Sermons

It Is Finished!

A Worship Service for April 5, 2020

PALM SUNDAY

WELCOME

Today, as we worship, we will focus on the sixth of the last seven statements that Jesus made as He hung upon the cross: “It is finished.”

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will set you free to worship and serve the Lord God Almighty in Spirit and Truth.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Obviously, we do not know when we will be able to resume corporate worship. But rest assured, as soon as we are able, WE WILL GATHER TOGETHER AGAIN! And I, for one, am already looking forward to that day with great expectation!

Until that day comes, we will have to be creative. Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led; knowing that “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).

Thanks to all of you who participated in last Sunday’s ‘Gather to Scatter.’ Although we did not gather, many of you were able to bring food for the Church-at-the-Lake Food Pantry. Others of you sent a check to help them buy gift certificates for milk, eggs, meat and other fresh food. Remember, for the time being the folks in charge of that ministry are not receiving food.

Once again, I will be at the church building between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm for those of you who choose to drop off your offering. Look for a box on a stand in the lobby. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

If you don’t need your funny bone tickled, skip this next section:

A dentist and a manicurist married; they fought tooth and nail.

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.

Last but certainly not least, announcement-wise, here is one of those letters written by members of my Disciple I Bible Study Class, in this case, Lynda Barnett, to the CrossPointe family:

“I wait every day on my Lord God. I want to thank God for all the people of CrossPointe; for being a family and keeping this church going. We need more people in our lives like all of you! The people show love here and that’s what all we need; love, encouragement, to be together and try to make it till the Lord comes back again. I thank God for the love in this church. May God bless all of you every day of your lives. Love you all.”

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Truly, truly, I say unto you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise

A Worship Service for March 29, 2020

WELCOME

Today, we will continue on in our series focusing on the last seven statements that Jesus made as He hung upon the cross.

I hope that your time spent here on our website will enlarge your appreciation for God’s amazing grace. And I pray that when you have finished worshipping, you will have a greater sense of the mighty power of the cross.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Obviously, we do not know when we will be able to resume corporate worship. But rest assured, as soon as we are able, WE WILL GATHER TOGETHER AGAIN! And I, for one, am already looking forward to that day with great expectation!

Until that day comes, we will have to be creative. Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led; knowing that “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).

Today is ‘Gather to Scatter’ Sunday. Although we are not gathering, it does not mean we cannot fulfill our mission. As you were e-mailed on Thursday, we are collecting items for the Church-at-the-Lake Food Pantry, as they are running low. You can drop them off at our church today between 12 noon and 2:00 pm. If you wish you can stay in your car and someone will take them off your hands. Or, if you want to take them inside yourself, there will be a table in the lobby.

During the same time, you may drop off your offering. Look for a lockbox on a stand in the lobby. Lift the lid and drop it in. These will be collected for safe-keeping at 2:00 pm. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is CrossPointe Community Church, P. O. Box 126, Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126.

Last but certainly not least, announcement-wise, here is one of those letters written by the members of my Disciple I Bible Study Class to the CrossPointe family:

Dear members of CrossPointe Community Church, I am writing to you with thanksgiving for your faith, love and steadfastness in Christ Jesus. Your commitment to each other and the community shows the love you have in His Word and you share the Word through your good works in the community. God is working through you in all the lives you touch.”

Joan Long

And now, let us worship the Lord together.

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My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

A Worship Service for March 22, 2020

WELCOME

Good morning. It’s time to worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus.

Today, we will continue on in our series focusing on the last seven statements that Jesus made as He hung upon the cross.

I pray that your time spent here will enable you to express your appreciation for all that God in Christ has done for you. And I hope that when you have finished worshipping, you will have a greater sense of how deeply God loves you.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Obviously, we do not know when we will be able to resume corporate worship. But rest assured, as soon as we are able, WE WILL GATHER TOGETHER AGAIN! And I, for one, am already looking forward to that day with great expectation!

Until that day comes, we will have to be creative. For today, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led; knowing that “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).

Someone will be at the church today, between 12 noon and 1:00 pm for people who wish to drop off their offering. Look for a lockbox on a stand in the lobby. Lift the lid and drop it in. These will be collected for safe-keeping at 1:00 pm. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is CrossPointe Community Church, P. O. Box 126, Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126.

Randy is hosting a meeting of community and church leaders at the church Wednesday evening at 7 pm to discuss ways to provide assistance to those in need in our community. Please pray that this small group of people will be filled with God’s wisdom.

At the present time, we will proceed with Friday’s Community Meal, albeit, with a caveat. We will not have people in the building. Rather, we will invite people to pull in to the parking lot and turn on their headlights. Those who are going to serve will determine how many meals are needed per car. John and Amy will have prepared a chicken cacciatore dinner which will be containerized and handed to them in their cars. We are still in need of at least 4 more volunteers who are willing to car-hop. Bring your roller skates if you wish! Lol! Note it is possible that this event could be canceled should the situation demand it.

Now just for old time’s sake, here’s a couple of puns for all you lexophiles:

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I Thirst

Psalm 42:1-5
John 19:28-30

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”
My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!

Psalm 42:1-5

We are in the third week of a seven-week series of messages that focus on the seven last sayings of Christ. Seven utterances that come from the lips of Jesus as He hung upon the cross for six long hours on a Friday afternoon about 2,000 years ago. Seven sayings that still bring fresh perspective and insight for living into the lives of people who consider them in 2020. Seven sayings that have the potential to bring positive new change to you and me if we will consider them, and consider them carefully:

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Mother, behold your son, son behold your mother” (John 19:26-27).

My God, my God, what have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)

Truly, truly, I say unto you, today you shall be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

It is finished” (John 19:30).

Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46).

That’s six. For the seventh, let’s turn to today’s text as recorded by John:

Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips” (John 19:28-29).

Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst.”

That verse is pregnant with meaning for, in this one sentence, John brings us face to face with two extremely important truths.

The first has to do with the humanity of Jesus.

None of the other gospel writers record Jesus saying, “I thirst.” Apparently, they didn’t think it was worth mentioning. But for John, as well as for Christianity as a whole, that one word was extremely important.

You see, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all preceded John whose gospel was written about 40 or maybe even 50 years after the first three. By that time, a certain religious philosophy called Gnosticism was becoming increasingly popular. Gnosticism held, among other things that anything spirit was good but that all matter, that is anything we can touch and feel was evil. Certain conclusions followed: One was that God, who is spirit, is good, but God could never take on a human body because a body is made of matter and matter is evil. They, therefore, concluded that Jesus never had a body, but rather, that He was a phantom. They said for example, that when Jesus walked, His feet would leave no prints for He was a spirit in a phantom body. They therefore also had to conclude that since He didn’t have a body Jesus experienced the entire episode of crucifixion without pain. In this way, they thought they were honoring Jesus, but in reality, they were demeaning His work upon the cross in two ways.

First, as it concerned His sacrifice for sin. For if He was to free human beings from their sin, He had to become one of us. William Barclay writes,

If He was ever to redeem man, He must become man. He had to become what we are in order to make us what He is. That is why John stresses the fact that Jesus felt thirst; he wished to shoe that Jesus really was human and really underwent the agony of the cross.” 1

And second, the Gnostics denied Jesus identification with the human condition, especially concerning His identification with our pain. I will return to apply this point in a few minutes.

But for John it was very critical that we understand that Jesus did, in fact, have a human body. This is why John chose to include what the other gospel writers passed over; that Jesus experienced one of the most basic human desires: thirstiness.

Not only the humanity of Jesus; the second truth that surfaces in this text is that Jesus is at the same time divine.

Jesus, KNOWING that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst” (John 19:29).

Jesus, “knowing that all things had already been accomplished.” What things?

Psalm 41:9 “betrayed by a friend”
Psalm 31:11 “disciples would forsake Him”
Psalm 35:11 “falsely accused”
Psalm 22:1 “forsaken of God”
Psalm 22:18 “garments were gambled for”
Isaiah 53:12 “numbered with the transgressors”
Psalm 22:16 “pierced His hands and feet”
Isaiah 53:12 “prayed for His enemies”
Isaiah 53:9 “proven guiltless”
Isaiah 53:7 “silent before His judges”

“Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished and in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.” What scripture? Now we’re talking Psalm 69, another Messianic Psalm which has been only been partially fulfilled:

Verse 2 says, “He will sink in deep mire.” I think we are safe in saying that.
Verse 3 says, “He will be hated without a cause.” That’s certainly true.
Verse 7 says, “He will bear reproach and shame.” Absolutely!
Verse 11says, “He will cry out to God in distress.” He did that.
And then verse 21 says, “they offer Me sour wine for My thirst.”

And so, Jesus, “knowing that all things had already been accomplished and “in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,” said, “I thirst.”

How could Jesus know these things? The one inescapable conclusion is that Jesus is who He claimed to be as it has already been recorded in this same gospel many times, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). For John, it is vitally important to point out that Jesus is not only human but also divine.

“Oh what a mystery, manhood and deity.” 2

Even the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy admitted “great is the mystery of godliness in that God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16)

Human yet Divine!

As a man, He slept in the back of a boat,
as God, He stilled the storm.
As a man, He wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus,
as God, He raised His friend to life.
As a man, He died a terrible death,
as God, He was resurrected forever!
He was both Son of man and Son of God!
One unique individual possessing two natures, divine and human.
The God/man, Jesus, the Christ.

Now most, of course, don’t have a problem believing that Jesus was human.

It’s His deity we have a problem with because His deity maneuvers us into choosing between two alternatives. Either Jesus was who He claimed to be “I and My Father are one and the same” (John 10:30) or He was suffering from delusions of grandeur. If we believe the latter is true, that Jesus was a liar then what are we doing here? If on the other hand, He was telling the truth if the scriptures written about Him seven centuries before He was born are true; well then, that’s a game-changer!

“Bow down and worship, for this is your God.” 3

Having said all of that, I’d like to make one point of application that flows from this text; then give a concluding thought.

As for the application, His deity may lead us to believe that He is far removed from our human situation; nevertheless because He was human, He can identify with our human sufferings.

As the scriptures say, He is acquainted with our feelings. He not only felt thirsty and hungry, He felt sleepy, tired, exhausted. He knows what we feel like when the alarm clock goes off. He knew what it felt like to spring forward last Sunday. He understands when we tell Him that there is more to do than can ever be done.

This word from the cross reminds us that Christ sympathizes with His people, can sympathize with you and me when we suffer various heartaches, pains, slings and arrows, temptations, trials, and tribulations.

The writer to the Hebrews reminds us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do” (4:15).

I don’t know about you, but that helps my faith to realize that He experienced what I experience and He can therefore sympathize. He understands how I feel, what I am going through.

When we go through various trials and sufferings, as indeed we are now experiencing, we can at the same time remind ourselves that God suffered too, that He understands that He can enter into our feelings and that helps. When we go to Him in prayer to share with Him what’s bothering us, we go to someone whose heart beats with ours because He’s been there. He’s been criticized, ignored, misunderstood, rejected. He knows what it’s like to be hated, offended, reproached. He understands loneliness, the feeling that no one cares, much less understands us. He knows what it’s like to have our best friends turn away from us.

“I thirst.” And because He did, we bow down and worship a God who fills us with faith for times such as these.

Jill Briscoe tells about the faith of a man her husband Stuart knew in England. This man and his wife had been praying for some time to have a child. They lived in an economically depressed area and he worked in an industrial plant that was greatly influenced by a communist leaning union. Because this man was a Christian, he didn’t have an easy time of it, often being ridiculed for his faith in God. Then one day his wife told him they were going to have a baby. They were elated at the prospect. When he told his co-workers that God has answered their prayers, they made fun, but it hardly fazed this man as he was overjoyed at becoming a father.

When their little girl was born with Down syndrome, the man began to dread the thought of telling the others at work about it. What would they say? Sure enough when they found out, they taunted him about his faith in God: “Are you sure God loves you?” One man said, “I don’t even believe in God, yet I have five healthy children.” Another said, “If God really loved you, why would he allow this to happen to you?”

Standing there in the midst of that arrogant atheism, the man bowed his head. Shame filled his heart as he realized their voices were an echo of his doubts. And then he had a vision of Jesus suffering on the cross and saying, “I thirst.” Suddenly, he was overcome with a sense of Christ’s empathy and compassion and sympathizing and understanding for him and his wife and his little girl. As he looked up the men were amazed at the change in his countenance, as filled with the Spirit, he said to them, “I am so glad, so very glad, that God gave her to me and not to you.” 4

“I thirst.” And because He did, we bow down and worship a God who fills us with faith for times such as these.

John Stott, in his fine book, The Cross of Christ, writes,

I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. … In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries, and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing around his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I’ve had to turn away. And in my imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me. He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered into our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of His.5

God knows and invites us to “cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for us” (I Peter 5:7). He knows how it is and somehow, I can’t fully explain it, it helps. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! But there are times when we are restored by remembering that God became flesh and dwelt among us. Our Master knew what it meant to be a crucified carpenter who got thirsty.

Concluding thought: Jesus is not only expressing a basic human need not only is He divinely carrying out the fulfilling of scripture but on a deeper level expresses His desire to be with His heavenly Father.

Bible scholars suggest Jesus has in mind here another Messianic Psalm: the 42nd:

As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You.
My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. (1-2).

We cannot leave this scene without realizing that Jesus was thirsty for God and recognizing that only God in Christ Jesus can quench the thirstiness in our souls.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale tells about having lunch with a famous surgeon in NYC and asking him, “What was the greatest operation you ever performed?”

“I don’t know about the greatest, but the most meaningful concerned the sweetest little girl who was only given a 10% chance of survival.”

At that time in my life, I was going through a sort of mid-life crisis. My marriage was in shambles, our son was constantly in trouble and despite the fact I was very well off and could buy anything I wanted, I was very unsatisfied with life.

Just prior to giving this little girl anesthesia, she said a little prayer in a sweet voice
“Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me.
Bless Thy little lamb tonight.
Through the darkness, be Thou near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.
And dear God, please bless this doctor.”

And then she added, “Okay I’m ready now and I’m not afraid because Jesus loves me and He’s right here with us and is going to bring us through okay.”

And the doctor told Rev. Peale, “I was blinded by tears and had to feign another wash-up before I could perform the operation. As I stood at the sink, I prayed, “Dear God, if you ever help me save another human being, help me save this little girl. I operated and the miracle happened; she lived!

Leaving the hospital later that night, I realized that I had been the one operated on, for that little girl taught me that if put my hands and life in the hands of Jesus, He will see me through. And that’s what I did and my life has never been the same.” 6

Christ alone can quench the thirstiness of our souls! He alone can impart that peace which the world does not know. He alone can satisfy the deep longings of our hearts. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38).


1 Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series; the Gospel of John, Volume 2, Revised Edition. [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, © 1975]
Page 258].

2 From the song Meekness and Majesty by Graham Kendrick Copyright © 1986 Make Way Music, P. O. Box 320, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN.

3 Ibid.

4 God’s Chicken Soup for the Spirit. Compiled by Kathy Collard Miller and D. Larry Miller. [Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Starburst Publishers, © 1996]. Pages 58-59.

5 John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ. [Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press
© 1986]. Page 335-336.

6 Stories for the Family’s Heart. Compiled by Alice Gray. [Sisters Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 1998]. Pages 267-268.

Mother, Behold Your Son; Son, Behold Your Mother

John 19:16-27
Ephesians 2:11-22

Jesus was always thinking of others; even as He hung upon the cross, He was thinking of others. He addresses those directly involved in His crucifixion with the words,

Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

He turns His attention to one of the thieves being crucified next to Him and says,

Truly, truly, I say unto you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.”

And then we come to the most tender and touching of all the scenes played out at the foot of the cross; when we find the Lord Jesus addressing His mother. Certainly the closest earthly companion He had and also, the disciple that Jesus loved, John. As He speaks to these two, Jesus bleeds with compassion.

“Woman . . . behold your son.”

Strange words for her to hear, don’t you think? “Behold your Son?” She’s probably thinking, Son, I haven’t taken my eyes off you from the very beginning.

Bible scholar, A. W. Pink, writes about Mary as she stands at the foot of the cross:

When the supreme hour strikes of her son’s agony, when the world has cast out the child of her womb, she stands there, by the cross. Who can fitly portray such a picture? Mary was nearest the cruel tree! Bereft of faith and hope, baffled and paralyzed by the strange scene, yet bound with the golden chain of love to the dying one, there she stands!

O what a sword it was that pierced her own soul then! Never such bliss at a human birth, never such sorrow at an inhumane death. Here we see displayed . . . the mother-heart. She is the dying man’s mother. The one who agonizes there on the cross is her child.

She it was, who first planted kisses on the brow now crowned with thorns. She it was, who first guided those hands and feet in their first infantile movements. No mother ever suffered as she did. His disciples may desert Him, His friends may forsake Him, His nation may despise Him . . . but His mother stands there . . . at the foot of His cross. Who can measure those hours of sorrow and suffering as the sword was slowly drawn through Mary’s soul?”

At the foot of the cross is where we see the fulfillment of the words of Simeon’s prophecy.

Remember Jesus as a baby in Luke 2:29-35, taken to the temple by His parents to be presented to the Lord.

Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Maybe she could not understand, but she could love, like only a mother, can love a son.

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Father Forgive Them

Isaiah 53:3-12
Luke 23:1-38

The last words uttered by a person before death are often of great significance.

Many final words have been recorded. Some of them are quite humorous:

“He’s so tame you can put your head right inside his mouth.”

“Clip the red wire first.”

“They only attack when they are hungry.”

Others are more of a profound nature:

Martin Luther said “God is our goal from whom comes salvation.”

John Wesley said, “The best of all, God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!”

Dwight Moody said, “This is my triumph, this is my coronation day; it is glorious!”

Or take the last words of Jesus as He hung nailed to the cross. He didn’t make one statement; the eyewitnesses’ recorded seven different statements uttered by Jesus as He endured approximately six hours of suffering on the cross. People down through the centuries have hung with bated breath upon these seven dramatic, awe-inspiring, faith-building statements spoken from the lips of the Christ.

During the six Sundays that lead up to and then including Easter, I’d like to re-examine each saying:

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

“Mother, behold your son, son behold your mother” (John 19:26-27).

“I thirst” (John 19:28).

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).

“Truly, truly, today you shall be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

On Palm Sunday, we’ll examine what Jesus meant by, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Then, on Easter Sunday morning, we will be greatly encouraged by His last, last words: “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Final words; each one a window through which we can better see and comprehend the heart of Jesus.

These 7 statements cannot be fully appreciated apart from the context of the crucifixion.

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Peace Bequeathed

John 14:27-31
Romans 5:1-5

We’ve all been there; exhausted from the daily grind, overwhelmed by expectations from work and family and social commitments, and in desperate need of the peace and quiet of a nice, structured JAIL CELL!

Peace in a jail cell? What’s up with that?

Believe it or not there is a mock prison where “inmates” pay $90 to spend 24 hours in solitary confinement, away from all phones, clocks, and people. Clients get a blue prison uniform, a yoga mat, tea set, a pen, and notebook. They sleep on the floor. There is a small toilet inside the room, but no mirror.

The peaceful prison business idea was spawned by a prosecutor in South Korea, who often put in 100-hour workweeks and was so exhausted he often jokingly told his wife he’d rather go to solitary confinement for a week to get a little peace than to work. Business is booming as customers say after their either 24 or 48-hour stay, ‘This is not a prison, the real prison is where we return to.’ 1

Go to jail to get some peace? Obviously those folks have never heard of what Jesus offers.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).

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A Life Worth Living

John 14:12-21

Have you ever been part of something; an organization, a social club, a movement that made your life worth living?

I was 10 years old when I became a member of the Braves Little League Team in my hometown of Mogadore. For three years, I enjoyed the accolades that came as a result of being on the team that won the Little League championship. Three trophies went up on my trophy shelf. After each of those three wins, our coach, John Raddish, would have our team to his farm all-day Saturday for a bbq picnic, horseback riding and swimming in Hills Pond. But the Braves’ Years sadly came to an end when I turned 13.

The next life worth living phenom for me began with the rock and roll movement, accelerated on February 9, 1964, when a guy named Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles to America and reached its peak with the release of the Abbey Road Album. I can still recall where I was and the circumstances involved in listening to every album from Rubber Soul to Let It Be. And then Randy’s world came crashing down on April 10, 1970 as I was backing out of my parent’s driveway in my ‘67 Firebird Sprint and heard a newsflash on WHLO radio that the Beatles were calling it quits. I couldn’t believe it; THE BEATLE YEARS were over! And part of me wondered if life was even worth living anymore.

I have a strong feeling that the disciples of Jesus felt the same way.

For three years they have been on the ride of their lives. Following Jesus was so exciting that it was the first thought that entered their heads when they awoke and the last before they fell asleep. And even though they had families and jobs and many other responsibilities to attend to, the thing that made life worth living was being a follower of Jesus.

But now as they are wiping off their mouths after Passover dinner Jesus says to them, “See you boys later, I’m out of here, and so sorry, but you guys aren’t coming with Me.” Disillusionment began to ooze from their pores and drip from their noses as now it appeared to them in Chapter 13 that THE JESUS YEARS are about to come to a crashing halt!

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In His Name

John 14:12-17

Anything? Really, Jesus, we can pray for anything?

One day, Johnny told his daddy he’d like to have a baby brother. His dad paused for a moment and then replied, “Johnny, if you pray every day for about three months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you one!”

Johnny responded eagerly to his dad’s challenge and began to pray every night. After a couple of months of praying, he got a little skeptical. So he asked a few older friends what they thought about it and they said, “You just don’t pray for two months and whammo—a new baby brother.” So, Johnny quit praying.

After another month, Johnny’s mother went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny’s parents called him into their bedroom. And when his dad pulled back the blanket and there was not one baby brother—but two baby brothers! Johnny’s dad looked down at him and said, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?” After just a moment’s hesitation, little Johnny looked up at his dad and said, “I am, but aren’t you glad I quit when I did?”

And little Johnny’s faith in prayer was restored.

“You can ask for anything in My name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

Anything? That’s what it says.

And so is this an invitation to pray for a little brother or two? What if instead of a brother, Johnny wanted an iPhone or a hoverboard? What if Daddy thinks it’s time for a new truck; a Dodge Ram with a Hemi and 4-wheel drive, and all the bells and whistles? Why not? He said, “Anything.”

Listen, you and I are Biblically astute enough to know that Jesus is not giving us permission to lift the word ‘anything’ off the page of scripture right out of its Biblical and historical context in order to call upon the name of the Lord for a…….nything?

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