Posts Tagged ‘serving God’

Your Life Matters

July 22, 2020

It has been quite a year.  It started well, but soon covid19 became a grim reality.  Then we had the death of George Floyd while in police custody, the ensuing protests, which were sometimes violent and destructive, calls for defunding the police, calls for social change.  Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, all became slogans that are now familiar and that raise various responses.

I would like to suggest one more.

Your Life Matters.

Let me explain.

I.  We Hear the Message

God Loves You:  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is, without doubt, the most famous verse in the Bible.  It expresses the very important truth that God loves the world.  By this, it is meant that God loves all the people in the world.  This means that God loves you. Your Life Matters.

In recent years there has been a disturbing number of suicides.  This is especially true among young people and military veterans.  People who are contemplating suicide could really benefit from hearing the message that Your Life Matters.  This is true, if for no other reason, that God loves you.  There is more.  God has a plan for you.  God has a purpose for you.  Your Life Matters.

II.  We Believe the Message

When we believe that God loves us, that He has a plan and a purpose for us, it is natural to respond to that message.  I John 4:19

We love Him because He first loved us.

A number of years ago, there was a movie out called Agnes of God.  In this movie, Jane Fonda plays a psychiatrist who is interviewing a young nun named Agnes.  She asks Agnes:

“Have you ever been in love?”

Agnes replies:

“Oh, yes!”

“With whom?”

“God”

That is not really the response the doctor is looking for in the movie.  It is however a great place for us to start.  God loves us.  We should love God.  We can believe the message that Your Life Matters!

III.  We Share the Message

God loves us.  We love God.  We should love one another.  John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

We return to our interview in Agnes of God.  The doctor asks Agnes:

“Anyone else”

“Oh, yes!”

“Who?”

“Everyone!”

The doctor is getting a little exasperated by this time.

“Anyone particular?”

Agnes looks at her directly and says:

“Right now, you.”

The message of Your Life Matters begins with us when we hear it, but it is not meant to end with us.  We should share that message of hope with others.  We should share the message that Your Life Matters.

IV.  We Should Act as if Your Life Matters

Matthew 7:12*

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

This verse is known as the Golden Rule and some version of it is found in every major religion.  It can be stated “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  If we believe that Your Life Matters, it should influence how we act.

James 2:15-16

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?

We should care about one another.  That care should be expressed not just in words, but in action.

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

We should be looking for opportunities to have a positive impact on those around us.  The message of Your Life Matters begins with us, but it does not end with us.

Our world would be a better place if we believed, and acted as if Your Life Matters.

 

 

These are my sermon notes from 7/19/20.   If you wish to watch the sermon as it was preached you may view it at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/320867209089020

The quotes from Agnes of God are from my memory and may not be completely accurate, but I am confident that I have the basic message.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

This weeks memory verse is designated with an *.

 

 

The Spirit, Truth, Reason and Wisdom

July 15, 2020

These are challenging times.  As people who seek to follow Christ it is good to have some idea of how He will guide us.

I.  The Spirit:  Acts 26:11-14

And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

This is a part of  Paul’s defense that he made before King Agrippa.  This portion tells of his remarkable encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  I find the reference to kicking against the goads to be of particular interest.  Paul loved God.  He was well educated in the scriptures.  I fully believe that prior to this encounter the Holy Spirit had already been speaking to his heart.  He was not listening so God used more drastic measures.

The Holy Spirit will guide us, but we have to be willing to listen.  The only correct response to the direction of the Holy Spirit is to say “Yes, Lord”.  Sometimes, when we are not listening God will allow our circumstances to become uncomfortable to the point that we will turn to Him.  Of course, not every problem arises because we are not listening to God, but it is a good place to start.

II.  Truth and Reason:  Acts 26:24-25

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.

This is another excerpt from Paul’s defense.  I very much appreciate the appeal to truth and reason.

Truth can sometimes be hard to verify.  Some things are clear and obvious, but other things are far less certain.  God can help us to know the truth, at least in some things.

Reason is a god-given gift.  Christians can, and should, use reason in their thinking.  However, we need to be aware of its limitations.

III.  Wisdom:

A.  Worldly Wisdom:  Proverbs 14:12*

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

If we leave God out of our lives, we are still able to do many things well, but we must be careful because we have serious limitations.

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

B.  Godly Wisdom  James 1:5*

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

When we are seeking truth we should ask God to help us.  He knows the truth.  He also knows the future.  If we ask Him for wisdom about what is true or what we should do, He will guide us.

James 3:13-17

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and [a]self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

There is a difference between godly wisdom and the wisdom of the world.  Let us seek to be people that are Spirit-led, that are guided by truth, reason and godly wisdom.

 

These are the sermon notes from 7/12/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

If you want to view this message as it was preached, you may view it at:    https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/919770565159042

  • *  These verses are this weeks memory verses.

 

 

Rest & Reconciliation

April 25, 2020

Many of the religions of the world are based in the actions that we take to find God.  In Christianity it is God who reaches out to us.  It is God who has fulfilled the requirements for reconciliation.  It is God who seeks to draw us into a relationship with Him.

I.  Rest:  Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

For some religions the quest to obtain our final goal is so difficult that it is believed to take many lives to obtain the goal.  In contrast, Jesus tells us that ‘His yoke is easy and His burden is light.’

For Christians salvation is freely offered to all who would believe in Jesus as the Christ who died for the sins of the world.  Many people are familiar with John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Salvation is the gift of God to us.  We simply need to believe.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

II.  Reconciliation:  II Corinthians 5:18-21

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We were separated from God by our sin, but God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins.  Because Christ has paid our debt, we can be reconciled with God.  This is a truly wonderful thing.  We have the ability to spend our lives in the presence of God.  We can walk with God throughout this life and into the next.

In addition, we have been give the privilege of representing God to the people of the world.  We are supposed to share the message of God’s love.  It is The Good News!  We do not have to be pastors or theologians.  We all can share the simple message of the love of God that He showed to the world through Jesus Christ.

III.  Relationship:  Revelations 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

This is one of my favorite verses.  ( I have many favorites!)  The door that Jesus is knocking on is the door of our heart.  This is not our physical heart but our inner self.  When we respond to Christ with faith He will enter our hearts by His Spirit.  This allows us to be in a wonderful relationship with God Himself.  His Spirit dwells in our hearts and we can develop that relationship over time.  There is truly nothing like it in this world!!

God loves you.

You do not need to be alone.

 

If you would like to view this message as it was preached it can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/571920860102011/

 

These are the sermon notes from 4/19/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

The Good Will Come

March 28, 2020

This is a new thing.  When I originally preached this message,  the only person in the room with me was my wife.  Our church is not allowed to meet due to the Covid 19 virus and so we went out on Facebook Live.  For my readers, you will have the opportunity for the first time to hear the original message and actually see the person who has been writing these posts.  I will include the link at the end of these notes. 

Our country is facing a difficult challenge.  The corona virus has made significant inroads into our country.  We are no longer able to hold our normal church meetings so we are coming to you from our living room on Facebook Live.

I.  God is Good:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

A.  God is Good:  Years ago I preached a message that would be very appropriate today.  The three main points were 1. God is Good 2.  Life Can Be Hard  3.  God is Still Good

I want to remind all of you, that God is still good!  Many of us have experienced that goodness time and time again.  In these challenging days, God is still good.  It is more important than ever that we turn our eyes upon Jesus, that we look to God for wisdom and strength.

B.  The Milk of the Word:  As we spend more time in our own homes than we have in a long time, use that time productively.  I encourage you to spend time in the Word of God.  God works in us by His Word and by His Spirit to transform us from what we were, to what we are meant to be.  It is an ongoing, life-long process.

This would be a good time to start memorizing scripture, if that is not already a part of your spiritual disciplines.  This week the memory verse is I Peter 2:2.  (listed above)  This practice can be very beneficial in reducing stress and worry, both of which are increased during difficult times such as we currently face.

C.  Changed by God:  We are called to lay aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking.  When we encounter God through faith in Jesus Christ we are changed.  His Spirit does a miraculous work in us.  We do, however, need to cooperate with the process.  The old nature does not die easily and we must continue to guard against a resurrection of our old nature.

II.  You Be Good:  I Peter 2:13-17

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the kin

As Americans, we treasure our freedom.  As Christians we are free in Christ.  However, we should use that freedom to serve others.

Right now, across our country we are practicing various responses depending on our area.  Shelter in place, self-quarantine, social distancing, staying home if sick, washing our hands, and wiping down services has become the norm.

Follow the directions of the governmental leaders.  This is not the time nor the event at which to rebel.  We need to work together.  We need to each do our part.  God will help us.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should each do our part and we should pray for God to bless our efforts.

III.  Good Days Will Come:  I Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

As God’s people we can have confidence that we will again see good days.  We should maintain a good attitude throughout this event.  I am reminded of Proverbs 21:31 ” The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.”  We should do what we can and pray for God’s help. 

In addition to the hope we have for tomorrow,  we can see the good in today.  Be thankful for what you have received.  I am reminded of the old song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Most of all we can be thankful for God’s presence in our lives.  God is with us today.  One day we will go to be with Him.

God is good.  Life can be hard.  God is still good.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/22/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

If you want to view the original message it can be viewed at the following link.


 

Out of the Darkness

March 4, 2020

Life is better with God.  I am firmly convinced that having God in our lives makes everything better.

I.  Change:  Titus 2:11-3:2

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

Grace:  We need to remember that we would still be lost if not for the grace of God.  God has reached out to us by His Spirit because of His love for us.

Change:  Once we respond to the grace of God we are changed.  This is both immediate and ongoing.  We are instantly changed into a new creation when the Spirit of God enters our heart through our faith in Jesus.  At that time our outward behavior will also begin to change.  God will work in us to change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

Hope:  One day Jesus will return for His people.  It is our hope that we will be with Him forever.  Either He will come for us, or we will go to Him.  Hope for a better tomorrow is a precious gift that God has given us and that we should share with those who may be hopeless.

Redemption:  We could not save ourselves.  We could not meet God’s standard.  We need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.  Jesus Christ has redeemed us by His death on the cross.  We remember this every time that we celebrate communion.

Obedience:  As God’s people we are to be obedient to God.  We are also to obey local authorities.  Christians should be good students, good employees and good citizens.

Good Works:  Christians should live lives that bring God glory, not shame.  We should continually be growing in our ability to live as God would desire us to live.

II.  Out of Darkness:  Titus 3:3-8

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

We Were:  We were in darkness.  We lived lives that were filled with sin and wrongdoing.  If we are honest, we will acknowledge that we still struggle to be the people that we are meant to be.  The old nature occasionally reappears.  We are not yet perfect, but we are being perfected.

God’s Grace:  God did not save us because we were good.  He saves us because He loves us in spite of our sins.

Others:  There are still people who are unsaved.  They are still in darkness.  God loves them.  God wants to reach them through us.  We should love them with God’s love.  We should reach out to them as God reached out to us.  ”

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Share:  Let us share the message of grace, hope, love and salvation to all.

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/1/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

You, the Church and Jesus

February 26, 2020

This mornings message begins, and ends, in I Timothy 3:14-16

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

I.  You

How we conduct ourselves matters!  Yes, we are saved by faith, not by works, but how we live matters.  James 2:17 says “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  A living faith will produce works.  A living faith will change our lives.  Our lives should change at home, at church and in the world.

Sometimes people act worse at home than they do in public.  The first place that we represent Christ is in our homes.  Our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents all should see the difference that Jesus can make in our lives.

In the church we need to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to love each other even in our differences.  The church should be a welcoming place where people are strengthened and encouraged in their faith.  We do not come together to bicker or fight or criticize each other.  We need to show each other the love of Christ.

When we are at school, or work or anywhere out in our community, we represent Christ.  People are watching.  Do they see Christ in us?

The scriptures have been written so that we may know how we are to conduct ourselves at home, in the church and in the world.  Are you reading the Bible?  The Bible is God’s Word to us.  We should read  it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and most importantly apply it to our lives.

II.  The Church

There are many types of churches but they all have one thing in common.  Matthew 18:20 reads “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

We are “the church of the living God”.  The name on the door is not nearly as important as the presence of the Holy Spirit.  God is not dead, as some have claimed.  He is alive and well and present wherever  two or three are gathered in His name.

A pillar provides support.  The church is to provide support for believers.  We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to be a part of a community of believers.  We are family, and we are not supposed to be dysfunctional.

A church should be a place of truth.  As we read our scriptures, not everything is clear to us.  As we come together, we can discuss and occasionally debate, the meanings and application of the Word of God.  We can search for the truth together.

III.  Jesus

Really it is all about Him.  I Timothy 3:16 contains a very early statement of faith used by followers of Jesus.

God was manifiested in the flesh:  We celebrate this miracle every Christmas.  God became man and not just any man, but a baby born in a stable.  This is a true mystery.

Justified in the Spirit:  Justified doesn’t mean the same here as it does when applied to sinners.  In this case it means confirmed.  The Holy Spirit confirmed the truth of Jesus’ message by the signs and wonders that were done.

 Seen by angels: This may be a reference to the host of heaven that proclaimed Glory to God at His birth.

Preached among the Gentiles: This has lost a little of it’s force because the majority of us are Gentiles.  In the first century Gentiles might come to worship God, but the Jewish people did not seek to convert them.  The outreach to the Gentiles that began with Peter and was amplified through Paul was an important recognition that Christ is of the Jews, but He is the savior of the world.

Believed on in the world: Christ was preached throughout the Roman empire and there were many converts.

Received up in glory: Christ ascended into heaven.  One day He will return or we will go to Him.  One day we will join him in glory.

So, you, the church and Jesus.

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: (Jesus)

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

 

A Joyful Life

February 15, 2020

I generally don’t think of the scriptures in terms of favorites.  It is, after all, all God’s Word.  However, Philippians chapter four would be right up there towards the top if I did keep track of these things.

I.  Rejoice in the Lord:  Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

I believe that the Christian life can be marked by joy.  It is, after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  Here in Philippians we are told to rejoice in the Lord.  This is good advice.  We may not be able to always rejoice in our circumstances because life can be difficult, but we can always rejoice in the Lord.  His love for us is overwhelming and steadfast.  He is the rock of our salvation.

II.  Be Content:  Philippians 4:10-13

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to ]be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Many people like to quote verse thirteen.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is a wonderful verse, but we should recognize the context in which it is written.  Paul is speaking about being able to be content in any circumstance.  A key to finding joy in the Lord is being able to be content, even if our circumstances are not ideal.  God will take care of us.  We can trust Him.  We need to remember to view our lives from an eternal perspective.  Difficulties may last for a while, but God’s love is eternal.  The day will come when there will be no more tests or trials.  In the mean time we can be content in our circumstances.

There is a difference between contentment and complacency.  We can be content with where we are even as we work towards what we are meant to be.  Complacency lulls us into a lethargic state where we are ‘good enough’ where we are, even if it is not what we are meant to be.

III.  Giving:  Philippians 4:15-17

Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

If people are experiencing financial issues I ask them three questions:  Do you tithe?  Do you have a budget?  Do you understand the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’?  Malachi 3:10-11 talks of the blessings that God gives and the devourer that is turned away when we honor God with our tithes and offerings.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;

I have practiced tithing since I was sixteen.  God has always taken care of my family and I.  We have a budget that we follow that includes tithes and offerings.  If there are lean months, we reduce our spending in other areas, not in our tithes and offerings.  We also have a clear understanding of the difference between need and want.  God has always provided for our needs and many of our wants.

IV.  Provision:  Philippians 4:19

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This is this weeks memory verse.  Many people like to quote it.  It is important to recognize that it talks about our needs, not our wants.  It is also important to recognize that it follows talking about giving.  Some people think that they cannot afford to give anything.  Others recognize that they cannot afford not to give.  It is important that we be good stewards of what God gives to us.  That includes our finances.

People want to have joy in their lives.  I believe that there is a connection between joy, contentment and a life of giving.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/9/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any adds that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Stand Fast

February 8, 2020

We have been serving this church now for almost 29 years.  A lot has happened during those almost three decades.  A lot of good, and some things, not so good.  We are still here.  We are still standing.

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

I read this verse in my devotions recently.  It made me think of people whom I have known over the years.  Some have remained faithful to both God and this church.  Some have left the church, but remained faithful to God.  Some have left both the church and God.

I was then reminded of Galatians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

I am so grateful that our strength comes from God.  We do not have to fight this battle in our own strength.  We were never meant to do that.  God is our source of strength.  It becomes ever more evident as the years go by that God is the source of our strength to do His work.

People are not the enemy.  Actually, the battle is for the souls of people.  We must always keep in mind that no person who is still breathing is beyond the ability of God to touch their heart.  We are not fighting them.  We are fighting for them.

It is a spiritual battle.  I know some people who make it a regular part of their prayer time to spiritually put on the armor of God.  I do not have a problem with that practice.  If you have found it to be beneficial for you, by all means, continue the practice.  However, even though our battle is fought in the spiritual realm.  We live in the earthly realm.

In order to gird our waists with truth, we need to be people of truth.  This means that we need to learn what is the truth.  We need to speak the truth.  We need to live in the truth.  By the way, that applies to your income tax!  No cheating!!  Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we need to live righteous lives.  God will help us to learn what is right and to do what is right.  We will not be perfect, but we should be growing in righteousness.

We should be people of peace.  First, at peace with ourselves.  Then at peace with our families.  Then at peace with our neighbors, or co-workers and even with people of the opposing political party!  This can be challenging at times.  As much as you can, live at peace with all people.

The shield of faith is able to protect us against the attacks of the enemy.  We must be able to hold fast to the belief that God is able to deliver us.  That in the end we will win.  That God is able to make all things work out for good for those who believe in Him.

For quite a while a wondered about the helmet of salvation.  Then I remembered that at the core of our salvation is our relationship with God.  We have the Spirit of Christ within us.  We live in a relationship with God almighty.  Maintain that relationship through the standard Christian devotions of prayer, scripture and worship.

The sword is used both for defense and for offense.  I hope that you are regularly reading the Bible, studying  it, committing it to memory, and meditating on it.  It is ‘living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.”  (Hebrews 4:12)  We should watch for opportunities to share its truth with both believers and non-believers.  We can plant the seed of the word in our conversations.  God can then confirm that word by His spirit.

Finally, pray!  Pray about anything and everything!!  Prayer can accomplish more than we realize.  It is not our prayers, but the God who hears our prayers that makes the difference.  Yet God has directed us to do our part.  We are to pray, often, fervently, in faith believing that God is able to do even more than we ask or even think.

By the way, pray for me.  If you want to hear better messages in the future, pray harder!

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/2/20.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

Growing Up

February 1, 2020

Act your age!  I know that I heard that a few times growing up.  At the time it was quite effective.  I did not want to be perceived as acting childishly.  I wanted to be all grown up.  It is a sad thing when grown adults act as misbehaving children.

Ephesians 4:11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I.  Equipping the Saints

Some people thing that the work of ministry is to be done by the professional clergy.  That is not what the scripture says.  The primary focus of clergy, sometimes called the five-fold ministry, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, is to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry.   We all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.  No one is supposed to sit on the bench.  We all get to play, to make a contribution, to do our share of the work of the ministry, to edify, or strengthen the body of Christ.

II.  Goals

One goal that we are working towards is that of unity.  We have a long way to go.  The various churches, the various denominations are not meant to be working in competition with each other but rather in cooperation with each other.  There is only one Lord, one savior, one Jesus.

We should be growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I have been saved for a long time and a minister for over thirty years and I recognize that I am only beginning to know Jesus.

It is not just to know Jesus, we are meant to become like Him.  Again, if we are honest, we know that we have a long way to go.  Perfection is not obtainable in this life, but we should be growing in Christ, becoming more like Him, being perfected in Christ.

III.  Growing Up

Years ago, Amy Grant sang a song Fat Baby.  Some people found it offensive.  The truth often is.  We begin our faith as children, but we are to grow up in the faith, not to remain babes in Christ.

Sometimes this will involve ‘speaking the truth in love’.  This is a good thing.  It is also a challenging thing.  Sometimes we have truth.  Sometimes we have love.  Having both truth and love come out of our mouths is a wonderful thing.

Ephesians 4:29 says ”  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

May our words be words of truth, spoken in love, imparting grace.

IV.  Growing Out

When every part is doing it’s share, the body grows.  The growth of the body is both growing in maturity and growing in numbers.  A healthy church will have people in many different stages of development, from seekers and new Christians to those who are mature in Christ.

Are you doing your part?

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/26/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Into the Future

January 14, 2020

As we are still in the early days of 2020, I think about what lies ahead.

I.  Trust God:  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

We can trust God.  As we look to the future, we do not know what will happen.  God does.  He is not surprised by the the twists and turns that life takes.  He knows all things that are going to happen.  He is our shepherd. (Psalms 23) He will take care of us.

We do not have to understand everything.  We do not have to know everything.  We can trust God.

In every area of our life, we should acknowledge Him.  We should ask for guidance.  We should ask for strength.  We should ask for help.  We should give God thanks and glory.

God will direct our lives, if we ask Him to do so.  The question is, will we follow His directions?

II.  Directed by God:  Psalms 37:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

First of all, the Bible might say man, but in this context, women are included.  Perhaps you are concerned that you are not good.  If you have Christ in your heart, then you are indeed a good person, because of Christ who is in you.

Again,  I look back over my life between the ages of 18 and 30.  There were quite a few twists and turns.  I believe that even though it might appear erratic, that God was guiding me.  All of those experiences, together with everything else since then, have combined to make me the person that I am today.  It may seem odd, but God knows what He is doing.  If we have given our lives to Him, He will help us navigate the path of life.

III.  We are the Clay:  Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

The people that we become, the success that we achieve,  it is ultimately not up to us.  God molds us into the people that we were meant to be.  We do cooperate with God.  We listen for His voice.  We act in obedience to Him.  Paul put it this way.  “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”  (I Corinthians 3:8)  I do sometimes wonder why God withholds the increase, but I trust Him to do His part.  I seek to do my part as a faithful servant.

IV.  God’s Grace:  II Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I cannot promise that all of our dreams will come true.  I cannot promise that we will become healthy, wealthy and wise.  I can promise that God’s grace is sufficient for whatever trials we might face.  I can promise that one day, in heaven, there will be no more sickness, nor sadness.  I can promise that God will be with us through the journey of this life.

Whatever that journey might be.

 

These are the sermon notes from 1/12/20.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.