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Sermons for this week:

        John 9:1-41  - "Why Did God Allow That To Happen?"
        Various Text - "Lenten Sermon Series"

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Sermon on John 9:
Tragedy can strike so quickly and capriciously. While going about our every day lives, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, the world can be changed. As a nation we have been living with that awful reality since 9-11. Thousands killed for no reason by complete strangers, who assumed, somehow in their mind, they were doing some good for this world. Or take the tsunami in Asia. A quarter of a million killed by a freak wave from an ocean floor earthquake. In Wichita Kansas this week a Lutheran church experienced an absolutely gut wrenching tragedy. This Middle America church learned that Dennis L. Rader, the church council chair, scout leader, and 30 year member was the BTK Killer. In our private lives we have all experienced tragedy. And if you have avoided tragedy at this point in your life thank God that you have been spared, but consider your self lucky as well. Recognize it is only a matter of time.

 

For we all ask this question at one time or another in one form or another: why did god allow that to happen? Most of us know that God does not CAUSE tragedy. The Bible states clearly that God does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men (Lamentations 3:33) .The greater problem for most believers is this: Why does God ALLOW such awful things to happen?

 

Jesus' disciples asked our Lord this thorny question 2000 years ago. They met a man one day who had been born blind. In the first century, most people believed that all suffering was the result of sin. So the disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned in this case, this blind man or his parents?"

 

There was even one school of thought that believed that a person could sin prior to birth, while still in the mother's womb. Imagine that! "Tell us, Jesus," they begged, "why was this man born blind?"  Jesus did not respond with a neat, simple answer to the problem of human suffering. And I am not going to serve you a simplistic batch of biblical stew that will cause you to declare, "Aha, finally I have solved the mystery of evil and suffering in this world."

 

I am suspicious of anyone who talks too glibly about this age-old mystery. I recall a humbling episode from a British movie entitled, "Whistle in the Wind." A group of kids had experienced the death of their pet kitten. They had prayed fervently that the cat would get well, but instead it died. They couldn't understand this. So, they went in search of the local vicar or pastor. They found him in a teashop, taking a morning break, enjoying his tea and newspaper. They asked him, "Why did God let our cat die?" The good pastor was not delighted to be interrupted with the matter of a deceased cat. But out of duty he laid aside his paper and launched into a long, complex, theological response to this question. The children stood and listened intently. When he finished he wished them well and went back to his newspaper. The children walked away somewhat bewildered. One little boy, holding his older sister's hand, looked up at her and said, "He doesn't know, does he?" How perceptive children can be. Never in this world will we understand all the mystery surrounding suffering. But with God's help we can gain some helpful insights. That is my purpose this morning.

 

1. Notice first that Jesus does not answer the first question: Why was this man born blind?

2. Notice second that he answers this question: What good can this tragedy produce?


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Sermon Series for Lent:

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sermon series plus our complete library of material.

Lenten: A Sight For Blind Eyes
David E. Leininger

1. Lent - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

2. The Devil Made Me Do It - Matthew 4:1-11

3. Nicodemus - John 3:1-15

4. Excuses (Alternate Lent 2) - Luke 14:16-23

5. Unexpected Evangelists - John 4:5-42

6. Sight for Blind Eyes - John 9:

7. The Grief Grinch - John 11:17-36

8. Sometimes Youve Got to Shout! - John 12:12-16
9. The Imperatives of the Resurrection - Matthew 28:1-10


Lenten: They Heard Him Gladly
James W. Moore

1. The Common People Heard Him Gladly - Mark 12:35-37

2. Jesus and Andrew - John 1:35-42

3. Jesus and Zacchaeus - Luke 19:1-10

4. Jesus and Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52

5. Jesus and Mary and Martha - Luke 10:38-42

6. Jesus and Mary Magdalene - John 20:11-18

7. When The Risen Christ Comes Looking For Us - John 21:15-19


Lenten: The Passion Of The Christ
Brett Blair

1. His Triumphal Entry - Luke 19:28-40

2. His Cleansing Of The Temple - Luke 19:45-48

3. His Teachings - Luke 20:27-38
4. His Last Supper - Luke 22:14-23

5. His Trial - Luke 23:13-25

6. His Death - Luke 23:33-43

7. His Resurrection - John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10

Lenten: The Healing Power Of The Christ
James W. Moore

1. The Healing Of Simons Mother-in-Law - Mark 1:21-28

2. The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand - Mark 3:1-6

3. The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

4. The Healing of Jairus Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

5. The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52

6. The Healing Power of the Cross - Mark 15:33-41

7. The Healing Power of the Resurrection - John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10


Lenten: Encounters With Christ
James W. Moore

1. Jesus & the Man Born Blind - John 9:1-12

2. Jesus and Mary and Martha - Luke 10:38-42

3. Jesus and Nicodemus - John 3:1-10

4. Jesus and the Woman at the Well - John 4:7-15

5. Jesus and James and John - Matthew 20:20-28

6. Jesus and Caiaphas - Matthew 26:58-68

7. Jesus & Mary Magdalene - Mark 16:1-7


Lenten: Journey To The Cross
James W. Moore

1. Jesus And The Demon-Possessed Man - Mark 5:1-20

2. Jesus And The Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

3. Jesus And The Extravagant Woman - Mark 14:1-9

4. Jesus and Judas - Mark 14:43-51

5. Jesus and Simon Peter - Mark 14:66-72

6. Jesus And Pontius Pilate - Matthew 27:15-26

7. Jesus And The Women At The Tomb - Mark 16:1-8


Lenten: The Man From Galilee
Thomas A. Pilgrim

1. The Temptation Of His Life - Matthew 4:1-11

2. The Transformation Of His Call - Matthew 4:18-22

3. The Touch Of His Hand - Matthew 8:14-17

4. The Treasure Of His Kingdom - Matthew 13:44

5. The Test Of His Courage - Matthew 20:17-19

6. The Tragedy Of His Victory - Luke 19:28-40

7. The Triumph Of His Defeat - Matthew 28:1-10

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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

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