Can we really have Peace?

I’ve been thinking a lot about peace recently.  We are in the midst of Advent, a season of hope, of peace, of love, of joy.  It’s in this season when we proclaim the words of Isaiah 9:6-7:

6 For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

peace11x14The Prince of Peace is born!  That’s what we say.  That’s what we believe.  Let me repeat that

That’s what we believe.  Seriously.  As Christians.  As the church, that’s what we believe. And in the world that we live in, that makes us look different.  Off.  Odd.

And you know what?  Good.  We are supposed to.  We aren’t supposed to be like the world.  We aren’t supposed to be like the culture.  We are supposed to be different.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:10 – we are fools for Christ.  We ARE supposed to look different.  Believe different.  Act different.  Have a different hope, joy, love, and peace.

As I tell folks, if you tell folks you are Christian, and they say, “really?”  That’s not a good sign.  We have to look/be different from the world.

Now, here’s the thing.  I’m not saying that there aren’t things to be afraid of.  I’m not saying that there aren’t things that can take our peace, take our joy, take our hope, take our love.

Of course, there are.  There are big, scary, worrisome things.  But hear me, please hear.

God is bigger.  He is stronger.  He is more might.  He is.

He is bigger than your fears.

He is.  And as Christians, we have to believe it.  We do.  It’s who we are.

And the world needs us to believe it.

Your peace will not come from an absence of conflict or absence of things that are you are afraid of.  Your peace will come from the trust and assurance of this truth:

No matter what you face, not matter what you are afraid of – God is bigger.

He is the prince of peace.  Yesterday.  Today.  Forever.  He is He is bigger.  He is our peace.

Trust.

Stuck in a Rut

Ruts are dangerous. Ruts leave us feel like we are doing the same thing, over and over again, each day. Nothing new. Nothing different. Nothing exciting. Nothing to be hopeful about.

Nothing. Every day, its same thing, over and over again.

It’s a sad thing, a bad thing, when we don’t expect anything different. Is that how you feel today? Do you enter this day, this new week, this season thinking, oh things will never change.

It is what it is. Nothing different. Nothing new. Same thing, different day. Lather, risen, repeat. Every day.

We feel like that a lot, don’t week. If that’s you, listen to what Isaiah 43: 18-19 says:

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

God-of-New-ThingsGod says – I’m doing a new thing. Just because it’s always been the same, doesn’t mean that it will stay the same. Just because you feel stuck in a rut doesn’t mean that you will stay there. Just because things haven’t changed don’t mean that they won’t change yet.

This is the season of Advent.  In this season, that leads us to Christmas, we remember God’s promises like this one.  He is doing a new thing.  He is bringing new life.  He has great things in store.  Great new things.

Do you believe that?  Do you believe that God can still do new things?  Do you expect new things?  Do you hope in new things?  Or are we at the point in life; in faith, where we really don’t hope for those type of things any more.  We are just stuck in our rut.

God is not done with you yet. God is not done with the world yet. God is not finished with us yet. He isn’t.

A new thing is coming.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that God is in the midst of doing a new thing? He is. We stop believing that sometimes. We lose hope. We give up. We don’t think that it will happen.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. God is in the midst of a new thing. He is.

He is going to make all things new. Do you believe? Keep believe. Have you forgotten? Remember what we read. Are you exhausted? Hold tight to God. A new thing is coming. It is.

God is going to do a new work in your life. Keep believing. Keep hoping. Keep knowing. He is.

No matter how strong the rut you’re stuck in is, God is stronger.

He is going to do a new thing.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Silent Night

BethlehemBe still.  Listen.  Listen.

In a busy, busy, season.  In a busy, busy place.  In a busy, busy time.  Be still.  Listen.  Tonight is the silent night.  Tonight is the night when the choirs of angels sang.  Night is the night when the shepherds heard.  When they saw.  Tonight is the night.  The silent night.

But, not at this this exact time.  Not at this moment.  Right now, we are waiting.  We are focusing.  It is almost here.  Almost.  Almost.

Silent Night.  Holy Night.  Get ready.  Get your heart ready.  It’s almost here.

David and Mary travelled.  The knew the day was close.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

The people of Israel had been waiting.

The entire world had been waiting.

Creation had been waiting.

Today, are you?  Are you waiting for God wants to do? Are you waiting for where God wants to bring life?  Are you ready. Are you focused?  Are you are ready to live.

Silent Night.  Holy Night. It is here.

Are you ready?

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Peace

Peace is something that we all want.  We want peace with others.  We want peace with ourselves.  We want peace with God.  We want peace.

And as much as we want peace, it can be so hard to come by.  It can be so hard to find peace with others.  With God. With ourselves. We want that peace that passes understanding.  We want to rest our head on our pillow at night. We want to be at peace with others.

And sometimes, it’s just hard to have happen.  Sometimes, instead of peace, it feels like we are in a war.  And peace is never to be seen.  Listen to the words of Psalm 122: 6-9 today, talking about peace:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Christ-Our-Peace-Postcard-2012In the season of Advent, peace is a major concept.  Jesus is the prince of peace.  He came to bring peace.   Peace to the world.  Peace to our relationships.  Peace to our souls.

And yet we find that there isn’t peace.

So, what do we do?

We work for it.  As best we can, in our lives, we work for peace. We work for peace with others.  Sometimes, yes, we must be the bigger person.  As Christians, that’s what we are supposed to do.

Through Christ, we can have peace with God.  He has paid the price, and you are forgiven.

And, through Jesus, we have peace with ourselves.  Because through Him, we are forgiven by God. So, we can forgive ourselves.

We desire peace. But that peace that we desire, it only comes through Jesus. Today, may we focus on the prince of peace. And may we find that peace that we are looking for.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

What is Your Purpose?

We are in a season of the year that is called Advent.  Yesterday, Sunday, December 1, was the first Sunday in this season. This season is a time when we stop, and get our hearts ready for the Lord’s Coming.

His first coming as a gentle babe, born in the humble town of Bethlehem.

And His second coming, when He shall come as the victory King and Lord that He is.

His first coming was easy to miss, unless you were paying attention.  It wasn’t until the Wise Men came, that the priests and teachers of the Law in Jerusalem even knew that the Lord had been born.  His first coming was easy to miss.  His second, it will be unmistakable.

In our reading for today, we read from Mark 1: 6-8, where we see the that got things ready for Jesus’ coming.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

stjohnJohn came to get things ready for the coming of Christ. And look at the one thing that he knew to be true and that he lived by.  It wasn’t about him.  It wasn’t.  It was about Jesus.

He knew that He was here to get things ready for Jesus’ coming.  That was His purpose.  That was what it was about. And that’s what He lived to do.  He lived with that great purpose.

Today, as we consider John the Baptist, we ask this question.  What is our purpose today?  What are we living for?  Who we are living for?  What is the purpose of our lives?

Do we have one?

Today, unless Jesus is our purpose, we don’t truly have a purpose worth having. Today, may He be our purpose, our life, our everything.  Today, if we are living for Him, we are living for our greatest purpose.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Getting Ready – Calling Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, December 18, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is the fouth sermon in our Advent 2011 worship series “Getting Ready.”  In this sermon we talk about how God has a calling for us as the church, to make His will done on earth as it is in heaven. And one day He will make all things right.  The text for this sermon is Mark 13: 24-37.  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

CLICK HERE

Getting Ready – Calling Podcast

Getting Ready – Go Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, December 11, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is the third sermon in our Advent 2011 worship series “Getting Ready.”  In this sermon we talk about how we have these mountains in our lives. And the reason we have these mountains is so that we we can go. And tell the story of God’s victory from these mountains.  The text for this sermon is Genesis 12:1-3.  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

CLICK HERE

Getting Ready – Go. And Tell

Getting Ready – The Gift Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, December 4, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is the second sermon in our Advent 2011 worship series “Getting Ready.”  In this series, we talk about the things that we have to “get ready” for with Christmas.  In this sermon we talk about getting ready for the greatest gift of all, God’s gift to us of Jesus Christ.   The text for this sermon is Matthew 1: 18-25.  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

CLICK HERE

Getting Ready – The Gift

Getting Ready: Waiting Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, November 27, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is the first sermon in our Advent 2011 worship series “Getting Ready.”  In this series, we talk about the things that we have to “get ready” for with Christmas.  The things we prepare for. In this sermon we talked about getting ready for His birth, and the waiting that was required in that. And God has us wait still, today.   The text for this sermon is Galatians 4:1-7.  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

CLICK HERE

Getting Ready: Waiting