Waynesburg Christian Church featuring speaker Jay Vanderbur
1.22.23 Disruption and Discipleship
Interruptions are everywhere. Conversations are interrupted by others chiming in. Travel is interrupted by weather. Can you imagine the list of all the things in life that our phones interrupt with texts, notifications, etc. In the final scene of Luke 8 we meet two people who couldn’t be more different - one is affluent and powerful and the other is isolated and poor. Despite their differences, their lives have both been interrupted by tragedy, and at the same time, in the same place, on the same day, their lives intersect with Jesus. How does Jesus respond to them?
1.15.23 You Gotta Have Faith
It was a SCANDAL! One of the cultural elites, Simon, had invited a young rabbi to dinner for a public roundtable discussion. The evening was going fine until an uninvited guest “crashed the stage” weeping at the feet of the Rabbi. Let’s just say this woman had a reputation. Simon was surprised that the young rabbi would even allow such a person to touch him. The young rabbi’s response to Simon was even more surprising. Simon’s questions about who Jesus was and who Jesus welcomes were answered that day. If you’ve ever wondered who Jesus was and who Jesus welcomes, then Luke 7 has some answers.
1.8.23 Jesus Calling...Jesus Responding
It is tempting to turn Jesus into a one-dimensional figure. If your emphasis is on morality and doing the right thing, then the power and holiness of Jesus is really appealing. If your focus is on compassion and mercy, then you are probably compelled by the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. Luke is sure that we have much more than a one-dimensional portrait of Jesus! Luke 5 helps us to see the power and holiness of Jesus that scares Peter, the compassion of Jesus that heals a leper with a touch, and the forgiveness of Jesus that heals a paralytic man. Luke also shows us and challenges us with how we ought to respond to Jesus. Jesus is powerful and holy yes, but that doesn’t mean sinners can’t come to him... us sinners... we are the very people He came for... “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” - Luke 5:31b-32
1.1.23 Truth and Lies
C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece, The Screwtape Letters opens by saying, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Light and darkness... good and evil... turn on the nightly news and the theological principle of “original sin” is put on display. Darkness and evil are real. For Jesus, the devil is real... Not a myth... Not a superstitious idea from an uneducated age... And definitely not a red cartoon character on your shoulder.
Luke 3 ends with the genealogy of Jesus, and the chapter concludes with “Adam, the son of God” (v. 38). With this thought still ringing in our ears, Luke launches into his account of Jesus’ encounter with the devil. The dramatic tension is clear... Will Christ, the Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5) succeed where the first one failed?
12.25.22 - Dare to Believe Christmas
For the next several weeks - from Christmas Day to Easter we are going to be going through the Gospel of Luke. Instead of this being a “cradle to grave” story, it is a “manger to empty tomb” story that carries us from the incarnation to the ascension of Christ!
Luke 1 opens by telling us Luke’s purpose in writing. He wants to share an orderly, carefully investigated, eyewitness account of “the things that have been fulfilled among us.” Luke wants the reader to have certainty about these things. Luke was a frequent traveling companion of the Apostle Paul and Paul refers to him as the “beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14.
Luke 1 quickly moves from the purpose of the writing to telling the story of two miraculous births. This challenges the modern reader because Luke claims to have done his research and interacted with eyewitnesses and yet immediately asks us to believe the story about two “impossible” births. Luke, you’re a doctor, you should know better! But this suspicion doesn’t do justice to Luke’s narrative. Zechariah and Elizabeth and Mary were not gullible bumpkins who didn’t know how babies were made or were ready to believe crazy stories (and neither were Luke or his original readers). They found the whole thing just as unlikely as we would... but that’s the point! Luke is bringing an important truth to the forefront at the very beginning of his “orderly account” - God’s salvation will come in a seemingly impossible way! The angel declares the same truth to Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Could we dare to believe more than what our eyes see? Blessing comes when we believe the words of God more than our feelings and fears! Christmas beckons us to believe! Will you?