Archive for January, 2014

God Delivers and Forgives

January 20, 2014

We do not believe in a second-rate god.  Our God is an awesome God who is able to do even more than we ask or think.

I.  God Created:  Psalms 33:6-9

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

There are many people who say that they feel close to God when they are in nature.  Romans tells us that the attributes of God can be seen in the things that He created. (c.f. Romans 1:20)

The Bible begins with the words ” In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  (Genesis 1:1)  For generations, this fact was questioned by very few.  The existence of the natural world was used as a primary argument for the existence of God. The evolutionary theory was the first serious threat to this belief.  Since it was introduced, it has gone from a scandalous, ludicrous idea, to a theory that is widely accepted by the scientific and academic community.  Actually, tremendous pressure is brought upon people to conform to this belief.  However, there is  a return to faith  among many within the scientific community.  Lee Strobel’s book “The Case for a Creator” does a wonderful job of provided current scientific support for belief in a creator.

We can believe what the Bible says.  Our God is able to create the world out of nothing, by a simple spoken phrase.  He is an awesome God.

II.  God Delivers:  Psalms 37:3-8

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

I am glad that our money still contains the phrase “In God We Trust”.  We regularly need to be reminded that we should not place our trust in our own strength and abilities, or in some organization, or government.  Our trust is well-placed when we trust in God.

We should do what is good, what is right in the sight of God.  It is never right to do wrong, nor wrong to do right.

We should delight ourselves in God.  I love to gather together with other believers and join together in worship of the King of Kings.  The world does not offer anything that compares with entering into the presence of God in worship.

When God is our first love, God gives us the desires of our heart.  First, of course is a sense of His presence in our lives, but God also blesses us in a whole variety of ways with the good gifts of this world.

Commit our ways to God, and He will bring it to pass.  We should not give up on our dreams!  If the dream is given by God, then God will bring it to pass.  God will give us the wisdom and strength to do what He calls us to do.

Rest and wait.  When we have done what we are called to do, we should rest and wait for God to do what only God can do.  If we become impatient and try to speed up the timing of God, we may create problems for ourselves.

Cease from anger.  “The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.”  This is a lifelong challenge for many of us.

Do not fret.  You cannot worry and trust God at the same time.

Trust in God.  He is able to deliver what He has promised.

III.  God Forgives:  Psalms 51:10-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

This psalm was written by David after he had committed adultery and murder.  God is willing to forgive us our sins when we turn to Him in repentance and faith.  He will restore our joy and help us to turn from our sins, to be the people He has called us to be.

The change in our lives can then inspire others to turn to God.  As others are drawn to God, we can teach them about His goodness.

Our God is an awesome God who delivers and forgives.

These are the sermon notes from 1/19/14.  Any advertisements that follow are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

The Path of Life

January 16, 2014

God will lead us down the path of life, but will we follow His direction?

I.  Two Paths:  Psalms 1:1-6

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

There seems to be only two kinds of people, the godly and the ungodly.  Clearly, the godly people are blessed, while the ungodly will perish.  If we believe the scriptures, we will certainly want to be godly people, so that we may enjoy the blessings of the Lord.

II.  Joyful Trust:  Psalms 5:11-12

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

A godly person is one who trusts in God.  One who trusts in the Lord may expect their lives to be filled with the joy of the Lord.  We are not meant to be miserable people, simply enduring this life while we hope for the next.  There will be times of testing, but our lives should be marked by the blessings of God.  We should remember that the problems of this life are temporary, but the blessings of the Lord are forever.

III.  The Path of Life:  Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A godly person follows the path of life.  Here again there is a promise of joy in the life of the believer.  Here, the responsibility is placed on God to show us the path of life.  God is faithful, and He will reveal to us what we need to know.  We need to be faithful to continue to choose to follow the direction of the Lord.  God shows us the path.  He does not force us down it.  We should accept His invitation to follow Him.  It is in our best interest.

IV.  Prayer:  Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

This should be a prayer of all godly people.  It is not just our actions, but our words and even the thoughts of our heart should be pleasing in the sight of God.

V.  Teach Us:  Psalms 25:8-11

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Godly people are taught by God.  Following the path of life is an ongoing learning experience.  God will teach us His ways.  It is a lifelong process.  We recognize that we fall short and need forgiveness.  We recognize that we do not know everything.   There is always more to learn.

VI.  Wait On The Lord:  Psalms 27:11-14

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Godly people wait on the Lord.  Life can be hard at times.  Do not lose heart.  Wait on the Lord.  He will strengthen us as we spend time in His presence.  He will give us wisdom and strength.  Wisdom to know what to do; and strength enough to do it.

God offers wonderful blessings to those who chose to follow Him down the path of life.

These are the sermon notes from 1/12/14.

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Patient Endurance

January 9, 2014

Christians sometimes must patiently endure.  Life is not always easy.

I.  Patient Endurance: Hebrews 6:9-15

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

God has not forgotten us.  He is aware of the faithful service that we have rendered to Him.  We need to diligently continue in hope, faith and patience.  If the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives are delayed, we must not lose hope.  God is faithful.  We should be like Abraham and patiently endure, knowing that what God has promised, He is faithful to deliver.

II.  Do Not Cast Away:  Hebrews 10:35-39

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

The Christian journey is difficult at times.  God allows tests and trials to come our way to try our faith.  Mature Christians are not exempt.  If anything, their tests are more severe, as they should be, since their faith has had an opportunity to develop.  We must not give up.  We walk by faith, not by sight.  We patiently endure the times of testing and trial, knowing that they have an end.  God’s love and mercy, on the other hand, will never end.

III.  Run With Endurance: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

The first thing that we should do to make our ‘race’ easier is to lay aside the sinful practices that will trip us up.  As we become aware of sin in our live, we should repent and ask God to help us change.

Secondly, we can lay aside the weights that slow us down.  There are things in our lives that do not need to be there.  We must ask for wisdom from above to know what things should remain in our lives, and what things should be set aside.

Most importantly, we should look to Jesus as our example.  He patiently endured the cross, knowing that it was God’s plan for Him and for the world.  We too, should endure hardship, as good soldiers of Christ.

If your life is going through a difficult time of testing and trial, do not lose hope.  Do not be discouraged.  God is still with you.  God has not abandoned you.  Patiently endure the times of testing, knowing that God is still with you.  He loves you and will give you the wisdom and strength that you need to face the challenges that come your way.

These are the sermon notes from 1/5/14.  You are welcome to ask questions or post comments.

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Make a Difference

January 7, 2014

Our lives impact those around us.

Introduction:  Impact- Job 35:4-8

“I will answer you,
And your companions with you.
Look to the heavens and see;
And behold the clouds—
They are higher than you.
If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him?
Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him?
If you are righteous, what do you give Him?
Or what does He receive from your hand?
Your wickedness affects a man such as you,
And your righteousness a son of man.

Our lives do have an impact on those around us.  Our sins hurt people.  Our righteous acts can help people.  We make a difference.   All of us.

I.  Let Your Light Shine:  Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

This is one of my favorite verses.  Here it is clearly stated that our light is our good works.  People cannot see our thoughts, but they can hear our words, and observe our deeds.  We should pray that what they hear and see in our lives will be the light of Christ shining through us.

II.  A Living Faith Produces Works:  James 2:15-18

 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

One of the charges that I hear most frequently is that the church is full of hypocrites.  May God help us to live out in our lives the faith that we confess with our lips.  May we be not simply hearers of the word, but doers of the word.  If we have a living faith, then the Spirit of Christ is dwelling within us.  If that is true, our lives should be changed.  We should live a life that is filled with good works, not because we are trying to be saved, but because we are saved.

The most important thing that we can do is to love God, and the people around us.  This is an attitude that is expressed in our actions.

III.  Faith/Love/Works:  I John 5:1-5

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Faith produces love.  Love produces works.   The works of faith are to keep the commandments of God.  See the Bible for specific details, but a brief summary would include the following.

Keep God first in your life.  Take the time to pray, read the scriptures, and worship with other believers.

Do not lie.  Our society seems to think that occasional lies are acceptable.  As the people of God, we should speak only truth.

Do not steal.  This includes things like being honest at tax time and giving our employers a full days work for our pay.

Do not commit murder.  This is expanded in the New Testament to not hate our neighbor and to not speak evil to our neighbor.  We are called to love all people, even as God loves all people.

Do not covet.  This is rooted in the idea that we are to seek fulfillment in the things of God, not in the things of this world.

Be sexually pure.  God created sex.  He intended for it to be only between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship.  Anything else is wrong.   Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment.  It takes work.

Be compassionate.  We are to care about other people.  We can express this by listening, praying, and when possible, physically helping.

As Christians, we should make a difference.  We are called to be salt and light in the world.  People should be able to see the difference that Christ has made in our lives.  They should see that difference in our words, deeds and the attitudes that we express.

These are the sermon notes from  12/29/13.  Feel free to make comments or ask questions.

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New Every Morning

January 2, 2014

I.)  The Birth of Christ

I never have to wonder what scripture I will start with on Christmas day.  It is always Luke 2:1-20.

 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Most of us have either read, or heard, this passage of scripture many times.  I am reminded about something that I have read about Indian epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge).  They make a distinction between something that is remembered, and something that is happening in that moment.  In this way, hearing it in the moment, it is new, not something remembered.

II.  New Every Morning:  Lamentations 3:22-25

I’m guessing that not many of you have heard a Christmas message with scriptures from Lamentations.  Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah after Jerusalem had been conquered by the Babylonians.  However, I believe these verses will work today.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

The fact that Christ came to earth to be born in Bethlehem is proof of God’s love for us.  “The Lord is my portion” is a wonderful expression of what God should be to us.  We should not find our fulfillment in the things of this world, but in God.  To truly celebrate Christmas, we must celebrate Christ.  To truly celebrate Christ, Christ must be present in our lives.  For Christ to be present in our lives, we must believe in the Christ who came to earth for us.

III.  Peace, Goodwill Towards Men

The peace and goodwill that has been extended to humanity is not meant to be just once in a lifetime, not just once a year.  It is meant to be for every day.

Our relationship with God can be more than a memory of what God did once upon a time.  It can be new every morning.  The Lord is good to those who seek Him.  Seek Him every day.

These are the notes from the message preached 12/25/13.  You are welcome to ask questions or make comments.

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