Tag: luke

Sermon: When God Does The Unexpected, How Do We Respond?

Shane Windmeyer and Dan Cathey at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Shane Windmeyer and Dan Cathy at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

This is the sermon I’m preaching tomorrow, February 3, 2013. If you don’t read the whole sermon, skip to the end for a great story of Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, and of how he responded to the unexpected that God was doing. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow.

When God Does the Unexpected, How Do We Respond?

Luke 4:21-30 NIV

21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Jesus Reads From the Prophet Isaiah

The problem with the lectionary reading is that sometimes it starts in the middle of the situation, which is exactly what has happened in the text we just read. To get the full impact, you have to go back and read the preceding verses:

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

   because he has anointed me

   to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

   and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. –Luke 4:14-20 NIV

According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus had just returned from 40-days in the wilderness, following his baptism by John the Baptist. Generally, Bible scholars regard the wilderness experience as Jesus’ preparation for his ministry.

Luke says that “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.”

We do not know how many days or weeks elapse between Jesus returning to Galilee and his trip to his hometown in Nazareth, but enough time passes so that Jesus has ample opportunity to establish his own reputation as a healer and miracle worker. Luke tells us that “news about him spread through the whole countryside” which can only mean that he immediately begins to announce the Kingdom of God and demonstrate its presence by healing the sick, casting out demons, and generally “putting to rights” (as N. T. Wright is fond of saying) each situation he finds.

Of course, this garners him an extraordinary reputation, and everyone is talking about Jesus. So, when Jesus shows up in his hometown of Nazareth, initially everything goes okay. Jesus comes to the synagogue there, which probably is a modest building since Nazareth is no metropolis itself, and someone hands him the scroll of Isaiah to read.

Apparently Jesus selects the text, which is  Isaiah 61:1-2 in our Bibles. If you turn to Isaiah 61:1-2, you will notice that it reads somewhat differently than the words Luke records Jesus as reading.  Don’t be alarmed at that because Luke quotes Jesus reading from the Septuagint, which was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture. But, the slight difference in wording is not our concern today.

The Idea of the Messiah

The point Jesus makes is this — He is the Messiah! That’s what the phrase “He has anointed me..” means. The Hebrew word which we pronounce messiah meant “anointed.” There were only two offices for which as person was anointed in the Old Testament — the office of priest and the office of king.

But the idea of an “anointed one” who would restore the fortunes of Israel also is referred to by the prophets, and Isaiah especially. The Anointed One — the Messiah or in Greek, the Christ — would be God’s deliverer, just like the Judges of the Old Testament were raised up to deliver Israel. But the Messiah would not be just any deliverer to put Israel back on track temporarily. No, the Messiah would come once and for all to make all things right and restore the fortunes of Israel and her standing in the world. In other words, God would send the Messiah to vindicate Israel and to save her from her enemies, and put all other nations under her ruling power.

If you go ahead and read the rest of Isaiah 61, that’s the picture you get. Listen to these next verses in context with Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

   because the Lord has anointed me

   to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

   to proclaim freedom for the captives

   and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Jesus stops here)

   and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

   instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

   instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

   instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

   a planting of the Lord

   for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins

   and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

   that have been devastated for generations.

5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;

   foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,

   you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,

   and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame

   you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

   you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

   and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;

   I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

In my faithfulness I will reward my people

   and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations

   and their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will acknowledge

   that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

Do you begin to see what Isaiah 61 is about? Not only is God going to raise up someone and anoint him to “preach good news to the poor,” but God is going to raise up this Messiah who will 1) comfort the nation of Israel, 2) restore her fortunes, and 3) judge other nations and give Israel their riches, lands, and make Israel their master.

That was how many first century Jews interpreted Isaiah 61. Whoever read Isaiah 61 would immediately know that God was coming to rescue Israel by sending the Anointed One, and that in that rescue all the other nations of the world would be subjected to her.

Now, let me point out that that interpretation was in error, but that did not stop an occupied Jewish people facing the hardships of over 60 years of Roman occupation from understanding Isaiah in that way.

Okay, so far so good. Jesus reads the scroll of Isaiah, reads one of the favorite passages of the Jewish people, and then proclaims, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Wow. Of course, we know who Jesus is now, but they did not. So, his hometown audience undoubtedly heard Jesus say something like this: “I’m going to do my best to free us all from the oppression of the Roman Empire.”

Which explains their reaction. They are elated. The men in the synagogue turn to one another with knowing smiles and say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s boy? We all knew he’d turn out alright. What a fine young man and with such noble ideas.”

That’s my interpretation of Luke’s saying, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son? they asked.”

Jesus Does The Unexpected

At this point, Jesus has them eating out of the palm of his hand. And, if he had quit at this point and sat down, all the men of Nazareth would have crowded around him, slapped him on the back, and told him how proud they were of him.

But Jesus doesn’t sit down. And Jesus doesn’t stop talking. And in the next words he says, he shatters generations of hope in the coming of the Messiah. Here’s what Jesus says:

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” — Luke 4:23-27 NIV

Okay, what did Jesus just say? First, he tells them he knows what they are thinking. They’re waiting for Jesus to do his next trick. “Physician, heal yourself” isn’t referring to literal illness and healing. What Jesus means is, “I know you want me to show you what I can do, just like a sick doctor who cures himself and thereby proves that he knows what he’s doing.”

But Jesus is having none of that. He is not here to prove himself, but to tell them that what they expected God to do isn’t going to happen. Jesus is there to tell them that what they have talked about for generations, the way they have interpreted Scripture, the expectation that God will deliver Israel first and make her the ruler of all other nations is all wrong.

And, to prove his point, Jesus uses two stories from Elijah and Elisha — two prophets who stand in high esteem. The return of Elijah is thought by first century Jews to precede the coming of the Messiah, and so they set a place at the Passover Table for Elijah each year. John the Baptist is thought by some to be the second-coming of Elijah. And, as we will see next week, Elijah does come and appears with Moses and Jesus at the Transfiguration. Elisha is Elijah’s protege, and Elisha receives a double portion of Elijah’s spirit when Elijah is taken into heaven in a chariot of fire. So, Jesus uses these stories because they have weight and importance.

The first story is the story of a widow who Elijah befriends. When Elijah finds out that this poor widow is going to use the last of the flour and oil she has to make some bread so that she and her son may eat it and then prepare to die, Elijah promises her that the oil will not run out, and the flour will not be depleted as along as she is helping him. Great story, and it was one of my favorites as a young Junior boy.

But then Jesus says, “25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.”

In other words, Elijah helped a widow and her son who were not even Jews. And this during a famine in which many Jews suffered and died. Sidon is a region to the far northwest of Israel, and Zarephath was probably a Canaanite or Phoenician village. In other words, during the worst drought Israel had ever seen, God’s man Elijah helped a poor Sidonian widow, despite the fact that there were thousands of Israelite widows suffering, too.

But, Jesus doesn’t leave the story there. He uses another story, this time from Elisha’s prophetic ministry. The story of Namaan is another great story that I loved as a boy. Namaan is the general of the Syrian army. In his conquest, he captured an Israelite girl who is now a servant in his household. Namaan contracts some kind of skin disease which the Bible calls leprosy, although we know now that the term was used for a wide variety of skin afflictions. Nevertheless, whatever Namaan had was serious, was not getting better, and Namaan was desperate for a cure.

The servant girl implores him to seek out Elisha because she knows Elisha has the power to heal him. So, after contacting the king of Israel who thinks this is all a trick, Elisha hears and invites Namaan to come to his house.

Namaan appears with with horses and chariots at Elisha’s house and Elisha doesn’t even come out. Instead, he sends word for Namaan to go and dip himself 7 times — a very biblical numer — in the Jordan River. Namaan is furious and goes off in a huff. His servants remind him that if Elisha had asked him to do something difficult, he would have done it. So why not do something as easy as dipping yourself in the Jordan River?

Of course, Namaan does, he’s healed, and he worships God as the one true God.

But Jesus point in the story of the widow of Sidon and the story of Namaan the enemy general is that God passed over a lot of Israelites who were in just as bad, if not worse, condition. Only God provided oil and flour for the widow, and healed the leprous Namaan. Both were strangers, both were not Israelites, but both were saved by God.

Jesus told those stories as a very pointed way of saying to the men in the synagogue in Nazareth that day, “You think God is sending his Messiah just for you. You’re wrong, God is sending his Messiah to preach good news to all the poor, to free all the captive, to release all the prisoners regardless of whether they are Jews or not.”

And so, Luke says the men were furious, tried to grab Jesus and throw him over a cliff, but somehow he eluded them and escaped.

The Point of Jesus’ Stories

The point that Jesus was trying to make was this: “God isn’t up to what you expect. God is doing the unexpected. Get on board or get left behind.”

So, when a young cobbler says that God wants the Gospel preached to foreigners in India, William Carey is ridiculed by his fellow preachers because they’re sure “that God doesn’t need” Carey’s help.

And when a young Hudson Taylor believed that God wants the Gospel preached to those in China, others ridicule him, too. Of course, we now know that millions of people in countries other than England have come to Christ from the modern missions movement that Carey and Judson and others like them started. God was indeed doing the unexpected.

But, there’s a more current story, a story that speaks to God doing the unexpected today. Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, the fastfood restaurant chain, made headlines last year when he affirmed his company’s support for the traditional family. Dan is a Southern Baptist and identifies himself as a  “follower of Christ.”

The ensuing controversy, which appears to have taken Mr. Cathy’s words out of context, made national headlines. Mike Huckabee, Fox News commentator and former Baptist pastor and governor of Arkansas, declared August 1 of last year, “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.” News media reported that business was brisk that day at Chick-Fil-As all over the country.

But Dan Cathy wasn’t pleased with the tone the unwanted controversy had generated. One of Chick-Fil-A’s corporate values is “respect” for all persons, including those who are gay. Dan got the cell phone number of a gay activist, Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride, and called Shane to open a dialogue. After several phone calls and face-to-face meetings, Campus Pride called off its boycott of Chick-Fil-A citing the conversations with Dan Cathy and other Chick-Fil-A executives as the reason.

But Dan Cathy didn’t stop there. He invited Shane Windmeyer to join him and his family on the field for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Shane Windmeyer said Dan Cathy spent the entire evening at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with him, there on the sidelines.

In an article on Huffington Post, Shane Windmeyer reflected on the experience of getting to know Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A.

“Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being “a follower of Christ” more than a “Christian.” Dan expressed regret and genuine sadness when he heard of people being treated unkindly in the name of Chick-fil-a — but he offered no apologies for his genuine beliefs about marriage.”

That is a great example of how to respond when God is doing the unexpected. When God is inviting people we may have thought excluded from the Kingdom of God into it, do we react the way the men at the synagogue in Nazareth reacted — with anger that our cherished beliefs that God will choose us first are being challenged? Or do we respond the way Dan Cathy did — with love toward those we do not know, but wish to understand better.

Today we gather around the Table of Christ, and we must know that this is not our table. While we laid the bread and cup here today, we did not suffer and die to give these elements meaning. As we gather here this morning, we remember the words of Jesus — “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The only question is, how do we respond when God does the unexpected?

Sermon for Sunday, Nov 18, 2007

I just posted my sermon for this Sunday, November 18, 2007 — An Opportunity To Testify, based on Luke 21:5-19.  This is a first draft, as I am running late this week, so check back later on Friday for some revisions.  Have a great Sunday!

Friday, Nov 18 — Made some minor revisions, but still a work in progress.  Any thoughts?

The God Who Surprises

(I am not preaching this Sunday, Nov 11, 2007, because Debbie and I will be returning from the National Outreach Convention in San Diego where I’m leading a couple of workshops.  Here’s a sermon I preached earlier this year on August 12, 2007.  This is not the lectionary reading for this Sunday, but maybe it will spark some other thoughts of yours.  Have a great week! — Chuck) 

The God Who Surprises  (video) (mp3)

Luke 12:32-40

32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 35“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Surprises:  A definition  

When Debbie and I were dating – I was 15 and she was 14 when we met a church – I used to love to surprise her.  Actually, I used to hide behind the door and when she would walk into the room, I would jump out and scare the daylights out of her.  Boy, was she surprised.  By the way, I would not recommend this technique as a way to endear a girl to you, but Debbie put up with my 15-year-old humor until I outgrew it.  Well, that’s one kind of surprise.  Not a very good kind, but I guess it could have been worse. 

But in this passage, Jesus tells us about a lot of surprises that God has for us.  What is a surprise anyway?  Well, to really be a surprise, it has to be something totally unexpected, and totally good.  I mean, somebody might surprise you by jumping out from behind a door, and that would be unexpected, but not totally good.  Funny, but not good. So, a surprise – in my definition – is something totally unexpected and totally a good thing to have happen to me.  Bad things come under the category of “shock,” or “horrified,” or other not so good descriptors.  Surprises, especially from God, are always unexpected and good. 

The first surprise:  God is giving us the kingdom 

Not a kingdom, but the kingdom, as in Kingdom of God.  The kingdom that is the rule and reign of God.  The kingdom that Jesus said was near and coming and in us.  That kingdom.   You didn’t expect that did you?  We are pretty used to expecting God to save us, do good things for us, help us, strengthen us, and a bunch of other stuff, but we haven’t really thought much about God giving us the kingdom. 

Remember Peter?  Jesus said to Peter – I’m giving you the keys to the kingdom.  Well, Peter isn’t the only one getting access to the kingdom.  The entire little flock – all disciples, and by extension the church today – is getting the kingdom.  That’s better than being appointed to a position by the president.  We’re getting the kingdom.  And we’re getting it now.   

Oh, one small catch.  If you’re going to get the kingdom, you’ve got to start living like a citizen of the kingdom. 

So, here’s what that involves – 

  • Sell you possessions. 
  • Give to the poor. 
  • Invest in things that won’t wear out. 

Why?  Because where your treasure is – the thing you value, the thing you would die for, the thing that consumes you, the thing that occupies your thoughts and your plans – there is where your heart – the real you – will be.   The surprise is — we’re getting the kingdom.  But like Dorothy said to Toto, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”  Kingdom living is different from self-centered living. 

Kingdom living was described first in the Garden of Eden.  God gave you everything you needed and you got to walk with God in the garden everyday.  That’s different from the way we live now.   But, even when all that got messed up, God told Abraham – “I’ve got a surprise for you.  I’m  going to make you the father of a great nation.”  And, that’s when Abraham was old and had no kids.  Even worse, Sara his wife was old, too, and she was the one to bear him a son. 

Frankly, after spending a week with our three grandchildren, I feel for Abraham and Sarah.  But, I guess it all worked out for them – maybe they had help. 

In any event, God surprised them with the unexpected and the totally good. But, Abraham had to leave his homeland, and follow God to a place he’d never been.  Abraham had to invest in God’s surprise to realize it.  Why did he do it?  Because Abraham’s heart wasn’t in Ur, it was in God.   

The second surprise:  Jesus is coming back 

So, not only do we get the kingdom, but the King is coming.  Why is he coming?  Because he’s given us the kingdom.  We’re the outpost of the kingdom of God, a colony of heaven, a contrast society, God’s people.  God’s place is always with his people.  We think of God as in heaven, and I don’t even know why.  If we read the Bible, all the stories we have are of God with His people.   

  • God was with Adam and Eve in the garden. 
  • God was with Noah and his family. 
  • God was with Abraham and Sarah. 
  • God was with Isaac, and then with Jacob. 
  • God was with Moses, and Joshua. 
  • God was with Deborah and Samson and Samuel. 
  • God was with Saul, and then David. 
  • God was with the prophets. 
  • God was with John the Baptist.   
  • And then, God with us – Immanuel – Jesus was literally with his disciples.  And with Paul on the road to Damascus, and with the early church, and with John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos.  The story of God cannot be told without telling the story of God with his people.

Even after Jesus ascended back into heaven, Peter said that “This same Jesus” will come again.  And, in the interim, Jesus sends the Spirit – the Paraclete – to be with us and in us.  To be his presence in the midst of community, to be with us individually, to pray for us and in our place when we cannot pray for ourselves.   

So, the God of surprises did not do all this to wait for us to die and come to him.  He is coming back. Now, here’s another surprise – well, this doesn’t really qualify as a surprise by my definition – totally unexpected and totally good.  So, this may be more like a shock to you, but here it is.  Most of what we know about the return of Jesus – I’d say about 99.9% — is going to be wrong.   

A little background is necessary here.  There are at least three main schools of thought on the return of Christ:

  • Post-millenialism.   The belief that Christ will return after the 1,000-years of peace.  This was a really popular theory until WWI broke out, and then it kind of fell off the radar.

  • Pre-millenialism.  In about 1850 or so, J.N. Darby came up with an elaborate theory called premillenial dispensationalism.  This is the “Left Behind Series” that has make Jerry Jenkins, and Tim La Haye millionaires.  The belief that Christ will return before the 1,000 years of peace, and has a lot of other stuff like the tribulation, the rapture, and a lot of really bad Hollywood movies made about it. 

  • Amillenialism.  This is the belief that there is no literal 1,000 years of peace. 

So, take your pick, but be ready to be surprised, because we all will be.  Why do I say that?  Because none of us ever gets it right.  God always surprises us.   

We’re More Interested In Our Own Certainty Than God’s Surprises

But, you know what our problem is?  We’re more interested in our own ideas than we are in the God who surprises.  So, we’ll argue with each other over the return of Christ, or a bunch of other stuff that we don’t have a clue about.   

I read an article the other day in which Presbyterians were urging that their pastors who embraced the thinking of scholars who were calling for a new approach to the work of Paul, turn themselves in to their presbyteries and confess that they held doctrines contrary to the teaching of the Presbyterian church.  Why?  Because those in power in the Presbyterian church know they are right and everybody else is wrong. 

And, lest you think that Baptists get off because we believe in soul freedom and the priesthood of the believer, Southern Baptists have just been through 25-years of battles over who’s right about the Bible, women in ministry, the role of the local church, and a host of other issues. Historically, the Protestant Reformation came about because Luther questioned the  beliefs and practices of the Catholic church, only later to persecute people like the Anabaptists who didn’t believe what the Lutherans believed. 

The history of the Christian faith is replete with those who think they are dead right, and are willing to kill others who disagree.  Think that’s too strong?  What do you think the Crusades were about?  Or the Inquisition?  Or religious persecution of Baptists in colonial Virginia?  Or the whole Northern Ireland fiasco where protestants and catholics waged guerilla warfare against each other and the British over religious dogma. 

Why?  Because we don’t like surprises.  We like certainty.  Even if our certainty is wrong, mean, and spiteful.  At least we are certain.  And certainty beats surprises anyday. 

Do you think folks in the first century were surprised when an unmarried teenager gave birth to the Saviour of the world?  Would you have bought that story?  Of course not. 

Do  you think the disciples were surprised when the Lord they followed for three years in hopes of finding freedom from Rome and freedom from the oppressive Jewish religious leaders was killed in a conspiracy that joined the Romans and the Jewish leaders together?   

Do you think the disciples were surprised at the empty tomb?  Only the women went to the tomb, the men knew Jesus was dead, really dead.   Do you think the early church was surprised when the Spirit came like wind and fire on the day of Pentecost, when only days before they had been hiding for their lives?   

Do you think Paul was surprised on the road to Damascus?  Or Peter surprised when he was miraculously freed from prison?  Or John surprised when Jesus appears to him in a vision on the Isle of Patmos?   

None of it was expected, none of it was believed by the religious people of the day because it did not fit their certainty. 

The God who surprises us is still at work.  And if we think we have it figured out; if we think we know all there is to know; if we think God has done all he’s going to do – are we in for a surprise!  Something totally unexpected.  Something totally good.  Because the one thing we know about God is that he always surprises us.   Even so, come Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Faithful Prayer for Justice

Faithful Prayer for Justice (mp3)

Text: Luke 18:1-8

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

Continue reading “Faithful Prayer for Justice”