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#UnexpectedDawn

Thursday, December 29th, 2022

Every seven years it happens.  Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sunday. So…let me be the first to wish you a Happy 2023.

I started a week later than planned on my Christmas series because I was doing a series on the Feasts of the OT and had to wait a week due to having a guest speaker. So that put me behind for the 4-week series I had planned. Rather than cut it short, I decided to run it into the new year and simply take up the first Sunday with the final one. I’ve called it The Unexpected Dawn as part of my Expect the Unexpected series.

What will 2023 bring? Of course, no one really knows. Only God does and He isn’t telling!!  🙂  There are certain things I am sure of though.

God is Present.

God is Sovereign.

God is Omniscient.

God is the One who is ultimately in control. 

We often hear people going into a new year making all sorts of resolutions. I stopped doing that years ago. I know me. I know I will break them quickly and then feel shame. So I stopped making resolutions and started asking God what He wants me to do for Him this coming year.  One way that has helped me is it has given me an “eye” for is seeing God work in ways I never dreamed of. It has also helped me to realize that “tomorrow will be a better day.”

The dawn of the coming of Messiah was something prophets predicted and people waited for.  That day finally came and sadly, many were not looking, ready for it, or denying it was here. There was a group of people who didn’t have that feeling. They saw a star and chose to follow it. We know them as the magi or wise men.  The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were a glimpse ahead of who and what this child would become.

He would usher in a new period, a new age, a new identity, a new message of good news for all people. 2023  lies ahead of us. What message will we carry?  Please join us at 9 and 10:45, either in person or via live stream, to hear the final sermon for 2022 as we consider the Unexpected Dawn which the Savior will usher in.

Happy New Year 2023!!!

#Feasts#Reminders

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

None of you are as old as me who read this. That means I am as “old as dirt” to quote someone recently.  It also means that I need reminders from time to time. I have noticed that I tend to write things down a whole lot more than I used to.  I am so thankful for post-it-notes! 🙂

We all need reminders from time to time. Forgetting is not something relegated to older people.  Going into a room and not remembering why you went there is not cordoned off for just old people. If that happens to me, I just go back out and then hope I will remember. Or sometimes I look around the room hoping it will jog my memory. “Tricks of me trade my boy, tricks of me trade.”  I heard that once. Oh yeah, on MacGyver (the original).

The two feasts we will be looking at this week are feasts of remembrance. Yom Kippur (aka the Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (aka the Feast of Booths).  Both feasts played a big part in helping the Jewish people to remember what God had done, how faithful He had been.

My desire this week is to show why these feasts held such a prominent place in the lives of the Israelites and how they can serve as a reminder to us of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness.  I think they fit nicely into the whole idea of being thankful (which this Thanksgiving holiday is all about).  I hope to see you in person at 9 and 10:45 or, if not, then via live stream at the same times.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

#RealRevival

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

I also posted a good part of this on my other blog, Living in the Shadow, but I have made a few changes to this particular post.

Very recently I read an exciting and interesting new book by Pastor Greg Laurie. It is called Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus: The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll

To borrow from Bill and Ted: “It was a most excellent book.”

Strange name I know, but it was a book about those three musical icons, their contemporaries and how they felt about Jesus. Pastor Greg also wrote about other rock icons-Morrison, Hendrix, Joplin (who were all part of the dubious 27 Club because they all died when they were 27 years old), as well as others. He wrote about Jesus’ influence on different rock and roll artists- their acceptance, rejection, falling away, and embracing-of Jesus.

After reading that refreshing, sometimes sad, but still refreshing book, I decided to go back and read again another book by Greg which I had read back in 2018 called Jesus Revolution.

Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today

I only started it last night so I can’t say much about it. However, chapter 1 began with this quote:

There can’t be any large scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level.  it’s got to happen inside first.

Who said that? Hold onto your hat when I tell you. Jim Morrison.

Shocked? Yeah…me too.

Sounds like some religious jargon doesn’t it? How many times have you heard or said something like, “Real revival must start with me.” It’s true. Real revival, real renewal, must begin within each one of us, starting with me. Real revival is a revolution, a radical changing of my heart and mind to being conformed to the image of Christ. To borrow and reword Jim Morrison’s words: It’s an inside job.

You see, I think the world (and the church to some extent), has seen enough of, and had enough of, fake “works of God.” I know I have had enough of pretenders (and that includes me from time to time).  We see the garbage and hucksterism on TV for what passes for faith, and we hear of crusades (not Harvest Crusades put on my Greg Laurie) with all the showy junk, that we are literally sick of it. 

I know I’m sick of what passes for “God’s work” and “God’s words.”  Sort of makes me sick to my stomach.

Revival, or a move of God, is much more than “You don’t do this” or “You don’t do that” or “You must act a certain way” or “You must belong to a certain political party.”  No. Revival is a radical change within a person’s heart. THAT is what the world wants and needs to see.

Jim Morrison was right. We need Someone to light our fire. It’s not a baby (babe). It’s the King of kings setting us on fire with a fire of epic proportions. That is one that will set the night on fire by bringing the light of Christ to its darkness.

That the real thing. Authentic. Life-changing. White hot change-maker.

“Start with me, Father. Set me on fire.”

#Faithfulness#Won’tStartNow

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Last week I post a song by Arrows entitled The Lion Still Roars. You can see it here. It a great song to begin the day with. I have actually found myself listening to it during my workout at the Y.

Well…here comes another song which is totally different. It comes from a group called Honor and Glory, which features several members of the Christian rock band, Disciple. But before that turns you off, give this song a listen. I do believe you will be pleasantly surprised.  Honor and Glory is the name of the band consisting of a few members of Disciple and others who play or sing in their worship band in their church. They decided to get together to do a worship album. Phenomenal album!  This song is one of my favorite cuts, largely due to the power and truth of the lyrics. Another song, Jesus We Love You, will bring you to worship.

Anyway, here is the song Won’t Start Now by Honor and Glory. Let me know what you think.  Sorry there is no version with lyrics but I’m pretty sure you won’t need them.

#BloodofJesus

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

After preaching on The Cross is Still the Cross this past Sunday, and knowing this is “Holy Week” i.e. the last week of Jesus on earth before His crucifixion, I was struck by the words to an old hymn.  Honestly, I am not into many hymns because much of what I sang as a youngster fit more in the Spiritual songs genre. But there are some hymns which are real diamonds…diamonds we ought to mine and never forget. Here is one of them:

“What can wash away by sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus/What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

Chorus:

O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow/No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ For my cleansing, this my plea, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/Naught of good that I have done, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow/No other found I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Words and music Robert Lowry

A blast from the past. But what a punch! Remember this truth as you celebrate the death of Jesus this week.

#CrossStilltheCross

Friday, April 8th, 2022

On March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling almost a quarter-million gallons of oil into the sea. Cleanup removed all visible traces of the oil spill within a year. But now scientists believe some of the methods used actually harmed the ecology of the area rather than helped it. The plankton and other microbial organisms may take another decade from now to return to normal.

Looking back at that disaster, it seems almost ironic that the whole story makes a fitting illustration of self-reform and the necessity of divine grace for cleansing from sin.  To the progressives, the cross is one of the most offensive elements in historic Christian teaching. They simply cannot and will not accept or believe God would sacrifice His Son for others.

For the orthodox (small “o” not big “O”) follower of Jesus, the cross is absolutely essential.  I will be sharing the teachings (translated: heresy) of the progressives while comparing them to what the Bible says.  Examples used will be William Paul Young (The Shack), Steve Chalke, Rob Bell (yes, that infamous one), Richard Rohr, and Brian McLaren.  I believe you will be shocked what they say about the crucifixion and the cross.

And by the way: do you know what penal substitutionary atonement is? They don’t either.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday in person, or if not, then via live stream.

#GodisStillGod

Friday, March 18th, 2022

In his book titled God:Coming Face to Face with His Majesty, John MacArthur tells an old fable about six men blind from birth who lived in India. One day they decided to visit a nearby palace. When they arrived, there was an elephant standing in the courtyard. The first blind man touched the side of the elephant and said, “An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man touched the trunk and said, “An elephant is like a snake.” The third blind man touched the tusk and said, “An elephant is like a spear.” The fourth blind man touched the leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree.” The fifth blind man touched the ear and said, “An elephant is like a fan.” The sixth blind man touched the tail and said, “An elephant is like a rope.” Because each blind man touched only one part of the elephant, none of them could agree on what an elephant is really like.

That analogy can be used to describe how many people have misconceptions about what God is really like. I’m not sure that misconception is not any more apparent than in today’s progressive movement.  Their idea of God is so messed up and off track that it takes some doing to try to reign it in.  That really isn’t anything new when you think about it. Freud once said, “God was an illusion.” Voltaire said, “He is an invention of man.” Some say He is a mean, hateful entity, a child-abuser. Jesse Ventura said, “God and religion are a crutch.” Stephen Hawking said, “There is no heaven or afterlife…that is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.” Richard Dawkins called God a “moral monster.”  I believe those and others have already found out or will find out He exists and does not fit their description.

I’m continuing my series on Truth Decay with this week’s message titled “God is Still God.” I would love to have you join us in person or by live stream.  You can see it live at 9 and 10:45 on the church’s YouTube channel or FB page or watch it later on both of those as well.  Either way I would love to have you pray for us.

#BigCats#Afraid?#LoyaltyandFaithfulness

Friday, February 11th, 2022

One of the most familiar stories in the Bible is the story of Daniel and the big cats.  Tragically, as time has moved on the story of Daniel has been relegated to not being a true story. It is seen by many “scholars” as nothing more than a folk tale or fable to tell little children, sort of like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It is seen as nothing more than a made-up, make-believe story.  The reasons people give are many and varied in their weight, but I’ll stand by the truth that this is a real story, that Daniel and Darius were real people, and that this story shows the power of God even over the mouths of animals.

The story of Daniel is the story of a man who refuses to bow down to ridiculous measures enacted by jealous, spiteful, little people. (Not little as in stature but little in being petty and jealous). It is the story of a man pushing 80 years of age, who is condemned to death in a most gruesome manner because he chooses loyalty to God over obedience to the state. While it is true that Daniel’s faithfulness stands as an example to us of taking a stand regardless of the consequences, it also boldly declares that God is able to do far more than we can think or imagine. I’m thinking Daniel’s attitude was the same as his 3 Hebrew friends who told King Nebuchadnezzar that they believe they will be saved by God but if not, they still won’t bow to his idol. Daniel may have thought the same.

The big focus of this story should not be on Daniel. It must be on the God who shut the mouths of the lions. My sermon is entitled Who’s Afraid of Big Cats and is from Daniel 6. Please read ahead to be prepared. I would love to have you join us in person, but if you are unable to do so, please join us via live stream at 9 and 10:45.  If you can do neither, then your prayers would be much appreciated.

#SignLanguage#Finished

Friday, February 4th, 2022

Have you ever heard or had someone say something like this to you: “I know there is not a God because I cursed Him and said if you are real then strike me dead. He didn’t so that proves that God is not real”?  Seriously? How lame is that? First, unless that person did it in front of others no one would know. Second, that person ought to be grateful God didn’t honor his request. Sadly, he/she would have found out how real God was and it would not have been pretty.  And another thing: that really proves nothing. Even humans are capable of resisting foolish requests.

 God is pretty patient. But there are some cases where His patience runs out. Enter Belshazzar in Daniel 5. One can mock God for only so long before Galatians 6:7 comes true: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap.”  Daniel 5 leaves us a glaring illustration of mockery come to fruition.

My sermon for this Sunday is a continuation of my series in Daniel called Against the Grain.  This one is titled Sign Language. Despite the expected snow, we plan to have two in-person services this Sunday. I would love to have you join us in person, but if that is not possible, we will be live streaming both services. If you can do neither, please pray for me, for us. Thanks.

#Nailed!#Pride

Friday, January 21st, 2022

Perhaps you have heard the saying “Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the person who has it.” It is hard to argue with the simple truth of that statement.

I’d like to go on record as saying this: Nothing is every wasted. No plan or word of God’s is ever wasted. God is not a God of random acts. He is not a God of random, disconnected lessons.  So what is the purpose of Daniel 4 and Nebuchadnezzar’s vision? Repeat: lesson never wasted. He needed to learn a lesson about pride and God was going to teach it. But man, was it brutal! 

If you are following the series of Against the Grain you will notice that I am out of order. My original plan was to preach Daniel 3 this week (fiery furnace) and this sermon on the 30th. But the 5th Sunday is a Family Worship Sunday and the elementary kids will be in with us. So rather than do this and possibly scare some of the kids with the dreams Nebuchadnezzar had, I switched sermons.

Another development has come up as well. All of Indiana is in the RED so we are offering just live stream this week. Remember the change in time though: 10:00.

Thanks most of all for your prayers.