Forgiveness—it sounds so easy. Yet, there are times when we just can’t forgive, when we simply don’t want to forgive. If anyone had reason to feel that way, it was Jesus. Jesus, however, freely offers unconditional forgiveness even to the very men who nailed him to the cross. Forgive, God says, as I have forgiven you. Love forgives! Matthew 18:21-35, Luke 23:34
We say we love all people, but when push comes to shove, we’re pretty selective about where we choose to live and the people we choose to hang out with. Jesus hung out (literally!) with individuals that we church people would deem “beneath us”. And he showed them the same love, the same grace. Love embraces all! John 3:14-21; Luke 23:43
A mother loves her child and will do everything she can to protect him. Even if the whole world turns against or gives up on her child, she’ll defend and speak well of him to the bitter end. How much greater is Jesus’ love as he seeks to protect his Father’s reputation and the physical well-being of his own mother. Love protects. John 2:13-22; John 19:25-29
When we think that love means happiness and roses and nothing more, we’re in for serious disappointment. Sometimes love means sacrifice and suffering. Sometimes loves means taking up a cross can carrying it to its finish. Mark 8:31-38; John 19:28-29
Forty days in the wilderness without food. Nailed to a cross and left to die. Does God really love me? Does God really care? Or am I truly in this all alone? Yes, the temptation is often there to give up on a relationship when we don’t feel the love. Love, however, refuses to throw in the towel, love does not give up. Love fights to hold on to what it knows and believes! Mark 1:12-15; Mark 15:34
Pastor Ben’s farewell sermon on Transfiguration Sunday. Mark 9:2-9
Nothing we can do will make God love us less or love us more. Think about how that truth changes your life. Think about how that truth liberates you from the fears and self-imposed expectations that weigh you down. Think about what life would look like, how the world would change if you not only allowed yourself to be loved this way, but earnestly asked God to help you love others this way!
Sermon Text: 1 John 3:11-20
The world teaches us that the best thing we can be doing is looking out for ourselves, promoting ourselves, satisfying ourselves. We weren’t created for this kind of living. Sooner or later it leaves us feeling empty and listless. Jesus was other-focused in his life and in his death. This is what we were created for. This changes everything for us. Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Rugged individualism—it’s the ideal that this country was built on. Along with the two year old we proclaim: “I can do it myself!” I don’t need anybody. But the gospel is all about God coming alongside us and fulfilling our need. We need each other. We were created to live together in community, with strengths that bless another’s weakness. The gospel compels us and empowers us to live in community.
Sermon Text: Hebrews 10:19-24
The world causes us to question ourselves. Have you made it? Are you good enough? Does your life really have any value? Way too many of us feel that we don’t measure up. But we’re looking for personal value in the wrong place. We’re looking to what we do and don’t do. We’re focused on what other people think. It’s what God thinks that truly matters. Galatians 3:26,27