150412 Acts 3:12-20

Series Theme: AD: Our Easter Celebration Continues

Text: Acts 3:12-20

Theme: The Message Of Easter Continues!

A.D. The Bible Continues is the title of a new NBC mini-series that premiered last Easter Sunday. It is produced by the same folks who made the mini-series "The Bible." According to their web site, "A.D. The Bible Continues picks up where the miniseries The Bible left off, continuing the greatest story ever told and exploring the exciting and inspiring events that followed the Crucifixion of Christ." Since this mini-series will be airing each Sunday night at 8:00 PM and many of you may find yourself watching it, and since during this Easter Season of the Christian Church Year one of our weekly Scripture readings is taken from the book of Acts which records the early history of the Christian Church, Pastor Pagels suggested that we focus our sermon messages each week on the assigned reading from Acts. So, as we begin this series of sermons, I would like to suggest that we change the title slightly from A.D. The Bible Continues to A.D. Our Easter Celebration Continues. As you and I continued to celebrate the wonderful Good News of our Savior's victorious resurrection, today based on God's Word from Acts chapter 3 we see that The MESSAGE of Easter Continues.

Read more: 150412 Acts 3:12-20

150405 John 20:1-8

Text: John 20:1-8
Theme: The Life Changing Power Of The Empty Tomb

In my hands I am holding a box. Nothing too fancy, just a good, sturdy little box. Because there is a lid on the box it is impossible to see what's inside. So what if I told you. What if I told you that this box contains something that every person needs. What if I told you this box contains the answer to all of life's questions, the solution to all of life's problems. Even if you are skeptical, wouldn't you still want me to open it? Even if it sounds too good to be true, wouldn't you at least want to take a peek at what's inside?

For those of you who are curious (and even if you aren't) I won't keep you in suspense. I will open the box so that you can see what it contains (take off the lid and show the people). As you can see it's empty, completely empty.

Are you disappointed? Do you feel betrayed? Does the fact that the box is empty make me a liar? Not necessarily. This day is really about an empty box, but not a cardboard box like this one. Today we focus our attention on an ancient box that was cut out of limestone, a great big box with a boulder for a lid.

Several people looked inside this box on Easter morning, and when they did they found it empty. But they weren't disappointed. They were transformed. The empty tomb of Jesus transformed their lives, and it has the same effect on disciples of Jesus today. On this glorious Easter morning we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and as we do we also give thanks to God for...

THE LIFE CHANGING POWER OF THE EMPTY TOMB

I. See how people came to the tomb
II. See how people left the tomb

Read more: 150405 John 20:1-8

150329 Mark 11:1-10

Text: Mark 11:1-10
Theme: Palm Sunday: The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm is the name of a book (which was later turned into a movie) that tells the story of the 1991 Halloween Nor'easter that ravaged the eastern seaboard of the United States. That storm took the lives of at least twelve people and caused just shy of one billion dollars in damage.

How did it happen? What began as a typical nor'easter developed into a true hurricane when it was stalled offshore by high pressure in Canada. To add fuel to the fire, Hurricane Grace, laden with moisture and heading north in the Atlantic, responded to the cold front and headed toward the low.

It was a Boston meteorologist by the name of Robert Case who preserved this storm's place in history when he said: "These circumstances alone could have created a strong storm, but then, like throwing gasoline on a fire, a dying Hurricane Grace delivered immeasurable tropical energy to create the perfect storm."

This is probably about the time you are thinking to yourself: "Okay, pastor, I appreciate the history lesson, but I don't see the connection. And by the way, you are not a weather man. What does 'the perfect storm' have to do with Palm Sunday?"

All four gospels record the events of Palm Sunday, but not one of them includes a weather report. And even though we don't know what the weather was like when Jesus rode through the streets of Jerusalem, I have a fairly detailed picture in my mind. The Palm Sunday I see is a beautiful day. It's warm, but not too warm. There is a breeze, but it's not too breezy. And in the sky there is a combination of sun and clouds.

If my imagination is correct, if in fact Palm Sunday was a warm, sunny day (and there is nothing recorded in the gospels to make us think that it wasn't), the question needs to be asked again: What does this day have to do with "the perfect storm?"

Most people don't remember the storm that pummeled the east coast almost twenty five years ago, but the phrase that Robert Case coined to describe it lives on. "The perfect storm" is commonly used today in a figurative sense. It refers to a series of seemingly unrelated events that converge to create a situation that is far more significant and much more intense than the individual parts.

And that is exactly what happened on Palm Sunday, the day when a number of different people, places and events came together to set in motion the most important week in the history of the world. That is why it is fitting, that is why it makes sense for us to call...

PALM SUNDAY: THE PERFECT STORM

Read more: 150329 Mark 11:1-10

150322 Hebrews 5:7-9

Text: Hebrews 5:7-9

Theme: Jesus Is The Only Savior

Just about each night, one of the tv stations shows re-runs of the television show "M.A.S.H." In one of the episodes, a pilot, who flew over 50 bombing missions, came to the hospital claiming that he was Jesus Christ. The mental stress that this pilot suffered from carrying out a job that brought only death and destruction was so great, that he tried to block it out by saying he was the Savior of the world. During the episode, many of the doctors knew that this man was not Jesus. But at the end, as the man is leaving, the company clerk, "Radar", asks this man to bless his favorite teddy bear, just in case he is who he claims to be.

Read more: 150322 Hebrews 5:7-9

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