Faith Message

A weekly inspirational message

What a difference

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church There is a song made popular in the late 1950s entitled “What a Difference a Day Makes.” I have heard this song used in movies and commercials to support the point of how quickly life can change. Certainly we have experienced this truth in our own lives as well. As we look forward to what is typically known as Holy Week next week, we certainly see the truth of this concept of change in a short period of time. On one day Jesus dies on the cross. Only a few days later he is raised to life again. Today I would like us to consider, however, Jesus’ triumphal entry and the mood of the crowd compared to their mood only a few days later. In Matthew 21:1-11 (as well as Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12), we find the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem only a few days before he is arrested, tried, crucified and eventually raised from the dead. When Jesus enters Jerusalem on this day, there are large crowds spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the road in front of him. This spreading of the palm branches and waving them in the air was done in the presence of someone thought worthy of honor. Matthew 21:9 says, “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’” The crowds are proclaiming by their actions and words that this Jesus was very special. It seems by their words, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” that they even understood him as Messiah, the anointed one of God. Upon his arrival into the city it says “the whole city was stirred.” This triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus was celebrated and he was honored by the crowds that accompanied him. It is hard to believe then, that just a few days later, the crowd in Jerusalem was shouting, “Crucify him!” What a difference a few days make. I would encourage you to be involved in worship this upcoming week. Throughout the week, many local churches will be remembering and celebrating the death and […]

What Would You Do?

March 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

by PASTOR DICK RILEY Rockford United Methodist Church Once upon a time, a preacher accepted a call to a new church in a large city. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the bus driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As the preacher considered what to do, he though to himself, “I’d better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” But then he thought, “Oh, forget it! It’s only a quarter. Who would worry about that little amount? And, besides, the bus company gets too much fare as it is. They’ll never miss 25 cents. Just keep it.” When the preacher came to his stop, however, he paused at the bus door and then handed the quarter to the driver. “Here,” the preacher said. “You gave me too much change.” The bus driver smiled and said, “You’re the new preacher in town, aren’t you?” “Yes,” the pastor replied. “Well, I’ve been thinking about coming to your church for worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. Now I know. So I’ll see you at church on Sunday!” When the preacher stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and prayed, “Oh, my Lord God, I almost sold-out your Son for a quarter!” Often, our lives are the only “Bible” that some people will ever read and, therefore, how we live-the kind of life we live-is absolutely crucial. As the Apostle Paul said, “Live in harmony with one another so that you may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 15:5-6). So watch your thoughts – they become your words. Watch your words – they become your actions. Watch your actions – they become your habits. Watch your habits – they become your character. Watch your character – it becomes your destiny! Stay faithful and be grateful!

A Christian’s Response to the World

March 12, 2009 // 0 Comments

by PASTOR MATT PUETT Faith Bible Church The Bible clearly teaches that the world hated Jesus without a reason (John 15:25). We are further taught that if the world hated Jesus then it will hate His followers (John 15:19-20). A natural response to this hate from the world is to hate back, to stand up for our rights, and to make everyone realize that we deserve to be treated better. While I want to act this way, the Bible teaches me something quite different. Luke 6 teaches the Christian how to respond to the world. Verse 27 tells the Christian, “Love your enemies.” How am I supposed to do this? Do I just have to say “I love you”? The answers come in the verses that follow. When someone hates you, you are to do good things for her. If someone curses you (wishes bad things to happen), you are to bless him (wish good things to happen). If someone uses you for their own personal gain, you are to pray for that person. Most Christians either don’t know these verses are here, or they simply choose to ignore them. The next verses (29-31) teach us to love even if someone is humiliating us or stealing the clothes off our backs. We are to be willing to lend everything we have, even if we know we will never get it back, and to treat others as we would want them to treat us. Am I really supposed to do these things? Yes, this is a command. Why would I want to do these things? Verse 35 says, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” You do these things because you will receive eternal rewards.

Slowed Down

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

by REV. LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN First Congregational Church Lately I’ve been driving like someone who would have driven me crazy just a while ago. I am a few weeks post-surgery and still moving in slow motion more than I realize. I look in my rearview mirror to see someone on my tail and think, “What’s your rush?” Just six weeks ago I would have been that one riding the tail of someone barely going the speed limit. My time was booked beyond capacity. I had places to go and people to see in a short period of time. So time was of the essence. Now, my job is to heal. It’s good to experience times that force you to get out of the fast lane. I find myself surprised at the rush attitude of others and realize that I’m usually in that mode. Right now I’m being cared for by others and have time to write thank-you notes for their gifts of kindness. I’m playing games with my children and reading books that have collected dust on my nightstand for several years. As I gain strength, I find my thoughts and energies returning to my job and the creative juices start to flow into my professional return. As I spend more time alone at home healing, I wonder why it is in my ministry that I find it so hard to carve out time for home visits. Wouldn’t this be an obvious priority? Surely, I resolve, when I return I will make more time for visiting others who are struggling with one of life’s bumps. And some of the less important stuff will remain undone. The right lane of traffic isn’t such a bad place to be. As people are lovingly the Body of Christ for me, I am invigorated to reach out more fully from the gifts God has given to me. Isn’t this what Jesus said to his confused disciples long ago? “As you have done it to one of the least of these in my family, you have done it unto me.” The person on your tail has the passing lane, after all. So slow down and connect with those in the right lane, for Christ’s sake.

Learn from Shoveling Snow

February 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

by MARCIA HUFSTADER member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist A few years ago I was having a tough time working with a particular group of people. We just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye and the communication was very poor. I turned to God, divine Mind, to see what I was supposed to learn from this. The lesson came while shoveling snow late one night. The snow was really heavy; it took a lot of strength time and time again to lift the snow off the driveway. After a while it occurred to me, if the snow melted it would fall right off the shovel and none of this would be a chore. I likened the snow to the load of concern I felt burdened with by not getting along with all these friends – it laid heavy in my thought and life. Melting the snow would be loving each of those individuals so much that the anger would melt and fall away. Just like snow melts with the warmth, anger can’t be in the same place as love. A couple nights later I was out shoveling again. This time I was using a shovel that had high edges. Not only did it hold more snow, but it stayed on the shovel longer. If this snow melted, it would stay on the shovel. Naturally, I then thought about getting rid of the edges in my thought so I wasn’t holding any hatred, frustration or bitterness within. I knew as I got rid of the “edges” in my thought, all those negative feelings would just fall off. I’m grateful to say the bad situation cleared up, first in my own thought, then with those involved. I’ve thought about this many times since while shoveling. It reminds me to love as purely and simply as Christ Jesus loved. His love was so pure and unconditional it healed (melted away) sickness and resolved off-the-mark thinking. It’s the love of God that melts the wrongs of the world and it starts at home.

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