Preaching

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#FamilyDysfunction

Friday, July 19th, 2019

I’ve been absent from this blog this week for a reason. While I have some things churning in my mind, I decided to let them soak a bit more.  For example, the crybaby athletes who think they aren’t getting paid enough. The belligerence of Megan Rapinoe, who does nothing more than play a game, but refuses to put her hand over her heart when the national anthem is being played. “Punishing” a soccer player because her faith would not allow her to wear the Pride colors as a uniform. Reading Costi Hinn’s new book on the Prosperity Gospel and the disgust that boils and wants to come to the surface. Yeah…don’t get me started.  I need time.  🙂

So, let’s go to something else. Sunday’s sermon. I am starting a new series within my theme-of-the-year: “Unsinkable.” My original intention was to put this under Heroes (my last series) but I’m going to be spending several weeks, almost two months on this, so I decided to rename it and pursue another angle.  My subject will be Joseph. My series will be called Icebergs.  It was an iceberg that sank Titanic and it is icebergs that will sink our faith as well.  Joseph’s life is one iceberg after another and I want to use them as a catalyst to teach us how we too can overcome those things that will trip us up if we allow them to.

This Sunday, as you can see by the title, is on his dysfunctional family. I plan to trace his family from the beginning to his present state and show how he overcame a lousy beginning to become the patriarch and the man he did.  Your prayers would be appreciated.

#Chosen#ForSuchaTime

Friday, July 12th, 2019

At different times in history, people have risen to the occasion. Jesus ascended and 12 men rose to become leaders in the fledgling new church. The church is ruled by the papacy and several men, the most prominent being Martin Luther, rose up to challenge works-oriented salvation and the corruption which was so rampant. In the 1880’s a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln steered our nation during the ugly Civil War and birthing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Martin Luther King, Jr rose up to challenge the lack of equality of races. The history of our country is filled with heroes who were there for “such a time as this” and I’m sure you could come up with your own favorite person and story.

The phrase “for such a time as this” comes from the book of Esther when Mordecai challenged Esther to go before the king and intervene on behalf of the Jewish people that Haman wanted to eradicate. I think that phrase fits the bill when talking about a woman named Deborah mentioned in Judges 4-5. She became the reluctant leader when Barak refused to take command without Deborah’s backing. It was time to cast off the mantle of Jabin and Sisera that had been choking the Israelite nation.

My sermon Sunday will be looking at this whole scenario and how Deborah, like Esther, became the answer to “for such a time as this. ” Your prayers would be appreciated.

A side note: “Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and to like it.” Harry Truman.

#LittlePeople#YouMatter

Friday, July 5th, 2019

It is not unusual to hear people say they feel insignificant. They feel unseen. Or they feel small. I’m not insinuating at all by the hashtag above that “little people” are insignificant. A little person plays a very significant part in one of my favorite shows on TV: MacGyver.  And one of the funniest lines said to me recently by a young boy maybe 4-5 years old is when I said Hi to him, he looked at me and said, “What you looking at flopdoodle?” His mother about died on the spot. She was mortified since she had only been coming to the church for a couple weeks. I howled. It is from the “Little Napoleon” in The Greatest Showman.  It’s a running joke with us now.

People serving God often feel insignificant. They keep thinking they ought to do something bigger. But I am not interested in people looking for the next great thing to do. I love seeing people take care of the littlest thing and taking great pride and joy in it.

My sermon this Sunday is the first of two from Judges. I could have spent weeks in that book but I wanted to stick with my theme of Heroes and keep it short because of the series coming next. So this week my sermon will be from Judges 3:7-31. Three household names: Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar.  🙂

I will have spent the week in Ohio helping to clean Jo’s sister’s apartment so the normal interaction with people and personal connection I like will not be there. But I’m trusting God to bless the meager effort I make to present His Word. I’d appreciate your prayers.  Thanks.

#I’mHere#InthePit

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

After being gone all week to Ohio to help Jo take care of her sister’s things and apartment, I am here for one day.  Her sister was back in the hospital this past week and Jo took care of some legal stuff while I worked a lot at her apartment. I think we made some good progress and with some hard work should be able to finish the labor-intensive part of the clean-up. We were able to have several large items hauled off this past Friday (which included a stove and refrigerator).  The dumpster comes tomorrow (Monday) at 9:00 and then I suspect we will really notice a difference.  I haven’t minded too much doing the work. I know it is helping Jo and it is giving me time to listen to music and work alone but the worst part is her apartment has no A/C. Yeah. You heard that right. NO A/C.  The temps hit the high ’80s this past week and no air was moving so it was quite sweltering. The worst part was at night. We so looked forward to sleeping in air conditioning Friday and last night. We head back today for another week of the same conditions but hopefully it will bring some closure for Jo. By the way: Vicki has been released and is back in the long-term facility.

My sermon today is a follow up to last week’s on the Marks of Integrity.  This one is about the story we have probably heard since we were children.  But there is so much more than Daniel in the lion’s den.  It seems unjust for Daniel to suffer as he did. It seems unjust for people today to suffer for doing good. Or to suffer needlessly (children, sex trafficking, etc). But Daniel serves as a great example to us of how we can survive in a pit with lions.

I know you are probably getting this after the fact but I’d still like to ask you to pray. I pray each week my sermons will last longer than my breath on Sunday. Please pray for that today. And while you are at it, please pray for me and Jo this week. Travel. Working. Her state of mind as she works through all this…aaaah…garbage that keeps getting thrown in her face.  Thanks.

#IntegrityMatters

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Having gone through more than any man should ever go through and possibly more than I have ever known anyone to endure, he said something to me I have never forgotten. He had been a full-time and now was a weekend warrior Marine.  He had been falsely accused of a crime, proven innocent 3 times but his wife ran to another state against court orders.  Her state refused to honor the Indiana court order. He spent all he had. Cashed in all he could. All to fight for his girls. One day we were spending some time walking and talking and he said, “Bill, I would live with a barrel around my waist if it meant I had my girls with me.”

He wanted to live a life of integrity. A father’s group told him to take his girls and run. He didn’t. Her lawyer couldn’t believe his story never changed. Truth-tellers don’t have to worry about that. Only liars do (and hers changed a lot).

Integrity is missing today. Corporations. Schools. Organizations. TV preachers. Pastors. Churches. Say what? Yep, those last two hurt to type. Used to be the pastor was the one most respected in the community. Not any more. And can you blame them?

Daniel was a man of integrity. My sermon this week is called Integrity Matters. I’ll be looking at Daniel 6:1-17 this week. I’d appreciate your prayers for dry weather and for our gathering.

#Providence#Luck?

Friday, May 31st, 2019

“Man, I was so lucky I was not standing where I had been. That thing would have fallen on me.” “I just happened to be there at the right time and in the right place.”

Those are the kind of statements we make concerning events that take place in our lives.  Maybe it was a close call. Maybe it was a desperate need we had. Maybe we felt alone and was ready to do something drastic. It isn’t unusual to hear people talk about luck or chance or happenstance. I do not believe in luck or chance or happenstance in the follower of Christ’s life.

Chuck Swindoll defines providence as

The events of our lives are not ruled by chance or blind fate by our loving Lord and Savior, who works out His plan and His purposes in the lives of all His children.

My sermon Sunday will from Romans 8:28-30, home of one of the most well-known, most-memorized and oft misunderstood passages in the Bible. There is some powerful truth in those verses and I hope to bring those truths out this Sunday. Your prayers would be appreciated.

Security

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

If i were to ask you what, in your mind, is the most dangerous philosophy we face today, what would you say? In days gone I might get answers like Nazism. Socialism. Communism. White Supremacism. Liberalism.  And maybe you can think of another.

But I am inclined to believe that the most dangerous philosophy we face is Humanism. On the surface it looks good. It is good we can celebrate the advances we have made, but it also gives a false hope that all things can be solved by human ingenuity. Like the words to the opening of ’70s TV show Six Million Dollar Man: “We can make him better. We can rebuild him.” So we have this crazy idea that we can solve anything…which leads to the ultimate conclusion we don’t need God.

And yes, it has infiltrated the church. “God helps those who help themselves.” How many do you know who believe that is in the Bible? Or we adopt this idea we can work our way to heaven. “Just be nice to people. Tolerate all beliefs.” Talk about poppycock human thought! Of course, the question that comes is “Good according to whom?” “I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps. I don’t need help, especially God” is another lie.

The ultimate question is “Can God be trusted?” In this week’s sermon from Romans 8:31-39, Paul takes to task those who doubt God is sufficient.  I’m going to approach this Scripture seeking to look at a series of questions Paul asks (4 + 1)  so we can see God is on our side.  I would appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

#Submissive#Suffering

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Last week (Saturday morning to be exact)  after posting the following blog on Friday, I sensed God impressing upon me to change my sermon to preach on A Wise Woman.  You can read about that here. So I pushed back one week the “wannabe preached” sermon to this week. So I’m just refreshing the post a bit and using it this weekend. Not much has changed except I’m adding a song at the end of this post for you to enjoy.

Those two words are seldom seen together. I mean, who in their right mind would want to be submissive to suffering? But perhaps we need to take a second look.

In his book, Suffering, Paul David Tripp wrote:

Physical suffering exposes the delusion of personal autonomy and self-sufficiency.

If you and I had the kind of control we tend to think we have, none of us would ever-and I mean ever-have to go through anything difficult. I would not have chosen to be hit by a hit-n-run driver and suffer the consequences of his misguided actions. And I certainly would not have chosen to have another accident just over 3 months later that was more devastating than the first.

Suffering is part and parcel of life.  I like what someone has said: “Suffering is inevitable; misery is optional.” No matter how “charmed” a life someone may seem to be leading, suffering will be involved in some way. No one escapes it.

What makes a difference is how we respond to it. That is my point this week as I look at Sermon #3 from Romans 8. Romans 8:18-27 will be my Scripture for this week. Your prayers for me to clearly preach the message of suffering and for light bulbs to go on the minds and hearts of the people would be much appreciated. Thanks.

And here is that song. I’m going to show this before I start preaching. Enjoy.

#ILied

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Yeah…I lied. Well, not on purpose. It’s funny what a pastor will do when God steps in and stops him from doing what he had worked so hard to do.

Yeah…that be me. And God.

Saturday morning I was studying for my sermon when I “heard” this voice say, “Hey Bill! put that aside. I have something else for you to do.”

“Say what?”

“Yeah. I want you to put that prepared sermon aside and I want to preach on something else.”

“God, is this you? Am I hearing you correctly?’

“Yes, it’s Me. And yes, you are hearing me correctly. I want you to preach on something else. I had you read and blog about David, Nabal and Abigail on Friday for a reason. Now I want you to put it to use.”

“And how so?”

“I want you to preach what I tell you to preach on Sunday. I don’t want you to focus on mothers but on women in all stages of life. ”

So I did. I called the sermon A Wise Woman and used I Samuel 25 as my Scripture. Shortly after the sermon is done you can find it on the church’s website and listen to the podcast.  I hope you find it challenging and good for your heart, especially if you are a woman.

As for the sermon on Suffering from Romans 8: 18-27? Stay tuned next week for it.  There was an old commerical: “When EF Hutton speaks everybody listens.” Well…when God speaks Bill has to listen.

#RightMind

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Last week I encouraged the folks to lose their minds. This week I plan to encourage them to be in their right mind. And now you are wondering about mine!  🙂

Most of us use some type of debit or credit card. I only have a debit card. I followed Dave Ramsey and the only thing I owed on was my house, but then life hit. Jo’s SUV we bought and she had for several years blew up with 230,000 miles on it. Then the SUV I had for 115,000 miles was going to cost an arm and a leg to fix and since I didn’t have one to spare I took out a loan on a truck. The replacement vehicle we bought for Jo looked like a golf ball from the hail but we bought it at a good price and made some minor repairs and paid it off. But we had a friend who needed a car badly so we gave it to her, signed title and all. Then the Cube we bought with 110,000 miles on it got hit in the side then started doing weird things engine-wise. There goes no loan. So now we have a house loan and 2 vehicle loans.

Not all debt is bad though. For example, the Bible says, “Owe no man nothing, except to love.” Debts of gratitude are good to have. If someone does something for you that quite literally might have saved your life, you will feel you owe a debt of gratitude. Living life as a Christ-follower should follow that line of thinking. I do because I want to, not because I have to or feel forced to.

Last week I talked about losing our minds, i.e will I have the mind of the flesh or the mind of the Spirit? This week I want to take that thought a bit further. What does it mean to have the mind of the Spirit. Better yet, how can I have the mindset of a Spirit-controlled person? I will be in Romans 8 for 5 weeks. (I added a week this week while studying). This week is verses 12-17. The emphasis will be sanctification. Your prayers would be much appreciated.