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Part 1 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 introductory sermon claims that the deepest need of the human heart is to belong to others in healthy, fulfilling personal relationship. And by no coincidence, God is both personal...and relational (sermon recorded in 2018.)
Part 2 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 sermon asks the question: In what ways, when making the God of personal relationship known to others, is he still unknown to us? It introduces three different worldviews: Premodernism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. It discusses how God can be known and unknown in each, and invites the listener to consider which worldviews are present in their own heart and thinking (sermon recorded in 2018.)
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 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).
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 12 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. For many of us who live in democratic nations, it is right to elevate ideals like independence, freedom of religion, and speech. But these are civil liberties and can never truly liberate us from the deeper areas of bondage: depression, prejudice, compulsive behavior, hopelessness, separation from God. Freedom from that kind of bondage can only be found when we surrender our spiritual right to self-government to the lordship of Jesus Christ. True and transcendent freedom isn’t just about being liberated from what binds us, but liberated for relationship with God and our neighbor in need (sermon recorded in 2018).
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).
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).
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 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 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).
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).

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