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Archive for the ‘Sunday Messages’ Category

Three Men Who Blew It and Made a Come Back, and One Who Didn’t

02 Sep

It is September already, schools are starting and Fall is quickly approaching, which calls for a new series. I’m looking forward to this series because it will reflect so many of our lives in many different ways and speak about the regeneration process and transformational power of our God.

When I was young there were several summers that my family would climb a nearby mountain called Buffalo Hump. From a distance of eighty miles the mountain struck the pose of a silhouetted buffalo traveling north into the wilderness. Buffalo Hump is a 9,000 foot mountain that boasts an amazing 360 degree view from the top of the final 1,000 foot rock strewn rise. At the top we would sit on massive boulders above the tree line and gaze in awe looking West into Oregon and Northeast into Montana from our perch in the heart of North Idaho.
After sitting on top for several moments we would always be lured to the opposite side of the summit from where we had climbed. On the West side of Buffalo Hump was a cliff that fell over a 1,000 feet to crystal clear mountain lake. The distance was staggering and if a person would stand too close to the edge of this cliff he would feel a strange since of being pulled over the edge, only to fall to an assured death.
We would often push large rocks over the edge and watch as they plummeted down the escarpment, bouncing off the wall, breaking into pieces and within a few seconds would hit the lake below creating an inaudible splash.
Once the rock started to plunge off the cliff there was no stopping it.
There are a few stories in the Word that speak of life in this manner. Sometimes when we make poor choices we too begin to plummet over a cliff and often don’t stop until the lake below engulfs us in an icy cold watery bath.

Life comes at us hard, often much harder and fast than we know and can handle. We are constantly beaten down by the environments that we live in. We are under-appreciated at our jobs, at homes and in ministry and this beats us up. We are constantly bombarded by temptation that consistently consumes our thoughts and seizes our actions. We find ourselves facing many opportunities to love others but end up running the opposite way because of fear and selfishness. Because we live in this sin ridden world we are constantly lied to, assaulted, put down, pressured, tempted and insulted.
These pressures often push us to the breaking point, a point where we could make a decision to continue standing strong or to give in to the affliction. Sadly humans are known for our giving up. We quit when times get tough, citing that we just can’t handle the unbelievable strain on our lives. So we allow these strains, pressures, temptations to push us over the edge like one would push a rock over a ledge and watch it tumble down the cliff bouncing off the rock wall and splashing into the lake below.
God has something to say about this and throughout this month we will be looking at the lives of four men from the Word of God who didn’t stand up to the stresses of life and fell over a very high cliff. But they didn’t all stay there because they believed in a God of grace and restoration.
Let’s journey together as the Epic Life Family and discover the lives of King David, the Apostle Peter, John Mark and Solomon… There are many truths we can learn from these men as they made a remarkable Come Back and one who didn’t..

 

Finishing John

14 Apr

John has been awesome!

The next two Sundays at Epic Life we will be finishing up our seven month journey through the Gospel of John. It has been a fantastic ride as we have followed Jesus and his Twelve as they discovered who the Messiah was. We sat on the shore of the Jordan as John the Baptist introduce Jesus and sent his disciples to follow this new Rabbi. We attended a wedding feast and watched the servants of the master of the banquet nervously dip water out of large jars and pour pure the best wine into the master’s cup. We sat with Nicodemus and a Samaritan woman as Jesus taught about eternal life with thoughts on being “born again” and drinking “living water.” We followed Jesus to the Pool of Bethesda where he healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 years and then walked up a hill followed by thousands of men, women and children where Jesus took a small lunch from a peasant boy and distributed it to the entire mass of people, allowing them to be filled.
Throughout these instances Jesus kept teaching about how the old is changing to the new and death is turning to life. He taught about how he himself, as Messiah, is the Bread of Life; the Living Water; the Light of the World, but many questioned his identity and didn’t believe and stopped following him and started to look for ways keep him silent.

We had front row seats as a woman who was caught in adultery entered into an arena where she was about to be stoned, but as Jesus spoke, the accusers dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus offered forgiveness, not condemnation, teaching about how he would lead as the Good Shepherd caring for his sheep because he knows them by name. Specifically this teaching came after we got to see Jesus heal a blind man by spitting in the dirt and putting the mud on his eyes and sending him to the Pool of Siloam to wash, which he returned seeing. From here we followed him to his friend’s house in Bethany where he raised Lazarus from the dead and Mary anointed him with an expensive perfume, preparing him for his death just a week away.

That week we watched him enter Jerusalem as a hero King, share the Passover meal with his disciples and prayed earnestly in the Garden as a mob approached to arrest him. Sadly, as we watched, his disciples fled and denied him, he was beaten and mocked and tortured. We were on the road watching him carry his cross to Golgotha and be crucified between two thieves. We stood and watched with horror at the brutality of the entire environment.

Jesus took our burdens on his shoulders, taking the penalty of sin for us. He willingly gave up his life as we heard his last words spoken through his shallow painful breathing. We followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the grave and buried him.

Then we waited…Saturday was long…Saturday was silent…But Easter is coming…

We were there with Mary to see the stone that was rolled away and the angels and got to see Jesus as he appeared to his disciples. He is alive! He fulfilled all of his teachings in John and showed the ultimate death to life transformation.

Two more weeks and we will finish the Gospel of John. We will get to go fishing with the disciples and eat breakfast by the sea with Jesus as he teaches one last time and restores Peter, helping Peter make the shift from what was to what is.

John has been awesome!