hear the phrase, And the Lord said… (Deuteronomy 31:14). In these instances, God is speaking directly to the recipient just as I am speaking directly to you. And the Lord said… and what follows is God’s word and yet it is the same Word spoken in this passage from Deuteronomy where Moses has been commanded by God to say, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil… (Deuteronomy 30:15). These words, although spoken by Moses, are still truly God’s word. Like the words of the Bible and preaching faithful to the Bible, these words may come to us through prophets, apostles, human writers and preachers, but they are still God’s Word to us.

God says, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil… (Deuteronomy 30:15). Now in the past when I’ve read this verse, I quickly imagined it to be a road that divides into two, like a fork in a road; one leading to life and good, and the other leading to death and evil.

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Blessed to Salt and Light the World

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today I want to focus on that part of the Gospel reading from Matthew 5 (13-16) where Jesus says…

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

If someone asked you personally, “Who are you?” and “What are you about?” how would you answer these questions? How would you answer those questions for your congregation?

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Blessed are you right now!

Read Matthew 5:1-12

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Over the next three weeks I’m going to be focusing on that part of Matthew’s Gospel known as The Sermon on the Mount and today I will begin by considering the first section of that sermon, what is known as The Beatitudes, Jesus’ teaching on what it means to be blessed.

After being baptized; after facing the temptations of the devil; Jesus began his ministry preaching (Matthew 4:17), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He then went on to teach about life in the kingdom of heaven and specifically, what it means to live under the reign of Christ. Finally, Jesus took the preaching and teaching of the kingdom into the lives of people through a ministry of healing (Matthew 4:24) the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics.

Preaching, teaching and healing. These three facets of ministry seem to carry a different value for people. For example, preaching God’s Word in my current congregation draws about 70-80 people into our church facility each Sunday. However, teaching God’s Word collects a mere half-a-dozen each week. What about healing? Does our congregation offer healing? I think most people, even Christians, would struggle to identify how churches offer healing today. On the other hand, if I could heal those with any affliction like Jesus did, I believe we’d be so overwhelmed with numbers that we’d have to build a new facility. My point here is that most people are attracted by the tangible things they believe they need and want and preaching and teaching while fine more some, hold little value for most in comparison to what is offered in healing. I believe this reflects our sinful nature.