On Palm Sunday Jesus unveiled that He is the gentle King we long for. One week later, on Resurrection Sunday He proved it. Today we review the record of King Jesus’ resurrection and celebrate that He is alive and with all who believe that he is Lord.
What is the announcement on Palm Sunday? From the crowd in Jerusalem, the ancient prophecies, and Jesus Himself, God’s message is clear. Jesus is King, a gentle King. Whether you are a religious beginner or a long time follower, the trumpeted announcement on Palm Sunday summons a response. Worship Him or discard Him but you cannot ignore Him.
While following Jesus is a life full of meaning and joy, have you noticed that sometimes His words are hard to believe and even more difficult to obey? What did He mean by, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” “Love your enemy,” and “drink my blood”? In this encounter with Jesus, recorded in John 6:60-69, we discover that real life is preceded by an accurate understanding of and absolute surrender to King Jesus and His words.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s arrive with many reminders that things are not as they should be. Relational tension, loss of a loved one, loneliness, inner struggles and conflict in the world around us are all causes for grief. The title and focus of this message comes from the truth declared in verse 1 of Joy to the World by Isaac Watts, who knew his share of pain. 300 years ago, Watts discovered the truths in Psalm 98 and wrote Joy to the World intending to direct his generation to the glorious and triumphant coming of our Lord. This message will encourage you to prepare Him room and avail yourself to His joy this Advent season and beyond.
Unlike most rulers, Jesus did not have security guards to shield him from the people. Rather, He came low to bend His ear and share His words with ordinary people. A man with diseased skin, a woman with fever, violent homeless men and a grieving father all received visit, experienced a conversation and were changed by Jesus. In this message we discover that the One who is exalted at the Father’s right hand still comes near, converses with and can change our lives forever.
If, after loving and befriending a neighbor, they asked you to explain the good news (the gospel) what would you say? If you are not a follower of Jesus do you know what Christians believe? If you are a follower of Jesus are you prepared? One of the privileges and responsibilities that Christians have is to relay God’s message with others when they inquire. While the opportunities may be few and far between, when the time comes we must be ready. Paul was prepared, not with a prepackaged outline or a memorized speech but with the facts about Jesus. In this message, you too will be equipped so that when the opportunity arrives, instead of being ashamed, you will be ready.
Along with great memories and celebrations, Christmas is an annual reminder that not everything is right. Tonight we celebrate the first coming of Jesus who was born a child and yet a King. To all who believe and surrender to Him as their King (i.e. “the Lord of all”) He provides His divine presence, guidance, forgiveness and purpose so we can join Him in His mission to provide glimpses of His heavenly kingdom in our broken world until He comes again to make all things new.
Annually Hope Community Church asks God for an intentional focus for our Sept. through Aug. ministry year. This year’s focus is to shift to become a more relational disciple-making church. As our elders, leaders and ministry areas have begun intentionally seeking to follow Jesus and equip others to do the same, some people have asked a valid and important question, “Why?” In this message Dean Wertz explains several reasons for this year’s emphasis and casts a vision for what this could look like for generations to come.