Did you hear about the preacher who, mounting the pulpit, declared, "I have here the most amazing sermon on being humble that has ever been prepared and, frankly, I am not sure that you are worthy to hear it!"
December 14, 2008
3rd Sunday of Advent (B)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jer. 29:11, NIV). All of us are seeking what God offers Jeremiah's listeners. Our desire is to follow God's guidance. Paul, writing centuries later to the church at Thessalonica, expresses that God's will-His holy guidance-should include an inner strength, an inner fire and an inner purity. These three basic ideas offer an overall picture of how God guides His people.
When I was in high school a new music teacher came to town. He was fresh out of college and full of ambition. But here he was, stuck in a very rural community where people didn't put up with (as they called it) "long-haired music," either from the Beatles or Beethoven. Still, he was determined to teach us good music. We were going to sing selections from Handel's Messiah for our Christmas concert. Most of us had never heard of Georg Frederic Handel, and when we first tried to sight-read through the selections, we became convinced we didn't like his music. It was too hard, too complicated. More than that, Handel wouldn't allow us to sing simple harmonies; no, he created different parts for each voice, and we in the bass section weren't able to hide all our typical mistakes when Handel and our new director demanded that we sing alone.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a hard time managing my time. It's not that I don't have all the tools I'm supposed to have. I've been to all the workshops. I have all the gadgets. It's just that I'm a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy.
Isaiah's prophecy foretold the birth of a child who would be called "Everlasting Father." This Christmas sermon makes the connection between the Child and the Father and reminds us to rejoice in our "Everlasting Father who listens to us and provides for us. He grants to us what we need. And He knows what we need better than we know what we need. To borrow from a sitcom of the 1950s, 'the Everlasting Father Knows Best!'"
(Note: This message was originally preached as part of an annual county-wide memorial service for families of traffic fatalities.)
Grief is an experience common to all of us. We all lose someone we love at sometime. The difference lies in the names and circumstances of our losse