Sun, 25 June 2017
This morning we’re starting a brand new summer sermon series called, “What Would You Ask?” We invited you to submit questions that you would ask the Lord. And you accepted the invitation! We received dozens of questions. From them we’ve chosen six that we will try to answer from God’s word over the next six Sundays.
Let me give you an idea of some of the questions that we will tackle in coming weeks:
“Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”
“What Does God Say about Sexual Identity?”
“Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?”
“Can Faith and Science Coexist?”
“Can Man Be Free and God Be Sovereign?”
I hope you will join us for the entire series. We also are planning to do a Facebook live chat each week to answer questions that arise from the questions we answer.
We begin today by tackling a question that could be seen by some as offensive. I want to ask you beforehand not to take offense. I’ll read the questions as it was submitted, “Will Catholics go to heaven?”
Out of curiosity I googled this question and the first result that popped up (after an ad) was “Can Non-Catholics Go to Heaven?” Isn’t that funny? The same question that some may have about Catholics, Catholics have about some of us! This morning’s question could actually be posed for all denominations: “Will Baptists go to heaven?” “Will Methodists go to heaven?” That same question could be broadened beyond denominations to other faiths or religions. Mormons? Muslims? Jews?
I’m reminded of an oft-told story about heaven. A new arrival was getting a tour. As he walked alongside an angel down a long hallway, they came to a room where the folks where excited. They were shouting, clapping, shaking a tambourine, and running. “Those are the Pentecostals,” said the angel. Soon they came to another room. The folks were solemn. A priest in a colorful robe was in procession with candles and liturgy. They were sharing the Holy Eucharist. “Those are the Anglicans,” said the angel. Soon they approached a third room. The angel began tiptoeing and whispered, “Shhhh. Those are the Baptists and they think they’re the only ones here.”
Ouch. Sometimes we might think that we are the only ones that are going to be in heaven. It’s been said that when we get to heaven, two things will surprise us: who’s there and who’s not there.
We are going to look at God’s word in an effort to answer this question: “Will [You Fill in the Blank] Go to Heaven?”
What Would You Ask?
“Will [You-Fill-in-the-Blank] Go to Heaven?”
Mon, 19 June 2017
Sun, 18 June 2017
“God’s Playbook on Parenting”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Sun, 4 June 2017
A young man, newly married, went to see his pastor. He said, “I think I love my wife too much.” The pastor was surprised and a bit curious. “What makes you say that?” “Well,” replied the young man, “I can’t get my mind off her. I think of her first thing in the morning. I think of her throughout the day and can barely get my work done. I can’t wait to get home to see her in the evening. I even dream about her.”
The pastor thought for a moment and then asked, “Do you love her as much as Christ loved the Church?” “Well, I guess I don’t love her that much.” “Well, then,” said the pastor, “Get busy!”
Men, a lot of us need to get busy loving our wives! God is going to teach us this morning how to love her well. Please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 5:25-33 . .
“Husbands, Get Busy!”
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (v. 25).
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (v. 25b).
That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by . . . the word (v. 26)
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (v. 28-29).
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother . . .” (v. 31a).
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v. 31).
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (v. 32).
Sun, 28 May 2017
There have been some long wars in human history. For example, the U.S. has been in Afghanistan for 14 years (by comparison, WWII lasted only 4 years).
In Europe, the French and English actually fought for 116 years over the rights to the French crown. That war was called the “Hundred Years’ War.”
But the longest-standing battle in human history hasn’t lasted 10 years or 100 years or even 1000 years. It has raged since Adam and Eve. I’m talking about the “battle between the sexes.”
Today God’s word offers us hope for history’s longest battle. You can end this battle and have a home of peace and harmony!
Let’s open our Bible to Ephesians 5:21-25 for God’s battle plan as we fight for our families!
“Hope for History’s Longest Battle”
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:21).
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22).
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior (Eph. 5:23).
Sun, 21 May 2017
For the adventurous among us, there are some exciting and dangerous treks that you can take. I’ll mention three (see attached photos) that I’ve taken from a list of the world’s top ten most dangerous hikes.
One is Mount Huashan in China. It is a very steep mountain, with sheer drops of hundreds of feet. The trail leaves you breathless. In Spain there is a similar trail called the “Caminito del Rey.” Many have died hiking that trail. In fact, for some years the government closed the trail because of a spate of deaths there.
My family and I have actually hiked the third trail I’ll mention. It is called the Bright Angel Trail. It is in the Grand Canyon. Strangely enough, it may be the most dangerous of all. Part of the reason it is so dangerous is because it is so close to civilization. The beauty is alluring but the dangers are real. 110 degree temps in the summer. Lack of water. Dehydration. Steep cliffs. Overconfident hikers. Strenuous climb—basically one mile up over 9.5 mile hike. Each year there are about 200 rescues attempted. About 12 people per year die at the Canyon.
Life itself is a hike. It’s a trek. There is alluring beauty all around us but also hidden dangers. This is true for your family. You’re on a journey together and God wants you to make it to the destination safely. To do so we must “watch our walk.”
In Ephesians 5:15-21 we will learn how to fight for our family by walking a secure, sensible, and spiritual path.
“Watch Your Walk!”
Sun, 14 May 2017
I suppose we all know what it is to fight with our family. Even the best of families fight each other.
One of the most famous figures of the 20th century was Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a preacher and a dreamer. He dreamed that the day would come when, as he put it, “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” For his dream and labors, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
After his death, his three surviving children were the heirs of his estate. When money ran low, the two sons proposed that they sell their dad’s peace prize and Bible to generate some cash. Estimates put the value of those items at some $20 million. Their sister protested and eventually it went to court.
That’s ironic. Fighting over the peace prize.
But it’s not just the King family that fights. We all fight with each other.
But in this new series we are calling you to put your sights on a different enemy. Let’s stop fighting with our family and start fighting for our family!
The call to fight for our family comes straight from the Bible. Nehemiah 4:14b says, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
“Fight for Your Family”
Sun, 7 May 2017
I love “Fixer Upper.” It is a show starring Chip and Joanna Gaines [show pic]. They take dilapted, dated houses and transform them into beautiful, welcoming homes [show pic of before & after of a home they’ve renovated]. The climax of each episode is the “reveal” when an old photo of the home obscuring their view is removed. Now the new façade is unveiled to the delight of the owners.
This morning we’re going meet a man that was totally transformed by Jesus. We will see his before pic and his after pic. His transformation touched many of his family and friends.
What happened to him Jesus wants to happen to us. He wants to transform us and, in turn, impact the world through us. That’s really what “Go Day” was all about—transformed people being used by God to touch the 225 for Jesus!
Sun, 30 April 2017
A well-known jingle says, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” The ad campaign is built on the whimsical idea that you can sing that jingle and, “poof,” a State Farm agent will appear and save you from whatever danger or disaster you face. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? But we know that there are times when our need is so great, no insurance agent or any other person can meet it.
Fortunately, there is hope. Like a good neighbor, Jesus is there! He comes to us in our brokenness and, with compassion, takes care of our needs with abundant mercy and grace. That’s apart of the point of the story of the “Good Samaritan.” Not only is Jesus the ultimate “neighbor.” He’s an example for how we are to live. After all, he told his audience to “Go and do likewise.”
As we face “Go Day” and all of its opportunities to be a good neighbor, we will take a fresh look at the story of the Good Samaritan. From it we will be challenged to see Jesus as the ultimate good neighbor, trust in his gracious provision for our desperate need, and to “go” and be a good neighbor to all!
“Like a Good Neighbor, Jesus Is There”
Sun, 23 April 2017
In March of 1836 Mexican forces under General Santa Anna besieged the Alamo in San Antonio, TX. The Alamo was defended by a ragtag band of less than 200. The Mexicans numbered in the thousands. The Alamo’s acting leader, Colonel Travis, could see the gravity of their situation. In a voice trembling with emotion he described the hopelessness of their plight. He drew a line in the sand and said, “those prepared to give their lives in freedom’s cause, come over to me.” All did except two. Co-commander Jim Bowie, lying sick on a cot, asked some of his men to carry him across. That left only one--Louis Moses Rose, a French soldier of fortune. He escaped and lore has it that he was the one who told this story.
Without hesitation, every man, save one, crossed the line, Colonel James Bowie, stricken with pneumonia, asked that his cot be carried over. 189 of 190 men at the Alamo came over. Only one escaped to tell the tale.
They volunteered for a cause that seemed doomed. Yet “Remember the Alamo” became the rallying cry that ultimately led to victory.
There is a call going out today for volunteers for a cause that is destined for ultimate victory. The Lord Himself has drawn a line in the sand and has asked for those who will step across it. He asks, “Whom shall I send?” And, “who will go for us?” He asks us to step across the line to worship Him and witness for Him.
“A Line in the Sand”