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Part 1 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” Is the Bible trustworthy? If your answer is, yes, how well can you articulate and defend this belief? This sermon series will instill in you, or at least remind you, why you can trust in the written Scriptures completely, how you can strengthen your confidence in the Bible's original source, in the integrity of God's communication within its pages, and in your ability to translate the power and effectiveness of God's living Word to those who need to know its truths.
Part 3 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” Hebrews 11:1 asks that, in our approach to God, which includes our approach to the Bible, that we value both evidence and faith. This is one of many paradoxes, or apparent contradictions, whereby we are to enter into and embrace the presence and reality of God. To better understand this, this sermon looks at another paradox: the person of Jesus, himself. Jesus is God come into this world as a human being. He was, and is, fully divine and fully man. But Jesus isn't just known as "God made flesh," he is also the "Word made flesh." So to understand this mystery in Jesus is to understand the Word of God, the Bible itself. Within the incarnation of God's living Word, we find the inspiration for God's written Word. Through Jesus, we can approach the Bible depending upon both faith and evidence, divinity and humanity, mystery and reason. Through Jesus and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, our confidence in the written Word becomes sure.
Part 3 in the series, "Entering God's Rest" (July 2019). In the final message on entering Gods' rest, we look at what Sabbath rest means for the Christian in light of their relationship with Jesus. When Jesus says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest," what does he mean? The answer comes from learning about Jesus' understanding of the Sabbath, his observance of the Sabbath, and his declaration that he is "Lord of the Sabbath." Christians have a unique opportunity to enter God's rest in a way that no one before the coming of the Messiah could enjoy. Rest in Christ promises a life empowered by his finished work: a life of love, grace. restoration, and fullness. But he must become Lord of our Sabbath before this rest can occur.
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.)
Part 3 of the series, "Marriage and Singleness." The word "single" certainly seems to be associated with the word "alone." Whether you're single as a young person, never married but still want to be, whether you've lost a spouse due to death, separation, or divorce, or whether you look at your singleness as a lifetime calling––being single can leave a hole in your life that you constantly want filled. How can a single person view their aloneness, their place in God's Kingdom, their desire for wholeness that seems to come only from marriage and romantic relationships? Is there anything they can do to remedy these problems for however long they're single? This message attempts to answer these questions, both for the single person, but also for the church who is called to love, value, and support single people in their desire for purpose and relationship.
Part 1 of the series, "Envy - Yesterday and Today."  What are the dangers of envy and jealousy? Most of us understand that it is unhealthy to envy others, to be jealous or to spend our time desiring or "coveting" what others have. However, a close examination of Scripture and the biblical stories show us that envy is perhaps a far more serious sin than we've ever imagined. At the very least it can lead to dysfunction in our relationships, but it can sometimes lead even to violence and death. In the most common and practical sense, however, the problem with envy is that it distracts us from taking responsibility for our lives and it's often a red flag that we're not trusting in God's purpose and plan. Consider the power envy may have over your life. And then consider ways you can use it as an opportunity to trust in God's sovereign will and plan for you and your future.
Do you pursue self awareness? Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Jesus once said that in knowing the truth, we would be set free. This message makes the assertion that the truth we should seek isn’t just the truth about God, but also the truth about ourselves. Without self-examination, we can never fully transform into Christ’s image and find the freedom his disciples enjoy.
Part 3 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. This final introductory sermon declares that in the midst of an impersonal, lonely world, God has shared his personal name and has called us by name. From the very beginning of time through the coming of Jesus, God has reached out to us in the most intimate way imaginable: showing compassion for our affliction, delivering us from sin, coming alongside to walk with us in life's journey. For this transcendent, holy God of Scripture, everything is personal (sermon recorded in 2018.)
Part 4 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Over seven billion people live on this planet. And yet, the world can be such a lonely place. So often in our despair and hopelessness, we don't know where to turn. But God, more than any other person in the universe, understands our loneliness and offers us the path to belonging to him (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 5 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. There exists in the human condition—from the heart of both believers and non-believers—something called "The Problem of Evil." We ask the question: 'How could a loving God allow so much evil and suffering?' And from a relational standpoint we might ask this: 'How could I love a God like that?' Drawing from one of the most emotionally-stirring accounts in Jesus’ life, this sermon seeks to answer that question (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 6 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Jesus came to restore us to relationship with God by dying on the cross. He opened the door for us to belong by experiencing aloneness throughout his life and in his death, aloneness even from God. But while belonging to God absolutely starts with the cross, the spirit of the cross should never leave us. We too must take up our own cross with a spirit of sacrifice that infuses every part of our lives. In this way we will model the life Jesus lived, and we will, like Jesus, better identify with others in their aloneness when inviting them to belong (sermon recorded in 2018).

God so loves YOU!

September 13, 2021
Part 7 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. It's fairly easy to believe that God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his only begotten Son. But given the hurt and rejection many of us have experienced in our relationships, it can be a lot harder at times to believe that God so loves ME—individually and personally, no matter my past, regardless of my beliefs. Including a portion of John's own testimony, this sermon explores the question: "Does God truly love me?" (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).
Part 10 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. So many are in our world are searching for truth. But for most of us, the deepest needs of our hearts aren't fundamentally satisfied by an awareness of truth, but by the integrity of our personal relationships. So, yes, we should ask, "What is truth?" But we also need to ask, "Who is faithful?" "Who will keep their promises?" To satisfy the deepest needs of our heart, we must also ask, "Who is true?" (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 11 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Words have power. They shape our world. They inspire and instruct. They create and destroy. God's words, or God's Word (the Bible), does all these things too. But God's Word also transforms us. And God's Word ultimately, as the living embodiment of Christ himself, is the chief means God uses to invite us to live in relationship with him...and belong to him (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 14 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Traditional Christian apologetics focus mainly on defending absolute truth. While this should be part of our focus, our first priority should be living in absolute relationship with God. We must know him intimately in every possible way, experiencing the reality of eternal life long before we ever set foot in heaven. Like with his first disciples, it must be clear to others that we have been with Jesus (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). The last few decades have shown a surge in spiritual hunger perhaps unknown since the time of Plato and Aristotle. In this age of postmodernism, so many people are chasing after so many ideas that sincerity itself has become the chief virtue of the spiritual seeker. But, does sincerity prove that all religions are the same? This teaching invites an honest look at this question, and invites an honest comparison of the world’s religions. While God loves that we’re sincerely hungry for spiritual things, he does want our search to eventually lead somewhere. And despite protests to the contrary, that destination isn’t just about the absolute truth of the Bible. Ultimately, it’s about a personal relationship with the one who is absolutely true.
(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, you’ll be hearing the third sermon John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) In coming to the earth at Christmas, God fulfilled his dream to be with us and offer us the gift of being with him. Through the divinity and humanity of Jesus, our Emmanuel, we find a God who is eternal and everywhere present, but also present to meet every need that we have.
(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 second sermon John shared from the series, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) Most every day of our lives, we ask ourselves or others, "What time is it?" We find it important to live according to the expectations of time: minutes, hours, years, holidays, life events, etc. The biblical view of knowing the time is to understand that God uses time to fulfill his purposes, including our purpose under his guidance and care. So, what time is it where you are? Your answer will help you better live out God's purpose in your life.
(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 15 of 23 in the series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. This sermon begins the second major segment of this series, moving to a more practical approach to belonging to God from day-to-day. Despite our claims to being intimate with God, we should inventory our lives to make sure, as seen in John 15, that we're truly connected to the Vine: Jesus. Only by admitting our need for him and staying connected can we produce spiritual fruit and genuinely live with God in healthy personal relationship (sermon recorded in 2019.)
Part 16 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." To "fear God" is a recurring commandment in Scripture. But does it sound strange to your ears that we're likewise called fear Jesus? This sermon takes a look at the Jesus of the Gospels and demonstrates that people didn't just encounter the gentle, humble shepherd, but also the Lord of all creation, a person who regularly incited awe, astonishment, amazement...and reverential fear. How well we fear Jesus will affect the quality of our personal relationship with him, and whether or not we'll live in fear of everything else life throws at us from day to day (sermon recorded in 2019.)
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 18 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." How do you relate to the Bible? Is it just a textbook or rulebook? Is it just required reading to become a good person or go to heaven? Or is it also the very essence of God himself? If the Bible is truly the "Word made flesh," then its benefits will surpass simply becoming wiser or a better person. It can be a way to relate to God in the most personal way imaginable (sermon recorded in 2019.)
Part 19 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." How do I relate to prayer? Is it just a way to get what I want? Is it something I just do, but doubt it ever really works? While God desires to meet our daily needs, he also wants us to understand our ultimate need: to belong to him. Prayer should be the avenue we use to nurture connection, intimacy, and oneness with God. If that's our first and main focus, then the answers to our prayers will be abundant...while perhaps looking a bit different than our imaginings (sermon recorded in 2019).
Part 22 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." People like John-the-Baptist, Paul, and Jesus became "less" so that people could see more of God and ultimately, so they could belong to God. John modeled this in his words: "He must increase, but I must decrease." Becoming less doesn't belittle our self-worth. Rather, it's the path to finding our true self-worth and identity and genuinely sharing this quality of life with others. It's the best way to show others a love that comes from above, a love that invites us to belong to him and each other in the here-and-now (sermon recorded in 2019).