Back from the Dead - My Hopes & Dreams!
Texting Mom[i] clip! I do want to wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day! We have carnations today for all ladies. You either have a Mom or you are a Mom. Make sure you pick yours up as you exit the FLC. I’m curious? What hopes and dreams do you think all Moms share? If a Mom has a new born she might be hoping for at least 4 consecutive hours of sleep tonightJ If she has a toddler of two she may be hoping for peace and quiet. Catching her in the act, I confronted our 3-year-old granddaughter, "Are you eating your little sister's grapes?" "No," she innocently replied, "I'm helping her share." If she has a teenager she may dream they are happy, healthy and home before 10PM on a school night!” And of course, Moms aren’t the only ones who have hopes and dreams. An article appeared in US News & World Report involving 110 adolescents ranging in age from 11 to 18. They were asked several questions one being, “If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” 85% wished for themselves, 32% wished for others and 10% had wishes for both themselves and others. Boys wished more for themselves (Cars & video games topped their list) and girls wished more for their families. Boys wished more for success and girls wished more for happiness. The most common wish was to become wealthy![ii] If you were asked that same question, “If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” Would your answers radically alter your hopes & dreams? Let’s digest hopes and dreams today! Turn in your Bibles to Luke 24:13. If you need a Bible today just raise your hand. Also, please tear off the perforated section in your newsletter and turn it into the baskets in the back. This is all designed for communication!
Speaking of communication – God has much to say to us today. The only question – are we willing to listen and obey? Look at Luke 24:13. (Map) (Vs. 14-16) Maybe God prevented them from recognizing Jesus. OR more likely, they weren’t expecting to see a dead man walking and talking! If you happen to be in Meijer sometime and Elvis walks up next to you, please know - it’s not the real Elvis. He may look like Elvis. He may sound like Elvis, but Elvis died in 1977. Why would I expect to see Elvis when I know he’s not there? Why would they expect to see Jesus? He’s dead! Jesus takes this mystery guest game a step further and asks a question to both Cleopas and his friend. (Vs. 17) This question stops them dead in their tracks. (Vs. 17b) What has them so sad? Jesus was betrayed. Jesus was crucified and now Jesus’ body is missing! Nothing is going right. And this stranger should know this. So Cleopas turns the tables and asks Jesus a question. Find verse 18. (Read 18-19a)
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. ("He was a prophet) – a prophet speaks the words of God. Jesus had the clout of both Moses and Elijah. Jesus was (powerful in word). Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It was Jesus who said, And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them… Jesus was also powerful in deed. He told storms to sit down and shut up. He changed water into wine, he healed a man with a shriveled hand, Peter’s mother-in-law of the dreaded “fever,” raises both a boy and a girl back from the dead, feeds five thousand + people and walks on the Sea of Galilee. As a matter of fact it was Jesus’ words and deeds that got him in hot water with the religious leaders. (Vs. 20-21)
Do you really want to know why we’re so sad? When Jesus died, so did our hopes and dreams. Did your hopes & dreams die when someone you loved passed away? Or was it when you lost your job? Or when you got arrested? Or when the doctor gave you her diagnosis?
Becky Zerbe wrote an article for Marriage Partnership Magazine. Here husband, Roger, suffered from early onset Alzheimer's disease. Becky remembered a journal entry he left for her after a particularly troubling bout of forgetfulness. She said, “I picked up the journal on my pillow and read: Honey, today fear is taking over. The day is coming when all my memories of this life we share will be gone. In fact, you and the boys will be gone from me. I will lose you even as I am surrounded by you and your love. I don't want to leave you. I want to grow old in the warmth of memories. Forgive me for leaving so slowly and painfully. Blinking back tears, she picked up her pen and wrote:
My sweet husband, what will happen when we get to the point where you no longer know me? I will continue to go on loving you and caring for you—not because you know me or remember our life, but because I remember you. I will remember the man who proposed to me and told me he loved me, the look on his face when his children were born, the father he was, the way he loved our extended family. I'll recall his love for riding, hiking, and reading; his tears at sentimental movies; the unexpected witty remarks; and how he held my hand while he prayed. I cherish the pleasure, obligation, commitment, and opportunity to care for you because I REMEMBER YOU!”[iii]
Alzheimer’s is one of the cruelest diseases in the world. It can rob anyone of their hopes and dreams. Cleopas doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, but he too is battling a bout of forgetfulness. Go back to verse 21. (Vs. 21b) May I remind you of what Jesus said in Luke 9:22? The third day should bring excitement. Instead, it’s brought disappointment. Look at verses 22-24. He’s not there, because he came back from the dead. I often find our hopes and dreams are not near as good as God’s hopes and dreams. Cleopas was hoping that Jesus would end Roman oppression. Cleopas was dreaming of a day when Jesus would be king and Herod and Pilate are throne-less and Jesus calls the shots! Please watch this awesome clip from values.com. (Wet Concrete clip) Didn’t that man do a fantastic job of exercising patience? Here’s my only question. What do you think that little boy’s Mom is going to say to her son? “HEY, stay off of wet concrete!” A Mom’s job is to teach her children lessons they will use for life! But just like Cleopas, a Mom’s hopes and dreams for her kids can be far less than what God wants! I just want my kids to be happy! That’s too low! I just want me kids to grow up healthy! That’s too low! I just want my kid’s to experience the American dream! Are you kidding me! That’s way too low!
Cleopas wanted Jesus to conquer the Romans. God wanted Jesus to conquer death! Our hopes and dreams can become so small in God’s eyes. I hope to become the next Jukebox hero. I dream of becoming the next American Idol. It’s one thing to sing, but do you have a song? Just like, Soul Daddy, I hope to open the next Great American Restaurant! It’s one thing to have a career, but do you have a purpose? Do you remember the three wishes question I asked you earlier? “If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” Remember, the most common wish was to become wealthy! But what are you going to do with your wealth? “It’s bling, bling baby!” I’m going to buy more stuff. I’m going to live anywhere I want! If that’s true, I pray God never blesses you with wealth! Have you ever heard of Pastor E.V. (Ed) Hill? E.V Hill pastored the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for 42 years. He tells the story of how his "Mama's" love and prayers changed his life. During the height of the Depression, Hill's real mother, who had five children of her own, didn't have enough food to go around, so she sent four-year-old Ed to live with a friend in a small country town called Sweet Home. Ed just called her Mama. As he was growing up in Sweet Home, Mama displayed remarkable faith which led her to have big plans for young Ed. Against nearly insurmountable obstacles, Mama helped Ed graduate from high school (the only student to graduate that year from the country school) and even insisted that he go to college.
She took Ed to the bus station, handed him the ticket and five dollars and said, "Now, go off to Prairie View College, and Mama is going to be praying for you." Hill claims that he didn't know much about prayer, but he knew Mama did. When he arrived at the college with a dollar and ninety cents in his pocket, they told him he needed eighty dollars in cash in order to register. Here's how Hill describes what happened next:
I got in line …, and the devil said to get out of line …, but I heard my Mama saying in my ear, "I'll be praying for you." I stood in line on Mama's prayer. Soon there was [another new student ahead of me], and I began to get nervous, but I stayed in line …. Just about the time [the other student] got all of her stuff and turned away, Dr. Drew touched me on the shoulder, and he said, "Are you Ed Hill?" I said, "Yes." "Are you Ed Hill from Sweet Home?" "Yes." "Have you paid yet?" "Not quite." "We've been looking for you all this morning," [he said]. I said, "Well, what do [you] want with me?" "We have a four-year scholarship that will pay your room and board, your tuition, and give you thirty dollars a month to spend." And I heard Mama say, "I will be praying for you!"[iv] What prayers should a Mom pray for her kids? May I suggest Luke (24:25)-27. “Heavenly Father, help my kids to not be slow of heart! To not be foolish, but to choose to believe!” Find Luke (24:28)-31. “Heavenly Father, help my children to recognize you! Please open their eyes to see what you see – to hear what you hear. To not be selfish!” Find Luke (24:33)-35. “Heavenly Father, help my children’s belief to lead them to act, but help my son or daughter to realize that their hopes and dreams are not fulfilled in just what they do but in who they become. To become a true Christ follower! To go where you want them to go. To do what you want them to do.
[ii] US News & World Report, Simple Questions Sheds Light on Teen’s Hopes, Dreams, May 4, 2011