Sunday, September 13, 2009

15th Sunday

Today's Saying

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. ~Jewish Proverb

Today in the liturgical churches is celebrated as the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Gospel reading from the Common Lectionary is Mark 8:27-38.
This morning I want to look only at the first half of the text.
Here we find Peter at his best. He cuts through all the nonsense and names Jesus as the Messiah.
There is no hesitation. He sees what he sees. He sees what others can not see.
This is Peter the Saint.
Peter the super human person.
Peter who we really wish we could be like.
If only we had his vision.
If only we had his faith.
But then Jesus tells this Saint he’s going up to Jerusalem to die.
Peter reacts by taking Jesus aside and trying to talk Him out of it.
Messiah’s by their very nature don’t die. They triumph.
Jesus responds by calling Peter Satan.
From Saint to sinner in less time than it takes to tell about it.
Peter goes from one of great faith to a failure in the faith department.
Peter is seen as Saint and sinner.
I want to be like Peter the Saint.
I want to hear Jesus say “ Well done, good and faithful servant”. I want to please God.
I really do.
But so often I fail. God offers me an opportunity and I foul it up.
I feel bad because I fail this loving Savior.
I am a sinner.
Then I remember Peter.
God loved him both as Saint and as sinner.
God forgave him.
God restarted him.
And I know God can and will do the same for me.
Thank you Lord.
For the example of Saint Peter.
For the example of sinner Peter.
For letting us see both.
Let us strive to be like the first.
Let us learn from the second.

Despite Petrovich and Herman’s vision life goes on and Pastor Joan has a sermon to preach today. Here is a part of that sermon:
“ I saw on television last week a man who had cancer three times and was fighting to stay alive. He said to the announcer that this was his cross to bear.
I remember a mother who after being told that he only son was serial killer said “ He has always been a heavy cross to bear for me.”
There was a skier who lost his foot in an accident who remarked “ this is my cross to bear.”
My question this morning is what is your cross?
Then what does that cross have to do with Jesus?
There are two kinds of crosses in our life.
Those we are stuck with.
And those we choose.
You see when you hear this text that I read this morning you almost always think of the first kind of cross.
You think of illness or bad things that have happened to you.
You think of what gives you pain and over which you have little control.
The kind of cross Jesus speaks of in the text is not this kind.
The kind of cross Jesus speaks of doesn’t happen to us we choose it.
We take it up and follow Him.
We choose to suffer in His service.
There was a great English Doctor who was in great demand. He could have asked for and received very large fees but he gave all that up and went and worked in a leper colony. He choose to work in a leper colony.
He ended up with leprosy. He choose this cross.
He choose to follow Christ into a life of service.
He took up a cross.
What difficult thing does God want from you today?
Perhaps, He wants you to forgive somebody you hate. To make the first move to bring reconciliation. The person may reject you. Rejection hurts.
Take up your cross.
Perhaps God is calling you to help the homeless but the way to do that is costly, hard, even dangerous.
Take up your cross.
What does God want you to do that you don’t want to do for whatever reason.
Take up your cross and follow Him.


Now we are off to my Grandaugter's Confirmation


Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Praise God that He loves sinners. Praise God that He is willing to trust us with crosses, to help us get up when we fall under their weight, and to bless us just for trying.

Enjoy your granddaughter's confirmation.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Quilly said...

I said a prayer for your grand-daughter's confirmation. I know this will be a blessed day!

2:19 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Dr. John, I love your Sunday posts! I remember an an old saying, "He who sings prays twice" -- well, he who blogs (i.e., you) preaches twice (once as yourself and once as Pastor Joan)...

Very insightful and very inspiring.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

Like the fortress picture!

What, He wants us to forgive? When did this happen and why didn't anyone tell me until now?

5:45 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

TWO excellent sermons this morning Pastor! I feel blessed!

Blessing's on Bree's confirmation too! What a happy day! Enjoy!

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on your granddaughters confirmation. :) Wonderful Sermons my friend. And I love the new header :)

10:04 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Your Sunday Posts are always the best of the Week. What a Great Header Picture. This is your Best one. All the best for your Granddaughter's Confirmation.

Blessings Dr John for you and Betty and your family.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Dulce said...

I like what you say today- as usual. We are saints and sinners and we need to carry a cross with us.

1:25 PM  
Blogger smiles4u said...

I needed to read this today. I read this earlier today and have pondered on these words all day. It's always been easier for me to believe God loves the saint then that God loves the sinner.

I have never thought about the fact that there are the crosses we are stuck with and those that we choose. This causes me to rememeber those times I paid a high price yet was so richly blessed.

Thank you for your words today.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

Amen, Brother! And I hope you're praying for the Packers tonite...

5:51 PM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

This is a truly beautiful sermon, Dr. John!

Congratulations on your granddaughter's confirmation!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Congratulations on your granddaughter's confirmation Dr. John. Katie was confirmed this past spring and it was a very special day!
Loved your post!
Love Di

7:15 PM  
Blogger tilden talks... said...

dr john, great words today. thank you

7:23 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

I see this philosophically. If we had a moral code that no one ever broke, we'd just be amoral.
I guess we just have to be sinners.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

God's love is awesome. Two great sermons today. Many thanks.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Both wonderful Dr J. God is good...all the time.

10:46 AM  

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