Good Morning Church

RSS Feed

February 20, 2024

Matthew 5:2-3 And Jesus opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor...

Those words from Matthew's Gospel signal the opening to the Sermon on the Mount. The first twelve verses of chapter 5 are often referred to as the Beatitudes; which means "supreme blessedness" or "supreme happiness."

Some have taken the word beatitude and tweaked it a bit: they become be-attitudes. I like that. I like that because it helps describe the hope we have in Jesus. His first sermon on that mountain is an invitation to let every word of his, from that mountain moment on, guide us to the cross.

No matter what we may hunger and thirst for at any given moment, no matter what makes the heart ache or causes a person to fall into bed lost and feeling alone, Jesus speaks to all of it from the cross. That's why God's Spirit draws us there to turn all hearts into lives of hope and joy. That's when the Beatitudes become our be-attitudes.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 19, 2024

Romans 5:5 ...hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

A young lady was asked why she was willing to stand so long in line to purchase a lottery ticket. Her answer was stunning. Her answer: "I buy these tickets because it gives me hope."

St. Paul points us to a more lasting source of hope. Hope for Paul comes from God's love that "has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us". God doesn't just dribble love into our hearts; he pours it in.

Another thing: This is something God has already done through the Holy Spirit. And as we draw closer to the cross in faith, we give God the chance to fill us up even more as he speaks to us in and through his Word.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 14, 2024

Psalm 51:3 I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

It's Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. You will see evidence of this as you will see the foreheads of friends and strangers marked in black charcoal with the sign of the cross. Today, we'll gather together for worship. We'll come to pray and hear again how the mark on the forehead means love, mercy, and the forgiveness of God in the cross of His Son, Jesus. 

Perhaps as we come closer to the mark, we struggle inside. We struggle with shame, knowing we did not deserve, nor do we deserve, the mercy of God. And yet, the closer we come to the cross, we give thanks for the fact that we know Jesus is there.

The charcoal mark will be gone in a short time. But God's grace, love and forgiveness will remain. That's because Jesus died for us and rose again.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 13, 2024

John 4:35 Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Jesus tells us. He sends us into the harvest field to find lost people - lost people who don't even know they're lost! Studies show that about 85% of people who trust Christ for salvation do so because a friend or relative told them about the grace of God in Jesus.

Mission isn't something extraordinary we do somewhere else. We don't need to go to another country to live for Jesus. Our everyday life is the mission field God has given us. Instead of hemming and hawing, let's pray for an opportunity to tell others about our mighty and merciful Savior, whose cross and empty tomb announce life and forgiveness for the world.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 12, 2024

John 3:34 For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.

Someone once said, "Church is a place where a group of dull and respectable people listen to a dull and respectable sermon about how to keep being dull but respectable." This particular day in church, everyone felt dull but respectable. The sermon was dull but respectable. Most of the people looked on the dull side, but very respectable!

Just when eighteen people glanced at their watches. Just when that child won the wrestling match with his parents, again. Just when three people nodded off, again. Just then, a fire broke out on the altar, on the baptismal font, and on the pulpit! The ushers got up to put it out - but to no avail. The fire kept spreading. It couldn't be contained. Everyone was going up in flames!

Could it happen? It will happen. That's the promise. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit without measure. On Pentecost, the Spirit came with fire to enliven Christ's followers. Even today, God's holy fire breaks when we receive Holy Communion, live in our baptismal grace, and hear the Gospel of forgiveness. This fire ignites our faith in Christ - our crucified and triumphant Savior.

Gone are the blank stares. Gone are the ho-hum lives. Gone are the lifeless looks and the drifting prayers. Boldness, courage, and spine are unleashed when Jesus gives us the Spirit without measure.


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 8, 2024

John 3:19 The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light.

On July 26,1945, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis delivered components for the atomic bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, eleven days later. World War II was almost over, but for the crew of the USS Indianapolis, the worst was yet to come. Four days later, a Japanese submarine torpedoed the ship. The Indianapolis sank in twelve minutes, taking down three hundred men. The remaining nine hundred men were adrift in the South Pacific for five God-forsaken days. Only 316 survived. It was the worst disaster at sea in the history of the United States Navy. Someone had to be blamed, so the navy court-martialed the ship's captain, Charles Butler McVay. After years of mental anguish, McVay took his own life.

It wasn't until 2001 that the navy finally confessed. Naval personnel failed to notice that the Indianapolis was overdue at its next port of call. Then the navy failed to investigate. Nine hundred sailors were left in the Pacific Ocean for five days. Thank God that the navy finally confessed it.

Jesus invites us to come out of the darkness of denial. It's easier to keep our skeletons in our closet. Christ's light steps into this darkness. He looks at every sin and says, "My blood paid for that." Why live with regret and remorse? Instead, walk out of darkness and into your Savior's marvelous light! When it comes to sin, God gives us five wonderful words: Confess it. I forgive it.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 7, 2025

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel provides the background for this promise of Jesus. In ezekiel 47, the prophet envisions a rebuilt temple with water trickling out from under the altar.

He then sees these drops of water become a river that flows to the Dead Sea - a body of water 1,400 feet below sea level with a saline content of 35 percent. The prophet's vision concludes with the Dead Sea coming to life. "Wherever the river goes...everything will live" (Ezekiel 47:9).

Jesus fulfills this vision - and then some! Living water flows from Christ to us. It begins with just a trickle. Jesus tells Nicodemus that we are born again through water and the Spirit. The river picks up momentum when Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that He gives living water. Then the surge. "Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'" (John 7:38).

Then, in one ironic twist for the ages, this raging river of life is reduced to just a trickle, until it completely dries up. "I thirst" (John 19:28). Here is Jesus, crushed and cursed by the sin of your life and mine.

"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). Jesus is alive. His river, when coupled with God's mighty Word, is a baptismal river of life. It forgives our sin, quenches our thirst, and defeats our death.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,