Tag Archives: bucket list

Simeon (the Bucket List guy) and why Evangelicals need to focus a whole lot more on Mary – Luke 1:46-55; 2:21-40

1 Jan

So what do you think about Mary, the mother of Jesus?

With this past Sunday’s sermon we concluded the story of the birth of Jesus. Luke shows us clearly through the words of his mother, Mary, and through Anna and Simeon, the amazing significance of Jesus.

simeon-in-the-temple1-658x368Mary, Simeon and Anna had a passionate focus on the Lord.

They all understood, at least in part, the significance of Jesus and it caused great joy!

As we begin a new year, we’re going to be spending a lot of time doing what Mary and Simeon and Anna did, focusing on Jesus.

As we think about bucket lists, they are simply questions of what do I want to do with the rest of my life. Unlike many places around the world, we Americans have the distinct privilege to ask a question like that. We can dream.

For Mary, she is a teenager whom God broke into her world in a major way. If you’re a teenager, what are your dreams? Mary is an example to follow because she saw herself as a servant of God. No matter what this “mother of the Messiah” business meant, she was all in. She heard some glorious things, and from Simeon she heard some downright scary things, about what being the mother of the Messiah could mean. But at a young age, she accepted her role, come what may. Her beautiful song is a description of her amazing commitment to the Lord.

Joseph is a man expecting to lead a normal carpenter’s life and God showed up quite unexpectedly. If you’re in your working years, you know that life sometimes throws your curveballs like it did for Joseph. Just about all of us have had things work out very differently than we planned on. Oftentimes plans go wrong and life can be harder than we want. What could it mean for us to follow the Lord in the midst of disappointment?

Anna was an elderly lady, widowed for a long time, passionate about the Lord. Some of you know a thing or two about being in your elderly years, being widowed, for a long time.   You have experienced a lot in life. Joy and sadness. Let Anna be an example for you, of a person who is passionate about the Lord as the years go by. One of our homebound members, every single time I visit with her and just about every time I talk with her on the phone says “I wonder why the Lord doesn’t just take me home?” Next time I visit her I’m going to talk about Anna.

In closing there is the Bucket List guy, Simeon. A man, middle age, maybe older, whose one bucket list item had the God guarantee, that he would see Jesus. What is on your bucket list? What should be on your bucket list?

Simeon wanted to lay eyes on the Messiah. As we think about Advent, the entire idea of Advent is that Jesus has come. And when we celebrate Advent we also remember that he said he is coming again. Simeon had the Bucket List guarantee about the first coming of the Messiah. I don’t know if God is giving out any more Bucket List guarantees, but I think it would be pretty cool to have Simeon’s, to see the second coming of the King.

While we might not get that guarantee, what the characters in the story all point to is the answer to the question: what should we have on our Bucket Lists.

These four characters are in very different stages of life, but their heart’s desire is identical. They are passionate about Jesus.

What could it look like to be passionate about Jesus at your stage in life? In each of these characters we have examples of people to follow.

Their focus, all of them, were on Jesus, the Savior of the World. If we are imitate them, our focus should be on Jesus too. Do you need to spend more time with him? Do you need to get to know him better? Do you feel distant?

What will it look like in 2015 for you to focus more on Jesus?

If God guaranteed one thing on your bucket list would happen before you die, what would you choose?

26 Dec

Did you cross anything off your bucket list in 2014?

bucketListGet married? Travel somewhere? Perform physical feat?

This year my family drove from Lancaster, PA, to Austin, TX, to visit my wife’s cousin and his family.  Though it was not coast-to-coast, it was the longest we had ever driven, and the first time for most of us through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.

Last week I got to experience my first NFL regular season game, as my son and I went with friends to see the Redskins host the Eagles.  The tailgating atmosphere, the raucous cheering fans, and the three people we saw escorted off the premises by police, I will never forget, but I don’t know that I’ll go again.

My oldest son got his driver’s license, and his first car.

My second son got his first job, as well as played on the varsity soccer team.

My wife and I turned 40, and good friends surprised the heck out of us with an amazing party.  I ran my second half-marathon with some of those same friends on my birthday, a brutally hot and humid day.  Times were slow, but we made it.

As I look back on 2014, these are all things I would have definitely wanted to do before I die.  That is what a bucket list is all about: things you would like to do before you die.  Though I don’t have a physical paper Bucket List, I’ve had one on my mind for a long time.  And the first item on the list is writing a book.  I would also love to travel more, though I’ve been abundantly blessed to travel frequently in my 40 years. Before I die, I hope to visit Wales, where my grandmother was born.  I would love to visit the Holy Land, to see the Bible come alive.  I would love to travel with my wife to Cambodia to see firsthand what Imagine Goods is up to!

Next year, if things come together, a group from Faith Church will travel to Kenya, to visit our Faith Church family members, the Stoltzfuses, that serve at Rift Valley Academy.  I’m super excited about that trip!

Looking further to the future, I hope to see my kids graduate high school, maybe college, start families and have kids.  My grandkids.  I look forward to meeting them!

I’ve thought about going back to school to get a doctorate.  I think I would still like to do that some day.

In recent years, and especially as my third son and I have read the Hatchet series, I’d like to do some kind of extended stay in the wilderness.  Or maybe do an long hike on the Appalachian Trail.

What’s on your bucket list?  Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish before you do? No one has to have a bucket list, but planning for the future is a wise idea.

What should be on a bucket list?  I found a site that boasts 10,000 ideas.  But what if you put items on your list that aren’t worth your time, and you only find that out after you complete them?  How do we know what we should put on a bucket list?

On Sunday we meet a guy in the Bible who had a bucket list.  I don’t know how long the list was, but it had one item God guaranteed would happen.  It was a very important item.  And God promised that before this guy died, he would be able to cross it off the list.  Imagine that!  As you think about your bucket lists, what if you could choose one thing on it that God guarantees will happen.  Which item would you choose for the God “lock”?  If God guaranteed this guy’s bucket list item, that’s a pretty strong indicator that it should be worth our consideration too.

Join us Sunday at Faith Church as we look at Luke 2:21-40, where one person has a Bucket List “God Lock” item, and it happens!