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Monday, December 28, 2015

Where Do We Go from Here?

God wants the best for you always. This means that He is always seeking your growth. Growth is a never ending process. Growth is challenging. It requires our consistent obedience. This message gives seven needed elements to receive God's best.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Is Jesus Not Enough for Your Church?

Churches are promising undeliverable enticements for people to visit. I heard one recently that promised that the people who visited would learn the purpose and meaning for their lives. Yes, it is possible to find that in Jesus Christ but no one can promise, no matter how hard they preach who Jesus is, that you will find purpose and meaning in one visit. I am afraid this is what the visitors believe will happen if they come. The local bar has a better chance of delivering their expectations.

I noticed another church promising that those who come will receive a "dynamic" sermon. I'm not sure what that means. Surely, no preacher is trying to make his sermons boring. Most preachers don't know if their sermons are boring. I know I don't. I just notice the sleeping people. I conclude that the sermons are boring.

Many churches are using marketing as their main draw for people to enter their churches. They are using "churchy" words and drawing in people from other churches who believe there must be something better than they have where they are. Then, these churches are crowing about their growth. Attendance and giving have become the main goals of the modern church. Any means of packing them in is okay.

But let's look at what the Bible says.

Jesus said that He would build His church.

Matthew 16:16-18 (ESV)
16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus said He would build His church on the testimony of a faith in Him as the Christ. This is the foundation of the Church.

Jesus said that the Father must draw people Himself before they can be reached.

John 6:44 (ESV)
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Is this why Paul was so determined to preach Jesus only?

1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV)
2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

For the longest time I blamed myself for every person who left the church and praised myself for everyone who joined. I kept thinking that I had to grab their attention with more creative messages. I searched for videos to enhance messages, practiced what I would say and did my best to find amusing and emotional stories to hammer in my points. Even now, I don't think these things are inherently wrong. They are only wrong when the message of Jesus takes a back seat to the efforts of man.

Several months ago I began to pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I have recently gathered with others to pray that God would fill our church with His Spirit. I am neither testing nor challenging God to act. I am asking that He would build His church on the testimony of His Son. I am praying that our church turns the corner and becomes so Spirit filled that no one says that it was marketing, better preaching techniques or any other reason for what God will do. I don't pray that our church is filled with people. I pray it is filled with Jesus.

Personally, I believe He is enough.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What Does God Want for Christmas?

Behavior is goal directed-even for God. He sent His Son to be Savior, Christ and Lord. He sent birth announcements to shepherds and Magi. Does this indicate what God expected to accomplish in the birth of His Son? If so, isn't this what God wants for Christmas?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Emmanuel, God with Us

The Christian message has told people that Jesus died for their sins. It has said that faith in Jesus will allow their sins to be forgiven and give them eternal life. So, many Christians are leaving the church after their salvation experiences and baptisms because they do not understand the fullness of the gospel message. Salvation enables a relationship with God. Relationships must be ongoing to be vital. People should experience communion with God and others each time they worship. This sermon addresses why they aren't.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Make My Joy Complete

Conflict among individuals is inevitable. However, it can be rectified when both people seek to have a heart agreement. The Bible tells us how to solve these conflicts. You have to disrupt the present situation in order to improve the future.