Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday -- An Undivided Heart

Blue skies and sunshine... the first day of Holy Week is this year also the first day of spring. Pastor Brad welcomed us warmly.

1. This Wednesday will be our last Family Night, though the youth will continue to meet.
2. Vacation Bible School will be June 13-16 this year and volunteers are needed....

Ed opened the service singing The Holy City. This was followed by the singing of Hosanna Loud Hosannas as the children marched in carrying palms. After the offering was taken, Susan then gave a children's message. With Easter next Sunday she had several of the children read a Jelly Bean Poem Prayer.

Brad led us in a time of prayer and then we sang "All Glory, Laud and Honor." Leonard was then asked to read from Luke 19:28-42 where Jesus enter into Jerusalem.

An Undivided Heart

Pastor Brad began by talking about loyalty. He noted that loyalty is a problem in our culture. We agreed. But we also don't always see our own disloyalty.

He then told a story about a humorous incident from his youth in which he chose loyalty to himself over loyalty to a friend. We think we're loyal until we're tested.

In Matthew 26 Jesus makes Peter aware that he will deny Jesus before dawn. Peter denies this, and absolutely claims his loyalty to Jesus even unto death. But when tested, he indeed fails. Loyalty is something we live, not declare.

The story of Absalom is another illustration of loyalty and disloyalty. David was loyal to Absalom despite his own disloyalty.

II Samuel 15 tells the story of Ittai the Gittite, how he not only declared his loyalty, he demonstrated it.

We all say we're loyal, but how loyal are we? 60% of spouses commit adultery. But even if we do not cheat, what about looking lustfully at other women. Maybe we don't do it with our eyes, we do it with our thoughts.

Another way we are disloyal is by demeaning our spouses in public, or in front of our kids. Sometimes we say we're just kidding, but it hurts. It is disrespectful and a form of disloyal. There are dozens of other ways we are disloyal by putting other things in front of out family and the spouse we vowed to love?

Friendships are based on loyalty, too. Sometimes we have a tiff with a friend and instead of working through it we walk away.

And in our relationship to the church, what does loyalty mean? Are we loyal only when it doesn't inconvenience us?

Disloyalty is difficult to see in our selves. Most of us are loyal only to ourselves.

Where does this come from? How did the people shift from singing "Hosanna" to Jesus at the beginning of the week to crucifying Him by week's end?

Brad says it's because the people had a divided heart. God does not want us to be divided.

The Book of James says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom." (James 4:8-9)

If words like these do not drive us to tears and repentance, there's something wrong. We can't say, "I want God and I want what I want."

With God's help we can have a unified heart, a heart sold out to God. God is always faithful.

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