Preaching

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Promises

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

It used to be a handshake was enough.

The old saying was, “Your word is your bond.”

Every once in a while we will hear someone say, “I know you. You’re good for it.”

Or you might hear someone say, “You gave me your word and that is good enough for me.”

How great it would be if we could honestly say, “A promise made is a promise kept.”

In our day and age we are more likely to hear, “I’m getting me a lawyer!” We live in a litigious society and more and more people are breaking their word than keeping it.  Promises are a bedrock of any society. No telling what will become of ours.

The theme of promises weaves its way through the pages of Scripture-both of those who keep them and those who break them. My Scripture for this weekend is a lengthy one: Joshua 10:1-12:24. It is a litany of promises. Promises made to God. Promises made from God. Promises made to others. The obvious application will be how we, as followers of Christ, should keep the promises we make. There will be a couple key thoughts I will share with the folks Sunday. I’ll share them with you this upcoming week. Meanwhile, I always ask for prayers from you. I ask you to pray a little extra for this weekend. Thanks

Mulligan

Friday, June 8th, 2018

If you have ever played golf with a “duffer” you will have heard the word “Mulligan” used. There is quite a history behind the term. You can go to GriffGolf.com to learn more. But it is named after a person and is a term used to offer someone a “free pass” on a bad shot.  History says it came as a result of a bad first shot and it was called a “correction shot” by David Mulligan.

The story I will be preaching on Sunday needs a mulligan. The words “sin in the camp” has such an ugly ring but in this case it is true. If you are familiar with the story of Israel’s defeat at the hands of a city named Ai, you are probably also aware of the reason they lost. “Sin in the camp” is a good way to put it.

But there is more. The preparation for going to war against Ai also showed two other things:

  1. The Israelites were too self-confident.
  2. They definitely had a lack of prayer.

The application to our lives is easy to see. I’ll also be spending some time on what led Achan to do what he did.  It definitely was an eye-opener for me, as well as a gut-check on my attitude toward the enemy. I’d appreciate your prayers for all involved-myself and the audience.  Also, our worship leader is on vacation so prayers would be much appreciated for those who are filling in.

Going…Going

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Jo and I leave tomorrow (Friday) morning for a few days of R & R in Ohio. Well…as much as it can be while running all over creation with a 11 1/2 year old. We plan to watch him play baseball on Saturday (2 games) and probably one or two make-up games on Sunday. Then we plan to head up to Sandusky to visit Jo’s sister, whom we haven’t seen since before Thanksgiving. We are hoping our one man comedian show will make the short jaunt with us. Braden is so funny…he keeps us in stitches.

This weekend Ryan is preaching for me. He is continuing the series, Courage, from Joshua. He’ll be preaching on the battle of Jericho from Joshua 6. I’d like to ask you to pray for him. If you have never read the story; or read it a long time ago; or need to read it to refresh your faith; I’d like to suggest you do that.  If you are out somewhere reading this and don’t have a Bible, here is a link you can use.

Forget?

Friday, May 25th, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY

Day off or Day of Memory.

Day to cook out or Day to be thankful.

There’s a third. Around these parts,  high school graduation takes place Saturday. So Memorial Day is a day of recuperation. And drying tears. And relishing one of the last possible times for a family cookout before life really gets hectic.  🙂

Memorial Day was a day designed to remember. Even more than July 4, it was designed to call to mind the sacrifice and commitment so many men and women, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, etc paid to keep our nation free (or to help others be or stay free). It is a day of “Lest We Forget.”

Did you know God also instituted opportunities for the Israelite nation to not forget Him and what He has done? Three of them, in fact.  I switched last week’s sermon and this week’s around so I could focus on those three opportunities this week. What are they? Well…I’m glad you asked!  🙂

  1. The Ark of Connection. You read that right. Why do I say that? Because the Ark symbolized God’s presence.  The story is in Joshua 3.
  2. Stones of Remembrance.  That unique story is found in Joshua 4.
  3. An Act of Consecration. You will find that story in Joshua 5.

We all tend to have “memory amnesia” from time to time. The Israelites were no different. God wanted them to remember “lest they forget.” Same goes for us. We all need memory joggers. May Sunday, then Monday, be a time of jogging your memory of God’s goodness to us as His people and then to be thankful for living in this free country.

Have a nice weekend. A fantastic day of worship. A time of memorial on Monday. But in all your celebration, please don’t forget WHO is behind it all.

Commander

Friday, May 18th, 2018

General Norman Schwarzkopf was known as “Stormin’ Norman.”  In preparation for this week’s sermon I read several articles on his military life throughout Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. He definitely has earned the title “great military commander.” In fact, he might pass muster as one of, if not the greatest military mind of his generation. He was very quotable as well:

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow.”

And one more (and this is off the topic of leadership): “I’ve managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, ‘Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.’ ”  🙂

While he stands out as a great military mind and hero, we are studying one right now: Joshua. It takes a leader-a good one- to take over from a leader and be successful. Moses had led the people of Israel for 40 years, but he was now dead and had left the leadership reins in Joshua’s capable hands. He was now the Commander-in-Charge. No, that is not a misprint. Joshua knew the Commander-in-Chief was God.

This Sunday I’m going to take a look at Joshua’s track record (where he proved himself) and then ultimately show that his real power came from his willingness to submit to God in a faith-defining moment (Joshua 5:13-17).  Prayers for this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

GraceLadies

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

In my last post I said I would be preaching on Rahab, a subject which seemed out of sorts for Mother’s Day. I gotta agree but that was not the reason for my changing heart Saturday night.

After a 21+ ride and a quick run to Walmart with Jo we started talking on the way back to the house. She expressed a concern about the source of my topic for Mother’s Day. So even though I was planning a fairly relaxing evening, I worked until almost 9:30 on a sermon and an outline for the Sunday bulletin.

It was still on Abounding Grace but I decided to use Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16 as my Scripture. I’m sure most, if not all of you, know the story behind this passage. There are 5 woman in the lineage of Jesus who are anything but pristine and represent God’s grace in spades.

Tamar– Her complete story is in Genesis 38. Dressed up as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Judah.

Rahab– Her complete story is in Joshua 2 and 6:22-25. A prostitute.

Ruth– a Moabitess (they came from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters after Sodom & Gomorrah). Also a Gentile.

Bathsheba– an adulteress.

Mary– a teenager carrying a baby out of wedlock, one in which the man she was “married” to, was not the father.

Not a very “clean” lineage. Lots of black marks in those five ladies. But God showed them incredible grace and used them in bringing to pass Jesus’ birth.

Grace abounding. For them. For me. For you. Makes me appreciate His grace even more. I’m glad I serve a God of such magnanimous grace.

Transition

Friday, May 4th, 2018

I started writing this post with the title TheGap. But I changed it because there would be those who would troll the internet and see that title then start spamming me on all things related to TheGap, a store I have never even been in. And why would I want to be? I’m not a girl. The two which are mine are way beyond Gap clothes (I think).

So I decided to use Transition because it is probably a better word to use anyway. If you follow my blog you notice a new banner. A new banner means a new sermon series.  As you can see it is called COURAGE, and will be a series from the book of Joshua. My plan right now is for the series to go until the middle of July.

This weekend is on Joshua’s call to fill the gap as Moses’ successor.  Joshua has been with Moses from the beginning and has shown himself to be a great learner and fantastic leader. Joshua 1:1-9, my focus for this weekend, gives four essentials to Joshua’s commissioning as a leader. As a leader, I know I would do well to listen well to this passage.

If you are close by and are able to, I would love to see you. Even if you aren’t, I’d like to challenge you to take the passage and read it and study it. Find those 4 essentials and then make an effort to apply them. Thanks ahead of time for your prayers.

Finishing

Friday, April 27th, 2018

One of the things I want to do is finish well.

I can remember as a kid growing up my parents would say, “Finish what you start.” Quitting was not an option.  When I was in 8th grade I joined the Model Airplane Club. I had a friend who was in it and talked me into it. I had about as much business being in that club as I belong on a catwalk. (I was looking for an extreme). I’m not very detail-oriented and certainly not in “fine” things like cutting balsa wood and building airplanes which are supposed to fly. But I wasn’t allowed to drop out of the class because I had to “finish what I started.”

Paul compares the life of the Christ-follower as a race. The writer of Hebrews talks about “looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” The race we are in is a marathon not a sprint. It is a long-distance run. It is a race which requires endurance and a constant battle against discouragement.

My final sermon in the True North series is “Finishing Well” this Sunday. This will be a good way to wrap up the series and bring closure. Thanks for your prayers.

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.