This morning we are starting a short series called My Apologies. For many who are outside of faith, they seem to not have a problem with Jesus, or at least who they perceive Jesus to be, but they have rejected Christianity as they know it or have heard of it. As the church of Jesus we bear much of the responsibility for this. This morning we are going to look at a question that has been asked of me and maybe you, Why are Christians so Judgmental? In a 2007 Barna research it was discovered that 90% of 16-29 year olds in the U.S. were of this opinion and claimed it was one of the major factors in leaving the church. The church purports itself to be different and those outside it expect it to be that way. Why? Because being misjudged by others is a wearisome reality. Phycology Today: The reality is many of us misjudge people, often based on what they look like, what they are wearing, or perhaps what they sound like…[A] survey revealed that 75 percent of people misjudged someone at least once a month or more.
A very good morning to you all, and it is a very, very good morning! It is on this day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and with it all that it means. It’s not, as some would think, simply a necessary proof or vindication of who Jesus says He is as the Son of God, though it certainly is that, but so much more. Jesus’ rising from the dead brought forth the new life promised as a reality and sign of the restoration of God’s Creation from the waywardness of people’s desire to be the boss and the resulting dysfunction we now see in ourselves and in the world around us. This restoration as the bible describes it, starts with we who have put our faith in Jesus. Sin literally is missing of the mark set for us as humans beings as reflective agents of God to the rest of creation. It distorts that reflection and clouds our true identity and purpose. On Good Friday in Jesus’ sacrifice for us of Himself, taking on the punishment due us because that sin, He justified us before God, made us right with Him, in our complete forgiveness. It (restoration) starts with us when we put our faith in Him and Him alone. This makes us new! Through Jesus we can then live the good life God has for us as true humans. We rise above the *fray with Jesus, of the all that is wrong in ourselves and in the world.
This week is the start of what is traditionally known as “Holy Week”, the final week of Lent. Lent is a time people utilize to draw nearer to God through prayer, fasting, extended bible reading, and to simply get right with God. We are by no means in short supply of things to get right before God individually and societally. In the original church this time frame was marked by people preparing for baptism to declare faith in Christ and for people who had fallen short to take personal responsibility for their actions, inactions, and thoughts. So it became a time of confession: confession of faith and a cleansing of the soul. Prayer, including corporate prayer, played an important role in this. Prayer, both individual and corporate, was and is still now our **way of 1a.rising above the fray. That phrase “rising above the fray” 1b.means not putting up with current fraying conditions, those things that we struggle with and wear us thin, but to ascend above them to a higher place. And the way we are given by God to do that is PRAYER!
We are in the weeks leading up to Easter This time is traditionaly known as lent. wich means lengthening of days, Today we will use this as a basis for our Prayer lives and being trouthfull as we pray