Holy Cross (September 14, 2017)
1 Corinthians 1:18-24New Living Translation (NLT)
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Today is something called The Feast of the Holy Cross. It is a celebration of the triumph of the cross. To many, especially those outside the Christian faith, the cross seems like foolishness – it seems a waste. I’m sure that’s how the early disciples felt. They had been following Jesus for three years – they had given up everything to follow Jesus – and he ends up being crucified on an instrument of Roman torture.
Can you imagine being the disciples in the hours following the crucifixion of Jesus? I’m sure they felt like they had been played the fool. But the cross is not the end – there is triumph in the cross. How? Because while Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins – there is more to the story – if there wasn’t, the story would be truly tragic. But three days later Jesus rose again, breaking the power of sin, hell, death, and the grave forever. We can have new life because of the cross – we can be made new because of the cross.
As Paul writes: Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God – for those who are called to salvation.
The words “Nine Eleven” – if you are older than our son James (who is now 20,) you can answer the question “Where were you when you first heard the news of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center?” I was in my office working on a message for what the Wesleyan Church was calling “Salvation Sunday.” It was a beautiful late summer morning – a clear blue sky. The irony would be that at least one of the planes that were flown into the buildings that day, flew overhead our church that morning on their way to New York City. I was in disbelief – believing at least the first plane, might have been an accident – a miscalculation – also not realizing it was a jetliner and not just small aircraft. When Pam came back into the church and told me the second planed crashed into the second tower, our world literally came to a stop…for the next few hours we would sit transfixed watching the events unfold. I was also working at RadioShack – scheduled to work that afternoon. When I got to work, we continued to watch…it would be later that we would be introduced to words like Al–qaeda and the Taliban. We would learn of the masterminds behind such an act of terror.
As I think back, by this time on that Tuesday, most of the major malls in the area had closed, we were in a strip center so we stayed open. In the days that followed, we continued to watch the events unfold…but for many hours on that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world stopped turning.
Alan Jackson wrote a song that year – “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” – that I believe captures the sentiment of most of us on that day. Today we remember those who died, the people who were on their way to work, the police, fire, children and many others. We will never forget the day the world stopped turning.
The culmination of several weeks work happened today. It was one of those weeks – even though I didn’t have to drive van – that I just didn’t seem to have enough hours. But it has been a good week and it’s been an more amazing day. Again – and I don’t want to ever presume on God or take his mercy for granted – we were granted merciful favor from God. Let me back up just a little bit.
Wednesday night we restarted our prayer meeting. It was tough to do it over the summer so we thought it would be best to not meet during the summer. There was a wonderful spirit of prayer as we met. I am convinced that a praying church is a church that will do great things – because without the Holy Spirit working – without His anointing, we can do nothing.
It’s been a week of spiritual battle in a way…I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to write my sermon – and the worIds just wouldn’t flow. We continue to pray for the young people of our church – some need physical healing – some need spiritual healing – some need other types of healing.
On Friday night, we did lead worship at Emmaus Road. That is always a great time and this week we followed the Holy Spirit’s lead and He led us somewhere different. I am thankful for leaders who can do that.
So that brings us back to today. We held Back-to-Church Sunday today – we will be away next week in Virginia helping some friends of ours. It all started with breakfast followed by Bible Jeopardy, which was followed by worship and then a chili cook-off. It was a wonderful day of worship and fellowship. We had one person who had never attended McCrae Brook come and doesn’t go to church anywhere else – that’s what it is all about.
The rest of the day I spent relaxing after helping setup and tear down. I’ve also been watching the news reports of Hurricane Irma – and praying as we hear the news. By the way – here is a great organization who has responded to Harvey and more than likely following Irma will be on the ground there as well. The video is from World Hope International.
That’s all I have for today. Have a great week.
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Today I went out for a long, slow distance run. My goal was to go longer than my longest run on my watch, which was 12.07 miles. I made my goal and almost at a 10 min/mile pace. That gives me 50 miles for the month. I need 50 miles more because I want at least 100. We are going away next weekend, so we will see how that all works out. This has been a good week, as I have combined speed work with stretching and core exercises – all to help with my running efficiency. And I can tell it’s making a difference. That was the best 12 mile run I can remember and I had several good short runs this week. That’s about all I have.