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The Power of Choice

When I was growing up in Southern California, occasionally on a sunny Saturday, my father would wake me up early in the morning and say, “We are going to see the doctor today.” Unlike most children, when told they are going to the doctor, I would get all excited about the prospect. The reason was because my father’s statement was really a code phrase for something else. If I asked, “What doctor are we going to see?” my father would say, “Dr. Neydis.” I knew Dr. Neydis was really a reference to Disneyland.
I don’t think my father would ever admit where we were really going until we got there. However, the suspense would build as I knew we were moving in the right direction for Disneyland. Then I would see the top of the Matterhorn, and I would hope it was true. Finally, we would pull into the parking lot of Disneyland and I would practically leap out of the car for joy!
In the passage we are going to read today from the Gospel of John we see Jesus building a similar sort of suspense in t…
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The Power to Believe

It is very hard if not impossible sometimes to keep faith in the face of death. When faced with the loss of what you hold most dear, it is not only difficult to believe in life after death, it is difficult to believe that your own life here on earth can go on in any meaningful form. Thus, I think that we should not be too hard on Jesus’ disciple Thomas for not believing at first in the resurrection. It is a lot to believe after all. You and I might have responded just the same way if we were in Thomas’ shoes.  However, we are not in his shoes. We are in our own shoes. Thus, our task today is to see what we can learn from Thomas and his encounter with the risen Christ. Listen for God’s word to you from John 20:24-31… But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand i…

Jesus & The Sojourners

On Easter Sunday morning we often focus on the Gospel stories surrounding the empty tomb and that is understandable. But that also means that we often neglect the other stories of Jesus’ resurrection appearances. I want to correct that deficiency this morning by reading to you one of my favorite resurrection stories from Luke 24:13-35. Listen for God’s word to you…
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven milesfrom Jerusalem,and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “Th…