Galatians 2:1-10

This sermon is about wanting to be sure that what we have put our faith and hope in is the right thing.

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Galatians 2:1-10

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.

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Galatians 1:1-10

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.

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Luke 2:8-18

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.

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Hebrews 12:1-3

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.”

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Luke 15

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.

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Matthew 26:36-56

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.

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Luke 11:14-28

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.

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John 8:12-18

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.

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Matthew 9:9-13

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.

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Matthew 17:1-8

In this sermon, we will look at what happens when we come into the presence of the Lord.

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Matthew 5:16-24

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.

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Matthew 13:1-9

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?”

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Mark 1:40-45

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.

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John 13:1-35

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.

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Matthew 7:24-29

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.  

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Matthew 7:13-23

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.

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Matthew 7:13-14

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

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Matthew 7:1-12

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.

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Matthew 6:19-34

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. 

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Matthew 6:1-18

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.

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Matthew 5:17-20

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. 

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Matthew 5:13-16 

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.

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Matthew 5:1-12

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.

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Hebrews 11:32-12:3

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”.

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Galatians 5:13-26 

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.

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Romans 8:9-17

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.

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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.”

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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.

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John 17:13-26

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.

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John 15:9-17

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?

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John 10:1-16

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.

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Romans 16:1-16

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Colossians 3:17-21

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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