Doctrine

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#HeStartedIt!

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Who doesn’t remember the sibling arguments of “He started it!” “No I didn’t. He did!” “Nu-uh. He did!” Yours may have been somewhat different in words (that is if you had a sibling), but the idea is the same. Pointing the finger at who started it.

With Adam we can truly say, “He started it” because..well…he did. Go back to the garden in all its pristine beauty. All its harmony. Unblemished. Sort of hard isn’t it? We have no clue what that would be like since for over however-many-years we have had to deal with imperfection and disease and impurity because of sin.  No longer is our “dream world” possible.

We often talk about the fall of Adam and the curse we all have as a result. But we also have a second Adam who took care of that curse by His death on the cross. We were made in the image of God but sin messed that up. Adam is still our father and all of us have been created in God’s image. We are not random particles. We were not and are not an obscure idea. We were not an afterthought. We are not an accident or a chance. Even before I was a glint in my parent’s eye, God knew me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thanks to sin that is all messed up; thanks to the Savior a fix is available.

My sermon series is Yes, They are Real. I’m taking characters of the Bible for the next three months. This month I’m taking the foundation of it all-God, Adam, Eve, and the Deceiver. This week’s message is on Adam. Please feel free to join us in person or via live stream on either YouTube or our Facebook group (you have to ask to join).  We will spend some time talking about Adam, but most of our time will spent with the second Adam. See you then!

#CreatorofAll

Thursday, April 4th, 2024

How do one go about describing the indescribable?  How does the finite describe the infinite? Better yet, where do you start?  Over the next three months it is my hope and prayer to talk about people in the Bible who still influence us today. I’ve titled it Yes, They are Real. They cause us to reflect. They cause us to look inwardly at our motives and actions.  But to begin the series, we have to start with the ONE who created it all and us.

That, of course, is God. He is our Source. He is our Foundation. He is our Beginning Point.  All one needs to do is read Genesis 1:1 and that can be seen: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  My plan this Sunday is to start with a look at God. Certainly not exhaustive (how can it be?).  From there it will be a progression. Adam. Eve. The Deceiver. All in April. In May I plan to spend time the whole month on women (after all Mother’s Day falls in May). In June I plan to spend time with different men (you guessed it…Father’s Day).

Anyway, this week’s message is trying to answer two questions:

  1. What do we need to know about the God of creation?
  2. What does creation reveal?

I hope you will join me either in person or online. We meet at 9:00 and 10:45 and our live stream is at that same time.

#JesusIsVictorious

Thursday, March 28th, 2024

Billy Graham was once interviewed by TIME (remember that?) magazine about Christianity. He replied, “If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the Resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.”  Theologian Peter Kreeft once wrote: “Every sermon preached by every Christian in the NT centers on the Resurrection. The Christian church would have never begun…Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once you disprove it, you have disposed Christianity.”

There have been many efforts of people trying to disprove the resurrection. From liberal religion scholars to people like Thomas Jefferson to other truth deniers, they have all tried. AND. ALL. HAVE. FAILED. You know what is interesting? People will not argue the historicity of the crucifixion. They do believe Jesus died on the cross. (It is kind of hard to deny history, although we do have those in our culture who are trying to redefine it). While they believe Jesus died on the cross, they don’t or have trouble believing Jesus rose from the dead.

With this coming Sunday being Resurrection Sunday, it just stands to reason I would preach a sermon on…well…the Resurrection.  I’m going to spend some time in I Cor. 15:12-19 to show what happens if the resurrection didn’t happen and then I am going to reverse that to see what we have because Christ rose.

We did something different this week. We are meeting at Abram Event Venue, which is just south of us, so we can meet together in one service. However, they do not have internet, so live streaming the service, plus the logistics of getting all the equipment there would have been a nightmare makes that a no-go. So we prerecorded the sermon with some Scripture and Pastor Ryan leading communion. I’d like to invite you to watch the video if you are unable to meet in person with us.  Then I’d like to hear from you. If you are able to join us, our service starts at 10:00.

#IncomparableJesus

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

I love the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. The movie opens with him as a conquering general of the emperor, Marcus Aurelius. When the emperor is killed by his sorry excuse for a son, Commodus, Crowe’s character is banished from the army. He rides home only to find his wife and son have been murdered. As he lays on the ground, he is picked up by slave traders where he is trained to be a Gladiator to fight in the Coliseum. When Gladiator kills the retired undefeated gladiator once known as the greatest of them all, Commodus wants to know who Gladiator is and what is his name. After trying to avoid exposure, he finally removes his helmet and says, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant of the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Let me ask you a question: Who is Jesus…really? Why are people trying so hard to make Him seem less than He is? My focus this Sunday morning is to answer the question of who Jesus is. I’m going to be talking specifically about His Virgin Birth and why it is vital to a person’s belief in the truth of Christianity.  Two thoughts will pervade: Jesus’ birth is incomparable and Jesus’ life is incomparable.

Interested? Please join us in person or via live stream at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.  If you watch, please let us know. Drop me a line via email if you like. I will try to get back to you asap.

#JesusIsGod

Thursday, March 7th, 2024

Sometimes modern scholarship gets it wrong. Sigmund Freud, for example, said, “God was an invention of man.” (I wonder how far that got him?)  Albert Einstein admitted to the existence of a cosmic force in the universe, but concluded it was unknowable.

Sometimes the religious world also gets it wrong. There is no end to what the religious world thinks of God and who He is. And when you get into some of the doctrines of the church, WOW! is about all I can say. If I were take a poll on “What do you think is the most confusing doctrine in the Bible”” it is my honest guess/wager that confusion about the Trinity would be at or near the top of most people’s list.  While the doctrine of the Trinity is a major foundation of the Christian faith, it just may be the hardest to understand.  It is made even tougher because of the “woke” efforts of some to take away or deny Jesus’ divinity.

I KNOW I don’t have all the answers and I certainly KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I fall way short of understanding the Trinity, I’m going to try to talk about it this week. I’m going to use an idea in a book by Todd Miles called “Superheroes Can’t Save You” and try to describe it using what he calls The Ant-Man Heresy. Curious? Tune in Sunday at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. to found out what is going on. The sermon is entitled Jesus Is God. We would love to have you.

Jesus is Real

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

A little over two years ago, a local business had a statement on their sign that I must admit rankled me a bit. In fact, if I were to be honest, it ruffled my feathers (and I have none). The sign consisted of three words, words which startled me and I suspect others because fortunately it didn’t stay up very long. I would like to believe it was because of repentance at the blasphemy, but I’m guessing it was more because of blowback.  Those three words were “Jesus was woke.”

The long version definition of “woke” is “a word to describe someone who, whether consciously or unconsciously, has adopted grievances and activism rooted in Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory, especially related to the intersectional oppression matrix of race, gender, and sexuality.” WHEW! Did you get that? Let me put that in my language: a bunch of crock centered around race, gender, and sexuality that finds its roots in Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory. I could add more but that should suffice. To say Jesus followed Marxism and was concerned about Critical Race Theory is heresy. If you ask me what I think, I will tell you “it comes from the pit of hell and smells like smoke.”

During the month of March I am going to try to tackle some of the more radical ideas about Jesus. This week’s sermon is entitled Jesus is Real. To put it another way: what is it we believe about Jesus? If you care to read ahead, spend some time in I Corinthians 15:1-9. You will find all you need to know about Sunday’s sermon in that passage.

I invite you to join us if you able to in person. If you would like to but find yourself unable to physically join us, please join us online on the church’s FB page or via YouTube. We would love to have you. And make sure to let us know if you watch!

Grace is Offered

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

The mindset of our world can be illustrated by the events surrounding the sinking of Titanic. Not what caused it…that is very much documented. What happened afterwards. Over 1600 people lost their lives and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. When Third Officer Pitman in Boat #5 wanted to return to pick up survivors, those on board overruled him in protest. 40 people in a boat with the capacity of 65 gently rocked on the calm Atlantic. In Boat #2, Fourth Officer Boxhall asked the ladies about going back and they said, “No.” So 60% full, it gently rocked on the Atlantic. On Boat #6, the ladies wanted to go back but Quartermaster Hitchens refused to go back. Of the 18 lifeboats, only one returned. The callous disregard for others gets us to the core.

And yet, is our world much different? I think not. People are in desperate need for grace these days. We are haunted by things we have done-big or small and we long for relief. God offers grace to all, His unmerited favor. Sometimes it is accepted and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is clamored for and sometimes it is turned away.

My sermon this week is Part 3 of the WELCOME HOME…where… series.  WELCOME HOME…where…Grace is Offered. Colossians 1:20-25 will be my Scripture this week. Please join us at 9:00 and 10:45 in person or via the live stream. As a church we can talk about grace; we can teach about grace; we can even go overboard on grace, but what exactly does it mean to be a church that offers GRACE? Come see with us.

Jesus Is Honored

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

Over 100 years ago the famous World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago. D.L. Moody saw it as a great chance for evangelism. He used churches and rented theaters, even a circus tent for various “preaching posts.” His friends wanted him to attack the “Parliament of Religions,” but he refused, saying, “I am going to make Jesus Christ so attractive that men will turn to Him.” He knew that preaching Christ preeminent would do the job. It did. The “Chicago Campaign” is considered to be the greatest evangelistic work of his life, and thousands came to Christ.

How different 100+ years makes! Other than someone like Billy Graham or Greg Laurie, if it doesn’t have a dog and pony show with it, people think it is not successful or won’t draw people. Sadly, churches can get into that same mindset. Instead of solid preaching and lifting up Christ, too many have settled for hype, light shows, and “sermon lite” preaching.

This Sunday’s message-as you can see by the title-is all about Jesus. Colossians 1:15-20 is all about lifting up Jesus and honoring Him.  I’ve got three main thoughts:

Jesus is the Lord of Creation

Jesus is the Head of the Church

Jesus is the Savior of the Cross

Please join us in person or online at 9:00 and 10:45. I pray you have a blessed weekend and find yourself worshiping the King of kings this weekend.

#GospelPreached

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

I start a new series this week that will go to the end of February. I’ve called it WELCOME HOME…where…

Each sermon is part of a reworking of a our Mission and Vision Statement. You can find our Mission and Vision Statements on the church’s website here and here.  This past October, during our 19th Anniversary celebration I shared a story with the people about what had happened during the previous week. I was unable to sleep so I got up and went into my ManCave and picked up my journal on the way there. While there I sensed God “telling” me to write down some stuff. What I wrote down was a reworking of the Mission and Vision statement in a “softer” version.  Here it is for you to see:

WELCOME HOME…where…

The Gospel is Preached

Jesus is Honored

Grace is Offered

Lives are Changed

Obedience is Encouraged

I am going to take each one of these over the next two months and spend a week simply explaining what they mean. I’m “cheating” though; I’m adding two to round it out all the way to the end of February. The series will come from Colossians 1-3 so I will include each week’s Scripture here if you would like to read ahead of time. This week’s Scripture is Colossians 1:3-14. I will also be including I Cor. 1:18-31 and Romans 1:16-17.

I’ll leave you with a quote I will be using:

God is not going to rewrite the Bible for your generation. Stop trying to change Scripture when it’s written to change you.

See you Sunday in person or via live stream at 9:00 and 10:45!

This Is It!

Thursday, December 28th, 2023

How many times did you hear or find yourself saying over the past month: “I can’t believe it is already December.” “I can’t believe it is already Christmas. It seems like we just celebrated it.”  We use the well-worn phrase, “My, my, how time flies.” And it certainly applies to the calendar.

The phrase fits many aspects of our lives. EXCEPT when it comes to the return of Christ. Then…  It seems like to the question should be, “How long can you wait?” I mean, it has been over 2000+ years since Jesus said He was returning and here we are in 2023 (almost 2024) and still waiting.

Over the next few days there will be plenty of people talking about the new year and what lies ahead. Or maybe I ought to say, “Will be wondering what lies ahead.” Of course, no one knows. Only God, the Father, does. And He ain’t tellin’! 🙂  One assurance we do have though is carved in stone: Jesus will come back. The only caveat to that is no one knows when. Except, you guessed it, the Father in heaven. It never ceases to amaze me how people can “prophesy” about the date or the time or the year that Jesus will return when Jesus Himself did not know. WOW!

This Sunday, I will be talking about two vital truths followers of Christ can pound a nail through: 1) He is with us.  The whole Christmas story taught us that.  That was the whole meaning behind the name Emmanuel (God with us). And 2) He is coming again. The old song said, “May be morning/may be noon/may be evening and may be soon.” I firmly believe that. But I also firmly believe that NO ONE knows when. Cults have been formed and still thrive based on the crazy belief that they know.  I will take a simple stand: Galatians 4:4 tells us Jesus came the first time when the time was right. He will come the second time when the time is right.

I’d like to ask you to join us via live stream on the church FB page or via YouTube. You can go to the church’s website to connect with us in that way if you prefer. If you live around Spencer, please feel free to join us in person. I would love to meet you.