Preaching

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Faith

Friday, February 16th, 2018

The life of faith is the only life that pleases God, and nothing else matters if faith is missing.

It is easy to look at stories in the Bible as old and dusty, sort of like dead men walking. But consider it another way: dead men talking. This Sunday we are going to look at three men who though dead, still speak.

I like this quote which I came across as I was studying for this sermon: “Death is never the last word in the life of a righteous man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like a fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.” 

That quote is quite sobeing. Man leaves this world either a Paul or a Nero/Hitler/or someone of that ilk.

The three men we are going to study are from Hebrews 11: 4-7…Abel, Enoch, and Noah. Great testimonies to what God can do with a person sold out to Him and willing to follow Him by faith. Your prayers are appreciated.

ReferencePoint

Friday, February 9th, 2018

The story of Ernest Shackleton is told in several different books of note. You can find one here and another one here.  Long story short Shackleton’s men were stranded on Elephant Island in the Antarctic and had survived a winter and a harsh summer trying to be the first to cross the Antarctic. But the ice had sunk their ship and they now found themselves stranded. On April 24, 1916 Shackleton and six companions shoved off from Elephant Island holding little hope they would see the 21 men they left behind. Their only hope was to be found on South Georgia Island, 800 miles away. One small boat fighting bitter cold, icebergs, waves up to 70 feet high, and 80 mph winds. They reached South Georgia Island in the heart of a hurricane which sank larger vessels. (There is more to the story). The only hope of a sailor surviving in those days was finding a reference point, generally the North Star.

What about us? What about when the storms hit? What will we do when they do? Where will we look? Friends? Inside ourselves? A bottle? There is a story in the Bible of a man named Job who had to be wondering, “What in the world is going on?” His story provides some answers for us.

This week I start a new 11 weeks series called True North. Reference Point is the first in that series. I’m excited about preaching it. Now…I just gotta hope the folks are excited about hearing it.  🙂  In any case, I’d appreciate your prayers ahead of time, or even afterwards.

Thanks to Ryan (techgeek) for designing the banner. I have the ideas; he has the skills.

Tested

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

In last week’s sermon I talked about True Love. You can read more about it here. But you know as well as I do talking about love, defining love, does not a lover make. The real test of love is when love is put to the test.

Despite all our learning or lack of it; despite all our high-falootin’ talk or lack of it; despite our rhetoric or lack of it; everyone one of us knows we will not get along with everyone. Wishful thinking. Dream thinking. “Not possible” thinking actually. “Ain’t going to happen” thinking.  Yeah…I hate to be the one to burst the bubble, but we will not be able to get along with everyone.

So…how do we keep the peace?

So…what do we do with enemies? With those who want to make our life miserable? In fact, that seems to be their mission in life. How are we supposed to act and react to our enemies?

My sermon this weekend will get down to that nitty-gritty. When you have been abused, walked on, used as a doormat or a ladder, had lies told about you, or have been stolen from…what to do? How would love respond?

Romans 12: 14-21 is not an easy passage to deal with but it can’t be skipped over either. I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend.

I’m posting this early because Jo and I will be heading to Evansville, IN to see one our young men play one of his last two games in Indiana (Saturday is the other). He graduates from Maryville College in St. Louis this year. So we will be out and about and I will be away from a computer. I’ll have my phone to approve comments, but I despise typing anything of length on my phone. Have a great weekend!

TrueLove

Friday, January 26th, 2018

This past December Spencer’s own Community Theater did a play called The Velveteen Rabbit. It was written in 1922 by Margery Williams (aka Margery Williams Bianco). The book is subtitled How Toys Become Real. One of the most quoted sections of the book is this:

By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

As you know, love is more than a word. It is more than an emotion. There are two things which stick out in  Romans 12: 9-13.  True love lacks hypocrisy and true love discriminates (that will make for an interesting “discussion” among the people). But to put you at ease think “discernment.”

Love can be expressed in so many different ways. This passage in Romans presents 8 different ways love can be displayed. It should be a fun sermon to preach. 🙂  I’d appreciate your prayers for us this weekend. And if you care to listen to it, the podcast is put on the church’s website.

RealYou

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

The late pastor/author A.W.Tozer once said,

Theological knowledge is the medium through which the spirit flows into the human heart, yet there must be humble penitence in the heart before the truth can produce faith.

What Tozer is basically saying is we need to be aware of our sin and who we are if we are to ever see the Word take root and the Spirit work through us. God can’t use a stubborn, arrogant person who is always getting in the way. Let me rephrase that since God can do whatever He wants. It makes it harder for Him to work since He has to sort through all the junk.

My sermon this week will be focusing on Romans 12: 3-8, a passage of Scripture which deals with who we are and what we can do as part of the body of Christ. As such there are three questions every follower of Christ needs to find the answer to…or know the answer to.

  • Who am I? This deals with our identity.
  • Where do I belong? This deals with our security.
  • What am I supposed to be doing? This deals with our significance.

My goal is to help people find the answers to those questions, or at least start seeking them. I’d appreciate your prayers as I continue the series “Transformed.”  Meanwhile, can you answer those three questions for yourself?

Surrender

Friday, January 12th, 2018

The images will never leave our minds. What we were doing at that moment will always stick with us. The stunning news that a plane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC on September 11, 2001 stopped us in our tracks. We wanted to believe it was just an accident. Then plane #2 flew into the other tower and we knew then it was not an accident but an act of terrorism. That fact was confirmed even more by the flight into the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. “Ground Zero” was established. A nation was galvanized. Politicians for one small moment put aside their party hat and all agreed this cannot happen.

Leaders were faced with making decisions none had thought of making. There were no contingency plans. How could we have conceived of such evil?

My sermon for Sunday is the first of a series called “Transformed.” I’m calling it All In. It reminds me of the story of the chicken and the pig discussing who wanted to start a breakfast featuring eggs and bacon. The pig said, “No.” When questioned by the chicken his answer was simple: “For you it is a donation; for me it is total commitment.” Following Jesus is just that and every Christ-follower must face the question: Am I going to contribute or am I going to commit?” My next four weeks of sermons will be from Romans 12 starting with verses 1-2 this Sunday.  I’d appreciate your prayers this week.

All In

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

My sermon for this Sunday begins a new series called “Transformed.” I’m going to be dealing with verses 1-2 this week…more verse 2 than the first.

NOT CONFORMED…BUT TRANSFORMED

I think it a vital and much-needed message for our day and age. When Tami (our daughter) saw my title and Scripture, she told me then texted me a link to a song I should use. I was going to until I was riding my bike this morning (inside) and was listening to Kutless on my Spotify playlist. I heard a song I am going to use instead. Actually, I plan to use that for my Music Monday post. But for this post, I want to play the song Tami suggested. Hope you enjoy it.  Click here to listen to it. And trust me when I say she and I DO NOT have the same tastes.

They are calling for some really nasty weather to come in later today (Thursday). I tend to agree with Doc Brown on this one: “Since when can the weatherman predict the weather?” Ice (1-3″) followed by the possibility of up to 9″ of snow. I HOPE THEY ARE DEAD WRONG!  But if not, not much I can do about it except stay safe and warm.

You do the same.

Amnesia

Friday, January 5th, 2018

I was going to tell you all something but I forgot what it was.  In some cases that can be called “selective amnesia.” In other cases it can be called a “Senior moment.” In this case, I really have not forgotten anything. But Amnesia is the title for my sermon this Sunday. 🙂

Have you ever been un-enthralled by something which thrills someone else? Roller coasters are that way. I used to love them. Jo despised them. But Jo could go in circles. I despised circles. When we went to the Titanic museum I could have spent hours in it (I did spend 2 of them), but if I had spent the time I wanted Jo and the girls would have begun to think Titanic sunk again and I went down with the ship. Get my drift?

Writer G.K.Chesterton once said:

The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.

It is easy to lose our wonder. Let’s call it something else: amnesia. I often hear from people, “How did I ever get into this place to begin with?” I asked that same question back in February of 2017. “How?” Simply put: I lost the wonder of God. Put another way: I got amnesia.

I think that has a lot to do with why people start out like gangbusters and fizzle out. Both initially and at the start of a new year. All sorts of vows and resolve but then life happens.

I’m hoping to get some good things started for the new year and the new theme. As you can see it is UNCHARTED. I’m praying 2018 serves as a challenge to me and to the church folks (and maybe even to you) to step out into the unknown and trust God to give us all new hearts and new vision. I’d appreciate it if you would pray for us this weekend.

TrumpCard

Friday, December 29th, 2017

And no…this is not a political post.

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor: Act as if you did.”

I love to play euchre. (I don’t apologize to all my card-playing hating fans). I don’t play very often but when I do, I enjoy myself. If you have never played let me explain a very small part of it. At the beginning of each hand, one of the four people have a chance to name what is called “trump.” A trump card has the ability to defeat any other suit, even the smallest card. If trump is Clubs, then even the 9 of Clubs defeats every diamond, heart and spade (except for the Jack of spades). In order: Jack of clubs, Jack of spades, Ace of clubs, King of clubs, etc to the 9.

This past year my theme was “I Am Fifth.” After all is said and done, it all comes down to one simple word: LOVE. Love is the ultimate trump card. “By this all people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” -Jesus in John 13:35

This Sunday I will be wrapping up this year of “I Am Fifth” by preaching on LOVE as the ultimate trump card.  I know many of you reading this cannot join us (except via podcast) but I sure would appreciate your prayers.  Thanks.

My theme for 2018?? UNCHARTED. I’ve already developed the first four months schedule. I’m excited.

 

OneWord

Friday, December 15th, 2017

 

And no I’m not trying to explain my titles. For several years I’ve tried to use just one word to describe my blog entries. Yeah…it has been a stretch at times. But I think that is called poetic license. 🙂

We have several young children “running” around the church these days. I love seeing them do that, even if sometimes it is during the sermon. 🙂 🙂 That means only one thing really: they are more wide awake than their parents or some adults.  But what I find interesting is as they learn to talk. I have yet to hear, no matter how smart the parents think their child is, a child speaking in complete sentences right off the bat. You know…”the ramifications of the hyperextension of the patellar tendon…” We would be calling the Menses society for sure and/or posting it on YouTube or some other media site. “Hey! Look at my smart child!” But it is one word. That’s it. One word. And very often unintelligible words to boot. I’m always at a disadvantage because “Jo” is easier to say than “Bill.” Mine usually comes out “bull” or something like that.

When you think of Christmas what one word crosses your mind? Trees. Lights. Carols. Gifts. Love. Prophecy. Substitute. Grace. Jesus. Aaaah yes…Jesus. The one word…the one Name…which should be on the lips of every Christ-follower this Christmas season.  Why? Jesus gives the meaning to the season; we are the reason.

I’m continuing my series on “Familiarity Breeds…” with a sermon using One Word: Jesus. I’ll also be looking at the names Jesus is given in Isaiah 9:6. Thanks so much for praying.