Thursday, May 29, 2014

Real Answers for Real Questions

Years ago, I watched a powerful scene from the TV show ER. In the scene, an older man is battling cancer and doesn’t have long to live. A hospital chaplain visits to try and offer some comfort. The patient begins confessing mistakes and things he regrets about his past. He says he knows he is at the end of his life and is afraid. He asks the chaplain what he can do to be forgiven by God.

The chaplain is well trained in providing care to people of all faiths. Instead of answering the patient’s questions, the chaplain asks more questions – much like a psychologist. When pressed for an answer, the chaplain says, “I think it is up to each one of us to interpret what God wants.” Frustrated with the nebulous answer, the patient begs for a chaplain who will answer his question. With tears in his eyes, he pleads, “I need someone who will look me in the eyes and tell me how to find forgiveness ‘cause I’m running out of time!”

I want to assure you, Faith Center, that true forgiveness is possible and it is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became human and took the punishment of sin on our behalf. He was crucified for the sins of the world and when we call on Him, we are forgiven. The book of Hebrews describes this well: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

As you worship this morning, seek and find forgiveness in Jesus Christ. A past of regret need not influence your future. When you call on Jesus, there is nothing to fear in life or death. Whatever stage we are at in life, that is the answer we are all looking for.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning to Follow

For generations, cowboys trained wild horses by forcing horses into submission. This is often referred to it as “breaking a horse.” Through a series of exercises, the cowboy forces a horse wear a saddle, yield to a bridle, take direction from a rider, and so on.

More recently, a rodeo cowboy named Monty Roberts developed a different method of training. Roberts studied the body gestures of horses and tried to communicate on the horse’s terms. Roberts invited horses to follow him using their means of communication. Rather than forcing them into submission, Roberts encourages horses to willingly follow his lead. It worked. Roberts became known the world over as a horse whisperer.

In similar, but much more meaningful ways, God invites us to follow Him. God speaks to us in our language through His Son Jesus. Jesus encourages us to willingly choose Him and follow His way. Jesus describes it well in the Gospel of Matthew: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus seeks to build us up rather than break us down.

As you worship this week, take time to follow Jesus’ lead. When you pray, take time to listen. If you journal, ask yourself where the Lord might be leading you. Then, write down some possible answers. Look at your life as one big opportunity for following Jesus. As you do, you will see that the Lord is a gentle and loving teacher. You will also find the life God created you for.