Part 6 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” Have you ever been misunderstood? None of us likes it when someone doesn't understand what we're trying to tell them, especially when we're speaking for their benefit. Can you imagine how God feels? From the very beginning, God's words have been misinterpreted by man. This has led to unbelief, disobedience, or at best, a person seeking God who doesn't receive the fullest blessing God wants to give. This sermon explores the topic of biblical interpretation and offers several tools for interpreting the Bible responsibly. A trustworthy interpretation will lead you toward a better understanding of God's truth. But it will also help you trust more in the integrity of God's Word itself, allowing you to enjoy the fullest benefits of relationship with him in his Kingdom.
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.
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.
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.
(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 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.
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 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).