Category: Sermons & messages

God of My Weakness

I’ve started this blog post several times, and trashed it several times. I’m finding it difficult to say what I feel like I need to say today. What I have to say today may not sound super spiritual, but I know some of you out there are facing similar doubts, fears, frustrations, and failures. The God I serve is the God of my weakness. That sounds strange, but what I mean is simple: God can and does use me, with all my doubts, fears, frustrations and failures, to point others to His perfect strength and power. I’m thankful that in my desperate imperfection that God knows my name, loves me, hears my cries, and that my prayers are precious to Him.

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with feelings of worthlessness, needing constant reassurance from everyone I love and serve that I am doing a good job. Though I’m struggling in my insecurity, I am thankful that my God is patient, kind, merciful, and full of grace towards a sinner like me. I am thankful that Jesus is the One who calls out to sinners, failures, the outcast and unwanted, and tenderly calls to them: “come” (Matthew 11:28).

 

What are you struggling with today? Whatever sin holds you captive, whatever fear fills your heart, whatever failure haunts you, whatever frustration seems impossible to overcome, Jesus alone can truly set you free (John 8:36). I am reminded of the story Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 12. In the Scripture Paul recounts a time where he pleaded with the Lord to remove a thorn from his flesh. Though Paul doesn’t tell us exactly what the “thorn” was, what he does tell us is the beautiful reply of Jesus: 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

 

I leave you with this reminder today: the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient. Whatever storm, trial, or tribulation you find yourself in, through faith in Jesus you don’t have to face a step alone. Through our faith in Jesus and because of His finished work on the cross at Calvary, we can come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Categories: Sermons & messages

The Morning Will Come

In the years since I have come to trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have experienced many emotions. In the time since Timothy and I started this ministry, to the time that Rick joined with us, to this very moment, so much has happened. I have seen life take me through many valleys, through many twists and turns, to the mountain top and back again. In every moment of every day, one thing, rather One person, has not changed: Jesus.

 

Through my greatest pain and despair, losing my wife and daughter, God has been faithful. Though there are moments of grief and pain, I know that God is still with me and He is still good. Today as I reflect, the Lord has blessed me to remarry and He has given me two more wonderful children. I am reminded that God is able to rebuild, redeem, and restore.

 

One thing I love about the Bible is the honesty and the perfect way in which it describes the lives we find ourselves living. Today, I don’t know what burden you are being faced with. I don’t know what pain you are facing or the hurt in your heart. What I do know, is that as Scripture promises, pain and will come and go but joy, through Jesus, always remains. 

 

I can’t promise you the road ahead will be easy. I can’t promise you that there won’t be days of despair, hopelessness, anger, frustration, confusion, or desperation. What I can promise is that if you have placed your faith in Jesus, you won’t face a step alone. What I can promise is that if you do place your faith in Jesus, you will experience the hope of knowing regardless of life’s twists and turns, God loves you and knows your name.

 

Today, I leave you with these truths:

  • Life is full of tribulation, but we can be of good cheer knowing Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33)
  • You can come to Jesus with your weary heart and with all your burdens, He will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
  • Jesus will never leave you, forsake you, or abandon you. (Matthew 28:20)
  • Through Jesus, we have a peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
  • God is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
  • Jesus came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10)
  • Through Jesus, we can come to God to find help and mercy in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • If Jesus has set us free, we are truly free. (John 8:36)
  • There will be a day where we will be reunited with God in a place free from death, pain, and suffering. (Revelation 21:4)
Categories: Sermons & messages

The first Easter morning

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Imagine the most desperate, dark, painful moment of your life. Imagine the loneliness, pain, anxiety, confusion, frustration, and raw emotion you felt in that moment. Combine all this with the great fear and confusion of having just watched your best friend, your teacher, and the One you had left everything behind to follow, suffer mocking, torture, and crucifixion. As the disciples witnessed Jesus being snatched from their hands, illegally tried and convicted, mocked and tortured, and ultimately forced to carry His own cross to Calvary where He was crucified, one cannot imagine the desperate sorrow in their heart.

 

As Peter, John, and the other true followers of Christ awoke 3 short days later, one can’t begin to imagine how they still mourned for the one they had confessed as Messiah. The memory of His terrible death must have been fresh on their mind as the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and to mourn (Luke 24:1, 2). You can imagine through the tear stained eyes how Mary, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, in exhaustion from mourning, how these women must have been both startled by the moved stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus but numb to the words of the angels who said “why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)

 

Imagine the time in your life where all felt hopeless and lost, when God showed up and ‘rolled the stone away’, how did you feel? Exhilarated? Joyful? Awestruck? Imagine your pounding heartbeat, the butterflies in your stomach, knowing something amazing has and is happening, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Jesus’ closest friends and family must have felt that first Easter morning. As the women ran back to Peter, John, and other disciples, they did what any of us would have done… they ran to see for themselves (Luke 24:12).

 

In the Easter story we see how in just three short days God can take despair and sorrow and turn it in to joy. That first Easter morning as Peter and John found the tomb empty with the grave clothes folded and neatly stacked (John 20:6, 7), God even then was giving us a precious object lesson. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and all that He has said and promised will happen, He alone is able to see through.

 

Today as Christians all around the world celebrate Easter, I pray the joy that filled the hearts of the early church would fill our hearts today. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ we see the pinnacle of God’s plan for salvation and redemption for mankind. Simply put, each one of us are born dead in sin, separated from God. God, not willing that any should perish, sent His only Son Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). In the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we see the plan of salvation that God has had for mankind since the beginning of time. As you leave today, a few reminders on this Easter Sunday:

 

-God loves you (John 3:16)
-Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)
-No one is righteous or justified before God (Romans 3:10)
-Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord is salvation (Romans 10:9, 10)
-Salvation and eternal life are a free gift from God, bought and paid for by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8)

 

You can be forgiven and free. If you’ve never felt the joy of an Easter morning knowing that Jesus Christ is risen, please visit http://www.myemanuel.com/i-am-ready and learn more about the great love that compelled God to give His only Son to die for us so we could be forgiven and free (John 3:16).

Categories: Sermons & messages