Part 1 of the series, "Marriage and Singleness." God created marriage for different purposes. One of the chief purposes was to give us the most complete picture of his nature, and to also show the ideal way that human beings can come together to love God and love each other well. However, our purpose for marriage is often at "cross-purposes" with God's. How can we pursue God's purpose for marriage in the midst of our fallenness? The answer is making the cross the fundamental purpose and driving-force behind our marriage. Only through the cross can two truly become one under God for a lifetime. (Note: Due to technical difficulties, you will experience some gaps and broken continuity during the message.)
Where do we find our stability and growth as Christians in the church? Most often, we'd say our stability and growth come from God. But in practice, we too often look for our main stability through human leaders and ministers. But as we see in Scripture, our chief foundation for stability and growth must come from Jesus Christ. And not just Christ, but from our faith and confession in the crucified and risen Christ. Only when our lives are founded upon the rock of this heavenly confession, can Christians ever hope to grow strong and prosper.
Part 8 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Are you in need of a big hug? We all are at times. How about a hug from God? Exploring the story of the Prodigal Son and Jesus's words in the Beatitudes, we can discover the warm embrace of grace and forgiveness that God offers to our love-starved, weary, and heavy-laden souls (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 9 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13, love is the greatest thing. But is love all we need? We certainly need loving relationship where God accepts us as we are. But like with any good parent, mentor, or teacher, the fuller scope of God's love doesn't just include acceptance, it also includes expectation. God accepts us without condition, but because he loves us and wants the best for us, he also wants us to grow up and mature, becoming more like him. And so, in addition to God's love, we also need God's truth. We need God's true love (sermon recorded in 2018).
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week is one of the sermons John delivered many years ago at The Cove Church in Mooresville North Carolina). A detailed examination of God’s “rules” for communicating with him through prayer. Most of us focus just on ourselves and our needs in prayer. But, the Lord’s Prayer is truly about God, and it is only by focusing on God’s greatness, his closeness, his kingdom, his will, his power to provide, to forgive, and to save, that we can truly find all our prayer’s answered.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week we’re returning to sermons John delivered while pastoring a church in Honduras with his 2019 Thanksgiving message.) A heart of thanksgiving and gratitude raises our perspective and reminds us about the good stuff we were missing. Likewise, thanking God for his blessings raises our perspective even higher. But what about when we thank God for those around us? Too many live their lives empty of affirmation and grace. They don't know that God loves them unconditionally, that he wants them to come to him as they are and find healing, restoration, and transformation. For our part, we don't often thank others unless it's earned. But God's grace isn't earned, so when we thank God for others, deserved or not, we're simply passing along what God has given us. Live a life of gratitude. Thank God. Thank God for others. You'll be sharing the Gospel in a miraculous new way.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing one of the sermons John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) As children, the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" filled us with great joy and anticipation for the gifts we would receive come Christmas day. As adults, the question should point more to our spiritual expectations for the season, with a chief focus on receiving Christ as our greatest gift. So, what do you want for Christmas? The perfect gift? Family harmony? Hope and peace? This is only possible when Jesus is the reason for the season.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing the final sermon John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) One of the best ways to describe the birth of Christ is with the phrase, "But...God." It goes like this: the world was sinking deep in sin, but God entered into our world, became one of us, and joined us in our weakness and suffering so we could join him in eternal strength and joy. The light shines in the darkness and, because of the coming of Christ, the darkness will never overcome.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing the third sermon John shared from the series, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) If you knew you had 24-hours to live, how would you spend it? What if you had 50 years left to live? Making the most of every opportunity involves living with both priorities in mind. We must live in utter dependence upon God's providence over time. And we must step out and take risks in both our daily lives and in our long-term plans to ultimately sanctify time with a view of eternity in mind.
Part 17 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him". Jesus once asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" In our encounters with Jesus, we should also answer this question, but then we should ask, "Who does God say that I am?" Understanding and claiming our identity in Christ should be a foundational and constant confession of faith. Because who we are is shaped by who we're with. And who we are in Christ will define what we have in him and how we then choose to live (recorded in 2019.)
Part 20 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." How do I relate to worship? Is it just about making it to church each Sunday? Is it just singing songs and hymns? Is it just something you’re supposed to do, but I rarely feel connected to God when I do it? Worship should be a chief focus in nurturing divine intimacy. But if we limit it to just Sunday morning or devotional time, we can miss the power of God's presence in all areas of life. Practicing the presence of God in everything we do will empower us to better glorify him, enjoy him...and belong to him (sermon recorded in 2019).
Part 21 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." Unconditional love feels unreachable. But not when we belong to God. God's love for us can transform how well we love one another. And the second commandment to love is like the first. Loving others affects how well we belong to him (sermon recorded in 2019).
Part 23 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." It may seem odd to imagine that we're called to have a "divine romance" with God. But the human marriage and intimacy with God have many parallels, seen especially in the Garden of Eden and in Revelation's Marriage Supper of the Lamb. In the time in-between, Jesus serves as our mediator, calling us to healing and restoration with God. And Jesus serves as our Suitor, the bridegroom who sacrificed himself so we could live with God happily ever after. There's no greater romance than that (sermon recorded in 2019).