February, 2022

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#ExclamationPoint#Ending!

Friday, February 25th, 2022

Have you ever wondered what sets someone apart from others? I’m not talking about financially, athletically, or socially. I’m talking spiritually. Why do some excel in their walk with Christ and others don’t? Why do some keep growing while others stagnate?

Seventeenth century Puritan, John Owen, once said, “What an individual is in secret, on his knees before God, that he is and no more.”

If that is true, and I tend to believe it is, Daniel is quite an example for us.  He must have spent hours upon his knees in secret.  In this final sermon in the Against the Grain series, I think it is only fitting to see what led to Daniel’s “staying power.”  I asked myself these questions: “What was it that gave him the strength; how was he able to go against pressure; how was he able to take whatever was thrown at him; how was he able to go against the grain of popular opinion and the threat of reprisal and come out as a shining example of what it take to follow God?”

I believe the secret is found in Daniel 9. Join us as we worship and study this Exclamation Point.

#Hint#WeWin!!

Friday, February 18th, 2022

I am not a gamer. I don’t play Candy Crush. Halo. Fortnite. Madden. Or any other game. I once found myself staying up way too late playing a game back in the 80s and said, “Never again.” I sold the Atari (remember those?) and never looked back. I had a friend once try to get me to try this game where I was the pilot, but after about 5-10 minutes I said, “I’m done.”  Part of the problem at the time was that I hated to lose and knew my competitive juices would start flowing. I also did not want to waste time playing a game when I could be doing something else.

Now, there is nothing wrong with gaming. Or winning. Sports is based on that premise. But when it becomes an all-consuming passion, it is time retire that desire.  One thing is certain: in every contest there is a winner and a loser. Even in a tie!! Think about it: someone did better than they or anyone thought; someone did worse than they or anyone thought. 🙂

What is the Christ-follower supposed to think about the future? We know there is going to be one. But do we know what is going to happen? Can we know what to expect? Daniel 7 is God’s vision of the future to Daniel, one which totally frightens him.  My sermon this Sunday is entitled Hint: We Win, and while we cannot know all that is going to happen, one thing we do know for sure: we will win.

I would love to have you join me this Sunday, but I know some of you can’t. Least not in person. So I hope you will join us live stream. Preaching on prophecy is a new thing for me so I most definitely will appreciate any prayers you might send up for me. 🙂

#Love#Power

Monday, February 14th, 2022

Anyone who knows me well knows that my favorite trilogy of movies is Back to the Future.  I have been without a TV or Blu-Ray player for close to two years now since I gave mine away to someone I thought needed it more than me. So it has been almost that long since I have been able to watch them.

The first has an iconic song that plays very well all year long but is especially relevant today. I realize I could have picked any number of “Christian” songs to highlight but I decided to be a bit different.

So for today, I give you this song.

For a further discussion of the kind of love described in the Bible check out my other blog here.

#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.