Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast (the final word)

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."




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