EASTER 2-1st Lesson

TEXT: Acts 4:32-35

TITLE: One Heart and Mind (aka-‘Gettin’ Along’)

              All believers were of one heart and mind.” Acts 4:32a

Peace…the poets write about, singers sing about it, nations strive for it and yet when it comes right down to it, still no peace. Like the old cliché says, “Why can’t we just get along?” It seems the early Christian church found a way. If we were speaking of government we’d have to call it Communism (in its perfect state!). People sold all their possessions but instead of giving them to the state they gave them to the Church, and all worked for the common good. Imagine for a moment you just got paid and instead of going to the bank, or to pay some bills, or buy that favorite dress or boat, you take your check over to the Church and drop it off with the Secretary. “Never happen!” some might think. But it did happen and it brought a form of peace that was a model for all Jerusalem.

There is a way we, as 21st Christians, can be like those Christians of the first Century; it starts by simply believing in Jesus Christ. As a result, we too are of the same heart and mind. As a result, we give from a cheerful heart what we have for the common good of all. As a result, we have peace; a peace that’s known only by Christians, a peace that goes beyond our understanding, a peace that simply allows us to get along! Praise God for His peace!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your still small voice and the words of peace it brings to me, Amen.  

EASTER 2-Epistle

TEXT: 1 John 1:1-2:2

TITLE: Love Means You always Say I’m Sorry

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us…” 1 John 1:4

Some may remember the tear-jerker book and movie entitled, ‘Love Story.’ In that movie, the heroine (dying of cancer) apologizes for an unintended slight she did to her boyfriend. His response: “Love means you never have to say you’re sorry.” Those words became a cliché in those times and were found on posters, sweatshirts, and even became a song lyric. Those words may be a wonderful and romantic in the movies but in the real world saying, ‘I’m sorry’ is much more important. Along with ‘I’m sorry,’ I’m wrong’ seem to be the hardest pair of two words for anyone to say.

However, those two little words provide for greater love and understanding between the two parties as well as a stronger relationship or fellowship. Whether it is a contrite confession to God or to a neighbor, it expresses a desire to be reconciled and live in fellowship. The word ‘fellowship’ happened to be used 4 times in our brief text which speaks of its importance. We know its sin that destroys fellowship between us and God and one another. Sin is the cause of every divorce, family breakup, violence and abuse. It’s a fellowship killer! But thanks be to God, Jesus provided for us the Real Love Story; His going to the cross in our stead. It’s this non-fiction Love Story that allows us to have eternal fellowship with our God and with one another.

Dear Heavenly Father, help nurture my fellowship with You and one another, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.     

Easter 2-Gospel

TEXT: John 20:19-31

Title: “Ballow”

                                         “Put your finger here!” John 20:27a

The good state of Missouri is known as “the show-me” state! Origins to that title are varied and sketchy. One such origin tells of a Congressman, Willard Duncan Vandiver, 1899, saying in a speech at a Philadelphia naval base, “I come from the state of Missouri that raises corn, cotton, cockleburs and democrats! Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me! You got to show me!” Hence, the phrase! Sadly or gladly, now there is an entire state of people known for their conservative, non-credulous character!

Jesus knew such a character-Thomas! He had to show him. Even after all the disciples told Thomas Jesus had risen from the dead and they had seen him. Thomas still had to see Him for himself! Are we like Thomas at times? What about times we are going through some major trial? Do we need proof Jesus is real and with us?  Jesus said to Thomas “Ballow” (put).The original Greek word carries much more emphasis. “Throw with force, or, thrust your finger here”! In other words, “stick it right in there where my wound was! It’s real! And so am I!” Jesus forceful, yet loving next words, “Stop doubting, and believe!” Those words are our words as well, especially during times of struggle or doubt. He is here right now helping us see His great love for us.

Dear Jesus, help me always to see the reality of Your presence in my life, in Your Name, Amen.