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Sermon Recap, Feb 19, 2024

"Rectify While Stuck." By Pastor Mario Bolivar

It was a message that I believe carries significant weight, especially in these trying times, and I hope this recap can bring some of the light and inspiration we shared in the church into your homes.

As we ventured into the Lenten season, the theme of our sermon was inspired by the biblical narratives of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) and Rahab (Joshua 2), focusing on the profound concepts of repentance and rectification. It's a message that I felt compelled to share, not just as a reminder of these timeless stories but as a call to action in our personal lives.

The story of Zacchaeus, as recounted in the Gospel of Luke, serves as a poignant illustration of personal transformation. Here was a man, a chief tax collector, who had lost his way, entrenched in the misconduct of his profession, yet he was desperate for a glimpse of Jesus.

His short stature, both literal and metaphorical, represents the limitations we all face – those internal and external barriers that keep us from seeing and reaching our spiritual potential.

Zacchaeus' decision to climb a sycamore tree was his way of overcoming these barriers, a physical act that symbolized his yearning for change and redemption. But the fact remains that it is not that Zacchaeus who found Jesus, but that the LORD knew who Zacchaeus was, what he was doing, and where to find him. So I don't think for a second that the encounter between them was a coincidence but a Godincidence. Jesus entered Jericho to meet Zacchaeus and lead him to repentance. For where others saw the worst of sinners, Jesus saw a household that needed to be rectified.

Drawing a parallel, I reflected on the story of Rahab, a woman marked by her society but defined by her faith. (Hebrews 11:31) Her actions, driven by a belief in God's power and a heartfelt desire to save her family, demonstrate the transformative power of faith and the act of rectification. Rahab's story teaches us that our past does not define our future; rather, our faith and our actions do.

In the lesson, I emphasized that repentance is not about wallowing in guilt or fear of retribution. Instead, it's about recognizing our shortcomings and actively seeking change. It's about making things right, not just with words but with actions. This Lent, I urged our community to embark on a journey of self-examination, to identify areas in our lives that require change, and to take concrete steps towards making those changes.

I shared how Zacchaeus' and Rahab's stories are not just historical accounts but living testimonies that speak to our condition today. They remind us that we are all like Zacchaeus, stuck in our own trees and like Rahab, caught in situations that seem beyond redemption. Yet, the message of the Gospel is clear: transformation is possible, and it begins with a single step of faith. When we recognize that we are nothing but sheep stuck in the mud, we must remember we have a savior who comes to the rescue and calls us to repentance, not for guilt or shame but for freedom and purpose at last.

As I concluded my sermon, I called upon each of us to invite Jesus into our 'homes' – our hearts, our habits, our daily lives – to guide us through the process of rectification. I encouraged everyone to not just admit to being wrong but to start making things right, following the examples of Zacchaeus and Rahab.

For those of you who are reading this, I want to extend this message of hope and action to you as well. Let us use this Lenten season to reflect, repent, and rectify. Let's climb out of our metaphorical trees and open our doors to transformation. Remember, we are not stuck; with faith, we can move forward, rectify our ways, and find ourselves closer to God and each other. May this season be a time of meaningful change and spiritual renewal for all of us.

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