2021 Good Morning Church

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April 2, 2021

Matthew 25:14-15  For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

You Had On Job. That's a website featuring people who had one job but didn't do it right. That's the big idea in today's parable. Our one job is to know the generosity of Jesus.

In the New Testament, a talent is a monetary unit. One talent is equivalent to twenty years of wages. Five talents, then, the amount entrusted to the first servant, is equivalent of one hundred years' worth of wages. What a generous Master!

How generous? Jesus was betrayed by Judas, mocked by the crowds, denied by Peter, unjustly accused in a kangaroo court, sentenced to death by a weak-willed Roman Governor, crowned with thorns, scourged by muscle men and nailed to wood. Jesus did it all for us! When we believe in Christ's generous, over-the-top redemption, we can't help but be generous ourselves.


April 1, 2021

Matthew 14:45  Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?

When he wasn't flying his private jet, he was living inside his 10,000 square foot apartment in New York City. He had homes in France, on Long Island and in Palm Beach, Florida. To stand in his Manhattan office was to stand in the epicenter of financial success. Or so it seemed.

Then came December 10, 2008. That's when Bernie Madoff confessed that what he had been doing all along was one big, gigantic lie - a huge ponzie scheme. Bernie Madoff mastermind the biggest financial crime in U.S. history. He swindled people out of 65 billion dollars!

His mistake? Bernie didn't keep the end in mind. He thought things would keep on keeping on. That the gist of today's parable at the end of Matthew 24. The Master will return. The Lord Jesus is coming again. The Savior - who lovingly gives us his body and blood - will return to take us to paradise. What a difference it makes when we keep the end in mind!


March 31, 2021

Matthew 20:1  The kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

On the first day of third grace, his teacher told him to line up for lunch. Everyone began scrambling to be first in line. After they lined up, the teacher went to the back of the line and said, "This is the front of the line." He still remembers his response, "That's not fair!" He had shoved his way to be first. Now he was suddenly last!

The next day, when they lined up for lunch, they all scrambled to the end of the line, so the teacher went to the middle of the line and said, "Today, this is the front of the line." Eventually they learned the lesson - scrambling doesn't work.

Have you learned that lesson? Oh, I know. We all scramble for promotions and power and possessions. In today's parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus teaches us to stop scrambling and begin serving. After all, Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

March 30, 2021

Matthew 18:21-22 "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven times."

If you want to be depressed, go to West 44th Street in New York and look at the U.S. National Debt Clock. It announces the U.S. debt and each family's share.

We all have our own personal debt clock. We have a clock that counts the insults, the ugly words, the raised fists, the cold shoulders and all of people's failed promises. How often should I forgive these people?

Jesus says seventy times seven - that would be 490 times. This doesn't mean we should be counting to 490, through clenched teeth, so that on the 491st time we finally let them have it. What does it mean? Seven is the perfect number in the Bible, so seventy times seven means perfect forgiveness - 490. That's Chriust's gift for us to share with the world.

MArch 29, 2021

Matthew 18:12  If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

Which creature are we most like? In the nineteenth century, Charles Darwain claimed that people are most like monkeys. That caused quite a stir! In our era, many biologists say that people are most like rats. Whatever makes a rat sick makes us sick. Some scientists say that people are a lot like bees because - like bees - we're social creatures that live in highly structured societies. Other scientists compare us to dolphins because dolphins and people have a similar ratio of brain mass to body size.

Monkeys, rats, bees and dolphins. According to the Bible, which creature are we most like? Sheep! Sheep are mentioned over 500 times in the Bible.

The Greek of Matthew 18:12 demands that we answer Christ's rhetorical question in the affirmative. Yes! Of course that's what the Good Shepherd does. He leaves 99 to search for one. One sheep? That's what Jesus says. One sheep is worth everything. You are worth everything.


March 28, 2021

Matthew 16:21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem.

Venice, Italy, sits on 118 islands and boasts over 400 bridges. From the seventh through the eighteenth century, all of the world's major trade routes met in Venice. The city looked east and west, north and south. In Venice, you could see Europeans and Asians and Africans doing business. For 1,000 years, Venice was the crossroads of the world.

Matthew 16:21-27 is the Venice of Matthew's gospel. It's the gospel's crossroads. All roads in Matthew converge on this truth - Jesus must go to Jerusalem.

The divine plan before the creation of the world is that Jesus will go to Jerusalem to become King of the universe through a cross. Hold on! That's not what Peter signed up for! Peter rebukes Jesus, "This shall never happen to you" (Matthew 16:22).

Sinful people and Satan have the same mindset. The cross isn't necessary. But the cross defines Jesus. The cross also defines the disciple. All roads in Matthew converge on these twin truths: they ignite our heart and shape our lives.

March 26, 2021

Matthew 13:31  The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.

In his book The Grand Essentials, Ben Patterson describes a sunken S-4 submarine. A deep-sea rescue diver heard tapping on the steel wall of the sunken sub. As he placed his ear against the vessel, he heard a sailor tap out a question in Morse code. What was the sailor asking? "Is there any hope?"

Jesus says yes! Why? God does big things with small stuff. Example "A" - a mustard seed. In the parable, the mustard seed stands for God's Word. It starts small and becomes huge - "larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree" (Matthew 13:32).

This points to the cross: Christ's friends ran away. Christ's garments were gambled away. Christ's Father turned away. Christ's strength ebbed away. Everything ended, "crucified, dead and buried." End of story? No way! How so? God does big things with small stuff. Christ is risen! Death is dead! We have hope!