Every generation will have its false alarms of crisis and every generation will have its real life crises—some global, some local, some individual.

For the original hears of Hebrews, they lived in a time of crisis. First, there was a theological crisis. People were struggling to identify exactly who Jesus was. Second, it was a time of political crisis. Christians were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. This political crisis brought about a personal crisis for believers in Jesus. Finally, the church was in crisis. People were leaving the church confused and disappointed. Let’s see: theological crisis, political crisis, and church crisis of people abandoning their spiritual convictions. One might say that this letter is written to folks just like us living in 2015.

What do we do in such times like these when we realize that we live in a “shaken kingdom?” In times like these we remind ourselves that there is a “kingdom, which cannot be shaken.” What are we to do?

As the book of Hebrews comes to a close, we discover three ways that Christians ought to respond to the inevitable crises that come our way.

Let our Worship go up!

Hebrews 12:28 says that we must serve God with reverence and awe. I need to worship today more than ever. I find that when I worship, I worry less. It’s impossible to worry and worship at the same time.

But worship is more than what is obvious. In addition to praising God in formal and informal times of worship, chapter 13 reveals that worship is revealed in our public actions like loving fellow Christians, strangers, and sufferers. Worship doesn’t stop there. We also reveal our worship in our personal actions as in our marriages and with our money (Hebrews 13:4-5)

Let the Word of God come in!

Hebrews 13:7-9 indicates a second response. We need to let the word of God come in to our lives. We can do this by paying attention to our spiritual leaders (13:7), to the changeless words of Jesus (13:8), and to the basic doctrines (13:9)
Many will appear with deceptive words in these last days, so we must know well the Word of God.

Let our Witness go out!

Finally, we respond to crisis by letting our witness go out.

Jesus was led out of Jerusalem. He was rejected by the establishment. Jesus now calls us to go outside the camp. The unshaken kingdom has its future not inside, but outside the camp.
A world in crisis can ill afford a church that remains in camp. Instead, we must go outside the camp.

We, like Jesus, must be willing to bear the burden and bear the reproach.

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Thanksgiving Begins with Thinking

The words “think” and “thank” are distinguished by just one letter. Have you ever considered how dependent the two words are on each other? Think of it this way: We must think before we thank. Real thanksgiving begins by thinking about God. Let us consider two truths about God that should always generate hearts of thanksgiving.

God is God! The Psalmist declared in Psalm 100—

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3 NIV)

When I think about reasons to give thanks, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that God is God. That is such a reassuring fact to me. When life seems to be going out of control, I am reminded that there is ONE who is in control—and He is God. Once we understand that God is God, we have no reason to fear and every reason to give thanks.

God is good! After acknowledging that God is God, we should acknowledge that God is good! A little later in Psalm 100, the Psalmist proclaimed—

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:5 NIV)

There are many ways that God is good, but the Psalmist pointed out His mercy first. As believers in Jesus, we recognize that this everlasting mercy was culminated in the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. Because of His mercy, those who believe in Him receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life. This good news endures to all generations. This one truth alone is reason enough to always give thanks.

This Thanksgiving, give some attention to thinking about God in order to properly thank Him.

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Starting Thanksgiving Week with a Few Thoughts from Hebrews

I have preached this fall from the book of Hebrews. At the end of Hebrews (Hebrews 12:25-29), we get this picture of the two separate worlds that collide. One is the kingdom of this world; the other is the kingdom of God. These two separate kingdoms are on an ultimate cosmic collision course.

Until that climactic conclusion, we will continue to get reminders of a shaken world, but we are recipients of a kingdom that can never be shaken.

The reminders are obvious—ISIS and all other terrorist threats, cultural decay, and your personal problems are all part of that which shakes us.

What are we to do? We are to “Give thanks and worship.” Does this sound too simple or too impossible?

The phrase “let us hold on to grace” in Hebrews 12:28 literally is “let us have grace.” Everyone who seeks to comment on this phrase indicates that this is an idiom for the giving of thanks. A lot of times we give thanks only through faith.

Here are three promises to help you give thanks even when shaken.

· God’s Presence—Hebrews 13:5—“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
· God’s Power—Hebrews 13:6—“I will help you.”
· God’s Permanence—Hebrews 13:8—“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

Have a Great Thanksgiving Week!

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