Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast (the final word)

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Syndication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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