January 25 2017

Two Kinds of Repentance

What does “repentance” mean?  We toss that word around....often with no regard to what it actually means.   Sometimes…..people “repent”---they correct their behavior because they’re sorry they got caught.  Or their worried that they will be punished.   They may agree they’ve done wrong, maybe even apologize for their actions, but then go right back to those actions.  

Other times…we see true repentance…where a person not only feels bad, but they genuinely realize their behavior was wrong.   They turn from their behavior, and they turn TO a correct mindset.    Today, we see a type of repentance, and I’m going to compare it to the other.   

As we look at today’s text, try to figure out with me which one is represented by the people in the text.    

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January 17 2017

Responding to Divine Discipline

It’s amazing how things look different when we see things from a different perspective, isn’t it?  

I recall an incident once where I was sitting in traffic two cars behind someone turning left across traffic – they had to wait for an opening in oncoming traffic to make the turn.     I happened to glance in my rearview mirror JUST in time to see a car slam into the back of my pickup truck.      It hit me so hard my truck moved forward into the car in front of me, and that car hit the car that was turning.     I recall the person in the car in front of me got out, slammed his door, and gave me a look like he wanted to kill me.   He must have thought I was the worst driver he had ever seen!      

THEN….he saw the car that had rear-ended me.    It was totaled.    Her bumper had slid under the rear bumper of my truck, and had barely damaged my truck, but it destroyed her car.     If my truck had not been sitting there, it’s likely the damage would have been EXTENSIVE to the man’s car.   As I recall, he was driving a Chevette (that should tell you how long ago this was).   As it was, he just had a small dent on the back of his car.   

Once that man saw things differently…his attitude changed.   He went from anger…to concern for the woman who rear-ended me.      Thankfully, everyone was ok.     The only damage was property damage.   But the amazing thing was HOW he changed….once he saw the entire picture.   

Today…we see how Jonah is going to change his tune.   

This tells us a lot about how to RESPONDE TO DIVINE DISCIPLINE

Let’s read Jonah’s story.  

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January 11 2017

Running From God

Jonah 1 

How do we read Jonah?    We all know the story…..that he was swallowed by a big fish…we often say it was a whale.     There is a tendency by some to say that it’s an allegory – just a story invented to teach a lesson.     To some, the story of Jonah might as well sit on the shelf next to a copy of Aesop’s fables……as a story we read to kids…but not really something for US to look to for any kind of lesson in life. 

But it’s NOT just a story.  This actually happened.   There really WAS a man named Jonah – and he really WAS swallowed by a large aquatic creature – be it a whale or a fish….he was swallowed.      And there really ARE some good things we can learn from Jonah.   Today…we read some of the BACKGROUND to the story of Jonah, and the things leading up to the events he is famous for.    We also see that we may not be that much different from him in many ways.  

Let’s jump in to chapter 1.   

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January 3 2017

Beautiful Feet

Note:    This sermon was in celebration of Village Missions Sunday.  Once a year, we talk about Village Missions, a missionary agency whom placed me in Oak, NE as the pastor.   

The message is on Romans 10:13-15.    After 9 chapters of Paul explaining the Gospel, in chapter 10 he says that one MUST confess Jesus to be saved...but then he has some rhetorical questions to consider -- specifically HOW can one confess Jesus if they don't hear of him, and if there is no one to preach him.     

 

 

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December 13 2016

Christmas Joy

If you’ll indulge me for a moment…..I am a baseball fan.    I look back a couple months to the end of baseball season this year.    The Chicago Cubs won the World Series.   That just SOUNDS strange to say that!   

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.  Some might suggest that there is a valid reason for that:    

From “Wikipedia”:   

The Curse of the Billy Goat was a sports-related curse supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball franchise in 1945 by Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis that lasted in a 71-year period from 1945 to 2016. Because the odor of his pet goat, named Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home ballpark, during game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," 

Now…no matter HOW we view the idea of curses….and I don’t place a lot of stock in them…..

The general JOY and excitement about the Cubs winning this year was interesting.   It seemed like in October that Cubs fans were coming out of the woodwork to cheer them on!    I had no idea my Facebook Friends list was so full of Cubs fans!    

There was absolute elation and joy when they won the World Series.     

Today…I want to talk about JOY.   What is Joy?    What is Biblical Joy?   Why do we talk about Christmas Joy?   What’s it mean to us?     Let’s take a look:     

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December 6 2016

Such a Time as This

Note:    There is 1 minute of intentional silence as the beginning of the mesage.   You will hear footsteps and me breathing a I took a sip of coffee.   This was an idea I borrowed from another preacher as an introduction to make a point.   

Every year, the Christian church celebrates the anniversary of the coming of our Lord – of God choosing to step out of Heaven and taking the form of a baby – to be born a human being.  Jesus lived, and died as a human being – he is fully God and fully man.  He rose from the dead.  He died in our place – so that we would not be punished for our sin – but he instead took the punishment for our sins.     

So, today, we recognize the 2nd week of Advent Season – so we are looking forward to that special day when we remember that he came.    

Today…I want to recognize the special significance of the TIME…of the very moment that Jesus came.    Did you know it was not just a random time that Jesus came?    God knew from the very beginning that he was going to send Jesus to die for us…and it wasn’t a coincidence that the world looked like it did at that very moment.  God wasn’t just HOPING that the world would be ready for him.    Our God planned it out very specifically—very intentionally for that moment.    

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December 1 2016

What will you be remembered for?

What is truly important in life?     It’s interesting…when I was a teenager…I thought I’d live forever.    Now as a middle-aged man…I’m starting to think ahead – realizing that in only about 25 years….I’m looking at retirement.     Things change.    

Talk to an older person, and you might find them looking back on their life….and realizing that maybe they’d have liked to do things differently.     Or maybe they are happy with the way they’ve lived their life.        Think with me today……what will YOU think about your life someday when you look back on it?   What will be your legacy?  

Today, we see God’s Word talking about that – the legacy that a young pastor will have left behind.    As Christians…we’d do well to consider this – what will WE be remembered for?   What is OUR LEGACY?    

I really like this chapter of the Bible.   We’re challenged to look at our own lives,  at our own faith and ask the tough questions.     Where are we going?  What are we doing?    What’s important to us?   

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November 22 2016

Beware False Teachers!

1 Timothy 6:3-10  

A warning about false teachers   

Maybe you’ve been going to church for some time.  Maybe you’ve known Jesus for some time.   Maybe you first heard about the love of Jesus and how he died on the cross for your sins a long time ago.   Maybe you’ve grown up hearing about it…and you’ve been a Christian since you were very young.

Maybe…the idea is old news to you.   Maybe you are starting to wonder if there is something new to it – Is there something MORE to the Gospel besides being saved from our sins.  I heard one preacher say the other day that we have a “benefits package” in the Gospel—just as any employee might have a “benefits package” at their job.    These things might include things like guaranteed healing, or riches…or a number of things.  

But today’s text reminds us that it’s not about that – it’s about Jesus dying on the cross for us.   We need to keep that in mind, and put off all that other nonsense.   

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November 16 2016

An Eternal Perspective — Remember the Mission

1 Timothy 6:1-2 talks about slavery.   Some may see this passage as irrelevant to today.  Some may suggest that because the Bible even mentions slavery, it's not something we should adhere to.    There are principles that we can gather from this passage, though.   Let's take a deeper look at it.    

 

 

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November 7 2016

The Mission of the Church

What is “Church”?   Is it a social experience?  Is it a place?  Is it a gathering that we have once a week?   Is it a club?     What do we consider church?  

The church is made up of you and me, and all believers in Jesus.     It’s not a place—but a group of those that believe.  

The Church exists to glorify God.   It’s why we do church….it’s why we meet on Sunday…it’s why our church is a church.

Did you know that Jesus intended for us to do more than just come to church on Sunday?   He gave us a mission.     He gave us a plan---something to DO while we were on Earth.    He left us a command.     Are we fulfilling that command?    Are we glorifying God, as a church, by carrying out that command?        

This command I refer to is what we call “The Great Commission.”     The Great Commission is a set of verses that we find in Matthew 28:18-20.   In this passage, Jesus has just risen from the dead, and he’s giving some last words—some marching orders to the church.   

Let’s read it:    Matthew 28:18-20

The primary command of the passage is…..to “make disciples”.     THINK about that for a second…..

The God of the universe has stepped out of Heaven and become man….and he has just died and risen again…and he chose US to go and tell the world.      

So how do we do that?    

To do that….is a 3 part process.    

  • ·        Win people to Christ
  • ·        Build people up in Christ
  • ·        Equip people in Christ     

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