"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1: 8). The first place that Jesus wanted his disciples to bear witness to him was in Jerusalem. That is, he wanted them to start at home, with those they knew best. Sometimes the hardest place to be a witness to Jesus is among those who know us the best...our family members and closest friends. Click the link to download.
Over the years, a popular college application question asks, “What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?” These have been some answers: The building of the pyramids, the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln at Gettysburg, D-Day WWII, the assassination of JFK, Woodstock, the first moon landing. One person said, ‘my parent’s wedding.’ I noticed that many said a day in the life of Jesus Christ, and in particular his crucifixion. Jesus told his disciples in Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses.” Now, the definition of a “credible witness” in a court of law is “someone who has personal, believable, first-hand knowledge of an event or who has told the whole truth.” The reason I am a follower of Christ is that I find the testimony of the gospels to be believable, credible, accounts of what eye-witnesses heard and saw concerning him. None of us were “eyewitnesses” of Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection. But as followers of the King who are filled with his Holy Spirit, Jesus promises that we will bear witness to him. In Matthew 9:36-10:10 we learn that to be a witness is to share the heart of the King, to speak the words of the King, and to do the works of the King. Click this link to download.
In John’s gospel the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Comforter or the Advocate. When we hear the word “comforter” today we may think of a quilt that keeps us warm on a cold night, or we may think of one who cheers us up or makes us feel, well, comfortable. In reality, the word “comforter” comes from the Latin root “fortis” meaning “strength and courage" (William Barclay). “In the drag races,” a friend wrote me, “they say ‘stay on it’ or ‘don't lift.’ In other words, “keep the throttle mashed to the floor from the starting line until past the finish line.” The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us the strength and courage to “stay on it,” to roll out instead of rolling over. The Comforter didn’t come to make us comfortable. He came to make us missional. Click this link to download.
Steve Jobs remarked this year in the Wall Street Journal, “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. I wonder how many of us live life with that kind of clarity? I wonder how many of us have a mission that is worthy of our life’s devotion? Steve Job’s mission was “to make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” In other words, advancing humankind through technology. I love technology; and there is no doubt that humankind has advanced technologically because of Steve Jobs. But has humankind advanced morally and spiritually? A good man can use technology to cure a disease or send a message of hope. An evil man can use technology to destroy a city or broadcast fear. How many of us are texting on our cell phones right now? How many hours do we spend a week on facebook, or checking our email? I want to invite you to unplug for a moment and consider whether you have a mission that is worthy of your full attention, and your life’s devotion? In this message we consider Jesus’ mission, to redeem humankind by advancing the kingdom of God. Click the link to download.