Monday, December 10, 2007

Handling the Truth: Truth Stands For Real - John 8:32

We all have secrets, things that we are afraid to tell anyone for fear of what it would do to the relationship. So, we hide these things inside, we push them down and try to cover them up. But, in truth these secrets act like a wedge between us and other people. The more we push them down, the further we push people away. If these secrets are sins, they drive the same kind of wedge between us and God. We long to feel close to God and to live real, authentic lives, but in order to do so we have to face the truth for real.
  • Inside
    • True to Ourselves
      "You are the man!" - 2 Samuel 12
    • True to God
      He will forgive us - 1 John 1:9
  • Outside
    • True to Others
      Confess your sins to EACH OTHER - James 5:16
    • True to Life
      ...and the truth will set you free. - John 8:32

Monday, December 3, 2007

Handling the Truth: Truth Stands Firm - Matthew 4:1-11

“Just follow your heart.” “Find your own truth.” “What’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me.” “There is nothing that is absolutely true.” Sound familiar? Have you heard these ideas before, from Hollywood or your friends or neighbors? Maybe you even think this for yourself. Sometimes things just feel right when at another time they felt wrong. There are some things that you’ve heard are wrong that just feel so right. How can we know that there is such a thing as absolute truth that applies to everyone. If we as Christians have found absolute truth, how should we respond to it? What should we do with it?
  • We cannot move or bend the truth:
    • In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. - Judges 21:25
    • "You have let go of the commands of God and are hanging onto the traditions of men.” - Mark 7:8
  • We must follow the Word of truth as it is written: Matthew 4
    • v4 - “It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
      The Truth sustains us
    • v7 - "It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
      The truth is proven
    • v10 - “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
      The truth guides us

Monday, November 26, 2007

Handling the Truth: Truth Stands Alone - 1 Kings 18:16-39

The world we live in doesn’t know what truth is. We are used to being lied to, cheated and swindled. We forget what the world looks like without wool pulled over our eyes. In the midst of this, we have come to think that there is more than one truth, more than one right way. If we want to handle the truth properly, we have to recognize that in the midst of this culture there is only one truth. There is only one way. Some may think this idea is arrogant or closed-minded, but that doesn’t make it any less true. That’s the great thing about truth - it’s true.

1 Kings 18:16-39
  • The Truth sheds Light - v18
  • The Truth demands a Choice - v21
  • The Truth has POWER - v39
1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life on Loan: Remember Your Potential - Matthew 5:13-16

Do you know who you are? Do you act like it? We can know that God made us special, that he created us for a purpose, that he loaned us this life for a reason - but if we don’t act on this knowledge it doesn’t do us any good. We must remember that God made us salt and light that is useful and powerful. No matter what the situation, faith makes a difference.

Matthew 5:13-16
  • You are the Salt of the Earth - v13
    • not JUST flavor
    • but ALWAYS salty
  • You are the Light of the World - v14-16
    • not JUST shining
    • but NEVER hiding

Monday, October 29, 2007

Life on Loan: Renew Your Love - Revelation 2:2-5

You work hard. You do the right things and say the right things. You persevere despite the opposition, but why? Because it’s the right thing to do? Because God said so? They are good reasons, but not the right reason. Love must be our motivation, our guide and our sustenance. BUT, what happens when we don’t feel that love? We felt it before, but it seems to be gone now. We often try to find something else (some new teacher or group or program or book) to bring that excitement back. God doesn’t say to find something new. He says to go back to basics.

  • You're Doing well... - v2
  • You've forsaken your first love. v4
    • Tongues - Love = Noise (1 Cor 13:1)
    • Knowledge + Power - Love = Nothing (1 Cor 13:2)
    • Good Deeds + Sacrifice - Love = Nothing (1 Cor 13:3)
  • Renew Your Love - v5
    • Remember the height from which you have fallen
    • Repent
    • Re-Do the things you did at first

Monday, October 15, 2007

Life on Loan: Redefine Your Faith - Acts 21:10-15, Matthew 16:21-26, James 2:14-19

How do you look at faith? Like a vitamin that you take every day to keep spiritually healthy? Like a good luck charm that keeps you from harm? Like a parachute to catch you when things get too intense? Like a book of rules to keep us on the straight and narrow? Do we get so stuck on these ideas that we miss what faith is really all about. If we are to fulfill our purpose with the lives God has loaned us, we must take a step back and redefine our faith, to align it with the faith found in God’s Word.

  • The Attitude of Faith
    • Bring it On! - ...I am ready not only to be bound, but to die... Acts 21:10-15
    • Get Behind Me - ... you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men... -Matthew 16:21-23
  • The Action of Faith
    • Follow Me - If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. - Matthew 16:24-26
    • Show Me - ...I will show you my faith by my deeds. - James 2:14-19

Monday, October 8, 2007

Life on Loan: Reassign your Resources - Luke 10:27-37

Are you a giver or a taker? Does all that taking make you happy, or does it just make you want more and more? Too many people in this world are takers, and not enough people know the joy of giving. God created us to give to those in need. He prepared us to do good works for those in need by giving us talents and resources to use for His purposes. Too often we have buried those talents or used them for our own purposes instead of looking for God’s purposes. It is up to us to reassign those resources to do God’s work here and now.

Luke 10:27-37
The Good Samaritan Gives:
  • Inconvenient Help - v33
  • Personal Involvement - v34
  • Sacrificial Transportation - v34
  • Lodging and Companionship - v35
Matthew 25:14-30
The One-Talent guy was
Scared, Lazy and Wicked because he:
  • Didn't look past his Fear
  • Didn't exert any Effort
  • Didn't take any Risks

Monday, October 1, 2007

Life on Loan: Re-Examine Your Values - Isaiah 32:1-8

What’s important to you?
What do you invest in? Things that make you noble, or things that make you just like everyone else? Throughout history it has become apparent that most men do not value anything but themselves. The same cannot be said of God. If we are going to lives our lives on loan from God, we must do what God would have us do with them. This means valuing the things that God values and living according to those values.

Isaiah 32:8 - But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.
  • A Noble Man Values Purpose - v1-2
    • ...if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. - 1 John 4:11-12
  • Noble Plans Value Preparation - v3-4
    • Seeing - Hearing - Knowing - Telling
  • Noble Deeds Value People - v5-7
    • Do you SEE this woman? - Luke 7:36-44

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Life on Loan: Your Life Counts - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jacob wanted to be someone else. He was jealous of what his brother had and what he was going to get. Sound familiar? In today's world we are constantly told what we should want and what we should try to be. But what about what God wants us to be? He created us as individuals with specific talents, faults, friends and connections to serve Him. Plus, he gave us a new life in His son, one fraught with benefits that enable us to make the most of the life God loaned us.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17

As a new creation in Jesus, YOU Are:
  • A Child of God - John 1:12
  • A Friend of God - John 15:15
  • Forgiven - Psalm 103:2-3
  • Loved - John 3:16
  • NEEDED - Matthew 9:35-38
We LIVE in the harvest field. God put us there because He needs us there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Are You Ready for Monday? - Colossians 4:2-6

Why do you attend the church you attend? Chances are that at some point someone you already had a relationship with invited you. This is the way that an overwhelmingly large majority of church attenders first came to church and it is the way that most people who are not Christians will become Christians. Before He was taken up to heaven, Jesus gave us the job of creating disciples in all the world. This process doesn't start on Sundays. It starts on Mondays, when we go back out into the world and create relationships with others, giving them a fleshly, personal link to God.
  • Prepare a Plan
    • "...he had compassion on them..." - Matthew 9:36
  • Pray, Pray, Pray
    • "Devote yourselves to prayer..." - Colossians 4:2
  • Personal Petition
    • "...make the most of every oppoortunity" - Colossians 4:5
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. - 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are You Ready for Sunday? - Romans 12:1

What do you do to get ready for church on Sunday? What should you do? If we look at the reasons for having a regular church service, it becomes clear that we have a lot to do before we come to church - and I'm not talking about your hair or your make-up. We have to prepare our hearts, minds and most importantly our attitudes before we even think about worshiping God and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters.
  • It's NOT about ME!
    • "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices...this is your spiritual act of worship." - Romans 12:1
  • It IS about HIM
    • "God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached..." - 1 Corinthians 1:21
  • It IS about THEM
    • "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." - Luke 19:10
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39

Sunday, July 22, 2007

(Re)Build: Stronger - Ezra 9-10

When a fault is found in the foundation of a building project, work is immediately stopped and the problem is removed. When sin appears in our lives we tend to not do the same thing. We go on living, trying our best to pretend that nothing has happened. If this goes on too long we lose our hatred of sin, we cease to be aware of its damaging effects and we wonder what could have caused the problems in our lives. When the Israelites returned from exile to rebuild the Temple, they knew they had to get rid of the sin in their midst that had been plaguing them for generations. If we are to rebuild our relationships with God, we must rid ourselves of the sin that has weakened that relationship in the past. It is not enough just to rebuild, we must ReBuild Stronger than before.
  • Confront
  • Contrite - Isaiah 66:2b
    • Appalled at our sin - Ezra 9:3-4
    • Bothered by its impact - 9:7
    • Concerned for a future with sin - 9:14
  • Confess - 1 John 1:9
    • Admit we did wrong - 10:2
    • Blame only ourselves -
    • Call on God for Forgiveness
  • Control - Hebrews 10:22
    • Actions - 10:3
    • Conscience
    • Bow to God as Lord

Sunday, July 15, 2007

(Re)Build: Despite the Opposition - Ezra 4-6

There is something sad about an unfinished building. So much promise and hard work that will never reach its full potential. Does God feel the same way looking at our lives? What gets in the way of our efforts to build a relationship with God? What can we do to overcome these obstacles? And why are they there in the first place?

  • Opposition
    • Comes looking for us - Ezra 4:1-4
    • Can hinder us, but not stop us - Ezra 4:5, 24
  • Building Despite Opposition
    • God's Word and God's People - Ezra 5:1-2
    • Always Do the Right Thing - Ezra 5:8-10
  • Opposition Becomes Opportunity - Ezra 6:8-10
    • James 1:2 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

(Re)Build: From the Ground Up - Ezra 3

Did you ever feel like you work and work, but never get anywhere? You do the right things, but the person doing the wrong things is the one who prospers. You try to pray, but it seems useless. If you've felt this way, you aren't alone. This is something that happens in the lives of many (all) Christians. It happens when we neglect our foundation. Over time, our Biblical, God-centered basis can develop cracks where sin pushes its way in and deteriorates what God has built. Patching this isn't the solution. We need to rebuild, from the ground up - putting God first and obeying Him, despite the cost.
  • Recognize what is broken - Haggai 1:6 ...You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it...
  • Restructure your foundation
    • Worship First - Ezra 3:2 ...began to build the altar and sacrifice offerings on it...
    • Build Despite Fear - Ezra 3:3 ...despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built...
  • Rejoice in what God is Beginning - Ezra 3:11 ...with praise and thanksgiving they sang...
    • God Only Upgrades! - Ezra 3:12 ...many who had seen the former temple wept...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Rest of the Story - Hebrews 11

We all fall. We all fail. We all sin. We all hate to recognize it, talk about it, admit it. We feel a strong need to be perfect, even though its not possible. We want to be perfect and we try to make the heroes of our stories perfect as well. We talk about their successes and victories, but never learn from their struggles. When we move from Sunday School stories to Biblical events, we see a more complete picture of the faithful men who did great things for God. We see men who followed God despite the same kinds of failures that we experience. Despite their failures, these men were defined by their faith, so are we.
  • Noah - Everybody Fails
    • Genesis 9:20-21
  • Abraham - Failure Follows a Pattern
    • Genesis 12:10-20, 20:1-3
  • Moses - Failure has Consequences
    • Numbers 20:9-12
  • Hebrews 11 -
    • Failure Does Not Define Us - Faith Defines Us!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

DO - Matthew 25:31-46

While Christians know that they are justified by faith, Jesus still taught that men are judged by works. Parables in Matthew 7 and Matthew 25 give examples of this. Matthew 7 teaches that there will be those who do great things, but Jesus will say that he never knew them. Matthew 25 teaches that basic acts done for "the least of these" have a much greater importance than we realize.

  • Simple Things
  • For the Right Reasons
    • Good Deeds are the Fruit, not the Root
  • For All People
    • "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Fresh Start - Colossians 3:1-4

Every life is precious. The Christian life is a special gift from God, given at Baptism. Baptism is one of the most misunderstood, controversial practices in Christianity. This Biblical look not only describes Baptism, but talks about what it means for the Christian and how it impacts them for eternity.

Baptism is:
  • For Everyone - Ephesians 4:4-6 Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all...
  • For the End - Romans 6:2b-3
    Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  • For a Beginning - Colossians 2:9-12 have been given fullness in Christ...
    • For the Heart - Colossians 3:1
      ...set your hearts on things above...
    • For the Mind - Colossians 3:2
      ...set your mind on things above...
    • For Eternity - Colossians 3:3-4 will also appear with Him in glory.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Family Dinner - 1 Corinthians 11:17-29

Food is an essential part of life, but it is more than that. It is the central part of many of the social customs and practices that fill our lives. It only makes sense that God would take such a simple, important part of our life and use it to remind us of what is most important. When Jesus met with the disciples for the "Last Supper" he instituted a memorial service that can apply to every meal we eat, but relates specifically to the weekly meetings of the Family of God.

  • Dinner for One - “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." - 11:27-28
  • Dinner for Two - “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” - 11:26
  • A Family Dinner - "So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other." - 11:33

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Into every life a little rain must fall. When that happens, do we look for rainbows and silver linings or do we slosh through puddles with faces that match our umbrellas? Jesus said, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." What are we filling our hearts with? Are we filling them until they overflow? What will spill out when we get "bumped"?

Filling our hearts
  • "Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD.
    You have filled my heart with greater joy..." - Psalm 4:6-7
  • "Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." - Luke 6:45
Getting Bumped
  • "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also." - Luke 6:28

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Join the Resistance - John 13:35

Jesus' resurrection is the defining event in the history of mankind. It was the moment in which God created a bridge between heaven and earth, making it possible for people to gain eternal life. It was also the moment in which Jesus resisted the power of evil most directly. He stood up to death , and he did it with nothing but love. In the same way we are called to resist evil with love as well. In our daily lives when we face fear, evil and death we are called to, "Join the resistance, fall in love."

Resist Fear
  • There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. - 1 John 4:18
Resist Evil
  • If you love me, you will obey what I command. - John 14:15
Resist Death
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Past, Present, Future - Luke 19

Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday, is unique in that it is the only time in Jesus' time on Earth when he was treated the way that he deserved to be treated. Instead of doubt, disbelief, beating and berating he was greeted with a parade and shouts of victory. But this victory parade came before the victory was won. In fact, it came before the battle was engaged. The timing doesn't make sense. When we look at God's timing from our limited human point of view it often doesn't make sense. We can't see the big picture. Luckily, it isn't up to us to see the big picture or understand it - all we have to do is trust in God to handle it. All of time is in God's hands.
Through Jesus, God:
  • Purifies our Past
    Matthew 21:4 - This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet
  • Provides for our Present
    Luke 19:40 - "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
  • Prepares our Future
    Luke 19:42 - "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Facing An End - 1 Peter 4:7-11

We all face ends in our lives. There are times when certain parts of our life come to an end - things will never be the way they were before. These can be good times, like a graduation or a birth. They can also be hard times, like the dissolution of a relationship or a death. How do we react to these situations? How do we respond to changes? Peter writes about facing big changes in 1 Peter 4:7-11.

When facing an End, Peter says we should:
  • Be Clear-Minded and Self-Controlled
    7b - Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
  • Be Loving
    8 - Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
  • Be Hospitable
    9 - Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Use God's Words and God's Strength to do all these things to praise Him.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Militant Christians - 1 Peter 4:1-5

What is the biggest problem facing the world today? Many would say it's the proliferation of Militant Islam. That is a problem, but really its just a symptom of a deeper issue. The real struggle that the world faces is the death of Militant Christianity. Christians have become scared to act on what they believe in, choosing to whine and complain about what is wrong instead of working and fighting to bring about good. 1 Peter 4 verses 1 through 5 gives instructions for living as a Militant Christian
  • Armed with Christ's Attitude
    v1 - Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
  • Awaiting God's Orders
    v2 - As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
  • Aware of the Past but Focused on the Future
    v3, 4 - For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do - living in debauchery, lust drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
  • At War!
    v5 - But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

It's Never Easy - 1 Peter 3 & 4

Everybody hurts... into every life a little rain must fall... it's never easy. No matter how people reference it, suffering is a part of every person's life. There is some suffering that we cause to ourselves, some that others cause and some that seems to be a matter of chance. While we cannot control all of the suffering that comes our way, we can control how we react to it. In 1 Peter we find numerous references to suffering and persecution, coming to a head in chapters 3 and 4. Here, Peter tells us about suffering itself and also how to handle it when it comes our way.
  • Suffer for the Right Reasons
  • Suffer in the Right Way
    • Relax - 3:14b -Do not be frightened.
    • Regroup - 3:16 - Keep a clear conscience.
    • Rejoice - 4:13 - Rejoice!
    • Recommit - 4:19 - Commit themselves to their creator.
  • Suffer in the Right Company

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Trail of Surrender - 1 Peter 2:13-3:7

We can all be stubborn at times. No one likes to give up our freedoms or relinquish our right to make decisions about certain things. Yet, as Christians we are called to do so in certain situations. In 1 Peter 2 and 3, the word submit is used. This is one of those words that can make us bristle with disgust before we even know what we are being called to submit to. But, Peter explains that we are called to submit for a reason - submission is not the end goal. Our goal is Christ, the things we submit to are simply markers along the trail that leads to Him.
  • Know your Markers
    • Submit to the Government
    • Submit to One Another
    • Submit to God
  • Endure the Hike
    • He must become greater; I must become less. - John 3:30
  • Trust your Guide

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Keep Your Eyes on the Goal - 1 Peter 2:4-12

Life is filled with temptations and distractions. Advertisements, homework, tv, internet, magazines, and other people all clamor for our attention and focus. These things all work together to keep us from what is most important - working towards the spiritual goal that God has set before all of mankind. Peter reminds his readers about the simplicity of life and reminds them to Keep their Eyes on the Goal.
  • We have a team - v5, bricks in a spiritual house
  • We have a goal - v5, to offer spiritual sacrifices
  • We have rules - v8, the message we were destined for
  • Keep Your Eyes on the Goal - v9
    • Leave the Past Behind - v10, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy
    • Know Your Team - v11, live as aliens and strangers in the world
    • Check Your Heart - v11, abstain from sinful desires
    • Follow the Rules - v12, live such good lives that pagans glorify God
Originally presented February 11, 2007.

Wholly Holy - 1 Peter 1:13-2:3

"Be Holy because I am Holy" - these can be tough words to accept from the mouth of God. How are we, mere mortals, supposed to live up to the standard of holiness set by God? Jesus tells us that holiness does not start with our hands or our eyes, it comes from inside - from our hearts. Peter goes on to explain the steps in this process, explaining that in order to be "Wholly Holy" we must have:
  • Reverent Fear - 1:17
    herish God's place in our lives
  • Sincere Love - 1:22
    are for one another
  • Childlike Hunger - 2:2
    rave God's goodness in our own lives
Originally presented January 28, 2007.

Living Hope - 1 Peter 1:3-9

How is the Hope of a Christian different from that of the World?

Christians have a living hope that :
  • Acts
    There is a difference between wishing and praying.

  • Survives and carries in hard times
    Everyone goes through some hard times!

  • Is Fulfilled with Joy in Salvation
    Christians experience periods of sorrow in a sea of joy, non-believers experience periods of happiness in a sea of sorrow
Originally presented January 14, 2007.

The Story of Simon/Peter

Peter is arguably the most well-known apostle. He walked on water, denied he knew Jesus and generally acted before he spoke. Despite, or maybe because of, all this he became the de facto leader of the New Testament Church after Jesus' ascension.

Travel back in time with the members of the East End Christian Church to hear Peter himself tell his version of the stories you read about him in the gospels. Peter's description of his journey from life as a fisherman named Simon to a disciple named Peter serves as the introduction for a series of expository sermons taken from Peter's epistles.

Originally presented January 7, 2007.