Preaching

...now browsing by category

 

Anchor

Friday, April 20th, 2018

We all face seemingly insurmountable odds from time to time. Some more than others. But when we are in those periods that want to overwhelm us, we need an anchor-Someone or something to cling to. Given the way things just up and disappear or rust away or disintegrate, I believe the SOMEONE is a better anchor.

This final True North sermon from Hebrews 11 (next week’s is from Hebrews 12:1-3) takes in a laundry list of people whose faith was evident, even though it might have been weak at the get-go. Gideon. Barak. Samson. Jephthah. Names which are not really household names. Okay, maybe Gideon and Samson are the more familiar ones, but the other two? I’m thinking 9 out of 10 would not know who they were (and in some circles 10 out of 10).

Paul states in 2 Cor.12 that “God’s grace is sufficient in all things. When I am weak, He become strong.” That is the underlying thought for this week’s message: God is sufficient. He empowers the weak to be strong (the aforementioned biblical characters). He also sustains the weak to be strong. Elijah. Elisha. Followers of Christ who refuse to recant their faith in Christ, even in spite of the persecution, possible torture and imprisonment, and death.

This series is coming to a close next week. It will be good to talk about God’s part in being an anchor when our faith is rocked. I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend. Thanks ahead of time.

HomewardBound

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Just as there are certain events that affect our lives, and we know what we were doing and where we were when they happened, words or statements are the same.

9/11

“President Kennedy has been shot” (for those old enough)

“President Reagan has been shot”

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Precise timing and movements were needed to make sure Apollo 13 made it home. One mistake and the capsule and astronauts would be doomed to outer space. Getting them home was a priority.

For some reason many don’t like to talk about the future. I’m not talking about future events (Rapture, 666, etc).  For me as a Christ-follower I like to talk about my future. It is secure.  I know that because of God’s promise, but I also know that because of hope. Properly focused hope gives us the assurance of a home for eternity.  Now…I’m not talking about the “I hope it is nice weather tomorrow” or “I hope he/she smiles at me.” No, the hope I am talking about goes much deeper.

Take away hope and you take away a reason for living. In the case of the Christ-follower, if our hope is not connected to forever, our hope will somehow die. Living with forever in view gives us an unshakeable reason for hope.

My sermon Sunday is called Homeward Bound. I’m using Hebrews 11:11-16, 32-40 as my passage. Come join us or listen online or if you are too far away, please say a prayer for me and the folks at OVCF. Thanks.

And speaking of Homeward Bound, today, April 13th marks the birthday of my late mother. She would have been 86. She’s home.

Stress

Friday, April 6th, 2018

We all have it.

Some have more of it than others.

Some give it more than others. 🙂

Some of you have had a Stress Test or know someone who has.  The American Heart Association defines a stress test, or a treadmill test, as “a way to help your doctor find out how well your heart handles its workload. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go into the heart.”

I’ve come to the earth-shattering, ground-shaking conclusion that stress is a fact of life. (How’s that for smarts?)  Pick out people in the Bible, and other than Jesus, probably no one had more stress than Abraham. His life was turned upside down by God’s call on his life and from there it seems like one stress button after another.

Get up and move to another land.

Lie that Sarai is your sister.

No promised child.

Have a child with Hagar with Sarai’s blessing.

Kick Hagar and Ishmael out.

Deal with Sarai’s whining.

Lie that Sarai is your sister.

Deal with Lot’s “love affair” with Sodom.

Have promised child (Isaac).

Then perhaps the greatest stress of all: offer Isaac on Mount Moriah as a sacrifice.

There is more but this last one mentioned…WOW!!  How did Abraham handle it? How did Isaac handle it? There is so much to learn from the life of Abraham and from this one incident alone. That is my topic for Sunday.  Hebrews 11:8-19

Prayers would be much appreciated.

EternityAmnesia?

Friday, March 30th, 2018

This Sunday has different meaning to different people.  For some its part of their yearly ritual of C & E attendance. For some it is nothing more than a day filled with chocolate, baskets, chocolate rabbits, colored eggs, and chocolate eggs.  Oh…did I mention chocolate? For some it will be the consummate holiday. Not because of it being a holiday but because of its meaning.

For the follower of Christ, it is the one day of the year which sets every other day aside, but also every other religion of the world. Judaism, while not acknowledging the life and death of Messiah, still has a founder, Abraham, in the ground. Islam’s founder, Mohamed, died at the age of 61 and was buried in a tomb in Medina. He has yet to be seen alive. No disciple of Buddha can say, “I have seen him alive.” Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the JW’s is still in his grave. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Scientist, is still in her grave. Ellen G. White, the founder of SDA, is still in her grave. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young (among others), the founders of Mormonism and LDS are still in their graves. Only one person has ever defied hell and the grave: Jesus Christ. Proof of his “aliveness” abounds.

The problem with many of us is we suffer from “eternity amnesia” and therefore we are guilty of forgetting forever. By that I don’t mean forgetting something and never to recall it, but we forget a thing called Forever. But here is a simple truth: without eternity Christianity makes no sense. If all that sin has broken won’t be forever fixed someday, then there is no hope now and no hope in the hereafter. So what Paul says in I Corinthians 15 is radical: without a guaranteed forever, faith in Christ is robbed of its meaning, power, and hope.

This Sunday is celebration Sunday for every Christ-follower. Thanks to the generosity of Bill & Suzie Abram we will be enjoying the use of Abram Farm (as we did on Christmas Eve). I hope you will enjoy your Resurrection Sunday celebration of Jesus being Alive! Meanwhile, would you mind praying for us? Thanks.

Fools

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Being called a fool is not a complementary term. It is sort of akin to moron or idiot in our use of the word.  Tragically, we have often played the fool when it comes to spiritual things. We think we know best. We get eternity amnesia. We get big-picture amnesia.

We also get cross-amnesia. Down through the years teaching on the cross has evolved…and that has not always been good.  The cross took a back seat. I will post about the history of that fiasco next week.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I was asked Sunday by someone new to church what Palm Sunday was. I explained it to him, but told him I’m glad he asked. In biblical days, the cross was seen as a symbol of cruelty and judgment upon those who deserved it. It was seen as a way to mete out punishment to the worst of the worst. In our day, the cross is seen as a symbol of foolishness. Vicarious redemption is seen as a stupid act and totally unnecessary. There is a word for that (I’ll let you fill that one in).

This Sunday I’ll continue my True North series but also talk about the cross using I Corinthians 1:18-2:5.  I’m going to do that with two thoughts:

  • I reaffirm the necessity of the cross
  • I reaffirm the necessity of God’s wisdom.

Prayers would be appreciated. And thank you ahead of time.

 

 

Saying

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

As I wrote in my journal about  yesterday’s New Morning Mercies and posted on my other blog, I took a look back at my journal from last year on March 17. Evidently I had been reading and studying about Bill Johnson back then. As I write this now, it suddenly hit me why I was studying him, Bethel Readding and what is called the New Apostolic Reformation.  (See yesterday’s post here for more information on that).  We were losing someone to that method of thinking. Someone(s) I love had become enamored by the teaching of Bethel and were in the process of leaving. In fact, it was real close to this time last year they left to pursue other avenues.

I found the following quote during my study and I had copied, printed, and paper-clipped it in my journal:

A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.

The source? Charles Spurgeon. The year? I couldn’t find it but he lived from 1834-1892.

Quite prophetic don’t you think? And challenging. And convicting.

Your thoughts?

Choices

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Growing up as an athlete i was faced with choices-some tougher than others. I chose not to abuse my body with alcohol and tobacco…only chocolate!  🙂 🙂 I chose to focus so much on basketball that I was not one of the shining lights in academia while in high school. It wasn’t much better in college until my Senior Year when I chose to concentrate on my marriage and my grades. Took me long enough don’t you think?  🙂  Every athlete knows choices are made during games which stand out as possible game changers.

Making choices is not always easy. Rephrase: making the right choice, especially when they are tough ones to make, is not always easy. The story of Moses is a story of choices-from beginning to end. My theme for the year is Uncharted and as we travel into uncharted territory, we are and will continue to be confronted by choices.  I’ll be looking at Moses using Hebrews 11:23-31 as my text.

Our lives are a series of defining moments. Choices which can change our whole future. I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend. And thanks ahead of time.

Contentment

Friday, March 9th, 2018

On July 28, 1982, Christian singer Keith Green, and 10 others died in a plan crash while showing the property of Last Day Ministries to friends. Cause of death leaves no doubt: the plane was overloaded. The pilot, a former Marine Corps aviator, had very little experience in the small Cessna 414 and certainly would not have been familiar with the weight load restrictions. Keith and two of his children, Josiah and Bethany, were 3 of the victims.

Have you ever heard of the Plimsoll Line? Neither had I until I began to study for this message. In 1873 Samuel Plimsoll became very concerned about the number of sailors who were dying. An astonishing 411 ships sank, taking hundreds of men to their watery graves, because of the disregard for safety. They overloaded the ships. Eventually, Plimsoll was able to get a law passed (14 years later) establishing the Plimsoll Line.

It’s too bad there is not a Plimsoll Line for people. Covetousness is not limited to non-believers. Greed is not limited to non-believers. Nor are the positives-contentment and character-limited to followers of Christ. There are so many distractions when choosing to be a follower of Christ. A lot of them are tied to “stuff.” When is enough enough? When is too much too much? How much money do we really need? How much public glory do we need to satisfy our ego?

I’ve titled my sermon for Sunday Traveling Light. I think you can see why.  I needed this one. Maybe you do also. If you can’t make it the sermon will be on the church’s website. Thanks for your prayers.

Compass

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

When we talk about a compass today it is almost like a foreign language. In this day and age with GPS and every other tracking  system know to man, a compass seems like something old-fashioned and out-of-date. I like the digital compass on my rearview mirror in my truck. I can at least know which direction I am going in since rumor has it when it comes to figuring out N-S-E-W I just may be a bit directionally-challenged.

Many of you are old enough to remember the old American Express commercial where the tag line was “Don’t leave home without it.” No hiker should even think about going on a hike, especially into the woods, without a compass or some type of directional finder.

Living in today’s  modern world is a ride into uncharted territory for sure! The instability of life will hit us square in the face and get us all turned around if we don’t have a compass. As followers of Christ that can be devastating. My sermon Sunday is about the compass we have to tell us our direction. John tells us we face a battle: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Jesus did as well, but we are also told He did not sin. What was His secret? Check out Luke 4:1-12 for the answer. That is the Scripture we will be looking at this week. Thanks, as always, for your prayers.

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.