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8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Sunday, November 22, 2009


SUNDAY'S SERMON
CHRIST THE KING John 18:33-37


For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

It all begins with water, you know.
Ordinary water. Tap water. Probably a bit cold.
Splashed. Poured. Dunked. Immersed. It doesn’t matter. The water by itself is nothing. A teaspoon or gallon. A font or a lake or a river or an ocean. Salty or plain. Water is water when you get right down to it.

But, promise is promise, especially when it is God doing the promising and then a promise becomes THE promise. The power of promise connected with that water creates a sacred act of grace, a sacrament we call Holy Baptism.

It is our death day and our birthday. We die to ourselves. Die to the world, Die to sin and rise, reborn as children of God, children of hope. As children of promise. We are reborn and behold, we become part of the newness of God at work in the world; we experience God’s power to redeem us.

People are going to ask you some day if you are born again. When they do, do not hesitate. Do not doubt. Do not pause in confusion, awkward embarrassment or trepidation. The day that water carried by the power of God’s promise found you, you were born again. Born of water and the Word. Born of the Holy Spirit. Born of grace. Born a second time for the last time for all time.
And it is at that moment when there is a powerful and divine intersecting of lives: Jesus’ life and our life. Jesus enters into the world’s story and becomes the story, taking on our brokenness, our sin, our weakness. Becoming the story, Jesus transforms it. No longer is the story of the world and all who dwell upon it a story of death, but rather it became part of the story of God’s plan of salvation for the world.

That plan of salvation is not hidden, not meant to be hidden by us either. Not meant to be a secret or our secret or THE SECRET, but as we learn in Scripture that faith comes by hearing – and not just any faith but life-giving faith – salvific faith – as it comes from hearing, it must be proclaimed. Loudly. Boldly. Clearly. Spoken in words. Embodied and spoken in life, in actions, in deeds, in laughter, joy, in kindness and compassion, in patience and forgiveness, in everything.
For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

And all who have been reborn through the water, Word and Spirit, in the act of grace we call Holy Baptism, are called to testify to the same truth. In the original written word of the New Testament the word for truth is alathea and that is what we testify to: the alathea of God revealed in and through Christ Jesus. This truth is the testimony of a loving God who chose to forgive rather than condemn; to suffer in innocence; to die in humility; to die to defeat death. It is the story of a loving God who could not bear to be out of relationship with us; that the pain of that relationship broken by sin needed to be healed.; that we and God needed to be reconciled because God desired it more than you or I could desire anything, ever.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

Testimony is a sacred word. We might comfortably place its roots in the courtroom. One person gives testimony – truth tells – about what they witnessed – what they know - what they swear to be true. Sworn testimony. Such is testimony. It is not just talking, but witnessing, holy truth-telling.

What we know of Jesus we know because of testimony. A story, The Story, told, shared, proclaimed over and over again. Holy truth that one day became written word.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
And for this we were born, born of water, born of Spirit, Born of promise. But what is the truth to which we testify? Is it the truth that comes from listening to the voice of Jesus?

A story is told of a congregation in which one of its young people suffered from significant disability that left them unable to speak discernible words. But she approached the pastor one day and indicated as best that she could that she wanted to read the scriptures at worship, one of the lessons, first or second, it didn’t matter which. The pastor was amazed and delighted. He knew that no one would understand her – but since the lessons were printed in the bulletin he saw in empowering her to serve in this way the hand of God at work, something profound and powerful.

When the Sunday arrived and the lesson was announced she proudly walked to the lectern shouted what must have sounded like random noise and sat down. By the time the worship service ended the trouble started. The elders called an emergency meeting and were unanimous in their direction to the pastor. The list of readers would now have to be approved by them since the pastor had proven himself incompetent at the task. And they were clear, that only people who could execute the task of reading the Holy Scriptures clearly and with proper reverence need apply for the task.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
But who testified to the truth that Sunday? Not just any truth, but THE truth, the truth that Jesus died for: Was it the young woman? The Pastor? The Board of Elders? Who testified to the truth?

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
Amen.

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