Working Out

I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The following prayer is what I am using on Sunday, Nov 4, before I preach on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Holy God,
Martin Luther is quoted as saying,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me;
it has legs, it runs after me;
it has hands, it lays hold of me.
Oh God,
run and catch us.
Lay hold of and keep us.
Open our eyes and ears
that we may see and hear Your Word of truth;
for Your Word is a living word.
It’s active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Pierce our hearts and make us alive in Jesus.
Trim away the fat and make us lean.
May Your Word be all that is left in us,
so much so,
that You shine forth
and are glorified in and through our lives.
May we be so alive with Your Spirit
that we run after you;
working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
To you be the glory, now and forever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

This Much

The magnitude of what Jesus did for us can not be overstated.
The lengths that Jesus went to can not be measured.
The depths of his love can not be gauged.
The wideness of his grace can not be seen,

The closest we get is this: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God (think about that for a moment, the form – of – God), did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT

emptied himself,
by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient
to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5–11 ESV]

Let that sink in…

Goosebumps yet? No? Then go back and read it again and this time pay attention.
or
Goosebumps yet? Yes? Then go back and read it again and just abide in this Word.

This is how much Jesus loves you. Any questions?

The Pastor -|—

 

Don’t be Stupid

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

[1 Corinthians 1:23-25]

Seriously? People actually preach something else than that. Wow! That is baffling especially since, as Paul says, For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. Since that is the case, why preach something else? Why preach social justice? Why preach “7 ways to your best life now”? Why preach “5 tips to being a better you”? Why preach anything or anyone other than Jesus? If you are doing that…STOP. That’s just stupid and leading people to death. Christ crucified AND risen is salvation. Christ crucified AND risen is life. If you are stumbling over this concept, read your Bible and receive wisdom that ONLY comes from God.

The Pastor -|—

Facing Jesus

I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.

As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.

[Click]

Off went the T.V.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…

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 -|—