Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

ClueLESS (Video)

March 28th, 2021
Watch Now:

“Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” 

These words from Psalm 118 are what the crowd shouted with joy as Jesus made his way into Jerusalem on a donkey. After the miracles Jesus had done in Galilee and Jerusalem, and more recently the raising of Lazarus to life after four days in the tomb, Jesus’ reputation is soaring.

Jesus is hailed by the crowd as their long expected Messiah – and given a king’s welcome. Their shout: “Blessed is the king of Israel!” expresses their hopes and dreams that Jesus would bring freedom from Roman occupation, Roman taxes, and Roman brutality.  Many assume: “If he can raise the dead to life again, then nothing can stand in his way. A person with Jesus’ power is exactly the Messiah-King we need!”

Sadly, they are clueless to the sort of Messiah he is – and the path to freedom Jesus will forge for all people through his sacrificial death and resurrection victory.

While Judas Iscariot may have tried to tip Jesus’ hand through his act of betrayal, the rest of the disciples are also clueless as to nature of Jesus’ kingship. They don’t understand the significance of Jesus riding into town on a donkey.  In spite of Jesus’ repeated passion predictions, they couldn’t make sense of what unfolded – until afterwards.

As the crowd greets Jesus with a rock star welcome, the religious leaders are scratching their heads over how to eliminate him when he has such a large fan base. ‘Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”’ (John 12:19 NLT)

Yet within a few days the crowd were shouting: “Crucify him!”

The passion of crowd hysteria is powerful.  And fickle!

Jesus knew this would happen.  Yet he does not turn away from his destiny – and our destiny.  For the joy of seeing you and me in eternity with him, Jesus willingly endured the cross scorning its shame (Hebrews 12:2).  His passionate love for the world moves him to make the ultimate sacrifice for us!

May Jesus’ passion for each of us fuel our passion to serve, encourage and bless others in his name!

Shalom!

Pr Rolly Stahl

ClueLESS (Audio)

March 28th, 2021

“Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” 

These words from Psalm 118 are what the crowd shouted with joy as Jesus made his way into Jerusalem on a donkey. After the miracles Jesus had done in Galilee and Jerusalem, and more recently the raising of Lazarus to life after four days in the tomb, Jesus’ reputation is soaring.

Jesus is hailed by the crowd as their long expected Messiah – and given a king’s welcome. Their shout: “Blessed is the king of Israel!” expresses their hopes and dreams that Jesus would bring freedom from Roman occupation, Roman taxes, and Roman brutality.  Many assume: “If he can raise the dead to life again, then nothing can stand in his way. A person with Jesus’ power is exactly the Messiah-King we need!”

Sadly, they are clueless to the sort of Messiah he is – and the path to freedom Jesus will forge for all people through his sacrificial death and resurrection victory.

While Judas Iscariot may have tried to tip Jesus’ hand through his act of betrayal, the rest of the disciples are also clueless as to nature of Jesus’ kingship. They don’t understand the significance of Jesus riding into town on a donkey.  In spite of Jesus’ repeated passion predictions, they couldn’t make sense of what unfolded – until afterwards.

As the crowd greets Jesus with a rock star welcome, the religious leaders are scratching their heads over how to eliminate him when he has such a large fan base. ‘Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”’ (John 12:19 NLT)

Yet within a few days the crowd were shouting: “Crucify him!”

The passion of crowd hysteria is powerful.  And fickle!

Jesus knew this would happen.  Yet he does not turn away from his destiny – and our destiny.  For the joy of seeing you and me in eternity with him, Jesus willingly endured the cross scorning its shame (Hebrews 12:2).  His passionate love for the world moves him to make the ultimate sacrifice for us!

May Jesus’ passion for each of us fuel our passion to serve, encourage and bless others in his name!

Shalom!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Senseless (Audio)

March 21st, 2021

Our preaching text this week takes seriously this statement from Greeks – outsiders, questioners and seekers – who want to lay their eyes on Jesus. In their request of Peter, they don’t ask to question Jesus; they don’t ask for a press conference or even an interview to do what the Pharisees and Jewish leaders do. They approach Philip, but what does Philip do? It sounds like he says, ‘Wait here. I’ll go find out if this is kosher.’ He goes to find Andrew and after a brief discussion, they go to find Jesus.

This story plays out many times in the life of Christians all across the world. Outsiders, questioners, seekers, even antagonists, demand that we show them Jesus, and for some reason, we suck in a deep breath of fear and think:

What if I say the wrong thing? What if they think I’m strange? What if I am persecuted for my beliefs?

So we take the easy way out: we go find ‘professional’ Christians, those who are good at explaining stuff, and we leave the outsider/questioner/seeker/antagonist to wait while we figure out what we’re going to do with them.

This week, we’ll take a hard look at who Jesus calls us to be.

Senseless (Video)

March 21st, 2021
Watch Now:

Our preaching text this week takes seriously this statement from Greeks – outsiders, questioners and seekers – who want to lay their eyes on Jesus. In their request of Peter, they don’t ask to question Jesus; they don’t ask for a press conference or even an interview to do what the Pharisees and Jewish leaders do. They approach Philip, but what does Philip do? It sounds like he says, ‘Wait here. I’ll go find out if this is kosher.’ He goes to find Andrew and after a brief discussion, they go to find Jesus.

This story plays out many times in the life of Christians all across the world. Outsiders, questioners, seekers, even antagonists, demand that we show them Jesus, and for some reason, we suck in a deep breath of fear and think:

What if I say the wrong thing? What if they think I’m strange? What if I am persecuted for my beliefs?

So we take the easy way out: we go find ‘professional’ Christians, those who are good at explaining stuff, and we leave the outsider/questioner/seeker/antagonist to wait while we figure out what we’re going to do with them.

This week, we’ll take a hard look at who Jesus calls us to be.

Relentless (Video)

March 14th, 2021
Watch Now:

Relentless. There are a bunch of similar words or phrases that capture the idea, e.g. tenacious, obstinate, stubborn, determined, persistent, never giving up.

In 1 Cor. 13, Paul describes God’s love (agape) as relentless:  ‘It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a NIV).

In the Psalms, we often read of the Lord’s ‘unfailing love’. 

When the Israelites are threatened: ‘May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you’ (Psalm 33:20-22 NIV).

When the people of Israel are beat up, they cry out: ‘Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation’ (Psalm 85:7 NIV).

After the LORD brings deliverance: ‘Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds…’ (Psalm 107:8 NIV).

God’s relentless love for humanity is the heart of the Bible. His love towards you is relentless. God loves every person on this planet – past, present and future. He wants every person to find refuge in his love, live in his love, and share his love with others.

The depth of the Father’s love for us is evident in what he gave to make us his forever. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NIV).

Jesus’ promise is for you, for every person you know, for the whole world.

When we believe and receive Jesus, his relentless love breaks out in our lives.

When we live in the relentless love of Jesus:

  • He helps us to become better version of ourselves;
  • He frees us from baggage of our past;
  • He gives us hope for the future;
  • He brings us into God’s story where we get to share his relentless love with others. I wonder what this might look like for you and me – and our Good Shepherd family…

Come along to celebrate and share the Lord’s unfailing love!

Shalom!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Relentless (Audio)

March 14th, 2021

Relentless. There are a bunch of similar words or phrases that capture the idea, e.g. tenacious, obstinate, stubborn, determined, persistent, never giving up.

In 1 Cor. 13, Paul describes God’s love (agape) as relentless:  ‘It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a NIV).

In the Psalms, we often read of the Lord’s ‘unfailing love’. 

When the Israelites are threatened: ‘May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you’ (Psalm 33:20-22 NIV).

When the people of Israel are beat up, they cry out: ‘Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation’ (Psalm 85:7 NIV).

After the LORD brings deliverance: ‘Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds…’ (Psalm 107:8 NIV).

God’s relentless love for humanity is the heart of the Bible. His love towards you is relentless. God loves every person on this planet – past, present and future. He wants every person to find refuge in his love, live in his love, and share his love with others.

The depth of the Father’s love for us is evident in what he gave to make us his forever. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NIV).

Jesus’ promise is for you, for every person you know, for the whole world.

When we believe and receive Jesus, his relentless love breaks out in our lives.

When we live in the relentless love of Jesus:

  • He helps us to become better version of ourselves;
  • He frees us from baggage of our past;
  • He gives us hope for the future;
  • He brings us into God’s story where we get to share his relentless love with others. I wonder what this might look like for you and me – and our Good Shepherd family…

Come along to celebrate and share the Lord’s unfailing love!

Shalom!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Pointless (Video)

March 7th, 2021
Watch Now:

So the Jews replied to him, ‘What sign will you show us for doing these things (clearing the temple)?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.’ ~John 2:17, 18

We understand (I think) what Jesus means. Two thousand years of resurrection/Easter understanding – cognitively we know that Jesus is talking about his body, but theologically? Are we stuck where the Jewish leadership was? Are we stuck needing a sign and a wonder for the Saviour to really let us know that there really is a God?

When Jesus says, ‘Destroy this temple,’ I wonder if the Jewish leadership thought he was commanding them to do so, to rip down the building that housed their sanctuary – their safety from the world. I wonder if the Jewish leadership were aghast that anyone would dare think that the building that had been a house for God’s name, and a place for sacrifice, would be blasphemed by tearing down the structure.

The Jewish leaders are incredulous. ‘This took forty-six years to build, and you – you! Want to rebuild it in three days.’ Even God can’t do that, right?

And, the freshly scrubbed disciples, only days into the ministry, must have been scratching their heads. Get rid of the temple? Is he serious? Where will we go for the festivals? Where will we worship? Where will we offer our sacrifices? It was only after the resurrection that they fully understood Jesus’ words and their faith in the scripture (John 2:21-25).

For so long the building had been the focus of Israel’s worship, but it had been turned into a marketplace, not used for its original designation as a house of prayer and praise. And so, the temple and its sanctuary had become pointless.

The living temple was in their midst, and they were missing it.

What has changed over two thousand years? Should we look at that this week? Should we dig into our fears of the future of the ‘Church,’ and gaze into what God is doing in these three days?

Pr Reid Matthias

Pointless (Audio)

March 7th, 2021

So the Jews replied to him, ‘What sign will you show us for doing these things (clearing the temple)?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.’ ~John 2:17, 18

We understand (I think) what Jesus means. Two thousand years of resurrection/Easter understanding – cognitively we know that Jesus is talking about his body, but theologically? Are we stuck where the Jewish leadership was? Are we stuck needing a sign and a wonder for the Saviour to really let us know that there really is a God?

When Jesus says, ‘Destroy this temple,’ I wonder if the Jewish leadership thought he was commanding them to do so, to rip down the building that housed their sanctuary – their safety from the world. I wonder if the Jewish leadership were aghast that anyone would dare think that the building that had been a house for God’s name, and a place for sacrifice, would be blasphemed by tearing down the structure.

The Jewish leaders are incredulous. ‘This took forty-six years to build, and you – you! Want to rebuild it in three days.’ Even God can’t do that, right?

And, the freshly scrubbed disciples, only days into the ministry, must have been scratching their heads. Get rid of the temple? Is he serious? Where will we go for the festivals? Where will we worship? Where will we offer our sacrifices? It was only after the resurrection that they fully understood Jesus’ words and their faith in the scripture (John 2:21-25).

For so long the building had been the focus of Israel’s worship, but it had been turned into a marketplace, not used for its original designation as a house of prayer and praise. And so, the temple and its sanctuary had become pointless.

The living temple was in their midst, and they were missing it.

What has changed over two thousand years? Should we look at that this week? Should we dig into our fears of the future of the ‘Church,’ and gaze into what God is doing in these three days?

Pr Reid Matthias

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