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Syndication

Direct download: IBC_20181104.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20181028.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20181021.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20181014.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20181007.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180930.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

People love a good mystery.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave us Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Watson.  Agatha Christie delighted her audiences with the exploits of Hercule Poirot.  My generation grew up with the adventures of the Hardy Boys.  The companion series especially for girls was Nancy Drew.  Even current TV shows likeStranger Things, 24, and NCIS have elements of the mystery genre.

 

The most famous type of mystery is probably the “Whodunit.”  The plot twists and turns and the reader is left to figure out who is guilty of the crime.  Often the writer leads the readers down rabbit trails with the hope of totally surprising them with an unexpected conclusion.

 

History’s greatest mystery is this: “How can sinful humanity be made right with a loving, yet holy God.”  We are sinners.  That much is plain.  God does love us.  In his love He would forgive our sins, but, His holiness requires that sin and wrong be punished.  Will He love us and forgive us?  Or, will He do what is just and punish our sins?  How is this mystery solved?  Whodunit?

 

The Bible was not written to lead us down rabbit trails.  Instead, it is written to clearly reveal “whodunit.” This Sunday we will see in crystal-clear terms how God solved history’s greatest mystery. 

 

Jesus Reigns

“History’s Greatest Mystery”

Colossians 1:24-29

 

  1. Glad ministry

24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known(1:24-25).

 

  1. A ministry of suffering
  2. A ministry of stewardship
  1. Glorious mystery

26The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory(1:26-27).

 

  1. A mystery that is revealed
  2. A mystery that is relational
  1. Growing maturity

28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me(1:28-29).

 

  1. A maturity that requires God’s wisdom
  2. A maturity that requires God’s work
Direct download: IBC_20180923.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We are in the thick of the college football season.  Week 3 is upon us.  One of the most fun elements of the season is the college football rankings.  Everyone wants to know who’s number one. 


LSU started the year ranked 25th.  We then made the biggest jump of any team in America after beating Miami and rose to 11th.  We were lack-luster against Southeastern and slipped back to 12th.  Who knows where we will be after the game against Auburn this coming Saturday!

 

But there is a perennial power that is always number one!  And, no, I’m not talking about Alabama.  I’m not even talking about football per se.  I’m talking about the one who reigns above principality and power.  No need to wait with baited breath to see the weekly rankings.  He never slips from the top spot.  He is the Lord Jesus!  Of His kingdom there shall be no end!

 

Colossians clearly presents the truth that Jesus reigns above all.  This Sunday we will continue unpacking this truth and how it should impact every arena of our lives.  Join us at Istrouma!

 

Jesus Reigns

Part 2

Colossians 1:15-23

 

  1. Over the Creation
    1. Because of His revelation
    2. Because of His rank
  2. Over the Church
    1. Because of His preeminence
    2. Because of His peace
  3. Over the Christian
    1. Because of our past
    2. Because of our present
    3. Because of our future
Direct download: IBC_20180916.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The world has seen its share of great empires and rulers. 

 

  • The Roman Empire lasted 1500 years.  It stretched around the Mediterranean Sea with parts of Europe, Africa and the East.  Caesar Augustus, perhaps the most famous of Rome’s potentates, ruled for 40 years.

 

  • The British Empire lasted for centuries.  It was the empire upon which the “sun never sat” because its protectorates and territories spanned the globe.  Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years.  Her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth, is on the throne and has surpassed 67 years as Queen.

 

  • At times we’re tempted to think we here in the United States are history’s greatest superpower.  But we’ve only existed 241 years and our longest-tenured leader was President Franklin Roosevelt who was in office 12 years.  We’re barely a blip on the screen.

 

But there is an empire that is eternal and a King who is supreme and without peer or rival. 

 

At His birth the angel declared, “. . . you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. . . . and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31b-33).

 

Perhaps no book of the Bible better presents this King and His Kingdom to us than does Colossians.  We will make this brief book our home for the next 10 weeks or so.  We will proclaim loudly and clearly that “Jesus Reigns.” 

 

His reign is beneficent.  Let’s bow our knees and wills before Him for His glory and our own good.

 

Jesus Reigns

Colossians 1:1-14

 

  1. In our relationships(1:1-2)
    1. Strangers to one another
    2. Siblings to one another
  2. In our requests(1:3-12)
    1. Our prayers should include appreciation
    2. Our prayers should include appeals
  3. In our redemption(1:13-14)
    1. He rescues us
    2. He relocates us
Direct download: IBC_20180909.mp3
Category:Colossians -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180902_Espanol.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Micah Caiting, Student Minister

Direct download: IBC_20180902.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180826_Espanol.mp3
Category:EQUÍPATE -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180826_Espanol.mp3
Category:EQUÍPATE -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In war, communication between the commander-in-chief and his troops in the field is essential.  It can be the difference between victory and defeat.

 

In WWII the United States faced Japan in the Pacific theatre.  It was a conflict marked by desperate, brutal, and costly battles in places like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

 

One key element that tipped the scales in American favor was our secure lines of communication.  We had recruited scores of young men from the Navajo tribe to serve as communication specialists.  The Navajo language is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn due to its syntax and tonal features.  Unless you are a native speaker, it is virtually impossible to acquire their language.  The Japanese were never able to break the communication code that the Navajo “wind talkers” established.

 

Clear and constant communication between military leadership and boots on the ground is essential for ultimate victory.

 

Today a war rages about us.  It is unseen but real.  It is a conflict between our Commander-in-chief, the Lord God, and the Devil and the forces of evil.  How this war will fare in your life and mine depends, in large measure, on the communication that we have with God. 

 

Thankfully, we do not need a special code.  He understands Navajo, English, Spanish, and every other language on earth.  He even interprets the muffled cries of a broken heart.  Prayer is how we communicate with our Lord and bring His inexhaustible resources to bear on the battles that we face.  It is the capstone piece of our spiritual armor.

 

Ephesians 6:18-20 says, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

 

 

Let’s pray and win the spiritual battles we face!

 

Suit Up!

 “The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 3”

Ephesians 6:18-20

 

  1. All times

 

Praying at all times in the Spirit, (6:18a).

 

  1. All types

 

With all prayer and supplication (6:18b).

 

 

  1. All tenacity

 

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance (6:18c).

 

  1. All tenderness

 

Making supplication for all the saints (6:18d).

Direct download: IBC_20180826.mp3
Category:Suit Up! -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180819_Espanol.mp3
Category:EQUÍPATE -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Football is a tough sport.  Injuries are common and it seems that players are only getting bigger, stronger and faster with each passing season.  But it might surprise you to know that there was a time when it was even more brutal than it is today.

 

In 1905, for example, there were 20 deaths related to football injuries.  Rules were few and protective gear was virtually non-existent.  Here’s a picture of a game from that year.  Note how few of the players had helmets or shoulder pads or anything of the sort.  No wonder so many died.

 

It got so bad that the President of the United States at that time, Teddy Roosevelt, convened a conference at the White House with officials from schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to see what changes could be made so that the sport would not be outlawed!

 

Gridiron gladiators need their armor!  It would be foolhardy to run onto a field of play without your helmet or pads.  But it would be far more foolish to engage in the skirmishes of life without the proper protective gear. 

 

We are in a battle that is more intense and has higher stakes than any sporting event.  It is war—spiritual war.  Thankfully, we have a tactical manual and adequate armor so that we can win this war.

 

This Sunday we will tackle (no pun intended) part 2 of “The Weapons of Our Warfare.”   We’ll learn about our shield, our salvation and our sword.  We’ll be encouraged to strap them all on tightly as we engage in this spiritual battle.

 

Suit Up!

 “The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 2”

Ephesians 6:16-17

 

  1. Take up your shield

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (6:16).

 

  1. Of conviction
  2. Of conquest
  1. Take up your salvation

And take the helmet of salvation (6:17a).

 

  1. For victory over the penalty of sin
  2. For victory over the power of sin
  3. For victory over the presence of sin
  1. Take up your sword

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:17b).

 

  1. Of the Spirit
  2. Of the Scriptures
Direct download: IBC_20180819.mp3
Category:Suit Up! -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180812_Espanol.mp3
Category:EQUÍPATE -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The German nation was humiliated by their defeat in World War I and the resulting treaties.  These dynamics created great resentment and hardship.  From the shame and ashes of WWI arose the Nazis.  They promised the German people a return to glory and supremacy.  They were led by a crazed madman named Adolf Hitler. 

 

They built up a vast and menacing war machine.  On September 1, 1939 they unleashed it against Poland, their weaker neighbor to the east.  1.5 million well-equipped German troops poured over the Polish border.  Their tanks and armies swept in like a lightning bolt supported by the superior airpower of the Luftwaffe. 

 

The Poles were no match.  In some cases they sent out mounted cavalry with swords and lances against armed, mechanized tanks.  It became a complete rout.

 

Poland and several other European countries fell to the Nazis because they were unsuspecting and ill-equipped.  They did not have the military intel nor armor to stand their ground.  The price that they paid was high.

 

We, too, no less than they, are in a war.  It is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the Devil and the forces of evil.  The stakes could not be higher.  God does not want us to be caught unaware and ill-equipped.  For that reason He has given us a tactical manual, the Bible.  In it He details the armor that we can wear so that the victory can be ours. 

 

This Sunday we will examine carefully the first three pieces of this armor and make sure that we’re protected by them.

 

Suit Up!

 “The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 1”

Ephesians 6:14-15

 

  1. Put on the belt

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (6:14a).

 

  1. Of inspired truth
  2. Of integrated truth
  1. Put on the breast plate

. . . and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (6:14b).

 

  1. Of positional righteousness
  2. Of practical righteousness
  1. Put on the boots

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace (6:15).

 

  1. By accepting the good news of peace
  2. By announcing the good news of peace
Direct download: IBC_20180812.mp3
Category:Suit Up! -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180805_Espanol.mp3
Category:EQUÍPATE -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

One of the most intriguing figures from World War II is a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda.  He was deployed to the Philippines by his commanding officers.  He was given strict orders never to surrender.  He took those orders seriously.

 

The war officially ended in August of 1945 with V-J Day, but not for Onoda.  He refused to believe it.  He continued to wage guerilla warfare for 29 more years.  This was no laughing matter.  Estimates are that he was responsible for killing at least 30 Filipinos and wounding approximately 100 others.  He finally laid down his weapons when he was “relieved of his duties” by his old commanding officer who was flown to the Philippines so that he could personally issue the order.

 

That is tragic—fighting when the war is over.

 

But there is another tragedy, equally as dangerous.

 

This other tragedy does not consist of fighting when there’s no war; instead, it consists of not fighting when there is a war.  It is perilous not to know when you have an enemy that is bent on your destruction.

 

On September 11, 2001 the United States was caught half-asleep by a group that intended our destruction.  Nineteen terrorists aboard 4 jet planes launched an attack that shook our country to its core.  Almost 3,000 people died that day. 

 

Some of these terrorists had been in our country for months.  Some had taken flying lessons.  It was a plot that was detailed and deadly.  If we had but known that an attack was imminent—if we had been more alert--perhaps the course of events could have been different.

 

It is bad to fight when there is no war.  It may be worse not to fight when there is a war.

 

I have a news alert for us this morning.  We are at war!  To ignore this reality is to add to the danger that already surrounds us.  In a new sermon series beginning this Sunday, we are going to learn that, not only are we in a war, but we have been given the armor necessary to win the war!

 

Suit Up!

“We’re at War!”

Ephesians 6:10-13

 

  1. Get empowered for the war

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (6:10).

 

  1. Be dynamic in the Lord
  2. Be dependent on the Lord
  1. Get equipped for the war

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil(6:11).

 

  1. Suit up
  2. Stand up
  1. Get engaged in the war

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil 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 firm (6:12-13).

 

  1. Wrestle the enemy
  2. Withstand the enemy
Direct download: IBC_20180805.mp3
Category:Suit Up! -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

A city slicker bought a horse from a weathered cowboy.  The cowboy was God-fearing and had trained the horse using biblical terms.   Instead of “giddy-up,” the command to go was “Praise the Lord.”  “Amen” was the signal to stop.  He coached the new owner on the importance of using these phrases and these alone.

 

Now fully prepped and astride his new steed, the city slicker said to the horse, “Praise the Lord!”  Off they trotted.  Soon enough, a rabbit darted in front of the horse and startled him.  The horse began to gallop at full speed.  The rider saw that they were quickly approaching a cliff with a sheer drop of a couple hundred feet.

 

He forgot the coaching he’d received.  He shouted “Whoa!”  “Stop!”  He pulled back on the reins.  But nothing slowed the horse.  Finally, he remembered the necessary word.  “Amen!” he shouted.  At that the horse came to a screeching stop at the brink of the canyon.  The rider sighed with relief, lifted his hands heavenward, and said with sincerity, “Praise the Lord.”

 

That may be the only situation where a heart-felt “Praise the Lord” would be inappropriate!  God’s word makes it abundantly clear that we are to praise the Lord at all times and in all places. 

 

This Sunday we wrap up our summer series through the Psalms.  We have ascended to the very peak of the book as we come to Psalm 150.  The unrelenting cry of this Psalm is that the Lord is to be praised.  In it we will learn the “who,” the “where,” the “why,” and the “how” of biblical praise. 

 

Join us as we praise the Lord!

 

Songs of the Summer

“Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 150

 

  1. The who of praise

Praise the Lord! . . . Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (150:1a, 6)

 

  1. The Lord gets the praise
  2. The living give the praise
  1. The where of praise

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!(150:1b)

 

  1. Praise Him in church
  2. Praise Him in creation
  1. The why of praise

Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (150:2)

 

  1. Praise Him for His deeds
  2. Praise Him for His deity
  1. The how of praise

Praise him with trumpet sound; . . . with lute and harp! . . . with tambourine and dance; . . . with strings and pipe! . . . with sounding cymbals; . . . with loud clashing cymbals! (150:3-5)

 

  1. Praise Him with variety
  2. Praise Him with vitality
Direct download: IBC_20180729.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Buckminster Fuller studied the accumulation of information. He created what is known as the “Knowledge Doubling Curve.”  He noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century.  By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years.  Today, on average, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months!  According to IBM, the build out of  the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. 

 

We may be getting smarter, but are we getting wiser?

 

A young, university graduate crossed a large, dangerous river on a barge. An elderly, seasoned fellow was steering the barge.  As they made the crossing, the odd couple struck up a conversation.  The university student asked the old man three questions. 

 

The first one was: “Do you know anything about physics?” “Nope”, replied the old man. “Then a third of your life has been wasted!” decried the young student.  His second question was:  “Do you know anything about philosophy?” “Nope”, answered the old man with no note of angst. “Then another third of your life has been wasted!”  protested the collegiate.  Finally, he asked: “Do you know anything about the social sciences?” “Nope”, dryly replied the old man. “Then another third of your life has been wasted!”

 

Suddenly, the barge hit a large object, took on water rapidly, and overturned. Both men were thrown into the water. The old man cried out to the young student, “Do you know anything about swimming?” The young man replied “Nope.” “Then your whole life is wasted!” replied the old man.

 

The young man thought the accumulation of knowledge about certain subjects was essential to life. The old barge pilot knew that none of that mattered in the world of piloting a barge if you can’t swim.  What was essential in his life was knowing how to swim.

 

What knowledge is essential?  What is it that we should know in a world where knowledge is doubling virtually every year?  We may have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the things of life, but, without a proper knowledge of who God is, all of life (and eternity) can be wasted.

 

This morning we will learn “How to Stay Ahead of the Knowledge Curve.”  Psalm 139 celebrates the attributes of God and how they impact our lives.  David is the inspired author and he is amazed by the nature of God.  There may be no other place in Scripture where the magnitude and immensity of God are more explicitly revealed.

 

Songs of the Summer

“How to Stay Ahead of the Knowledge Curve”

Psalm 139

 

  1. Know God’s infinite perception

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! (139:1)

 

  1. He knows our movements
  2. He knows our minds
  1. Know God’s inescapable presence

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? (139:7)

 

  1. Distancedoes not separate us from Him
  2. Darknessdoes not separate us from Him
  1. Know God’s innovative power

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb (139:13).

 

  1. He is the source of life
  2. He is the sustainer of life
  1. Know God’s incisive purity

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (139:23-24)

 

  1. He searches the wrong
  2. He shows the way
Direct download: IBC_20180722.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Mike Holmes

Direct download: IBC_20180716.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

n the book, Amazing Grace, an interesting story is told about a young man named Arlo.  He had a godly grandfather.  When Arlo got married to his wife, his grandfather gave them a wedding gift.  It was a beautiful, leather-bound Bible with their names engraved on its cover.  Arlo and his wife appreciated the gift of a Bible, but never took it out of the box.  He stored it away. 

 

Every once in a while, his grandfather would ask, “Did you like the Bible I gave you?” They assured him that they did.  They sent him a thank-you note.  But he wouldn’t let it rest.  “What did you think about the Bible I gave you?” he would ask with frequency.

 

Finally, Arlo took the Bible from its box and began to leaf through it.  When he did, he discovered that his grandfather had put a $20 bill at the beginning of Genesis, and $20 at the beginning of Exodus, and $20 at the beginning of every book in the Bible—$1320 in total in cash!  Arlo says that he never would have discovered how valuable that gift was had his grandfather not kept prompting him.

 

I am a grandfather now and I want to imitate Arlo’s grandfather.  Do you like the Bible that you hold in your hands today?  Do you like the Bible that you have on your shelf or night stand?  Have you leafed through its pages and discovered the unbelievable wealth of wisdom it contains?  It is not worth $20 or $1320.  It is worth more than all the silver and all gold the world contains.

 

It is “God’s Wisdom for Your Way.”  In today’s message, God’s word will remind us of the treasure it is both for our day-to-day living and for all of eternity.

Songs of the Summer

“God’s Wisdom for Your Way”

Psalm 119:9-11

 

  1. A common struggle

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word (119:9).

 

  1. The way is hazardous
  2. The word is helpful
  1. A certain spirit

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments (119:10)!

 

  1. A spirit of determination
  2. A spirit of dependence
  1. A crucial strategy

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (119:11).

 

  1. Learn the word
  2. Live the word
Direct download: IBC_20180708.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 4:19pm EST

The sports world is caught up in World Cup fever [slide with World Cup logo].  On June 17 Mexico played Germany.  Germany is a soccer powerhouse.  They have won the World Cup four times (second only to Brazil’s five).  Mexico has never won the World Cup but they are officially soccer crazy and desperately hungry for a title.

 

Estimates are that 75,000 people jammed the main square in Mexico City to watch the televised game.  When Mexico scored the winning goal, the fans erupted in pandemonium.  Nearby seismic meters registered their celebration.  There was, on a small level, an earthquake.

 

Is it possible that a crowd could get so excited that the earth could quake?  Yes!  And I say, “Let the earth quake again!”  But this time, let the earth quake for the celebration of God’s people for the victories that He has won on our behalf.

 

Psalm 100 encourages and even commands God’s people to exalt Him in exuberant praise.  Let’s dive into the truths of this Psalm and “let the earth quake.”

 

Songs of the Summer

“Let the Earth Quake”

Psalm 100

 

  1. Sing to the Lord

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. . . . Come into his presence with singing (100:1-2).

 

  1. With all enthusiasm
  2. With all the earth
  1. Serve the Lord

Serve the Lord with gladness!  (100:2a)

 

  1. With a clear focus
  2. With a correct feeling
  1. Study the Lord

Know that the Lord, he is God!  (100:3a)

 

  1. Then thank Him for His actions
  2. Then thank Him for His attributes
Direct download: IBC_20180701.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Martin Luther was a devout Roman Catholic priest.  He loved the word of God and held to its truths tenaciously.  He came to question some of the practices and teachings of his church.  He posted 95 theses (or points of concern) to the door of the parish church in Wittenberg, Germany where he often preached. 

 

For his protests, he was ultimately put on trial before the emperor and ecclesiastical leaders.  He was ordered to recant but he refused.  He famously said,

 

Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us.  On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.

 

For his disobediences he was excommunicated by the Pope and condemned as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor.  He could be killed with immunity.

 

A German prince gave him refuge in the Wartburg Castle.  It became his temporal fortress and there he translated the Scriptures into the German language.   But his true and eternal fortress was the Lord God. 

 

To this point he wrote one of if not the best-loved hymn of all time: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Some of the lyrics are:

 

A mighty Fortress is our God,

A Bulwark never failing;

Our Helper He amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing:

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work us woe;

His craft and power are great,

And, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

 

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God’s own choosing:

Dost ask who that may be?

Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabaoth His Name,

From age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

 

And though this world, with devils filled,

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed

His truth to triumph through us:

The Prince of Darkness grim,

We tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure,

For lo! his doom is sure,

One little word shall fell him.

 

That word above all earthly powers,

No thanks to them, abideth;

The Spirit and the gifts are ours

Through Him who with us sideth:

Let goods and kindred go,

This mortal life also;

The body they may kill:

God’s truth abideth still,

His Kingdom is forever.

 

For Martin Luther, God was his fortress.  In that confidence he defied emperor and pope.  In God he trusted. 

 

What is your fortress?  In what or in whom do you trust?  To whom do you run in times of trouble?

 

Psalm 91 makes clear who ought to be our fortress and refuge. It also makes crystal clear the blessings that come when our God is our fortress.  Let’s open our Bibles and our hearts to these truths this morning.

 

Songs of the Summer

“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”

Psalm 91:1-16

 

  1. Dwellin the Lord

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty (91:1).

 

  1. Enter His shelter
  2. Enjoy His shadow
  1. Dependon the Lord

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (91:2)

 

  1. Proclaimyour trust in Him
  2. Personalizeyour trust in Him
  1. Deliveranceby the Lord

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence(91:3).

 

  1. He will deliver from evil
  2. He will deliver for eternity
Direct download: IBC_20180624.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In August of 2016 a terrible flood hit the greater Baton Rouge area.  The financial impact was catastrophic.  Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded and lives were lost.

 

The people of the United States, through their elected officials, stepped forward to help meet the need.  According to reports, approximately 1.3 billion dollars were granted to Louisiana for restoration efforts.  Nell and I are grateful recipients of some of that money.  I know that many of you have been too.

 

Would anyone care to venture how much of that amount has actually been distributed to needy families?  Approximately $60 million.  That may sound like a lot (and it is); however, relative to the amount allotted.  It is a small percentage.  It is a little less than 5%!  In fact, more money has been spent on administration of the program than has actually been given to those who suffered losses in the floods (see attached jpg).

 

For those who’ve suffered in the flood, you might want to say to the agency , “That money was given to you so that it might be channeled through you to the hurting!  Please pass it on!”

 

We instinctively know that it is not right to hoard resources that have been entrusted to us that were intended to bless others. 

 

But before we get embittered at governmental ineptitude, could it be that we too have been guilty of keeping the blessings of God that have been entrusted to us to ourselves?  Instead of being rivers of blessings, we’ve become reservoirs of God’s bounty.   Instead of being channels of blessings, we’ve siphoned off inordinate amounts for ourselves.

Restore LA chart of disbursement funds.jpg

 

 

Songs of the Summer

“Blessed to Be a Blessing”

Psalm 67:1-7

 

  1. Prayerto God

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us (67:1).

 

  1. This prayer has a progression
  2. This prayer has a precedent
  1. Purpose of God

For that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations (67:2).

 

  1. His purpose is gracious
  2. His purpose is global
  1. Praisefor God

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you (67:3).

 

  1. For gladness(v. 4a)
  2. For governance(v. 4b)
  3. For guidance(v. 4c)
  4. For gifts(vs. 5-6)

 

This morning God will challenge us to lives of greater generosity from Psalm 67 in a message I’m entitling, “Blessed to Be a Blessing.”

Direct download: IBC_20180617.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  We probably all recognize that quote and the truth of it, but let me tweak it: “To err is human; to botch the confession is too!” 

 

I can illustrate this with several recent blunders and the gaffes in the accompanying “apologies.”  Let me begin with a relatively insignificant example and then ratchet up to more significant ones.

 

  1. R. Smith crushed the hearts of his teammates and the whole Cavalier nation in an epic error in game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals.  A mental error cost them that game (and maybe the whole series).  Rather than coming clean and admitting that he didn’t know that the score was tied as time elapsed, he stumbled through an incoherent “apology” that actually threw his teammates under the bus! 

 

To err is human; to botch the confession is too.

 

Roseanne Barr, riding a wave of popularity for the reboot of her namesake show, tweets a cruel and widely-viewed-as-racist comment about another lady.  Her “confession” was that she was not really responsible.  It was the Ambien she was taking. 

 

To err is human; to botch the confession is too.

 

In a still more serious example, the governor of Missouri cheats on his wife and gets into all sorts of problems.  He ends up resigning.  Here’s a portion of his speech:

 

"Today I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri . . . . We have accomplished a lot. I am proud of . . . all our work. The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family; millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends; legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. . . .  I know, and people of good faith know, that I am not perfect. But I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment. . . .  This is not the end of our fight. I will always be a fighter. . . . So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high.  We have a good and a proud story to tell our children. Let's love them and each other every day. May God continue to bless you and to bless the great state of Missouri."

 

To err is human; to botch the confession is too. 

 

In all three of these examples, their “confessions” made their errors worse, not better.  Before we, as erring, sinning humans can get to divine forgiveness, we must learn to confess.  To say it another way, “To come clean, we’ve got to come clean.”  We’ll never be forgiven, unless we learn to confess humbly and genuinely our sins.

 

King David was human.  He erred often and greatly.  But the good news is that his great sins were covered by a greater grace. 

 

Psalm 51 is the account of David’s confession.  God will teach us that we too have to “come clean to come clean.”

 

Songs of the Summer

“Come Clean to Come Clean”

Psalm 51:1-12

 

  1. A humble request

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  (51:1-2)

 

  1. The backgroundof the request
  2. The basisfor the request
  1. A heartfelt remorse

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment(51:3-4).

 

  1. For our guilt
  2. For our God
  1. A happy restoration

Restore to me the joy of your salvation (51:12a).

 

  1. The Lord restores our witness
  2. The Lord restores our worship
Direct download: IBC_20180610.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Recently I took our grandkids to an ice cream shop.  We got our goodies and sat down outdoors at a picnic table to enjoy them.  Our grandson, Forest, finished his ice cream (stuffed with gummy worms) quickly.  Apparently he didn’t get his fill.  He happened to spot a gummy worm on the ground that someone else had dropped earlier.  He reached down, grabbed it, and was about to eat it when I said, “No!” 

 

It broke his heart.  He welled up with tears and began to cry.  He couldn’t understand it.  There was a perfectly, delicious gummy worm that he had found fair-and-square.  Now here I was, Grumpy Grampa, denying him the delight of eating it!  He didn’t know that it was dirty and covered with germs.   From his preschool perspective, this was grossly unfair. 

 

Little did he know what I had planned.  On the other side of the “no” was a giant “yes.”  I scooped him up in my arms and carried him to the window of the shop for a gift of a whole cup of fresh, clean gummy worms.

 

I think the Lord must look at us much like I looked at Forest that afternoon.  He wants the best for us.  But He sees us digging in the dirt for polluted pleasures.  He must say to Himself, “If only they could grasp what I intend for them!”

 

I also think we tend to view the Lord much like Forest must have viewed me that afternoon.  We think He is aiming to rob us of pleasure, happiness, and joy when the exact opposite is true.

 

Psalm 37 drives these lessons home in an unforgettable way.  Join me there for this morning’s message.

 

Songs of the Summer

“Gummy Worms and God”

Psalm 37:1-4

 

  1. Disillusioned with the Lord

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb (37:1-2).

 

  1. The cause of disillusionment
  2. The cure for disillusionment
  1. Dependent on the Lord

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness(37:3).

 

  1. Rely on the Lord
  2. Receive from the Lord
  1. Delighted in the Lord

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (37:4).

 

  1. The command to delight in the Lord
  2. The consequence of delighting in the Lord
Direct download: IBC_20180603.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Canciones que confortan

“Aguas con el agua”

Salmo 37.1-5

  1. Desilusionadoscon el Señor.

 

“No te inquietes a causa de los malvados, ni tengas envidia de los que hacen lo malo. Pues como la hierba, pronto se desvanecen;como las flores de primavera, pronto se marchitan.”(37.1-2)

 

  1. La causade la desilusión.

 

  1. La curapara la desilusión.

 

  1. Depender del Señor.

 

Confía en el Señor y haz el bien;entonces vivirás seguro en la tierra y prosperarás.”(37.3)

 

  1. Confiar en el Señor.

 

  1. Recibir del Señor.

 

  1. Deleitarseen el Señor.

 

“Deléitateel Señor, yél te concederá los deseos de tu corazón.” (37.4)

 

  1. El mandamientode deleitarnos en el Señor.

 

  1. La consecuenciade deleitarnos en el Señor.
Direct download: IBC_20180603_Espanol.mp3
Category:Canciones que confortan -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Dwayne Pitre

Direct download: IBC_20180527.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180520_Espanol.mp3
Category:Canciones que confortan -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Mike Holmes

 

Direct download: IBC_20180520.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Direct download: IBC_20180513_Espanol.mp3
Category:Canciones que confortan -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

About five years ago a wildly popular song was released.  It is entitled simply, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  You can’t help but smile when you hear the lyrics and the music [may play a snippet].

 

The official video of the song was released on YouTube on November 21, 2013, and, as of March 2018, it has had over 1 billion views.  Maybe its popularity is tied to the fact that everybody wants to be happy.

 

Here in America we’re so committed to the pursuit of happiness that we put it into the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

But in spite of our longing for it and our pursuit of it, happiness so often eludes us. 

 

Here’s an important truth to grasp: “Pursue happiness and it evades you.  Pursue Him--pursue holiness--and happiness comes to you as a by-product.”

 

God’s word never tells us to pursue happiness but it does promise us happiness, real joy, if we will live according to God’s word.

 

These principles are laid out for us clearly in God’s word.  Let’s open our Bibles to Psalm 1 for a message entitled, “Happy

 

Songs of the Summer

“Happy”

Psalm 1

 

  1. Dangers to avoid

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (1:1).

 

  1. Discouraging companions
  2. Downward cycle
  1. Disciplines to acquire

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (1:2).

 

  1. Prize the word of God
  2. Ponder the word of God
  1. Destinies to assess

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment (1:3-5a).

 

  1. Everyday consequences
  2. Eternal consequences
Direct download: IBC_20180513.mp3
Category:Songs of Summer -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Bendice cada hogar

"haced discípulos"

(Mateo 28:18-20

 

  1. Tenemos el poder de hacer discípulos

“Jesús se acercó y dijo a sus discípulos: «Se me ha dado toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra.Por lo tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos ..." (28:18-19a).

 

  1. El poder de Jesús es declarado
  2. El poder de Jesús es compartido

 

  1. Tenemos el plande hacer discípulos

"Por lo tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones,bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.Enseñen a los nuevos discípulos a obedecer todos los mandatos que les he dado." (Mt 28, 19-20a).

 

  1. Jesús nos llama a hacerdiscípulos
  2. Jesús nos llama a bautizardiscípulos
  3. Jesús nos llama a desarrollardiscípulos

 

  1. Tenemos la promesaal hacer discípulos.

"Y tengan por seguro esto: que estoy con ustedes hasta el fin del mundo" (Mt 28, 20b).

 

  1. Jesús es nuestro compañero personal
  2. Jesús es nuestro compañero perpetuo
Direct download: IBC_20180506Esp.mp3
Category:Bendice cada hogar -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In our nation’s capital is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, a platoon of 30 honor guards protects the tomb through rain, snow, and even hurricanes! It's been guarded every minute of every day since 1937.  The Unknown Soldiers laid to rest at the Tomb represent all missing and unknown service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

 

Typically a single sentinel at a time guards the tomb, pacing back and forth throughout his watch. The soldier walks exactly 21 steps then pauses for 21 seconds before turning around and continuing his duty. The number 21 is in reference to the 21 gun salute which is the military's highest honor given to a soldier.

 

When the changing of the guard takes place, orders are passed from one soldier to his relief: Here is the heart of that dialog: " Post and orders, remain as directed.”  Orders remain as directed.  Their original charge remains their current charge.  No change.

 

There is another tomb—empty now in Jerusalem.  Our Lord, after his victorious resurrection, gave orders to his disciples some 2000 years ago and those orders remain as directed! 

 

Do you know what our marching orders are as followers of Christ?  Today we will revisit those orders.

 

Please open your Bibles to Matthew 28:18-20.

Bless Every Home

“Make Disciples”

Matthew 28:18-20

 

  1. We have the powerto make disciples

 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples . . .” (28:18-19a).

 

  1. Jesus’ power is stated
  2. Jesus’ power is shared
  1. We have the planto make disciples

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”(28:19-20a).

 

  1. Jesus calls us to mobilize disciples
  2. Jesus calls us to mark disciples
  3. Jesus calls us to mature disciples
  4. We have the partner to make disciples

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20b).

 

  1. Jesus is our personal companion
  2. Jesus is our perpetual companion

 

 

Direct download: IBC_20180506.mp3
Category:Bless Every Home -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

God’s heart is to bless every home.  God wants to bless you and, through you, bless others.  This is his missiological strategy and has been from time immemorial.  Gen. 12:2 says, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

 

We are issuing a challenge this month to “bless every home” in our sphere of influence.  We do this when we pray for, care for and share with others the story of Jesus.

 

We bless others when we share the story of what God has done for us.  That’s the theme of today’s message.  I’m going to relay to you the story of four desperate men who were blessed and became a blessing to others because they shared the story of what God had done on their behalf.  This enabled virtually a whole city to experience the abundant goodness of God! 

 

We can experience the same in our lives—receiving and relaying the blessings of God!

 

Bless Every Home

“Share”

2 Kings 7:3-9

 

  1. A serious dilemma

Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate.  And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (7:3)

 

  1. Deteriorating condition
  2. Deadly complacency
  1. A strategic decision

If we say, “Let us enter the city,” the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians (7:4a).

 

  1. Consider the alternatives
  2. Choose the action
  1. A surprising discovery

But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there . . . . they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them (7:5b, 8b).

 

  1. Available provision
  2. Abundant provision
  1. A subsequent duty

Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household” (7:9).  

 

  1. We must realize our sin
  2. We must repent for our sin
Direct download: IBC_20180429.mp3
Category:Bless Every Home -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The entire nation of China was rocked in 2011 by an incident involving a single two-year-old Chinese girl named Wang Yue.  Her family called her “Little Yue Yue.”  She innocently wandered onto a narrow, crowded road in Foshan, Guangdong Province.  She was hit by a vehicle, in fact, two.  Neither stopped.  She lay broken and wounded on the road for more than seven minutes. 

 

During that span of time, eighteen people either walked or cycled past the toddler before a scrap peddler named Chen Xianmei, finally stopped to attend to her injuries.  The little girl was whisked to a hospital for treatment but succumbed to her injuries and died eight days later.

 

The whole incident, including the fact that so many people passed by the little girl and refused to render aid, was captured on a security camera.   That footage was uploaded onto the Internet and it quickly stirred widespread reaction in China and even overseas. Many commentators saw this as indicative of a growing apathy in contemporary Chinese society.  It has been referred to as China’s “good Samaritan problem”—widespread apathy for the hurting.

 

But we all know, this is not just a Chinese problem.  It’s an American problem.  It’s a global problem.  It’s an ancient problem, because it is a human problem. 

 

Thankfully our human problems have a divine solution.  There is a true “good Samaritan” and we will meet him today.  His impact on us can transform even the most cruel or calloused into good Samaritans who care for others.

 

Bless Every Home

“Care”

Luke 10:25-37

 

  1. We can be cruel

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead”(10:30).

 

  1. Attitude: “What’s yoursis mineand I’ll take”
  2. Action: The cruel inflictsuffering
  1. We can be calloused

Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side(10:31-32).

 

  1. Attitude: “What’s mineis mineand I’ll keep”
  2. Action: The calloused ignoresuffering
  1. We can be compassionate

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion(10:33)

 

  1. Attitude: “What’s mineis yoursand I’ll give”
  2. Action: The compassionate intervenein suffering
Direct download: IBC_20180422.mp3
Category:Bless Every Home -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Oprah Winfrey is an America pop icon.  Her rags-to-riches story is remarkable.  Her long-time talk show was famous for generous giveaways.  While I don’t see eye-to-eye with her on theology and politics, I do admire her giving spirit.

 

One her most famous giveaways happened when all 276 members of her studio audience were blessed with a new Pontiac G-6 sedan. The cars carried an individual retail price tag of about $28,500. 

 

The last giveaway was to celebrate her 25 years as hostess of the show.  Every person in the audience was blessed with an 8-day, all-expense paid vacation to Australia!

 

Her favorite giveaway was in 2006.  Every audience member was blessed with a bank card for $1,000 and a camera.  Their assignment was to go home and within one week give that money away in a creative, charitable act and by so doing bless someone else.  The camera was to video their respective acts of kindness.  That giveaway unleashed some remarkable stories of generosity. 

 

One example was a lady from Illinois named Minnie.  She did not know whom she would bless with the $1,000.  Upon returning home she learned about a father of nine children who had brain cancer.  His name was John Newcomb.  She not only was prepared to give that John’s family the $1,000, she rallied other people and businesses in the city to help.  Within a week she had raised over $70,000.  They paid off the Newcomb’s mortgage, his medical bills, provided groceries, and a two-year college scholarship for their oldest son. 

 

Minnie was blessed to be a blessing.  And she complied with that intent!

 

Did you know that you have been blessed to be a blessing?  That is God’s heart and His missiological strategy.  He has blessed us so that we might be a blessing.

 

We are launching today a 4-part sermon series entitled, “Bless Every Home.”  Even more than that, what we’re truly hoping is to launch or augment a lifetime of missional living by each of us.

 

Please open your Bibles to Genesis 12 as we open our hearts to embrace God’s call on our lives to “Bless Every Home.”

Bless Every Home

Genesis 12:1-3, 8b

 

  1. The requirementsfor God’s blessings

Now the Lordsaid to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you . . . (12:1).

 

  1. Go from our oldlife
  2. Go to our newlife
  1. The realitiesof God’s blessings

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (12:2-3).

 

  1. We receiveHis blessings
  2. We relayHis blessings
  1. The responsesto God’s blessings

. . . And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD(12:8b).

  1. Make worship a priority
  2. Make worship a practice

 

Direct download: IBC_20180415.mp3
Category:Bless Every Home -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Yogi Berra was a catcher for the New York Yankees.  He won 10 World Series and was an 18-time all-star. 

 

But he is probably better known for his “Yogi-isms.”  His quotes often mangled the English language in light-hearted ways, but also had a grain of truth in them.  Here’s a sampling of five of his finest.

 

  1. Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.
  2. Pair up in threes.
  3. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
  4. Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.
  5. You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.

 

He was so well known for his sayings that sometimes he was given credit for things he didn’t even say.  Thus another Yogi-ism: “I never said most of the things I said.”

 

Here’s one more he said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”  The “Yogi-ness” of that quote is that it is redundant.  Déjà vu literally means “already seen.”  It’s a feeling that you get that you’ve been in place before.  You’ve heard this conversation before.  So to say, “Déjà vu all over again” is to say the same thing twice.  Classic!

 

This morning “it’s déjà vu all over again.”  We’re going to wrap up the “Final Word” by opening our Bibles to the 21st chapter of John’s gospel.  In this story the disciples are going to encounter the risen Lord Jesus and hear his final words.  They are words they’ve heard before but that bear repeating.  In fact, we too need to hear them again.

 

It’s déjà vu all over again.

 

The Final Word

“Déjà Vu All Over Again”

John 21:1-22

 

  1. Called to fish
    1. Apply the instructions Jesus gives
    2. Appreciate the increase Jesus gives
  2. Called to feed
    1. Love the shepherd
    2. Love the sheep
  3. Called to follow
    1. Follow regardless of the cost
    2. Follow regardless of the comparison
Direct download: IBC_20180408.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

“Del pesimismo al gozo”

Juan 20:19-22

 

 

  1. La Pascua y su Oscuridad
    1. Ellos tienen miedo
    2. Ellos están juntos
  2. La Pascua y su Gozo
    1. Por su Presencia
    2. Por su Paz
  3. La Pascua y sus Obsequios
    1. El regalo de la Tarea
    2. El regalo de su compañía

 

Direct download: IBC_20180401_Esp.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

If you've read any of Mark Twain's famous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer you know that Sawyer was quite the prankster.  One time Sawyer convinced friends Huck Finn and Joe Harper to run away. By cover of night, the three left their homes, snuck down to the river, and set out down-river on a raft. They end up on Jackson's Island where have fun pretending to be pirates for several days.

 

Meanwhile, back at home, their families and the town at large are in state of near hysteria. After a few days they conclude the boys have drowned, and plan their funeral for the following Sunday. Tom quietly returns to town and discovers the plans for the funeral. He returns to the island where he convinces Huck and Joe they should all stay put until the end of the week when they will return to town and march in on their own funerals.

 

On Sunday almost the entire town gathers at the church building where the preacher leads the sad and grieving crowd in eulogizing and mourning the poor boys whom death has claimed so early in life.  The congregation became more and more moved till the whole company broke down and joined the weeping mourners in a chorus of anguished sobs.

 

At that moment the three boys come through the church doors.  They had been listening to their own funeral!  The ones who were dead now are alive.  Gloom gives way to gladness.  Can you imagine attending a funeral and seeing the one for whom you grieve appear in your midst?

 

That’s exactly what actually happened to the disciples of Jesus.  They saw him crucified.  They knew that he had been buried.  On that first Sunday evening they were gathered in fear, mourning, and bewilderment.  Gloom prevailed.  But into that room came the risen Lord Jesus and gloom gives way to gladness. 

 

We too can rejoice on this Easter morning because Jesus crashed his own funeral!

 

The Final Word

“From Gloom to Gladness”

John 20:19-22

 

  1. Easter gloom
    1. Jesus’ disciples are afraid
    2. Jesus’ disciples are assembled
  2. Easter gladness
    1. Jesus’ disciples rejoice for His presence
    2. Jesus’ disciples rejoice for His peace
  3. Easter gifts
    1. Jesus’ disciples receive a commission
    2. Jesus’ disciples receive a companion
Direct download: IBC_20180401.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

There is a common sight across the southeast region of the United States.  It is a trio of crosses placed in a field near a highway or crossroads.  They are the work of a man named Bernard Coffindaffer.  He was a veteran of WWII and Iwo Jima.  When he came back from the war, he came to know Christ as his savior.  He became a successful businessman but never lost his gratitude for what Jesus did for us.

 

He spent his personal fortune to erect more than 1,800 trios of crosses.

 

But what is the significance of these three crosses?

The Final Word

“The Crosses of Calvary”

John 19:16b-18

 

  1. The cross of rejection: one died in sin
  2. The cross of reception: one died to sin
  3. The cross of redemption: one died for sin
Direct download: IBC_20180325.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Tom Watson Jr., CEO of IBM between 1956 and 1971, was a key figure in the information revolution. Watson repeatedly demonstrated his abilities as a leader.

 

One example of his skill as a leader had to do with a young executive who made some bad decisions that cost the company several million dollars. He was summoned to Watson’s office.  He fully expected that he would be fired. As he entered the office, the young executive said to Watson, “I suppose after that set of mistakes you will want to fire me.” Watson was said to have replied,  “Fire you?!  Not at all, young man, we have just spent a couple of million dollars educating you” (Source: Edgar Schein in his book, Organisational Culture and Leadership). 

 

Watson was telling the young executive that he was more valuable now than before.  His failures were not final. 

 

Let’s face it, we have all failed.  The devil would have you think that that your failures are final—that you are of no value to the Lord.  But that’s a lie.  God is too compassionate, too redeeming for that.  He says to us, “Your failures need not be final.  There is more for you to do!”

 

The biography of Peter is a case study of the truth that “failure is not final.”  Today we will look at Peter’s life and find encouragement for our own.

 

The Final Word

“Failure Is Not Final”

John 18:15-18 and 25-27

 

  1. Dangerous confidence
  2. Disheartening collapse
  3. Deep contrition
  4. Dynamic comeback
Direct download: IBC_20180318.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 10:17am EST

Direct download: IBC_20180318_Esp.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In recent years our nation has been rocked by a string of mass shootings—Stoneman Douglas High School, Charleston, SC, Newton, CT, Virginia Tech, and the list goes on.  From these horrific incidents, some touching stories of courage and self-sacrifice have surfaced.

 

On December 2, 2015 county employees in San Bernadino, CA had gathered for a Christmas party.  Two gunmen stormed the center where they were gathered and opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd.  In the melee, coworkers Denise Peraza and Shannon Johnson took refuge behind an over-turned chair.  Shannon, an old Georgia boy, wrapped his arm around Denise and said, “I got you.”  With that, a bullet struck him.  He died while sheltering Denise.  She credits him with saving her life. 

 

This morning I want to show you that God in Christ would gladly wrap you in His embrace.  Despite all that it cost Him, He still says, “I got you.  I got you.”  John 18:1-11 shows us plainly that He will die that we might live.

 

Direct download: IBC_20180311.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

La  Carrera de La  Fe

2 Timoteo 4:6-8

Hebreos 12:1-2

 

  1. UNA CARRERA PUBLICA

 

  1. UNA CARRERA PERSONAL

 

  • UNA CARRERA PURA

 

  1. UNA CARRERA PESADA

 

  1. UNA CARRERA ENFOCADA

 

Direct download: IBC_20180225_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 4:34pm EST

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s last words.  I heard last week about a Union General during the Civil War.  His name was John Sedgwick.  He was a respected and high-ranking general.  In 1864 he led his troops to Spotsylvania, Virginia for one of the last battles of the war. 

 

Confederate sharpshooters had been peppering the area all morning on May 9, wounding, among others, General William Morris. Staff officers cautioned Sedgwick not to approach the road, but he disregarded their warnings in his desire to encourage his men to face the enemy.  When his men warned him to take cover, Sedgwick responded by joking, "They couldn’t hit an elephant at that distance." Just then, a sharpshooter’s bullet crashed into his skull, right below his left eye, killing him instantly. 

 

He was the highest ranking Union officer to be killed during the war.

 

It’s dangerous to underestimate your enemy.  Don’t do it. 

 

Jesus did not do that.  He understood full well the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.  Because of it he turned to a vital piece of our spiritual arsenal—prayer.   We have a record of his prayer offered the night of his greatest battle—just as he faced arrest, trial, and execution.  This prayer opens our eyes as nothing else to the deepest longings of Jesus’ heart.  It teaches us what He values and how we, too, can overcome the world.

 

 

The Final Word

“The Real ‘Lord’s Prayer’”

John 17:1-26

 

  1. Timing of Jesus’ prayer
    1. Reinforces a pattern
    2. Releases a power
  2. Targets of Jesus’ prayer
    1. I pray for me
    2. I pray for mine
    3. I pray for missions
  3. Triumph of Jesus’ prayer
Direct download: IBC_20180304.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 3:36pm EST

La verdadera Oración de Jesús

Juan 17:1-26

 

  1. Sincronicémonos con la oración de Jesús
  2. Refuerza un modelo
  3. Libera un poder
  4. Los objetivos de la oración de Jesús
  5. Ruego por mí

.           b. Ruego por los míos

  1. Ruego por los demás
  2. El Triunfo de la oración de Jesús
Direct download: IBC_20180304_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Ventaja de los Discípulos

Juan 16:6-14a

  1. La preocupación de los discípulos (16:6)
  2. Jesús es honesto con ellos (16:1-3)

.           b. Jesús confía en ellos (16:1-3)

  1. La ventaja de los discípulos (16:7)
  2. Jesús se va (16:7)
  3. Jesús les deja algo (16:7)
  4. El defensor de los discípulos (16:7)
  5. El Espíritu Santo nos convence (16:8-11)
  6. El Espíritu Santo nos aconseja (16:12-14a)
Direct download: IBC_20180218_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

La Ultima Palabra

Guillermo Mangieri

Amigos y Enemigos

Juan 15.12-27

 

  1. Amigos de Jesús (12-16)
    1. Se aman unos a otros
    2. Le obedecen
    3. Ellos Conocen la verdad
    4. Son escogidos por El
  2. Enemigos del mundo (17-25)
    1. Rechazan a quienes no son como ellos
    2. Odian a los creyentes porque odian a Jesús
    3. Odian a los creyentes porque no conocen a Dios
  3. Amigo Poderoso (26-27)
    1. Testimonio que viene del Padre
    2. Testimonio que es acerca del hijo
    3. Testimonio por medio del creyente
Direct download: IBC_20180211_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

I Have Called You Friends

John 15:9-17

 

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. -John 15:15

 

 

Friendship starts with God

As the father has loved…John 15-9

 

We need friends because we are created in God’s image

Then the Lord God said, “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”….Genesis 2:18

 

A friend lets you in

No longer do I call you servants….but I have called you friends.  John 15:15

 

Friendship involves sacrifice

Greater love has no one that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

 

The most important question: “Are you a friend of God?”

Direct download: IBC_20180211.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

La palabra final

 “Ramas y Frutos”

Juan 15: 1-11

 

  1. Nuestra relación con Jesús
  2. Los que no lleva frutos, son cortados.
  3. Los que lleva frutos, son cuidados.
  4. Nuestra responsabilidad con Jesús
  5. Permanecer en él
  6. Confiar en él
  7. Nuestros resultados a través de Jesús
  8. Glorifica a Dios
  9. Gozo de Dios.

 

Direct download: IBC_20180204_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Costco has a great “returns” policy.  It is very generous.  You can return virtually anything, for any reason, and get a refund.  This was put to the test earlier this year.

 

On January 4, 2018 a woman in Santa Clarita, CA trudged into the local Costco lugging a large, dead, “real” Christmas tree.  She made her way through the returns line until she stood before the customer service representative.  “I’d like to return this tree.”  When asked why, she responded.  “Because it’s dead.” 

 

The other customers waiting in line were blown away.  One of them, Scott Bentley, took a photo of the lady and her disheveled tree.  “I can’t make this stuff up,” he posted on Facebook below the photo. 

 

Time magazine carried the story.  In the article it says: “. . . most people tend to accept that trees — once cut down for decorative holiday purposes — have a finite life span. . . .  But others seem less willing to accept this unfortunate fact of life.”

 

It is a fact of life.  Roots and fruits are inseparable.  Roots and life and flourishing are all inextricably linked.  Today Jesus will make this clear to us in John 15:1-11.

 

The Final Word

“Roots and Fruits”

John 15:1-11

 

  1. Our relationship with Jesus
    1. The fruitless are cuts off
    2. The fruitful are cultivated
  2. Our responsibility to Jesus
    1. Remain in him
    2. Rely on him
  3. Our results through Jesus
    1. Glory to God
    2. Gladness from God
Direct download: IBC_20180204.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

If we are honest, there are moments in life when our hearts are troubled.  We get agitated; anxiety and worry overtake us. 

 

Last week we actually talked about some of the common causes for worry.  These include: health problems, marriage dynamics, parenting, money, and growing old.  We saw that a lot of us are squandering huge hunks of our lives worrying needlessly. 

 

Last Sunday I began a message entitled “Truths for Troubled Hearts” from John 14:1-6.  We focused on three truths:

 

  1. The promise of a peace
  2. The promise of a place
  3. The promise of a path that leads to that place!

 

Our focal passage today will be John 14:12-16.  This morning’s message will be part 2 of “Truths for Troubled Hearts.”  In it Jesus has three more encouraging promises for us to claim—the promise of power, the promise of prayer, and the promise of His presence!  Let’s explore and embrace these “truths for troubled hearts.”

 

The Final Word

“Truths for Troubled Hearts”

Part 2

John 14:12-16

 

  1. The promise of power
    1. The extravagance of this power
    2. The explanation for this power
  2. The promise of prayer
    1. The parameter of prayer
    2. The purpose of prayer
  3. The promise of presence
    1. A personal gift
    2. A permanent gift

 

Direct download: IBC_20180128.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 6:01pm EST

Un Dios de Amor, Tiene Hijos que Aman

Text: 1 Juan 4:7-11

Domingo 28 de Enero

 Dr. Edgar R. Aponte

 

  1. Introducción
    1. Referencia sobre 1 Cor 13
      1. ¿Qué nos dice acerca del amor?
    2. ¿Pero qué pasa si no somos así…cómo podemos convertirnos en personas de amor?
    3. 1 Juan 4: 7-11
  2. Lectura del Texto
    1. Contexto del pasaje bíblico
  3. Principal Mensaje
    1. Un Dios de Amor, Tiene Hijos que Aman.
      1. Dios es Amor (v.7-8)
        1. La Naturaleza de Dios
        2. El Nuevo Nacimiento
          1. Unión con Dios
        3. El Amor de Dios se revela en su Hijo (v. 9-11)
          1. La manifestación del amor de Dios
          2. El propósito de esa manifestación
        4. Ilustraciones
          1. El Caso de la Familia en Chicago (Primera Ilustración)
            1. La señal de la esa congregación local
            2. El Amor distingue el verdadero cristianismo del falso cristianismo
          2. El Gimnasio y el Cristiano (Segunda ilustración)
        5. Amor y Perdón
        6. Implicaciones
          1. Esté presente
          2. Ore
          3. Amor: Evangelismo y las Misiones
            1. La necesidad de ser salvo
            2. Amando a Dios

Amando las naciones             

Direct download: IBC_20180128_Espanol.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

La última palabra

"verdades para corazones atribulados"  

Juan 14:1-6

 

  1. Jesús promete la Paz
  2. Anulando el temor.
  3. Animando la fe.
  4. Jesús prepara un Lugar
  5. Él se ira por su propia cuenta.
  6. Él regresará por su propia cuenta.
  7. Jesús ofrece el Camino
  8. Que es efectivo.
  9. Que es único.
Direct download: IBC_Espanol_20180121.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 8:59am EST

There are a lot of things that can trouble our hearts.  A list was recently published that catalogs the types of things that tend to trouble our hearts—that cause us to worry.  Here is a partial list:

 

  1. Health and weight.
  2. Marriage.
  3. Parenting and children/grandchildren.
  4. Lack of savings and an uncertain financial future.  And the number one worry is:
  5. Getting old!

 

We spend a lot of time worrying and fretting.  Statistics indicate that the average person spends over 14 hours per week worrying.  That would total over 700 hours worrying a year.  That would be the equivalent of close to 30 days a year!  If you lived to be 80, you would have worried away over 6years of your life!

 

The good news is that you do not need to worry.  Your heart does not need to be troubled.  Today I want to share with you “truths for troubled hearts” that will encourage and help you.

 

Let’s open our Bibles to John 14:1-6.

 

The Final Word

“Truths for Troubled Hearts”

John 14:1-6

 

  1. Jesus promises a peace
    1. By forbidding fear
    2. By fostering faith
  2. Jesus prepares a place
    1. He will return for His own
    2. He will reunite with His own
  3. Jesus provides a path
    1. That is effective
    2. That is exclusive
Direct download: IBC_20180121.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

How can you identify a Christian?  What is the chief characteristic of the Christian?

 

A cross necklace has been used by many across the years to identify as a Christian; however, as you know, for many it has little to no significance whatsoever.   It certainly doesn’t make one a Christian.

 

More recently there’s been a trend in Christian tattoos.  Many devout young believers have inked themselves to say, as permanently as they know how, I am a follower of Jesus.

 

A less painful and permanent way that some people use is a bumper sticker.  But be careful with that!  I heard about a lady who was impatiently driving down a busy street.  She became infuriated when the car in front of her slowed to a stop at a yellow light instead of speeding through.  This, of course, delayed her. Furious at being delayed, she sounded her horn and began waving her fists in a disgraceful exhibition of a road rage.  Before she could move off, she felt a tap on her window. It was a police officer who ordered her to step out of the car. He then asked her to come down to the station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and put in a cell.

     

A couple of hours later, after vehicle checks had been carried out, she was told that she could collect her valuables and that she was being released without charge.

    

The woman was extremely indignant at her arrest and demanded an apology.

      

The officer responsible explained the reason for the mistake. "You see, ma’am, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn and loudly cursing the driver in front of you. Then I noticed the ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker, the Christian fish emblem on the trunk, and the ‘Choose Life’ license plate.  Naturally, I assumed that you had stolen the car."

 

Ouch!

 

While cross necklaces, tattoos, and bumper stickers all may have their place, none of these is the fool-proof evidence of a true Christian.  What is that distinguishing trait?  Jesus tells us in our passage today.

 

The Final Word

“The Chief Characteristic of the Christian”

John 13:34-35

 

  1. Command to love one another
    1. The substance of the command
    2. The scope of the command
  2. Comparison of loving one another
    1. An unending love
    2. An unmerited love
  3. Consequence of loving one another
    1. Reflects on Christians
    2. Reflects on Christ
Direct download: IBC_20180114.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

A 2014 study by Harvard University listed the happiest cities in America.  The results surprised many and were broadcast widely.  The five happiest cities in America were all in the same state—Louisiana!  These cities included our own Baton Rouge along with Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, and Alexandria.

 

In 2017 National Geographic produced a new list.  There was not one Louisiana city in the top 25!  Boulder, Colorado topped the list.  I was curious as to why there was this radical change in the rankings.  After a little bit of digging, I discovered the reason.  They changed the criteria for how happiness is measured! 

 

In the 2014 survey, researchers asked the people the following question: “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”  Responders could choose from the following answers: very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, and very dissatisfied.  Louisiana folk were more satisfied than most with their lives.

 

In the 2017 the researchers did not ask people to self-assess.  Instead, the researchers themselves determined the kinds of things that they believe make people happy—things like eating healthy, exercising regularly, financial security, vacation time, and even dental checkups.  On those grounds, we here in Louisiana didn’t fare so well!

 

That raises the question: What are the criteria for happiness?  What truly does make a person happy?  What gives deep, abiding, unquenchable joy?

 

The good news is that we don’t have to be in doubt about that.  Jesus tells us.  Better than that, Jesus shows us.  Please open your Bible to John 13:1-17.  In these verses Jesus leads us down what I’m going to call “The Highway to Happiness.”  He will show us how to have happiness and joy that is inexplicable and full.

 

The Final Word

“The Highway to Happiness”

John 13:1-17

 

  1. Live in humility
    1. The source of humility
    2. The sample of humility
  2. Live in holiness
    1. Conversion cleanses us completely
    2. Confession cleanses us continually
  3. Live in happiness
    1. The principle of being a servant
    2. The practice of being a servant
Direct download: IBC_20170107.mp3
Category:The Final Word -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

La última palabra

"El camino a la felicidad"

Juan 13:1-17

  1. Vivir en humildad
  2. La fuente de la humildad
  3. El ejemplo de humildad
  4. Vivir en santidad
  5. La conversión nos limpia completamente
  6. La confesión nos limpia continuamente
  7. Vivir en felicidad
  8. El principio de ser un siervo
  9. La práctica de ser un siervo
Direct download: IBC_Espanol_20180107.mp3
Category:La última palabra -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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