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Part 1 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." We all love a good story. Good stories have the power to connect with us emotionally and to even transform our heart and perspective. But, above even the most inspiring fiction, it is the true story that typically has the greatest impact upon our existence and actions. Why? Because if the story is true, then perhaps it can also be true for us. This is the focus we must remind ourselves of when re-imagining the Easter story. The telling of Christ's death and resurrection is more than just something to touch our hearts or even our character. It tells of an event in time that will revolutionize everything we are...if we'll only believe the stories are true.
Part 2 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." When guests enter our home, we love to clean house. But the home they see isn't often reflective of how we normally live. More often, our homes can me messy, but that's not the picture we typically wish to show others. In the same way, even as Christians, our lives can be a mess and we don't want anyone to see. But as Jesus demonstrated so many times as he ministered to others on his way to the cross, God wants to enter the home of our hearts with a sign out front that says, "Welcome to Our Mess!" It is only Jesus who can clean the impurity of our hearts. But we must first recognize our need to be cleansed before inviting him to enter.
Part 4 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." On Palm Sunday, many churches, like they did so long ago, enter the sanctuary with palms in hand, praising our Savior, Jesus. But, what kind of God are we worshiping? The King who will come again in glory? Or the Suffering Servant who sacrificed himself of the cross? This sermon looks at the last week of Christ's life, detailing the human drama and dramatic irony, and demonstrates that our Savior calls to us in glory, but still bears the wounds of his suffering. Worthy is the lamb who was slain for your sin and mine. Both his suffering and resurrection deserve our focus when we choose to honor him.
Part 5 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." The Apostle Peter boldly preached the Gospel, the suffering and resurrection of Jesus and our need to repent and follow him, on the day of Pentecost. But only several weeks prior, we see a different Peter, one without hope, one who is essentially ashamed of the true Gospel of Christ. What brought this change? Peter certainly had a hope in God's Messiah, but the events of the crucifixion and his own denial of Jesus brought him face to face with the reality that perhaps his hope wasn't the hope Jesus offers us all through his suffering and resurrection. At least in part, our hope must be that no matter how badly we might have abandoned him, Jesus will not abandon us...to the grave, or to the corruption of our own hearts.
What does it mean to be a man? The answer to this question isn't always easy to arrive at, especially given the confusion we see in our modern culture. Like everything in creation, man was created with a certain design and purpose, but that design was corrupted by the fall.  This sermon examines what is perhaps the chief launching point for God's answer to this problem—the restoration of God's purposes for men in the calling and ultimate test of Abraham. Abraham was the father of all who believe. And it was his belief in God as his ultimate provision that led him to leave a legacy for other men that will echo into eternity.
Part 2 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” By what criteria does either your trust or skepticism in the Scriptures come? Are you a person who trusts more in evidence, what is seen or can be tested from within the physical world? Or are you someone who trusts more in faith, that which is unseen, heavenly, and mysterious, that which cannot be tested or approved by human means? This message makes the claim that to trust in the Scriptures we must live in an apparent contradiction, a paradox where we elevate both evidence and faith, or better said, the evidence of faith. This is the only way to please God and to see his written revelation revealed for what it truly is: the infallible, authoritative, inerrant, sufficient, life-giving, and trustworthy Word of God for us and all mankind.
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 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 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, 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 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 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).