Part 4 of the post-Easter series, "Cristo Vive" (Christ Lives). People always say that it's important to maintain a heart of thanksgiving, an "attitude of gratitude" where we count our blessings and remember why life isn't as bad as we might think. However, the joy God wants us to have isn't just about being thankful for what we have, it's in being thankful for God himself: as the author of life and death, as the one sovereign over all things, as the one who loves us and knows what's best for us. This is a heart of thanks that transcends our circumstances, whether good or bad. It's a heart of thanks that calls us to live our lives returning the favor, to return to God everything he has most graciously given to us.
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.)
Are you living life distracted? Consider your use of the internet, social media, online streaming, and the amount of time you may spend obsessed with national news, politicians, and celebrities. While there may not be anything inherently wrong with these things, it's important to realize that these areas reflect a secondhand version of life, and can distract you from focusing and living in the world right in front of you. The goal isn't necessarily to remove technology from your life, but to understand its power, and to use it as a tool for God's Kingdom rather than let it use you. Don't live in the shadow of the treasures that deserve a primary place in your heart and actions.
Part 13 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 the standards Jesus expects from his disciples in the New Testament too high? Most Christians would say, no, yet all the while privately bemoaning the truth that they fail to measure up again and again. We then wonder if it is even possible to answer Christ's call and walk in transcendent relationship. The answer is, yes. It is possible. But, only when our main focus is not on our own strength and abilities, but on our transcendent faith. All things are possible to him who believes. (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 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 the first sermon John shared from the series, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) Every year around New Year's Eve, people take stock of their lives and make a New Year's resolution. They look forward into the coming year. They look back at the year that was. But looking forward and back again with God offers you a resolution—and revolution—for how to view time itself.
(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 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).