Hang in there

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. [Matthew 10:24-25]

Doing some reading for this Sunday’s sermon, I came across this little nugget from Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew“Everyone who wants a safe, carefree life free from danger should stay away from Jesus. The world responds with hostility  to Him. So as we are conformed to Christ more and more, the world will respond to us more and more as they responded to Him. If you want to avoid being betrayed, hated, or persecuted, then don’t become like Christ.

Yup, sounds about right.

Oh, and one more thing. Jesus also said to his disciples, And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Don’t forget that promise.

Basically, if you are doing things right then the world will definitely let you know it, but don’t be scared away. He who is with us is greater than they who are with them. Glorify God through standing firm.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon Teaser ~ THE Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[Matthew 28:16-20]

A little sermon teaser for tomorrow. Here’s the opening paragraph…

The Great Commission as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew is the great “what now” of the Christian faith. It is the imperative for the one who, through the Holy Spirit, has come to faith in Jesus Christ as THE Lord and Savior. The Great Commission is the marching orders for the Church in this dark, sin-filled world. But before you start thinking, “Here we go again, another get-out-there-and-share-your-faith sermon” remember, this Great Commission, given by Jesus, is more than that. This Commission contains a claim, a command and a promise. This Commission should elicit in you a “Well duh” type of response because this Commission describes what the follower of Jesus already joyfully does. And so, as you hear more about this Commission, remember what came before; Jesus Christ crucified, died and risen for you. All grace. All promise. All Good News. And if that is true for you, then what comes next is indeed, “Well, Duh. Why wouldn’t we go and say something.”

May God bless me with the Holy Spirit as I finish this message that I may in turn bring glory to God.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon Brainstorming

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[Matthew 28:18-20]

This coming Sunday (June 11), I am preaching on the above stated passage; a passage that many of you know well. The following are my top ten thoughts thus far:

(1) Jesus has ALL authority, not just some or a lot. (See Daniel 7:13-14)
(2) Our obedience to the command to “Go” is based on the authority of the one giving the command. If I were to command you to show me your driver’s license, you might laugh at me, but if a police officer made that command after a traffic stop, you would comply.
(3) Jesus said “Go“, not “Stay and wait for people“.
(4) Make disciples, not members.
(5) We are to be about Kingdom building not kingdom building.
(6) Jesus said, “all nations“; all people, not just the ones you like and/or comfortable with.
(7) Discipleship making comes through proclaiming the Gospel not threats from the Law.
(8) Follow up from #7: People follow Jesus out of thankfulness and love, not fear of punishment.
(9) Once a follower, teach people what Jesus has commanded. No one and done; bang-them-over-the-head-and-leave evangelism.
(10) Does this sound overwhelming? No worries, Jesus will be with you always, to the end of the age.

As I said, these are the thoughts running around in my head and heart. A lot of sermons here so don’t worry, Living Word, I won’t dump this whole load on you at once 🙂

O.K., back to sermon prep…

The Pastor -|—

Sermon teaser for Pentecost Sunday

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” [John 7:37-38]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” [Matthew 5:6]

As the body desires relief and satisfaction on a hot summer day, so the soul of a person is longing for refreshment. It’s looking for something that will satisfy its deepest need; its deepest desire. As the body needs that cool glass of water so the soul needs Living Water, and more so; whether a person will admit it or not. They need something and Jesus has the very thing for which they are looking and needing.
We live in thirsty times but many will not drink.
We live in thirsty times but many would rather live with parched months than die to themselves.
We live in thirsty times but united to the Holy Spirit through faith we are satisfied.
May we, as the church turn on the sprinkler of Living Water and forever quench the thirst of the world to the glory of God…

The Pastor -|—

You Must Take That Risk

[I am feeling a little feisty after reading something today. That “something” is not important but I thought I would just leave these thoughts right here for you.]

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If by standing firm for biblical truth means risking offending someone(s), you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of offending that someone(s) but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means adversely affecting a relationship you have with someone, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of ending that relationship but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means certain persecution by others, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of seeking persecution but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

If by standing firm for biblical truth means that you will be labeled as being irrelevant, oppressive, divisive, exclusive, etc, you must stand firm and take that risk; not with the end purpose of seeking attention for some agenda but to remain faithful to God’s Word.

 26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
[Matthew 10:26-33]

And so…

Fear not

Be faithful

Stand firm

for you do not stand alone.

For by standing firm for biblical truth we bring glory to God, and after all, isn’t that why we are here?

[Just some thoughts from a rambling, feisty pastor]

Rant done

The Pastor -|—

Making Disciples

As a church, what are you about?

A church strategy that focuses on getting people to come to you through flashy programs, big events, creative gimmicks or high energy worship technology misses the point of being the church. Jesus never said, “Go therefore and make members of all nations…“. Jesus commanded us to “Go therefore and make DISCIPLES of all nations…“.  The work of the church is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus create Jesus-followers or better yet, those to walk/live/talk/act AS Jesus would. It is a command to live out loud in such a way that people see Jesus in you and thus give glory to God. The work of the church is “out there”, not in the safety of your four walls.

If, as a church, though, you are only focused on bringing in more people so you can cover your budget, you are nothing more than community-minded club. Following Jesus is not a club but a way of life. Following Jesus is messy. Following Jesus is joy in the midst of a messed up, sin-filled world.

As a church, ask yourself this question:
If we evangelize someone; sharing the Good News of Jesus with them, and they come to believe, will we still rejoice if they choose to worship elsewhere?

Think about that. If your answer is no then some soul searching needs to be done.
Why do you exist?
Who are you trying to glorify, yourself or God?
What’s more important, building your kingdom (building) or God’s Kingdom?

Sure, more than likely, if you help lead someone to Jesus, they will come and worship where you worship, but they may not. If they choose someplace else, then still praise God. Praise God they are part of the flock. Praise God they are worshiping him. Praise God that there is another disciple out there ready to do battle with the forces of evil. Praise God.

As I said, following Jesus is messy work but if you are unwilling to get messy, then you will miss the joy that is discipleship. Get out of your neat, safe and comfortable buildings. Hit the messy, dirt road; kicking up some dust along the way and getting dirty; knowing that you are already washed clean through the Holy Spirit.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
[Matthew 28:19-20]

Let’s get messy.

The Pastor -|—

Righteousness

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ
you have made us righteous in your eyes
and thus redeemed us from the pit of death
through the forgiveness of our sins.
You have given us a new hope
as we look forward to and long for the paradise prepared for us.
You are an awesome God
and thus you are worthy of all
praise
and glory
and worship.
Help us to understand what it means
to bring You glory through the practicing of our righteousness.
May we not fall to the temptation of glorifying ourselves.
May we not steal the praise that is due Your wonderful name.
Now may the words of my mouth
and the meditation of our hearts
be acceptable in Your sight,
oh God,
our Rock and redeemer,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—