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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, "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.
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).
(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 one of the sermons John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) As children, the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" filled us with great joy and anticipation for the gifts we would receive come Christmas day. As adults, the question should point more to our spiritual expectations for the season, with a chief focus on receiving Christ as our greatest gift. So, what do you want for Christmas? The perfect gift? Family harmony? Hope and peace? This is only possible when Jesus is the reason for the season.
(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 final sermon John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) One of the best ways to describe the birth of Christ is with the phrase, "But...God." It goes like this: the world was sinking deep in sin, but God entered into our world, became one of us, and joined us in our weakness and suffering so we could join him in eternal strength and joy. The light shines in the darkness and, because of the coming of Christ, the darkness will never overcome.
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.)
(John shares his next spiritual meditation based on thoughts from his upcoming book: UNTO LIFE: Reflections on Both the Journey and the Destination.) What is the secret to contentment? This is an age-old question. Many of us have made important decisions based on our pursuit of happiness. But it so often feels like a mirage, an illusion, where our fulfillment is always just out of reach. Some have given up on careers, relationships, even life itself, because the've never discovered the answer or experienced the happiness they've always desired. There is an answer to this question, but it's not one we may immediately like or accept. What's the secret to contentment? Here's a hint: It's to give up what you've wanted most in life to live for what you most deeply need.