Sermons

Summary: When we follow Jesus, we believe that God has something better for us and all of humanity. That is the message of the readings from Jeremiah, Hebrews and Luke. We are to spread that message in our world by witnessing to God's love for us.

There is a story that Dr. Ian Paisley, the fiery Irish minister and politician, was preaching one Sunday on the end times, and in particular on the Day of Judgment. As he reached the climax of his address, he said that on the Day of Judgment, "there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth". At that point an elderly woman put up her hand and said, "Dr. Paisley, I have no teeth." Dr. Paisley replied, "Madam, teeth will be provided."

Has your life been full but not fulfilling? Has your life been successful but not significant? Perhaps your life has been cheered by other people but is not important to God. Perhaps you're restless inside. Maybe God is telling you to do something that is different from what you're doing right now. Don't be afraid to do it. Be expectant and obedient, regardless of the risks.

Jeremiah 1:4-10 is a story of how God can use anyone and everyone to do his work in the world. Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet, but he argued that he was not qualified to be a prophet because of his age. God's answer was that his request was part of his plan for Jeremiah's life. God said that he would tell Jeremiah what to do and what to say, and he did. God also knew that Jeremiah would be persecuted and opposed in his work, but God promised that he would be with Jeremiah and he was. God keeps his promises.

Great men do not seek power-they have it thrust upon them. When God looks for a leader, he goes after someone who isn't looking for the position. God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. He calls us and equips us to share the Good News. He equips us to face the consequences of sharing the Good News. He uses our strengths and our weaknesses. He loves us and approves of us. Nothing we do now or in the future can change that. His love for us is genuine.

A good example of how God equips people is legendary talk show host Larry King. As a young man he hung around a radio station in Miami, Florida and kept telling the station manager that he wanted to get into radio. He finally got his chance when the morning announcer quit. On his first day, he opened his mouth and nothing came out. He played another song and tried to speak a second time. Nothing came out. The same thing happened a third time. The station manager stormed in and yelled, "This is a communications business". Larry King finally found his voice and said, "Good morning, this is Larry King". He explained to his audience that this was his first morning on the air and that he was nervous. That gave him the confidence to keep talking and he has been talking on radio and television since then.

Jeremiah accepted God's plan for his life. Jeremiah was set apart by God for his prophetic work. He was God's spokesperson. He predicted the doom that Israel would face unless the people repented. God promised through Jeremiah that Israel's suffering would facilitate their redemption. God did not abandon them. Jeremiah's words had the power to lead the Hebrews to actions that produced results and had consequences.

Jeremiah was to pronounce words of judgment and words of mercy and hope. The people of Israel had to endure God's judgement before they could receive God's mercy. We do not have to go through the same process. Jesus accepted God's judgement for our sins when he died for us on the cross. Jesus accepted God's judgment so we would receive God's mercy as long as we believe in faith.

Our society needs more people like Jeremiah. In other words, society needs more people who sense their call in life and who pursue it. We have become a society that is interested only in instant gratification, short-term gains and quick fixes. We have little loyalty to the long-term because we have lost the sense of how far back our origins really do go.

God is always speaking to us. When we speak for him, he will provide us with the words to say. God has a plan for our lives-everything that pertains to life, his promises to us, our healings, the words we speak on his behalf. All we have to do is say "yes" to his will, his way and his word. We have to trust it, believe it, receive it, watch and wait for it to become fully manifested in our lives.

Each and every one of us is unique. This uniqueness enriches the world when we give ourselves to the community around us. God related to us as individuals because each and every one of us is unique. We were created in love for love and by God for God. When our lives are broken, God can put them back together. When our plan for our lives falls apart, he is there to fix it so that it is the same as his plan for our lives. We are wanted, cherished and loved by God. We belong to God.

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