From Shepherd to King (8) "God Makes a Promise" (2 Samuel 7 & Psalm 132)

Shepherd to King (8) “God Makes a Promise” 2 Samuel 7 & Psalm 132 During the seventeenth century the Mughal Empire was flourishing in India. One of their great kings was called Shah Jahan. In 1631 his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died while giving birth to their 14thchild. Shah Jahan was grief-stricken. After several days completely alone grieving for Mumtaz he gave orders for the construction of a tomb for his wife. The tomb took 22,000 men & women over 20 years to complete & was made of gleaming white marble. Inside it was decorated with 28 different kinds of precious & semi-precious gems. A sheet of pearls was spread over the coffin. The doors were made of silver & a gold railing surrounded the mo

From Shepherd to King (7) "Building the Nation - Putting God First" (2 Samuel 5:17-25 &amp

From Shepherd to King (7) “Building the Nation – Putting God First” 2 Samuel 5:17-25 & 6:11-19 Former US President Jimmy Carter is known as a committed Christian. He has never been afraid to hide the fact he is a follower of Jesus Christ. In his book “Living Faith” President Carter writes, “…my Christian faith has guided & sustained me, …it has challenged & driven me to seek a closer relationship with God & my fellow human beings.” King David who lived 3000 years ago & was Israel’s greatest king would no doubt say much the same. Doing what was pleasing to God was his number one priority. As king over both Judah & the other eleven tribes of Israel David wanted to make sure God was put at the

From Shepherd to King (6) "The Throne At Last" (2 Samuel 2:1-7 & 5:1-12)

From Shepherd to King (6) “The Throne At Last” 2 Samuel 2:1-7 & 5:1-12 Have you watched children fighting over a toy? It seems as if they operate under the following rules: 1. If I like it, it's mine. 2. If I can take it from you, it's mine. 3. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. 4. If I saw it first, it's mine. 5. If you are playing with it & you put it down, it becomes mine. 6. If it's broken, it's yours. Yes, children often fight over toys. And adults are not very different. All-too-often adults fight too. Colleagues in the same company or school or factory fight for position or influence or power. Politicians, of course, are renowned for fighting – not with their fists but with th

From Shepherd to King (5) "Living in Exile" (1 Samuel 27, 29 & 30)

From Shepherd to King (5) “Living In Exile” 1 Samuel 27, 29 & 30 One of my favourite characters in early Church history is John Chrysostom. He was known as “golden tongue” for he was a powerful preacher. He was from Antioch, home of the famous multi-cultural mission-minded church in Acts. In 386 AD at the age of 36 he became pastor of the largest Antioch church. In 397 he was chosen as the bishop of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire – today’s Istanbul, in Turkey. While the ordinary people loved John, he very quickly offended some powerful political & religious people in the capital, including the wife of the Emperor, Empress Eudoxia. He preached so strongly against hypocris

From Shepherd to King (4) "On The Run" (1 Samuel 21-26)

From Shepherd to King (4) “On The Run” 1 Samuel 21-26 During the Cultural Revolution in China my dear friend Stephen Wang was arrested & accused of being a counter-revolutionary, someone who was a traitor to his country – & it was all because he was known as a Christian. He had to put on a big dunce hat & was paraded through the streets in front of mocking crowds. He was told to shout out the words “down with Stephen Wang”. His first thought was “how can I say such a thing” but then he remembered the Bible says we should die to the old self – so he shouted out as loud as he could “down with Stephen Wang”. The Red Guards were so impressed with his “good attitude” & cooperation that they let h

From Shepherd to King (3) "True Friendship" (1 Samuel 18, 19 & 20)

From Shepherd to King (3) “True Friendship” 1 Samuel 18, 19 & 20 I heard about two friends who were out hunting. Suddenly one of them yelled & the other turned round to see a huge grizzly bear charging out of the forest towards them. The first man desperately pulled off his boots & started putting on his running shoes. The other guy asked him, “What are you doing? Don’t you know you can’t run faster than a grizzly bear?” The first guy replied, “I don’t have to run faster than the grizzly bear. I just have to run faster than you!” Well, what kind of friend was he? I guess it depends upon your definition of “friend”. He certainly was not the kind of friend Jesus talked about when He said, “Gre

From Shepherd to King (2) "Facing the Giant" (1 Samuel 17)

From Shepherd to King (2) “Facing the Giant” 1 Samuel 17 David was chosen by God to be king - a very unlikely choice perhaps from a worldly point of view. He was so young & inexperienced in many ways. Yet God saw his heart & the Spirit of the Lord anointed David for the task to which he was now called. Notice however that it was not right away that David was made king. He had been anointed in secret & it would be some years before he actually would be crowned as king. Yet as we will see today, God began to position David for his future role. God used him, even as a teenager, to win a major victory over the enemies of God’s people. Saul was still Israel’s king but God’s hand of blessing was n

From Shepherd to King (1) "Chosen by God" (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

From Shepherd to King (1) “Chosen by God” 1 Samuel 16:1-13 David is one of the most popular names in our church. Just think of all the David’s we have! Well, David is also one of the most famous names in the Bible. There is more written about David in the Bible than about any other person, except Jesus of course. There are about 140 chapters in the Bible related to David – far more than about Abraham, Moses, Daniel or Paul or any other famous Bible character. We know more about David’s words, his thoughts, his prayers, his strengths & weaknesses than we know about anyone else. Despite some of his serious failings, God had a very high regard for David. In Acts 13:22 we read that God said of D

The Passover (Exodus 12:21-30 & Luke 22:7-20)

Preparing for Easter “The Passover” Exodus 12:21-30 & Luke 22:7-20 A number of years ago my late wife & I were travelling from Europe back to Hong Kong. We had a brief 3-day stop-over in Istanbul in Turkey. As we drove from the airport into the city at several points along the way we saw crowds of people gathered around watching men slaughtering sheep. The men killed the sheep with a big knife & then skinned them. There was a lot of blood around. The taxi driver explained that we had arrived on the first day of the festival of Kurban or Eid – the Festival of Sacrifice. It was the very day every Muslim home offered a sacrifice. That night each family roasted & ate the meat of their sacrificia

Do you want a "Faith-Lift"?(Exodus 34:29-35)

What's on your face? Facial expressions reveal a lot of things. There is a story of a couple of prospectors who struck gold. They had go get to town get more supplies. They agreed not to tell anyone. But by the time they left a large group of prospectors were following them. “I thought we agreed not to tell anybody?” said one of them. “Honestly, I did not,” replied the other. Then someone from the group said, “You need not tell us, it showed on your faces.” When you stop to think about it, the look on our faces sometimes really does tell it all. Some people's faces you can read like a book. For instance was there ever a time when your parents took one look at you and asked, "What did

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