Posts Tagged 'gifts'

Autumn Thoughts: The Perfume of Praise

The Perfume of Praise

Mark 14:1-9

Once an elderly Christian man, a fine singer, learned that he had cancer of the tongue and that surgery was required. In the hospital after everything was ready for the operation, the man said to the doctor, “Are you sure I will never sing again?” The surgeon found it difficult to answer his question. He simply shook his head no. The patient then asked if he could sit up for a moment. “I’ve had many good times singing the praises of God,” he said. “And now you tell me I can never sing again. I have one song that will be my last. It will be of gratitude and praise to God.” There in the doctor’s presence the man sang softly the words of Isaac Watts’ hymn,

I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve Breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler power;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.”

To Engage in Praise, Consider

* The Cost of the Perfume ~ Mark 14:1-3

  • 1/2 WHEN: the setting; these allies here decide to wait until AFTER Passover…
  • 3a WHERE & WHO: John 12:3 tells us this is Mary, Martha & Lazarus’ sister from Bethany;
  • 3b WHAT: double offering: the JAR was expensive as well as the perfume;
  • 3c HOW: the JAR was SACRIFICED, fulfilled its function in brokenness; the Perfume was POURED, fulfilled its function in use

* The Context of the Praise ~ Mark 14:4-9

  • 4 “some”=disciples (Mt.26:8)/Judas (Mk 12:4)
  • 5 motive for anger? GREED; they were angry at Mary’s extravagant expression of love
  • 6 more than just receiving it, Jesus UNDERSTANDS her praise (and ours!)
  • 7 Time with Jesus is precious
  • 8 Jesus KNOWS He’s going to die soon (cf vs 1); He takes Mary’s sacrifice as an anointing
  • 9 Sacrificial Praise is IMPORTANT enough to remember

Remember Deuteronomy 16:17: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.” and Mark 14:8: “She did what she could” Can the same be said of us?

2 Corinthians: Excellent Gifts

2 Corinthians: Excellent Gifts

2Ki.4:38-44; 2Cor.8:7-11

This last year, I participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange. I received one gift up front, a very nice pair of scented candles, and a note that’d I’d be receiving something else over time. I appreciated the candles… but I’m CRAZY about the Sock-Of-The-Month club that sends me weird and brightly colored socks! I occasionally light the candle… but I wear socks every day! Which gift do I appreciate?

How Do We Gauge A Good Gift?

We Value a Viewpoint ~ 2Kings 4:38-44

  • 38/41 miracle or mundane: how your view affects your reading of Scripture (I tend to think that this account is miraculous, because why include it otherwise?)
  • 42/44 seems familiar, right? Notice Elisha’s reasoning: “this is what the LORD says” – the prophet doesn’t feed these people/do a miracle because of what *he* thinks; it’s in response to God’s Word: OBEDIENCE ALLOWS MIRACLES TO BE SEEN

We Trust What We Test ~ 2Corinthians 8:7-11

  • 7 we can choose to excel in means of God’s grace (this is huge!) Growth in God’s Grace is EXPECTED
  • 8 Christian love is TESTABLE – we can *learn* about our love for others by testing its attributes (are we generous to all, or just some? What circumstances cause us to give sacrificially, and what others to only give grudgingly? What attributes are shared among those whom we feel compelled to serve? What attributes among those we feel it’s okay to ignore?)
  • 9 grace works well when given, not grasped (cf Phil 2)
  • 10/11 desire to help should be matched by willingness to work

Can you “test everything” on your own? Who helps you administer that testing in your life, and who holds you accountable for results?

Good Gifts are both GRANTED and GROWING

MEMORY VERSE: I Thessalonians 5:21: “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

Walking in Two Worlds: Birthday Presence

Walking in Two Worlds: Birthday Presence Sermon Audio Here


Ezekiel 37:24-28; Romans 8:22-27

Pentecost is often considered the Church’s birthday. And often, on birthdays, gifts are given. Two of the ways of determining if a gift is a good are 1) it significantly represents the giver; and 2) it meets the needs/wants of the receiver.

Every Christian Can Receive Two Gifts From God

The Promise of Presence
Ezek. 27:24-28

  • v24/25 God’s promise to exiled Israel: you WILL be together
  • v26 you WILL be at peace
  • v27/28 you WILL live with God

The Presence in Prayer
Rom. 8:22-27

  • v22/23 God’s promise to all of us: you WILL be redeemed
  • v24/25 you WILL have hope
  • v26/27 you WILL have help

How does this help us today? When we realize that God keeps His promises based on WHO HE IS, not who we are, they become anchor points in our lives. We don’t need to worry about what our future will hold; even if times get tough, we know that God will bring us through. We can also hold on to those benefits RIGHT NOW; our hope isn’t JUST about our eventual salvation; it’s about experiencing God’s presence and help every day, if we’ll just submit to the Spirit.


Pastor Ed Backell

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