1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
We have already talked about the outside forces that Satan uses to derail the church. In this sermon we will see, what can destroy the church from the inside.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
We have already talked about the outside forces that Satan uses to derail the church. In this sermon we will see, what can destroy the church from the inside.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
When you read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13, you can almost feel Paul’s anguish from being separated from his church family in Thessalonica. Paul described that separation as an “intense longing” like a child who has been “orphaned” from his parents. In this sermon we learn what he did about it.
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
The fact is that the church has always faced opposition. In this lesson, we will follow the Apostle Paul’s example on how we can stand strong against opposition.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The church is called to be encouragers. Although the Apostle Paul was extremely pleased with the “model” church in Thessalonica, he was also a realist. He knew the kind of pressures and resistance the church faced. So, he writes this letter to encourage them, so that they don’t fall into the same kinds of traps that other congregations have fallen into. In this sermon, we look at Paul’s example in how to be an encourager.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
This sermon begins a series of sermons from Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica. Paul describes the church there as “a model to all believers”, giving us some insight as to how we too can be a model church.
You have most likely heard the phrase “The crux of the matter”. The word “crux” comes from old Latin, and simply means cross. And so that term has become associated with a critical juncture or point in time. The cross of Christ is that critical juncture. A time in history where everything changed. In this sermon, we will see that as the apostle Paul ends his letter, he too gets down to “the crux of the matter” and that is the cross of Christ.
When you read, “a man reaps what he sows”, often what comes to mind is the proverbial saying, “what goes around comes around” or “you get what you deserve”. But the question is whether that is worldly thinking or spiritual thinking. In this sermon, we will explore what the apostle Paul has to say on the subject.
This is the eighth time Paul has referred to them as “brethren”. This tells me a couple of things. First that no matter how many mistakes and wrong turns the church makes in its Christian walk, they are still family. It also tells me why Paul is so upset with what has been going on in the congregations in Galatia. Paul was there at their conception and their rebirth and now “these people” are messing with his family and he is not happy about it. In this sermon, we will see what Paul has to say to his “brethren” to help them to deal with problems and conflicts that arise.
In this sermon, we will explore what the apostle Paul tells the church what it needs to survive.
The congregations in Galatia have veered off course. They started out well but along the way they have received some bad directions. In the first 4 chapters, Paul has been expounding on the wonder of salvation by grace through faith and being set free from the Law. He has repeatedly expressed his bewilderment as to why they would ever buy into this idea that the gospel of grace wasn’t enough and they now needed to add the act of circumcision. And that when you add anything to the gospel of grace you make it no gospel at all. In this sermon, we will see what Paul has to say about the consequences of following the wrong course.
In chapters 3 and 4, Paul has been explaining to the church why they wouldn’t want to add anything to the gospel of grace. Now in the last section of chapter 4, he tells the tale of two mothers to illustrate two different paths that people take in trying to find salvation.
This Sunday I decided not to preach from Paul’s letter to the congregations in the region of Galatia but instead to talk about something that is always on my heart and mind, discipleship. What it means to be a disciple of Christ and the command for disciples to make disciples. For those who choose to listen to this sermon, it is my prayer that you will be strengthened and encouraged in your resolve as a disciple of Christ and a disciple maker.
In this sermon we will be looking at the next passage in Paul’s letter to the congregations in the region of Galatia. Paul wants them to understand who they were before Christ, what God has done for them through Christ and who they are now in Christ.
So which is greater, the Law or the Promise? How are we saved by one and not the other? In this sermon, few will see what the apostle Paul answers those questions.
Fellow Christians have come into the area of Galatia and have attempted to convince the congregations there that being saved by grace through faith isn’t sufficient. So starting in chapter three, Paul will present his arguments against this kind of teaching, which is what is being looked at in this sermon.
In this sermon we will explore what it means to be “in step with the truth of the gospel.”
This sermon is about wanting to be sure that what we have put our faith and hope in is the right thing.
In Paul’s mission to share the gospel of grace, he did so through teaching and reasoning, but he also did it by sharing his story. We too can accomplish our mission of sharing the gospel through telling our story. But what should I should I share? How can I share? What should I focus on? By following Paul’s example we can get some help in telling others why the good news is truly good news. Which is what we will be looking at in this sermon.
In Paul’s letter “to the churches in Galatia”, he is writing to a church in crisis. There are those who are teaching a gospel that advocates adding something to Christ’s “gospel of grace”. This sermon begins a series of sermons from this letter.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about seeing Jesus. I think it’s because a good friend of mine has gone to be with Jesus. He was one of those Christians, that you knew was a Christian because you could see Jesus in him and through the example of his life. I am sad because I no longer get to see my friend but am filled with joy that he finally gets to see Jesus. This sermon is about seeing Jesus, those who did and some things we can see through them.
There have most likely been things in your life that you haven’t finished. Some of those things just aren’t that important and may not to be finished. With Jesus as our example we can know that there are those things that need to be finished. In this sermon, we will look at how we can finish without “growing weary and losing heart.”
We can all think of reasons to celebrate, but in Luke chapter fifteen, Jesus gives us the best reason to celebrate. In this sermon, we will see what that reason is.
It happens to all of us. Dark times come and we can be so overwhelmed with sorrow and the troubles of life that it can become all consuming to the point of exhaustion. Jesus had a time like that and in this sermon we will learn from Him how to get through those times and see light in the darkness.
Have you ever wondered why some seem to be able to resist negativism and remain patient, optimistic and forgiving, while others have a sour outlook and a gloomy attitude? In this sermon we will see how to cultivate a pure heart.
The premise behind this sermon is simple. Jesus always told the truth. We are supposed to be just like Jesus, so we need to always tell the truth. So if it is so simple, why do we struggle with the truth? If you should have the inclination to listen to this sermon, I believe you won’t be disappointed. Honest.
One of the incredible abilities of Jesus was to stay on track. There were plenty of distractions and lots of things that would have derailed us, but Jesus never lost His way. He was completely focused on His purpose in life. In this sermon, we explore how we too can stay on track.
In this sermon, we will look at what happens when we come into the presence of the Lord.
How do you see your relationship with God? Do you think of God up in heaven doing His thing and you down here doing your thing? Have you ever wondered where God is at certain moments of your life? In this lesson, we will be looking to answer those questions.
In this sermon, we will be looking to answer three questions. The three questions each of us need to answer as they relate to the teachings of Christ are; “Do you hear Me?”, “Do you understand what you are hearing?” and “What are you going to do about what you have heard?”
In Mark 1:40-45, a man with leprosy approaches Jesus, falls to his knees and says to Him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” The question I had was why would the leper wonder if Jesus would be willing to heal him? So in this sermon, we will examine why the leper wondered if Jesus would be willing and what Jesus was willing to do and what all of this has to do with us today.
There are those people who are in our lives that can make it a real challenge to be just like Jesus. Just being in the same room with this person puts you on edge. Without them saying a word you find yourself on the defensive, irritable, annoyed and uncomfortable. And here’s the kicker, it’s someone you are stuck with, being family, co-workers, or even members of the church. The challenge we face as Christians is that we are called to love them even though we may not even like them. In this sermon, we will see how Jesus handles this kind of a situation.
As Jesus ends the sermon on the mount, He makes it clear that the things he has talked about are not optional. He defines the wise person as the one who not only listens to Him but does what He says and the foolish person is the one who doesn’t listen to Him and does not do what He says. In this sermon we will examine what we need to do and what needs to change for us to be like Jesus.
In my opinion, this section of the Sermon on the Mount is the scariest passage in the whole Bible. It’s not the wolves in sheep’s clothing that scare me. We all know there are people doing things in the name of Jesus that do not truly represent Christ. Everyone knows hypocrites that say one thing and do another. The scary part is believing I am doing all the right things only to find out I wasn’t really doing what’s important to Jesus. Imagine standing before Jesus and Him saying, “I never knew you.” But thankfully Jesus tells us how to avoid such a response and that’s what we will explore in this sermon.
This is my first sermon since having open heart surgery. My recovery has been slow but it is at least heading in the right direction. I am feeling a little better every day. Thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. In this sermon from the sermon on the mount, we are picking up where I left off 5 weeks ago. Thanks again, Dana
I read somewhere that the best know verse in the Bible is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not lest ye be judged”. People who have never darkened the door of a church building or read a Bible are familiar with that particular verse. And let’s face it, none of us likes to be judged, but this passage is about more than that and is what we will discover in this sermon.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) This is a familiar passage to many Christians and we all tend to have a fundamental idea of what it means. But what I attempt to do in this sermon is to help us see what it looks like to be seekers of the kingdom of God. Note: I began this sermon with a you tube video titled, “Domino Chain Reaction” with Stephen Morris.
In this sermon, we will see that Jesus challenges us to think about how we present ourselves as God’s people. Do we put on a mask to fit the group we are with at the time or are we able to be genuine in all situations.
There are really two ways that Christians view God’s law. They may see Christianity as nothing more than keeping certain rules and regulations. While others so experience God’s grace that they think there are no rules (grace without discipleship). In this next section of the sermon on the mount, Jesus shows us how we can balance the two.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said that you ARE salt and that you ARE light. Not something that you are becoming or will be someday but that you already ARE as His disciples. The question is, do we really understand what it means to be a “city on a hill” or to be salt that changes the nature of the world. In this sermon, we will strive for a more practical understanding of how it is to be salt and light.
In this sermon, we will see what it means to live under the powerful blessing of God, even in those times when we may think of ourselves as being anything but blessed.
Perfection is unattainable. No matter how hard we try we will never be perfect, but we also know that striving for perfection is what we are called to do. We also know that God loves us and can use us in spite of our imperfections. In this sermon, we will see how God does great things through His “Imperfect faithful”.
As one of God’s children, His Spirit dwells in you and you are then to be led by His Spirit. In this lesson, we will see what that means to us as children of God.
When you hear the term, “child of God”, what does that mean to you and how do you know if you are one or not? That is the focus of this sermon from Romans 8:9-17.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
The message of the cross was a fundamental truth for the early church. But to many on the outside it seemed extremely foolish. It’s message was counter to everything those in society believed to be true and right and for many, then and now, it is a message they just can’t swallow.
In this sermon, we will be exploring that message and what it means to those who are “saved” through it but also seeing why those who are “perishing” believe “we are out of our mind.”
1 Peter 2:9-12
To be sanctified, set apart, sounds good but what does it mean? The other question we should be asking ourselves is “as a sanctified person, what is it that I have been set apart to do?” In this sermon, we will explore both of those questions.
I once read an editorial that claimed there were 34,000 different identifiable groups calling themselves Christian. Recently I read that someone else claims there are 1517 different recognizable denominations in the United States. Whether it is 34,000 or 1517 or some other number the problem is that, according to the Bible there is only supposed to be one. In John 17, Jesus isn’t predicting unity, He is praying for it. He prays for unity because He knew that would be the one main difficulty for His church. In this sermon, I did not claim that we are the ones who have it right and everyone else has it wrong but that maybe we all need to examine ourselves by God’s truth and strive to be one as the Father and the Son are One.
As the title of this sermon implies, it is about love. And I can imagine what you are thinking, “I’ve heard it all before”; “I get it”; “yada, yada, yada, whatever, let’s move on”. But I would like to suggest that maybe we have heard it all before but do we really get it? Do we truly comprehend how great God’s love is for us and how our love for God and others should be just as great?
We’re sheep? Really? I don’t want to be a sheep. Why can’t we be something cool like lions or tigers or bears? Like Max Lucado once wrote, “Couldn’t God have thought of something better than sheep? Of all God’s animals, the sheep is the least able to take of himself and sheep are dumb!” But here is the deal, you may not want to be a sheep but you really don’t have much of a choice. God says you are a sheep whether you want to be or not. He created us to be followers and if we are truly honest with ourselves everybody is a sheep. We all follow someone or something. In this sermon, we will be looking at the church as sheep.
Jesus didn’t die for a building. He died for you and for me. He died for people, those who accept His forgiveness on His terms are the church. In this sermon, we will be looking at how God sees His people, the church.
Jude 3-4; Philippians 1:27-28
Jude wanted to write to fellow Christians about the greatest thing they have in common, their salvation. Instead, he felt the need to urge them to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered.” In other words, there is something worth fighting for and in this sermon we will see what that is, what it isn’t and even how we are to fight.
Acts 2:36-47; Ephesians 2:19-22
I recently asked a group of people what comes to mind when they hear the word, church. There answers were “a place to go and worship”, “a place to give your money”, “a place to fellowship”, and so on. Those answers reflect the common perception that a church is someone place where you go. Unfortunately, that definition has nothing to do with the Bible’s description of the church. When Jesus said, “I will build my church”, it had nothing to do with a building but with people. Beginning with this sermon, we will be taking a look at what the early church was and what it looked like.
There were lots of people that were at the cross but they were there for different reasons. In this sermon, we will be looking at those people, their reasons for being there and then asking ourselves why we are there.
When we think about Jesus walk to the cross it can and does elicit from us an emotional response, but as we step across the line and commit to being a follower of Jesus, it’s important to understand and think through the personal and practical implications. At the end of Luke chapter nine, after Jesus offers an invitation to deny yourself and to take up your cross daily and follow Him, we are introduced to three people who initially seem eager to be followers of Jesus. In this sermon, we will see what Jesus expects from those who would desire to be His followers.
This sermon is the first in a short series that I am calling “A Walk to the Cross”. We all know about Jesus walk to the cross but what we’ll be focusing on in these sermons is the walk to the cross that you and I have been called to make. And as it is with all journeys there needs to be a starting point, so let’s get started.
This sermon concludes the series I have been doing from the book of Colossians. I hope that it has helped you to be strengthened in your faith and your walk with God. As for the content of this sermon, I believe the title says it all. God loves you and so do I, Dana
The church is the body of Christ and therefore we should be thinking like Jesus and be motivated by the same goals and objectives. When people look at the church, they should see Jesus. In this sermon, we will be looking at what we should be doing so that Jesus shines through us.
If we, the church, ever hope to be able to do the will of God, one thing must be foremost in our minds, and that is that Jesus is in charge not us. Paul’s emphasis throughout this letter is that Jesus is Lord, Jesus has all authority and that if we have any hope of accomplishing what we have been called to do, we have got to get it straight in our minds and in our lives. In this sermon, we will explore that very idea.
In this sermon, we will learn the key to having “A Happy, Healthy Home.”
A church is often defined by the rites, rituals, rules and traditions that various groups have set up for themselves, those things that they have determined make them acceptable to God. In this sermon from Colossians 3:1-17, we will be looking at what the apostle Paul has to say on that subject.
In chapter three of Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he exposes those who are leading the church astray. These false teachers are attempting to convince the church that there are things they need to be doing to be acceptable to God. In this sermon, we will be looking at what the apostle Paul has to say to the church about these folks that are imposing on them rules, rites and rituals that have nothing to do with being the church that Christ built.
Paul writes the church in Colossae and tells them that his purpose, as a minister of the gospel, is to present everyone “complete in Christ”. In this sermon, we explore what that actually means.
In life in general but especially in the religious world, we are often faced with the dilemma of who should I listen to and who has authority to tell me what is right and what is wrong? In this sermon, we see how the apostle Paul answers those questions.
Often times when we study the New Testament epistles, we tend to look on them as something written to impart good doctrine. But we need to remember these letters were written to a specific group of Christians to help them with their Christian walk. Paul begins his letter to the church in Colossae by describing what seems to be a fundamentally sound church, but it becomes evident that something is missing. They’ve got a good foundation but Paul wants them to take their faith to the next level. Beginning with this sermon, we will be looking at how we as Christians can take our faith to the next level.
In this sermon, we will be looking at the last of the spiritual disciplines, celebration. Celebration may be the most difficult discipline because life isn’t perfect. In those imperfect times, we can lost sight of all that God is and what He is doing in our lives each and every day. Celebration is the culmination of all other disciplines as we bring our lives into submission to God and fully integrate our faith with our lives.
If you ask people what they think is “The reason for the season?”, you will probably hear things like, “It’s a special time for kids” or “It’s a time to give and receive gifts” or “It’s a time for family and to renew relationships” and of course that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. But is Jesus the reason for the season or is there a deeper reason for the arrival of God on earth. In this sermon we will see what Jesus Himself has to say on the subject.
In this sermon, we move on to the spiritual discipline of guidance. This discipline begins with the recognition that each of us is an integral part of God’s plan for the church. It requires us to value God’s plan for the church above all other plans we may make for ourselves.
When we think about worship, we often limit it to what we do on a Sunday morning. In actuality, there is nowhere in the New Testament that defines worship as those rites and rituals that folks do when we they gather at a building on a Sunday. In this sermon, we will be examining what the Bible does say about worship and how as a spiritual discipline we can engage the world through worship.
In this sermon, we will be looking at the spiritual discipline of confession. Confession, as a spiritual discipline, is not about our need for the forgiveness of sins. Although necessary, that form of confession is between you and God through Christ. Instead, it addresses the damage caused by conflict, especially to the body of Christ and interpersonal relationships.
We need to keep in mind that unless we develop an attitude of total submission, like Jesus demonstrated, making others more important than yourselves, we will never be the servants God has called us to be. In this sermon we will see that the discipline of service must be something that can be routinely practiced, not occasional works of greatness. As Jesus teaches in Matthew 25:31-46, it is the little things that count.
In this sermon, we will begin looking at the spiritual disciplines of engagement. The first one being submission. The first six were to prepare us for engaging the world, so now it is time to engage it.
I Kings 19:9-14
Last week we looked at the spiritual discipline of simplicity. Through the practice of simplicity we learn to remove those things from our lives that we are putting before God. Through the discipline of silence and solitude we will be able to eliminate the one final obstacle, noise. In this sermon, we will see how we can quiet the noise so that we can hear God.
Another key practice for integrating our faith with our lives is to simplify. We often times over complicate our lives to the point there is no room for God. In this sermon, we will see the importance of simplification and what we need to do to uncomplicate our lives.
Before you listen to this sermon, I highly recommend reading Isaiah 58. In that passage of scripture, God, through the prophet Isaiah lets His people know what He thinks about their practice of fasting. The next discipline we will be looking at to help us better integrate our faith with our lives is fasting.
In this sermon, we will be looking at the spiritual discipline of meditation. Eastern meditation seeks to empty one’s mind and center one’s life on one’s self. On the other hand, Christian meditation seeks to fill one’s mind with the things of God and center one’s life in the middle of God’s will.
People study the Bible for different reasons. Some simply to gain knowledge. Others seek to validate what they have already come to believe or to prove someone else wrong. Still others search the Bible when they get themselves into difficult situations and want God’s word to fix things for them. If you are one of these people, I would suggest that you may want to reexamine your motives. In this sermon, we will examine what the goal of Bible study should be.
When we think of spiritual disciplines, we may think of those exercises that have been used to escape the world. But as disciples of Christ we are to be moving our spiritual lives from cloisters, closets and church buildings into the world around us. As in all things, we can study something to death but if we are not going to put what we learn into practice there will be no growth.
Spiritual growth is a product of spiritual exercise. Depending where you are in your spiritual growth or health will determine what areas you need to work on, remembering that they are all important. In this sermon, we will begin by looking at the first and I believe the most important spiritual discipline and that is prayer.
I Timothy 4:6-16
The Christian walk is not always easy. It seems like the more we walk by faith the greater the obstacles to overcome. As Peter said, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (2 Peter 5:8) As Paul instructed Timothy, it is imperative for us to, “discipline (train) yourself for the purpose of godliness.” It’s easy for us to be “good Christians” when we are sitting on our padded pews, surrounded by fellow believers, shut off from the outside world in our air conditioned church buildings. But, as disciples of Christ, we are to be engaging the world not seeking to escape it. Spiritual fitness is necessary for us to be turning the world upside down as the first century church did. If spiritual disciplines are the exercises by which faith and life are reintegrated to produce our wholeness with and in God, they cannot be optional. Spiritual discipline is the heart of spiritual transformation, and spiritual disciplines are the cardiovascular exercises that make transformation possible and our spiritual lives healthy ones. If you are content with keeping your Christianity a spectator sport, then you will probably not want to listen to this sermon. But it you are ready to make a difference in the world around you and start living your faith then maybe this is the sermon you should be listening to.
Note: I began this sermon by showing a clip from the movie “Facing the Giants”. You can find it by going to youtube and typing in facing the giants death crawl.
In this sermon, we will examine what Jesus has to say about living a worry-free life in a troubled world.
In John 16:22, Jesus said to His disciples, “…but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you.” He didn’t present this as a suggestion but as a fact, “NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR JOY AWAY FROM YOU.” So, how is that going for you? Do you feel so blessed because of what Christ did for you that joy and happiness is constantly bubbling out of you? Well, is it? If you are like me it hasn’t always been easy to keep your happy on. In this lesson, we will be looking at twelve things that happy people do.
In the previous sermon, I focused on how important it is for us to be “craving the word of God”. If we are to grow as disciples/disciple makers and help other disciples grow so that they can fulfill Christ’s calling to make disciples, we need to know the teachings and commands of Jesus. We should always be approaching the word of God with humility. Too often we search the Bible to validate things we have been fed and the views we already hold. God gave us His word so that we can know Him and His will, to better understand ourselves and the world around us and most importantly to be transformed. In this lesson, we will be looking at the transformation of Peter and hopefully see why he was “turning the world upside down.”
1 Peter 1:22-2:3
An important part in disciple making is to teach them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded us to do (Matthew 28:20). This makes it imperative that all disciple/disciple makers know Jesus’ teachings and commands. We may not be able to sit at the feet of Jesus as the first disciples had but we do have His teachings written down for us in His book. So, in this sermon, we will be asking ourselves why we are reading the Bible, why God gave us His word, and will suggest the best way to approach the word of God.
2 Corinthians 5:10-6:2
As disciples of Christ, we are to join together with other believers, helping one another to overcome what ever may be holding us back and to challenge one another to grow into more effective disciple makers. In this sermon, we will look at what it is that may be keeping us from doing what we have been called to do and how we can overcome that obstacle.
Last night I was reading Noah’s story, and of course, it felt much more realistic with the storms raging outside at the same time. The thunder shook the house, the lights flickered and at that moment I was awed by the awesome power and magnificence of our God. God can take many roles in our lives—friend, savior, father, but in all, He is Lord: King. Many writers in the Bible talk about fearing the Lord, and in looking at Noah’s story and countless other examples in the Bible, it is clear to see that we do need to have a healthy fear and respect our God. As the storms continue to rage on today, take five minutes to reflect on our God as leader, Lord, who is mighty and all-powerful. Do you fear and respect Him?
The church is to be letting its light shine, as Jesus said, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” I think we all get that and see why that can be important, but what does that look like in a practical sense. In this sermon, we will be looking at how we can be the lights Jesus is calling us to be.
Trusting God to fulfill what He says He will complete in your life: do you struggle with this, because oftentimes I do. Sarah, Abraham’s wife did also, even to the point where she laughed when God promised her the gift of a child. She didn’t have the capacity to understand the great plan that God had both for her and her unborn son, and was filled with skepticism. How often do we laugh at God’s promises because we doubt His ability to perform even the smallest miracles in our lives? Take five minutes today to put your faith and trust back into the power of the Lord, because He will do exactly what He says He will do. Even though both Sarah and Abraham doubted God, Isaac was born to them and became the father of many nations–just as God promised.
I’m getting my first dose of parenting–well–with being ‘mom’ to three exchange students in their early twenties that stay with me in my house. There isn’t too much of an age difference between us, but as we go through life’s events together, there are moments when I am proud of their accomplishments, where I give them important life advice, and would sincerely sacrifice whatever needed to ensure their safety. In reflecting on my instincts to parent these young women, I have come to realize that these sentiments are exactly what our heavenly Father feels towards us as His children. He rejoices when we turn to Him for His counsel, is proud of us when we accomplish a gain for His kingdom, and has already sacrificed His one and only Son so that we may have an eternal life and relationship with Him. Take five minutes today to focus on God as your heavenly Father who cares and loves you more than you are capable of loving and caring for your own children. In knowing that, how can your relationship with your heavenly Father grow deeper today?
The focus of this sermon is on another key element in understanding how we can better fulfill Christ’s command to make disciples.
On my way to work the other day, I was listening to radio programming about human trafficking. It got me thinking about an article I read last summer about the FBI rescuing over 3600 children from sex trafficking over an 8 week period. I remembered that the majority of those children were not even reported missing. Psalms 127: 3 says that children are a heritage from the Lord—they are the future. It’s my experience that many adults oftentimes avoid relationship building younger generations and then wonder why the world continues to spiral downward deeper into sin. Maybe you think that you aren’t up to date enough to connect with a teen, or perhaps we will take out our cell phones and ignore you. As a 26 year old (to some of you, still technically young 🙂 ), I can assure you that we long to connect with you—we hope that you will share your wisdom and experiences with us. So, I encourage you to take five minutes today and pray for young people all over the world. Pray for the young generations both in and out of our church, and to think about a young person that you can attempt connect with. The bible says we should train up a child in the way he should go, the future of the church depends on us caring for the next generation. For who will continue to share Christ when we are gone?
Well, my water heater decided to leak and flood my basement over the weekend. The plumber still hasn’t come to fix it, so therefore, I have to turn the water to the house on and off to get what I need in order to avoid making the problem worse. As I explained what was happening to my three exchange students, their eyes became large with fear, "How will we brush our teeth and wash off our make up" one of them exclaimed. Another asked, "How will we take a hot shower?" After laughing a bit at their state of shock, I simply said, we will make it work. And work we have had to do: heating pots of water on the stove in order to do dishes, hauling out tubs full of water from the basement, and driving to my parent’s house for a nice warm shower. Even though we haven’t quite solved the problem, it’s been made obvious to my girls and I how much we take for granted. When we are in our comfort zones, oftentimes we forget or don’t thank God enough for the simple, wonderful things like hot water. Take five minutes today to just focus on thanking God for the blessings He has given you, both big and small.
I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was disappointed, frustrated, and confused over a situation. I didn’t understand, and was wondering what God was up to. A lot of times, when things don’t go our way or how we wanted, we can be quick to be angry at God. However, many times in the bible, God tells us to wait on Him–that our timing is not our own, and that His understanding is beyond ours. I think that if I would have trusted in that last night, I wouldn’t be so tired today. There is a song lyric that says, ‘never underestimate my Jesus.’ Have you underestimated Jesus’ power and ability lately? Take five minutes to place your trust and confidence back in His plan for your life. I definitely will be.
I watched a movie yesterday where the police were called judges and depending on your actions at that moment, delivered your conviction without trial. Most punishments included the loss of life. This movie got me thinking about man as being born into sin and that Jesus has every right to sentence us on the spot to eternity in hell for the things that we have done. However, He has provided a way out by sacrificing His one and only Son on the cross so that we might spend eternity with Him. One day, we will meet the great Judge. Take five minutes today to think about what you want that experience to be like. Is there enough evidence for Him to ‘sentence’ you to heaven saying, “well done, good and faithful servant?’
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The church in Corinth was filled with talented people. God had given them a whole array of gifts and abilities and they felt driven to use those gifts and abilities for God. But as you read through First Corinthians you get the impression that they really didn’t like each other that much. They argued over who had the best gifts (12:4), and over who had been baptized by whom (1:10-17), and were even in the habit of suing one another (6:7). They were a church that was religious, talented and purpose driven but they had forgotten how to love. In this sermon, we will examine what is truly needed to be a church that can “turn the world upside down”.
What’s the difference between happiness and joy? According to the world, happiness is gained by stuff, fame, and achievement. Sadly, though, happiness is fleeting. Joy on the other hand, is so much deeper. It’s a rooted satisfaction of knowing that no matter good or bad, the Lord has already won all battles, all struggles. We can bank on that and it’s never going to change. If we wholeheartedly place our trust in God, joy will follow. Today, I challenge you to take five minutes to choose between worldy happiness or the everlasting, ever satisfying joy that comes from knowing and having a deep relationship with our Father.
A great empire, 600,000 Israelites, a mass exodus, rivers of blood, swarms of locusts, great pillars of fire, manna. Have you ever really thought about the account of Moses? Taken it at its face value in truth—not just a children’s story? It is an incredible demonstration of the insurmountable power and greatness of God. In addition to this example, there are countless other instances in the Bible where God reveals His strength and glory. Take five minutes today to think about the wonderful fact that the God of Moses is the same God that we worship today. He is relentless, He cannot be defeated, yet He is love and He cares about each and every one of us on a one-on-one basis. How great is our God!
Have you ever gone bowling with a rowdy group of friends who try to distract you right before you throw the ball? They might tease you, or touch the ball–just so that you can pitch it right in the gutter and get a bad score. This is a friendly example, but there are many occasions in our lives when others attempt to throw us off or put us down. They might hurl insults, tell us we are not good enough, maybe you have gotten to the point where you are even telling that to yourself. Isaiah 26:3 says that you will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Take five minutes today to shift your thoughts to the image of Christ, hold his likeness in your mind, focus on Him. Don’t allow others to pull you away from Him, don’t hurt because of others’ harsh words. Remember that Jesus loves you unconditionally, focus on that today and seek His peace.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I forgot to turn the recorder on until I was ten minutes or so into the sermon. The good news is that it will download really fast and it won’t take as much of your time to listen to it. This lesson is a continuation of my thoughts on discipleship, this one focusing on what is a disciple maker.
Finally, my cat succeeded to squirt between my feet and run out into the freedom of the world beyond the house. All last week she was bound and determined to get out and finally succeeded. In her days being ‘trapped’ inside, she would stare with such longing out the window, wanting to be a part of what was happening in the world beyond the glass. She got a rude awakening. Rain and cold filled her day, traffic roared down the main road, and there were other vicious animals out there. Later on that night, I heard her desperately calling from the back porch. When I opened the door, she rushed in, and curled right up to me, as if she was apologizing for what she had done. Sometimes we get tempted to run away, things seem better on the other side, more adventurous, but my friends, remember that without God, life is a muck and mire of devastation and fear. Take five minutes today to come back to the Lord. Allow Him to care for you and to help get your temptations under control. He loves you and provides for you always. No matter how we sin, He is waiting to receive you back into His arms.
Remember that golden time during the school year when we each received a fresh-off-the-press yearbook? What was the first thing we would do—flip through all of the pages and find pictures of ourselves, right? Sometimes, we would get to the back cover feeling pretty satisfied that we were represented thoroughly or disappointed by the ugly portrait in our class section. Either way, it was all about us. Sometimes when Christians read the bible or participate in church activities, they come with a yearbook Christian mentality: how can this serve my purpose or be about me? While the Bible offers many areas of comfort and guidance geared to us in different moments in our lives, it is ultimately about illustrating the glory and grace of God, first and foremost. Take five minutes to focus on your relationship with Christ; are you treating it as a ‘what can God do for me’ or ‘what you can get out of it’ type of circumstance? For some insight on the matter, read Luke 9: 23-26. God calls us to get our noses out of the latest yearbook, and deny ourselves daily so that we can pick up our crosses and follow Him.
I really enjoy fishing, even though I haven’t had a chance to go in over a year. I’ve been wanting to for a while, especially when I see everyone else enjoying themselves out in boats on the cranberry marshes. Yearning to go fishing again has made me thinking about how God has called us to be fishers of men. In the boat or on the shore, I do all of these things and have all of these techniques and baits for catching fish. I’m prepared to catch the big one, but how is my tackle box of tools for spreading the word of God to men? Am I as motivated to catch people for Christ as I am that 50 pound catfish in the very depths of the lake? Take five minutes to focus on how God is calling you to be a fisher of men. Are there some empty places in your tackle box that need to be filled, or perhaps you have been doubting your ability to take the chance to talk to others about your faith? Maybe this means spending some more time in bible studies or learning some apologetics, or perhaps finally taking the chance to go out into the lakes of this world and casting Jesus’s net for the first time. Remember…God qualifies the called, He doesn’t call the qualified!
I wasn’t paying attention the other day when I was in my garden, and of course, stepped on a huge thistle with my bare foot. Days later, I’m still in pain and trying to locate the clear thorns that have lodged themselves in my foot. I keep thinking to myself, ‘how in the world can something so small cause so much pain and tenderness!?!’ In many ways, sin can be like the thorns in the bottom of our feet. We label it as small and insignificant, perhaps even try to ignore it, but as it is neglected, it can fester and cause great suffering. The only way to get it out is to dig at it, which of course hurts, but in the end you have been released from a vicious cycle of hurt. Perhaps there have been some sins that you have been neglecting or avoiding to address with God, that are either starting to or are inhibiting your life? Take five minutes today to seek God wholeheartedly with the mindset of asking Him to start a forgiveness process. It might be a little raw and sore at first, but God has a plan for your life and doesn’t want to see you walking through it crippled and in pain due to sin.