SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR

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.

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HOW TO BUILD A CHURCH

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.

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A WALK TO THE CROSS/AT THE CROSS

John 19:16-42

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.

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A WALK TO THE CROSS/SEIZE THE DAY

Luke 9:57-62

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.

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A WALK TO THE CROSS/GETTING STARTED

Matthew 16:13-28

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.

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“GIT ‘R DONE”

Colossians 4:7-18

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 

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SHINE JESUS SHINE

Colossians 4:2-6

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.

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AS IF FOR THE LORD

Colossians 3:22-4:1

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.

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A HAPPY, HEALTHY HOME

Colossians 3:17-21

In this sermon, we will learn the key to having “A Happy, Healthy Home.”

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DOING IT CHRIST’S WAY

Colossians 3:1-17

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.

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THE CHRIST-POWERED/CHRIST-CENTERED CHURCH

Colossians 2:6-23

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.

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“COMPLETE IN CHRIST”

Colossians 1:21-2:7

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.

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THE BUCK STOPS HERE

Colossians 1:15-23

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.

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TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Colossians 1:1-14

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.

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STRENGTHENING THE CHURCH THROUGH CELEBRATION

Philippians 4:1-9 

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.

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“THE REASON FOR THE SEASON”

Matthew 10:34-39

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.

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STRENGTHENING THE CHURCH THROUGH GUIDANCE

Ephesians 5:21-32

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.

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ENGAGING THE WORLD THROUGH WORSHIP

John 4:19-26

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.

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STRENGTHENING THE CHURCH THROUGH CONFESSION

Matthew 5:21-26

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.

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ENGAGING THE WORLD AS A SERVANT

Matthew 25:31-46

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.

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ENGAGING THE WORLD THROUGH SUBMISSION

Philippians 2:1-8 

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH SILENCE AND SOLITUDE

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH SIMPLICITY

Matthew 6:19-34

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH FASTING

Isaiah 58

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH MEDITATION

Matthew 12:43-45

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH STUDY

Ephesians 4:11-16

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.

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PREPARING TO ENGAGE THE WORLD THROUGH PRAYER

Acts 4:23-31

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.

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“IT’S ALL HEART FROM HERE”

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.  

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LIVING A WORRY FREE LIFE

Matthew 6:25-34

In this sermon, we will examine what Jesus has to say about living a worry-free life in a troubled world.

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“SING AND BE HAPPY”

John 16:16-22

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.

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A TRANSFORMED MAN

Acts 4:1-22

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.”

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CRAVING THE WORD OF GOD

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.

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“RENEW MY SPIRIT”

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.  

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Five Minute Focus: A Mighty God

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?

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“LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING”

Matthew 5:13-16

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.

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Five Minute Focus: A Lesson From Sarah

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.

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Five Minute Focus: Heavenly Father

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?

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YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE

Galatians 6:1-10

The focus of this sermon is on another key element in understanding how we can better fulfill Christ’s command to make disciples.

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Five Minute Focus: Looking Towards the Future

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?

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Five Minute Focus: Hot Water

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.

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Five Minute Focus: Never Underestimate

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.

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Five Minute Focus:On Those Final Days

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?’

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“LOVE NEVER FAILS”

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”.

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Five Minute Focus: Happiness vs. Joy

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.

Psalm 16:11
Psalm 19:8
Psalm 43:4

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Five Minute Focus: How Great is Our God

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!

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Five Minute Focus: Focus

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.

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LIVING OUT OF THE OVERFLOW

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.

 

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Five Minute Focus: Running Away

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.

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Five Minute Focus: Yearbook Christians

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.

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Five Minute Focus: Fishers of Men

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!

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Five Minute Focus: Sin

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.

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Five Minute Focus: Renown of Christ

Do you know what the word renown means? Here are a few synonyms to help you out if you are unsure: celebrity, glory, distinction, eminence. On my drive to work each morning, I listen to the National Public Radio news and other discussions. Even though the news is often heavy and weighs on my heart, I do feel that it’s important to know what is going on in the world. After an hour and a half of listening, I plop into my office chair with one big question running through my mind–how have we all lost ourselves that the world has now come to this? I pray a little bit before starting my computer and I hum a few verses of a song that always manages to touch and re-focus my heart. The lyrics go like this: there is a season for everything, there is a reason for all things here on earth, every second of every moment seems to have its worth, rest assured that life’s not in vain for all things work here for His fame. Time has come to raise our hearts as one and glorify the God of everything, we live our lives for the renown of Christ, oh, we are children of the sovereign King! You see, no matter what happens in this world, we need to get back to living our lives for the renown, or glory or distinction of Christ. Take five minutes to think about restructuring your life around living for the purpose of magnifying God. The lyrics of this song are from MercyMe’s "Time Has Come." Take a short listen to help inspire the change God wants for you in the way you live your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eygwCydJCwQ

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Five Minute Focus: Choosing to Heal

I’m sure that we can all think of a time in our lives when we have been hurting, weather due to a loss of a loved one, a nasty divorce, denial from a raise at work, or even being ignored by a friend. In the end, it may be something that you can work out or it may completely knock you off your feet and you’re not able to get up again. No matter how painful, Jesus presents us with a choice. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 says that when we are falling, he will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear and more importantly – – he will provide a way out so that we may endure. So, what’s your choice? When we fall, Jesus is there holding his hand out to pull us out of the muck and the mire of hurt, but we need to make the decision to reach out and actually take his hand. When we hurt, it’s tempting to instead turn to other things such as drinking, drugs, or just slipping away into a depression. Take a few minutes today to reach out and grab on to Jesus’s promise that he provides a way to healing and renewal — that He has an amazing plan for your life if you make the choice to walk His narrow path with Him. Sometimes healing is not pretty or fast, but if we allow and accept His love and guidance, there is no place too deep or dark for God to help you out of.

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GROW AS YOU GO

Ephesians 4:11-16

Jesus left His disciples with the command to make disciples who would then make disciples who would then make disciples and on and on it was to go. The presumption then is that these disciple makers are disciples themselves. One of the reasons we may not be turning the world upside down like those early disciples may be in how we answer the question, “What is a disciple?” In this sermon we will begin to look at discipleship by answering that question.

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Five Minute Focus: Forgiveness

How many times are we to forgive someone? The Bible says seventy times seven, or in other words, as many times as it takes. However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t hold the other person accountable when they say "I’m sorry." Oftentimes we are too quick to dismiss others’ apologies with "no problem" or "It’s okay, it’s not a big deal" when how that person acted towards you actually was very hurtful. Jay Adams, in his book concerning nouthetic counseling, notes that it’s important to acknowledge the other person’s apology, to talk about how you felt, and to work together to change so that whatever was hurtful so doesn’t happen again. Take five minutes today to think about what it means to biblically forgive others. Is there someone on your heart that you perhaps need to apologize to or forgive? Are you ready to make the changes necessary to grow from either asking for or giving forgiveness?

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Five Minute Focus: Faith and Deeds

James 2:26 says that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. What does this mean to Christians in the 21st century? Does it mean that we must earn our way to heaven by solely deeds alone? No, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus calls us to have a relationship with Him first and foremost. When that relationship is healthy, serving God naturally transposes itself into the realm of serving others. Or, in other words, we develop ‘servant hands’. Just as Jesus washed the disciples’ feed out of His love and kindness towards his brothers–so too should we be naturally looking for opportunities to help others as Jesus did. Take five minutes today to reflect on your relationship with Jesus and how He is calling you to serve others. Are you in the process of developing and utilizing your ;servant hands’?

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RESPONDING TO THE SNARKY

About a month ago I heard one of our young people say to someone, “You don’t have to be so snarky.” Having never heard that word used before I asked her what it meant. She said that it meant rude or mean. Ever curious, I looked it up on the internet and sure enough it is a word. Well at least according to the “Urban Dictionary” which states that it is a shortened version for a “snide remark”. Now we have all been in those situations where either we say something snarky or someone else says something snarky to us. Often times are response is to continue the snarkiness which accomplishes nothing but hurt feelings, anger or at the very least an “Oh Yeah? Well I show you!” kind of an attitude.

Recently I witnessed, on a Sunday morning (of all times) in the church building (of all places) a snarky conversation. What I observed in the aftermath of this snarky situation is that it seemed one of the snarkers didn’t even know that he had been snarky while the other snarker took the snarky comment to heart and was offended. It is just a guess on my part but I believe that both parties felt justified in their snarkiness. So I started to wonder if Jesus had anything to say about how we are to respond to the snarky. As I was pondering this, my phone rang (a Holy Spirit thing) and another person called asking for prayers because when he had been confronted with some snarky comments, he responded in anger and frustration and with, yeah you guessed it, snarkiness. His comment to me was that the irony of it was that he had just been reading Luke chapter six when this incident happened, so he said, “I should have known better.” So, I opened my Bible and there it was, Jesus dealing with the snarky. Okay, He didn’t use the word snarky but I think it’s what He meant and if He had that word He would have used it, possibly, maybe, well anyway here’s what He said:

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you (snarky), and insult you (snarky) and scorn you name as evil (snarky) for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets (be snarky to them).” Luke 6:22-23 (NAS)

Now don’t get me wrong here I am not trying to make light of how you feel when you’ve been snarked (because that, in itself, would be kind of snarky) but Jesus is real clear on what we as followers of Jesus need to do. First, don’t be snarky yourself. Snarky and love shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together unless of course you love to be snarky. If that’s the case, then you might just want to do some serious soul searching. Secondly when you are being snarked don’t respond by being snarky in return but consider yourself blessed, be glad and jump for joy. When we are truly doing things for the “sake of the Son of Man”, Satan will do everything and anything he can to derail your faith. So maybe what we all need to do is consider the amount of snarkiness we are receiving to be in direct proportion to what we are doing in the name of Jesus. So bring it on you snarkers. The snarkier you are the more blessed I am and don’t be surprised when I start leaping for joy.

God loves you and so do I, Dana

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Five Minute Focus: Who’s On First?

I really love the game of softball–I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s because I get to spend time playing with a group of people that I enjoy being around. I usually sign up for the church league softball team every summer, but this year I’m taking a break for a while. While cleaning in my house, I found the new glove I bought last year and I started thinking about last season. While there were many good times to be shared, there were moments when my team or another team became frustrated, angry, or even prideful in the game. I recall one friend telling me that his team was in danger of being expelled from the league almost every year due to poor sportsmanship. In the broader scope of things, when we let the events of a game or any emotional situation overrule how God has commanded us to act towards others–we need to take a step back and determine who is really first in our lives. Is it us and our emotions or God? Take five minutes today to think about areas in your life where you are allowing your emotions to overrule your relationship with Christ and your decision making process. Many of these areas surpass the competitive nature of a ball game, for example, rage when another driver cuts you off on the highway, a long-held grudge against another person, or disappointment in a failed expectation. No matter the emotion–remember that God is greater than what you are feeling and wants to help you overcome it.

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A “DAY BY DAY” DEVOTION

Acts 2:36-47

It is easy to fall into the habit of just “doing church” – attend services, give some money, volunteer some time. We can become so programmed, that we totally lose sight of the meaning behind what it means to be the church. In this sermon, we will be looking at the characteristics of the early church. It is my prayer that if we can better emulate them than we too can start “turning the world upside down”.

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Five Minute Focus: Learning from Man’s Best Friend

Whenever I come home from a long day of work, I look to one of the windows in my house and see an excited, smiling face peering out at me. My dog, Mattie, is always there waiting in great anticipation for my return. Once I am home, she never leaves my side and is always looking to please or gain affection. In thinking about Mattie’s mannerisms, we can reflect on our relationship with Christ. Are we excitedly anticipating His return? Are we constantly longing for His presence, seeking His love for us? Whenever I leave for work in the morning, or even go out to the mailbox, Mattie becomes overwhelming sad to be separated from her care taker. Her eyes become downcast and her little ears droop, as she wants nothing to do with being apart from me. Mattie’s devotion to me makes me love and appreciate her as my furry companion. Jesus calls for this same love, longing, attachment, and commitment from us, as His followers. Take five minutes today to focus on your devotion to Christ. Does your heart long for Him?

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Five Minute Focus: Remain Teachable

I was reading an article recently that was geared towards twenty-somethings and one piece of advice that it gave was to remain teachable. It suggested finding a mentor, such as a pastor, teacher, or someone in your life that will walk alongside you during your journey with Jesus. Part of remaining teachable is finding someone who will hold us accountable. Jesus calls us to confess our sins to one another so that we may live in peace. Staying connected with those who are spiritually strong and wise with the Lord will help all of us to remain open to the lessons God has for us. However, if we close our ears and harden our hearts in pride, we will miss out on the many blessings Jesus has in store. Take five minutes today to think about choosing a mentor to connect with and how you can embrace being a more teachable person.

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Five Minute Focus: By Faith

Hebrews 11 defines faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Confidence and assurance are strong words that demonstrate a relationship of absolute trust in our Lord. Hebrews 11 continues on to outline many acts that were completed only by great faith: Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac, the walls of Jericho crumbling, Moses passing through the Red Sea. Without possessing great faith Moses, Joshua, and Abraham would not have received Jesus’s victory. Keeping these men in mind, let me ask you: what does your faith in Jesus look like today? Are you confident in knowing that He has a plan for your life? Do you have the assurance in His promise that allows you to follow that plan? Or are you doubting, afraid of what the future holds, nervous to let God in every corner of your life? Take five minutes today to think about faith, can you find the confidence and assurance that Jesus longs for you to have in Him? Read Hebrews 11 to find out what happens when we have complete faith in our Lord.

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Five Minute Focus: Early Morning Sunrise

Recently, I’ve had to learn to wake up at around 5 a.m. during weekdays. It’s definitely not my choice, but I slog out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and head outside for morning chores. On a rare occasion, I have a bit of time to sit on the back porch. From my vantage point, I watch the sun poke out from the trees and listen to all the birds singing their morning anthems. I look at all that surrounds me and think to myself–surely God is alive! Romans 1:20 says, for since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, even in our backyards, we can see the power, glory and evidence of God. Perhaps lately your life has been too busy or too painful that you cannot see Jesus’s strength and love for you in your surroundings. The thought is simple today. Take five minutes to look for God around you. Maybe you will find Him in a child’s laugh, the warmth of the sun’s rays on your face, in the beauty of the stars on a clear night, or perhaps on a chilly 5 a.m. summer morning.

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Five Minute Focus: Giving Motives

I just finished reading the story of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi, and there are many great concepts in their story for us to think about. Ruth always seems to get the most attention out of all involved, but today I want to focus on Boaz’s heart. Boaz was a man of means and had much wealth–especially in his fields. He was a hands-on sort of man, not sitting in an office directing his affairs from afar. When Boaz was in his field, he saw Ruth, even though she was family, he extended assistance to her. There were no questions asked and Boaz didn’t seek glorification for his actions. He even told his work man to throw extra barley pieces on the ground just to make sure that she would have enough. Many times we can get so caught up in making money or being successful, that we forget that God has bestowed these great gifts upon us–not so that we can keep them to ourselves, but to give to others. Boaz wasn’t looking to gain anything or benefit in any way when he helped Ruth. So, let me ask you two questions today: how are you using what God has given you to help others and are your motives for giving aligned with Christ or the world? Take five minutes to reflect on your ‘giving life,’ does it look like Boaz’s?

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TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN TOO

1 Timothy 6:11-16

This sermon is a continuation of last week’s sermon. In that sermon, I expressed my concern about the modern church not only not turning the “world upside down” but is itself being “turned upside down” by the world it’s supposed to change. With this lesson, we will begin a look at what the first century church was doing that we are not doing today.

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“TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN”

In Luke 24:44-49, we have Luke’s account of the great commission. It is where Jesus tells His followers to go out and win the lost world to Him. And as we know they took that commission very seriously. Starting with the day of Pentecost, they began to have a tremendous impact on the world. As it states in Acts 17:6, even the church’s enemies had to admit that they “had turned the world upside down.”

The modern church is not only not turning the world upside down, but is itself being turned upside down by the world it’s supposed to change. So why is this happening? What is it they had in the first century church that seems to be missing in the 21st century church? In this sermon, we will begin to look at some of the reasons why.  

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“WHY DO YOU LOOK FOR THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD?”

Let’s face it. We are all looking for something but the great tragedy is that it is often right in front of us and we just can’t see it. In this sermon from Luke 24:1-43, we will notice some things that just might help us to see and find what we are looking for.

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“WHEN DARKNESS REIGNS”

Every day, I was with you in the temple courts, and did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53 (NIV) That darkness that Jesus speaks of did reign and would until He had accomplished what needed to be done for the salvation of mankind, when light would reign. As Jesus makes His way to the cross, He will see the faces of those who will dwell in the darkness, but others who will begin their journey into the light. Many today continue to allow darkness to reign in their lives instead of the light of Christ. In this sermon, we will see what Jesus sees; those who choose the darkness over the light but also those who will begin to see the light that Jesus came to bring.

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“FATHER, IF YOU ARE WILLING”

Luke 22:39-46

Prayer is one of the most powerful tools we Christians have and prayer can give us the power to change the circumstances of our lives. I believe that, I’ve seen that and I know that it is true. But I also know that there are going to be times when prayer will not change what’s about to happen. In this sermon, we will look at Jesus’ prayer where He asks for something that He already knows His Father’s answer will be no.

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“THE TIME WILL COME”

Luke 21

In this sermon, we will be looking into a very scary story that has been made into good fiction over and over again. Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are two of the most debated passages of scripture. Everyone wants to know when “these things” that Jesus is describing are going to happen.

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CALLING YOUR OWN PLAYS

 

God has paid us the ultimate compliment. He allows us to make our own decisions, to call our own plays. He trains us, He advises us, He encourages us, He has even given us the play book and the ability to understand, to reason and to choose. However, there are times when we are faced with challenges, controversies and misconceptions that can keep us from calling the right play. In this sermon, we will learn from Jesus how to call the right play when faced with these challenges, controversies and misconceptions.

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THE EYES OF JESUS

Luke 19:41-44

In chapter 19 of Luke’s Gospel, as Jesus moves steadily toward Jerusalem and the cross, we are given some insight into how Jesus sees things. In this sermon, I talk about what Jesus sees and how we too can have “The Eyes of Jesus”.

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ALL THINGS POSSIBLE IN PRAYER

One of the many gifts that Christ has given us through His sacrifice was direct access to the Father through prayer. I don’t know about you but I didn’t grow up as a praying person. Oh sure there was the “Lord’s prayer” that I had memorized and there were the standard prayers that were said at meal times and at bed time. But the idea of actually having a conversation with God through prayer was not something that had ever crossed my mind or I was even aware of until after obeying the gospel. In this sermon from Luke 18:1-17, we will look at two parables from Jesus where He gives us some much needed insight on prayer.

 

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“ALL THINGS POSSIBLE”

Luke 18:18-34

It seems sometimes that what Christ is asking us to do the impossible. The goal of this sermon was to help us all see that “All Things are Possible”.

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“INCREASE OUR FAITH”

In Luke 17:10, Jesus tells His disciples that if they do the things they are commanded to do that they are to say, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” (KJV) I don’t know about you, but I find this verse very troubling because there are plenty of times throughout the Bible where we are told what we should do and if we don’t we’ll be in trouble. So, what is Jesus getting at here? Since I want to be a profitable servant to God and I would think that would be something all disciples of Christ would want, in this sermon, I endeavor to understand what it is Jesus is telling us to do.

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AN UNDENIABLE TRUTH

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The picture that is painted for us depicts a scene of the afterlife that many find difficult to accept. Many would like to believe that hell doesn’t exist and that everyone will go to heaven. But Jesus makes it abundantly clear that there is indeed a hell. That aside, what troubled me more was what I learned after asking myself this question, “What did this guy do to get himself sent to hell?” In this sermon, I shared what I learned. This sermon also comes with a warning that there may be elements of this sermon that may make you extremely uncomfortable.

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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

Luke 15:11-32

In Luke fifteen, Jesus’ response to the mutterings of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law is to tell three parables about lost things being found. Their accusation is that Jesus hangs out with and eats with sinners.  With that in mind this sermon focuses on the parable of the lost son and the choices we all make in life.   

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THE COST OF THE CROSS

Luke 14:25-35

 

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“GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?”

Luke 13:22-31

In verse 23 of Luke 13, someone in the crowd following Jesus asks Him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” And as is typical with Jesus, instead of given a direct answer to a direct question He goes on to talk about “narrow doors”, “eating and drinking” and about a “feast in the kingdom of God.” The upside or downside, depending on where you’re sitting, is that He makes it clear that although everyone has been invited to and is welcome at the table of the Lord not everyone will be part of the “great banquet” in the end.

Note: There is a video at the end of this sermon. Although you will be able to hear the video, I would encourage you to go to youtube and watch the video titled “Used Mightily”.

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THE FEAR FACTOR

Luke 12:1-34

As we have been going through Luke’s gospel, we have seen that from the moment Jesus called individuals to follow Him, He took advantage of every opportunity available to prepare His disciples for the job ahead. Through those lessons, He has stressed that to be a follower of His one must have complete faith and trust that God will provide, complete commitment, complete attention to what Jesus is saying and a complete understanding. In the first thirty-four verses of chapter 12, Jesus gives His disciples another tool in helping them prepare for what is ahead.  How to overcome the fear factor.  

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“YOU JUST MIGHT BE A CHRISTIAN”

Luke 11:37-54

In Luke 11:37-54, we find Jesus holding the religious leaders’ feet to the fire so to speak. He exposes the kind of men they really are, which is in stark contrast to what they believe themselves to be. In doing so, I believe that He teaches us two valuable lessons. The first is how not to be like these religious leaders, and the second is the character traits of someone who might just be a Christian.

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“GO AND DO THE SAME”

Luke 10:25-37

My wife had asked our 11 year old grandson Mason to make her a bookmark.  On that bookmark he had drawn a man straddling a chasm.  On one side of the chasm was Satan and all things dark.  On the other side was an angel and all things light.  The man had a look of anguish on his face because he was caught over this chasm of indecision being pulled from both sides.  The caption said, “I shouldn’t have to decide.”  When Linda asked him what it meant he said, “A true Christian doesn’t have to decide because he already knows what to do.”  Too many of us are standing over that chasm of indecision and in this sermon we will examine what it is that may be keeping us from making the right choice.  

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WHEN WE GROW UP

Luke 9:57-62

I believe that many people want to follow Jesus but their perception of what that means may not be what Jesus expects from His followers.  From this passage in Luke, we are introduced to three individuals who want to follow Jesus, but their perception of what that means is evidently not the same as Jesus’ definition.   

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TAG! YOU’RE IT!

Luke 8:4-18 

In this sermon from Luke chapter 8, we will be looking at two parables from Jesus.  The first is the parable of the soils where He tells us the way His message will be received by others.  In the second parable of the lamp He tells us how the message will be spread and by whom and guess what? “You’re it!”  

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“DO YOU SEE THIS WOMAN?”

Luke 7:36-50

Too often in life we make judgments based on what we see on the outside without looking to see what’s underneath.  Simon the pharisee would look at a woman and only see someone who is a sinner and therefore someone who was beneath him. Jesus looks at the same woman and sees past what she is and what she has been, seeing what she can be.  

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“DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU?”

Luke 6:27-36

Of all the things Jesus has commanded us to do, loving our enemies is perhaps the most difficult.  In this lesson, we explore the how and the why of loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, blessing those who curse us and praying for those who mistreat us.  

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“JESUS, FRIEND OF SINNERS”

Luke 5:27-35

Here’s a question for you.  What criteria would you use to decide who you’re going to hang with?  When we look at Jesus as He begins His ministry, we might question His choices.  Not only does He preach His message to sinners but He chooses to hang out with them as well.  

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The Metamorphosis of the Cross – By Al Cornell

Many people had seen victims spiked to crosses. If they hadn’t personally witnessed the horrific torture of crucifixion, they still felt its imminent presence in their society. Though crucifixion had occurred for a few centuries, Rome had brought it to the forefront as the common means of crushing rebellions and of executing odious slaves and foreign criminals. Citizens were exempt. The stigma of the cross was etched in the minds of the people.

The cross symbolized death. The cross was repulsive, disgusting, and vile. Victims suffered from impaling spikes, from shallow breathing and attempts to rise up for a deep breath, and from dehydration. They wasted away, spiked to timbers that displayed their drying blood. There were flies and hot days and cold nights and shame. The only consolation for most people stemmed from knowing that those so executed had been judged worthy of death.

Within that setting, the apostles, who had recently endorsed the concept that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, heard him say, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18, 19). No wonder the glorious image of Messiah and the heinous image of crucifixion could not merge in their minds. By human reasoning you could not have both. And so, they wondered what he meant by that statement.

However, those contrasting images did merge. By the grace of God, the Lamb of God was sacrificed in that excruciating and shameful manner. By way of the cross, the holy and just God provided the sufficient sacrifice to make removal of sin a possibility.

The cross that symbolized death transformed into a glorious symbol of life. Rugged, bloody timbers have been replaced by molded, carved, and painted images that form jewelry, set atop communion trays, and are displayed on pulpits and tombstones.

Such an unexpected and dramatic change came to earth from heaven. In various cultures, people still attempt to reach up to God with insufficient sacrifices that can never atone for the sin problem. The only solution was handed down by the love of God.

At the right time, God accomplished the greatest metamorphosis of a symbol that could ever occur. But don’t let the beauty obscure the brutality. Don’t let the gild cover the gall. Don’t let the varnish vail the vile. Never forget what stands behind that symbol of salvation and makes it the glorious cross.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).

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Welcome back to Facebook Tomah Church of Christ!!

Hello everyone, this is the webmaster here.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve my church community by being able to tinker with our website and Facebook pages.  I am not a master programmer but am usually someone that can get the job done, especially after a few cups of coffee and a few prayers.  Setting up a basic webpage is relatively easy, but can get complicated when you want to change or add features that are not built in to the webpage building software.  🙂

I recently noticed that our posts were not being posted to our church Facebook page.  There was a new way that the software we use to post blogs links up between my admin roles on our Facebook and  our website, and as I am pretty diligent at keeping my passwords and Facebook settings secure, I changed some of my local settings and that caused the feature to disable the way it links up.  I found that the reason, I still saw posts being shared was because Dana and a few others had been sharing the posts from the webpage directly to their personal Facebook pages, so I never caught it until now.

This may seem Greek as to how this all works, and believe me, sometimes it is, but I was able to notice and figure this out, and I assure will keep a closer eye on this.

To make up for this, I am going to have 10 day catchup.  1 Day for each of the 10 sermons that did not migrate over to our Facebook automatically.  I am going to start posting these sermons starting on the evening of 14th of January and only post them during the week.  I will make the first comment in them “The Missing Sermons”, and then the date they wee originally posted.  I am hoping to get Dana’s sermons out there for the world to see and hear!

I am blessed to seve you.

Thank you!!

Jeremy Bork

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“BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!”

Sometimes it seems the troubles and temptations of life are too overwhelming to overcome but the good news is that they can.  The Hebrew writer told us that “we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  And our response to that is well of course He’s God, we’re not, so easy for Him hard for us.  But the thing we need to remember is that Jesus was not only God but man.  It may be difficult for us to grasp the concept but we need to let Jesus be as human as He intended to be and learn from Him on how to get through our times of troubles and temptation.  

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“A VOICE OF ONE CALLING IN THE WILDERNESS”

Luke 3:1-14

At some point in everyone’s life, they wonder, “what is my legacy?”, “how will I be remembered?” 0r “what is my purpose in life?”  If there was ever anyone who had a clear picture to the answers to those questions, it was John the son of Zechariah.  So as we take a look at the life of John, we just might find answers to our questions and know what are part is to be in God’s story.  

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LIVING IN PRAYERFUL EXPECTATION

Luke 2:21-35

One of the amazing things about God’s story is how He continually uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  Some of the people we meet in God’s story we are familiar with because they stand out.  People like John the baptist, and the apostles and later on Paul, but the truth is God’s story is full of people that we tend to pass over and not think too much about.  For example, people like Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth and now in Luke’s gospel he introduces us to another ordinary person by the name of Simeon.  Simeon’s part in God’s story is in showing us what it means to really trust God so completely  that you can live in prayerful expectation.   

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ORDINARY PEOPLE

As the Gospel of Luke begins, he  will tell us the story about how God is about to change the face of history.  Not through the rich and powerful, but through ordinary people.  These are the poor, the oppressed, the nobodies, the invisible people of the world.  People going about their daily routines, doing the best they can to get through life.  But God will use these ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  

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GETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

As the book of Revelation begins we are given insight as to what Christ is looking for in His church.  We are shown what is right but also what is lacking and what congregations need to do in getting our house in order.  

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PASSING THE TORCH

2 Timothy 4:1-8 

Death is an inevitability.  No one gets out of this alive,.  Some will see it coming and some won’t, but it will happen.  This isn’t something that we like to think about or talk about.  We would rather not deal with it right now, there will always be time, we think, but the truth is none of us know the date or the time.  The apostle Paul is sitting in a Roman prison with the knowledge that he will soon die.  In his second letter to Timothy, he reflects on his journey with Christ but also looks forward to what would happen after he is gone.  

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“CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

I once read an editorial that stated that there are 34,000 different identifiable groups calling themselves Christians.  I don’t know how he came up with that number but I do know that we Christians all have beliefs, practices and traditions that divide us even within denominational groups. This isn’t a new problem as this divisiveness was evident in the church almost from the beginning.  In Paul’s letter to the church that was in Corinth, he points out this problem of divisiveness and gives them the solution to this disunity by reminding them of the basis for their unity.   

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CHANGED PEOPLE CHANGING PEOPLE

Acts 2:36-47

Warning! This sermon is about change and if change is something you have been avoiding and are happy with the status quo then you will not want to listen to this sermon. At the end of the sermon I showed a video about a young man who exhibits how a changed person thinks and acts, demonstrating what it means to show Christ in your life. You can see the video on youtube.com and typing in “On the road teen repays father’s debt”

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AFTER WORDS

John 20:19-31

In the disciples minds, Jesus was dead and buried and all of their hopes, and plans died with Him.  They were gathered together, full of fear, worrying themselves sick about what they didn’t know and believing that death was the final end.  Even though Jesus had told them over and over again that what was happening was going to happen and that He would be resurrected, they just couldn’t see it.  There lives were thrown into chaos and peace was the last thing on their minds.  We understand this kind of feeling because we have all experienced those times in life when all our hopes, and dreams, and plans are changed because of some unforeseeable event like death, disease, loss of a job, a relationship ending, and the list goes on.  But as Jesus will tell them is His “after words” there is hope, there is a plan, there is a future and there is peace.   

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LAST WORDS

As Jesus hangs from the cross He surveys the crowd.  He sees those He loves and those who love Him.  He also sees the carnival like atmosphere with those mocking Him, passersby gawk as they travel in and out of the city with busy preparations for Passover.  As Jesus takes it all in, He struggles for the breath to speak His last words…

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“WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”

Luke 9:18-27

I began this sermon by showing a Youtube video.  Whether you listen to my sermon or not I encourage you to watch this video.  You can access it by going to Youtube and searching for “The Real Jesus (dvd) – Who is Jesus?”  In this video you will hear various people’s belief as to who they think Jesus is and the video ends with the question, “What do you think?”  I believe it is an important question because what you think about Jesus will affect who you are now and where you will be later.  

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