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Friday, December 16, 2016

Our Church Will Have Services This Next Sunday

Church services are a leisure activity for most people who call themselves believers. Corporate Christian worship can be trumped by any number of things. Sports is a common excuse. It is used with impunity. It appears to be a justifiable reason to miss worship. I just don't think "I was there when the Redskins won the Super Bowl" is the answer the Lord is looking for when He asks why He should let you into His heaven.

Church services are often cancelled by churches during bad weather. This would not have been possible a hundred years ago. Then, we would have expected that people would have used their own good sense to determine if it was safe to come to church. Those who are closer can generally make it. Those who live farther away have a more difficult time. Conditions are not the same all over a city. They are worse in some areas than in others. I do not berate people when they tell me that they didn't feel safe coming to church. That would be true if it were merely a rainstorm. People have to use their own good sense.

Our freedom to worship was paid for with blood. Cancelling services minimizes the importance of those deaths. That freedom is extended to those who do not want to come to worship. I get that. But I want to continue to open that freedom up to those who do want to come to worship. I make it a point of being here in bad weather. We continued to have services during the last hurricane that came through. (It was a tropical storm by the time it got to us but dropped a huge amount of rain.) Many of our people couldn't get here. We have a few over a hundred. The church across the street had about fifty. The restaurants in the area were packed that day. Most, if not all in some cases, of their employees made it into work. The police told people to stay in. I really doubt they would have said that if it were Monday and people "had" to go to work. Yes, there were places that people didn't need to venture into. They could use their own good sense to know they shouldn't go there. The authorities could say "stay in" because they knew they could get away with it. The more prudent thing to say is, "There are some very dangerous areas in the city. Please use extreme caution if you are going to be out today."That's what they would have said if it were a Monday.

Worship rarely "just" happens. It is a commitment that is made. It rarely happens for those who treat it leisurely even when they come to church. They are expecting to be "wowed" by the worship service. However, worship is us saying "Wow!" to our God. They are completely unprepared for that. They think the Lord owes them a good time just for showing up. Their lack of worship when they come justifies when they miss. Because they are unchanged by worship,  they can't see the reason to worship.

(I have heard there are some churches who aren't having worship services on Christmas Day this year. They are telling their members that they should spend that time with their families. Does worship keep families apart? I actually thought it brought them together. Silly me!)

So, the next time the weather is bad you can be assured (unless their is a mandatory evacuation) that we will have worship services as scheduled on Sunday. Be safe. Use your own discretion and if you believe it is safe carefully come to worship. Oh, and by the way, the Methodist church across the street will have services, too. They have a new young pastor who gets it.

Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)
37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38  This is the great and first commandment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From Natural to Miracle

God uses ordinary people to extraordinary things. This message tells the story of Mary's acceptance of what God would do with her to bring His Son into the world. God will never act in this way again but He could be calling you to do something extraordinary too.

Preparing for Christmas

God spoke to Zechariah while he served in the Temple through the angel Gabriel. Zechariah just couldn't believe that God would be so good to him. He failed to realize: God knows what you need. God has what you need. God is always loving toward you. God is doing something with you. Afterwards, Zechariah realizes that when his son is born. Have you realized these things?

When Jesus Comes

Jesus came and many people missed Him. They didn't recognize who He was. They didn't realize that He was not one who come be rejected. Today people reject Jesus, too. They don't recognize who He is nor do they realize that He must be accepted. They seek peace in their lives yet have no peace. The good news of Jesus is that He brings peace between man and God, man and man and within the soul of those who know Him. When Jesus comes their is peace.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

With a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving can change our lives. It magnifies God, shrinks our problems, takes away anxiety and gives us hope. Please listen to the end when JR Thornton gives his testimony and sings. I believe this message will leave you thanking God no matter what you are going through right now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just What I Need

Things we must remember: God knows what I need. God has what I need. God will always act loving toward me. God is doing something in me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Grace Takes a Lot of Grace

Satan has been destroying peace in God's creation from the beginning. He destroyed the peace between God and man, between husband and wife and brother and brother. Satan began by offering man something he already had at a price he couldn't afford. God came to restore that peace. God bought man something he didn't have and couldn't deserve at a price that he couldn't pay. However, even those who accept this peace still have a sin nature and Satan continues to use that to destroy the peace between man and God, husband and wife and brother and brother. This message is what we need to do to bring peace back into our lives.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Heart Won't Lie

Many people seek to be known by what they do. God wants us to be a people who do because of who we are.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Day They Didn't Applaud

People will expect you to go along with them regardless of whether it is right or not. The pressure to comply to maintain social status is enormous. The day you decide to do what is right rather than what the crowd wants to do will be the day they won't applaud.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Salvation Works

Salvation is free. Jesus truly paid it all. However, sanctification requires letting the Spirit work on and in us. That requires some work. In fact, it requires a great deal of practice to get it right. We don't work for our salvation but our salvation does indeed work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Taking a Long Walk with God

Sometimes God takes you places that you didn't plan to go. That's what He did when I was preparing this sermon. He led me to understand that the pain some people have experienced in their past is keeping them from walking with Him. God doesn't just want us to turn over the good things to Him. He wants the bad things as well. This sermon was preached during as Hurricane Matthew was blowing outside. There were less than a 100 people in the sanctuary on this morning. Maybe you missed it too. I believe God wants you to hear it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Everybody's Gotta Grow Up!

Age has nothing to do with spiritual growth if the person chooses to have a superficial faith. Faith should enable the person to weather the storms of life, make godly decisions and find meaning in their lives. Some Christians never get there. This message encourages everyone to grow up.

There's Always Hope

Satan is seeking to devour everyone. This message claims that Satan devours people by destroying their hope. But God has other plans. This message is for everyone who needs hope.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Makes Me Bring People to Jesus?

Why does anyone bring someone to Jesus? Do some people just lack the capability or do they lack the character qualities for bringing people to Jesus? This message explores whether or not we have the character qualities to bring people to Jesus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Didn't We Say We Wouldn't Forget?

People were outraged after the 911 attacks. Their sense of righteousness and justice was violated because innocent Americans had been attacked. The nation came together and said that we would never forget. We sought justice and we sought God. Fifteen yeas later we examine whether or not we have kept our commitments. Did we forget what we said we would do?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Making Giving Easy

How much does God want you to give? The answer is simple but people make it complicated. God expects you to give all of it. God has commissioned you to manage all that He has given you. That means that He will require that some will be released from your charge. That means you must go to Him to know what should be given. This is rare-even among Christians. Most people fail to ask Him and want a formula that allows them to give Him a minimum. God has never wanted giving to Him to be a burden. He isn't opposed to you having some fun with what you have either. The question is: Do you have the courage to ask Him how much you should give? That's what this message is all about. Listen if you dare.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hearing God's Call

God shapes us through needs. It takes faith to see these needs met. It takes a word from God to have faith. God calls people to meet needs but many do not know how to receive a word from God. This message should help people "hear" God's call.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Making Mountains Move

The Bible calls any seemingly insurmountable problem a mountain. Jesus said that these "mountains" could be thrown in the sea if we had enough faith. But how do you get that faith? This message may need to be heard more than once for those of you who have a mountain in your path. (There is a testimony at the end of the message that may require you to turn up your volume.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Who Do You See?

Too often we make judgments about people by what we observe rather than seeing them through Jesus' eyes. We think of them an annoyances, people to be used, condemned and sinners. Jesus sees them as the future, people to be healed, forgiven and disciples. We may even look at ourselves as worthless but Jesus sees us as redeemable. This message is for those who want to see people through Jesus' eyes.

Bring a Friend

I have been to and taught many of the evangelism programs that seem to go around. Each of these acts as if this is the only way to share the gospel and this is the last way you will ever need to learn. Yet, the Bible records several different ways to share the gospel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Greatest Story You've Ever Told

If we believe that Jesus is truthful; If we believe that He is the only way of salvation; If we believe that He loves people and wants them to go to heaven, then we had better start telling His story.

There Ain't No Future in the Past

Churches need a plan if they are going to make disciples. This message outlines our plan.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It All Comes Together

God has called His people to love and forgive each other. So, why is it that churches have such conflict? I believe it's because we have never learned to work together. God's plan is that people work together. This message tells how.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When Dad Loves One above Another

Why would any dad love one of his children more than another? Well, there are a few circumstances that may cause him to do so. This message addresses these tendencies and informs dads how they can prevent it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Everybody Gets Something

The spectacular spiritual gifts are hard to understand. Their abuse almost always causes chaos in the church. Yet, they are mentioned in the Bible. Did they pass away with the completion of the New Testament? Are they here today? That's what this sermon seeks to answer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Gifted to Serve

The most unfulfilled people are those who pursue happiness over meaning. Those who sit still lose what they have. Those who concentrate on themselves have nothing left at the end of their lives. The only way our lives are fulfilled is when we are doing what we are called to do. God has gifted us to answer that calling. This message urges people to get involved in the ministries God has called them to.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

We Aren't Slip Sliding Away (Part 2)

We look at people strangely when they say that God speaks to them. We also wonder if they might be getting messages from their toasters. Yet, God is still speaking to people today. This message finishes telling how God speaks. It is not a formula nor does it contain sequential steps for hearing from God. It just says that God speaks and you should be ready to hear what He has to say.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Aren't Slip Sliding Away

Many people are practical deists. They believe that God has given us all that we need to do in the Bible without any of it having to directed specifically toward any of us. In other words, God has set everything in motion and now only watches to see if we will do as He has asked. They do not see God as actively involved in His creation. They do not believe that Christians "hear" from God today. This message says that God speaks to His people if they will listen and obey. It tells how the individual Christian can live a life intimately with a living God. This message may scare some people because it states clearly that God is dangerous. He is not malevolent but those who listen and obey will do things they never would have attempted otherwise. So, listen if you are willing to go where you have been afraid to go before.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Coming into God's Rest

Why are so many Christians burned out from their service to the Lord if He said that those who come to Him would find rest? Could this be the reason they are flocking to the mega churches? They just want a place where they can be anonymous without stressing out about what they have to do "for" the Lord. This message tells why that is true and what you need to do to keep from being burned out. God wants you in His rest.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils

The argument goes like this: When you choose between the lesser of two evils, you are still choosing evil.

It is a political year and people are trying to justify their candidates. Therefore, the most despicable people are defended with, "No one is perfect!" Somehow that helps Christians get past the obvious flaws in their candidates.

The lack of perfect candidates doesn't mean that there aren't good candidates. King David was not perfect but he was characterized as a man after God's own heart. He failed but repented.  There would never have been anyone to lead God's people if perfection was the criteria.

People want to characterize others by one act. One lie makes you a liar they say. But does it? If you tell the truth 99% of the time, most people will say you are honest. Or there are no honest people on this earth!

I took a physics course one time that only rewarded you for getting 100% correct. Anything else was a failure. You had to pass the test on that material or you couldn't take the next test. The tests were all different. The professor failed me for an addition error on one of the tests. I didn't think it was an accurate reflection of my physics knowledge. I did the problems right. I did the addition wrong.

When I look at a political candidate I am not looking for perfection. I am looking for character. Would I consider this candidate truthful? Will this candidate do what he or she says? Is this candidate known by the fruit of the Spirit? The candidate doesn't need to be perfect. He or she must be characterized by virtue.

I am not looking for a theocracy. However, I need to know that the candidate that I vote for has the character to lead our country. I need to know that he or she will do what is right rather than what is politically advantageous. I'd like to have someone who sees themselves as a servant of the people rather than one who is looking for the people to serve him or her.

Maybe I am unrealistic but I can't choose the lesser of two evils.

So, I pray for the candidates. I pray that those who are in the lead will receive new hearts or that there will be those who are in the lead who have new hearts.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Prayer of Anticipation (Part 1)

Not all prayers are for seen needs. Some prayer anticipate the future. Jesus said that we would have tribulation in the world. He prepared Himself and we should prepare ourselves for days that don't go as we planned.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Praying in the Spirit (Part 2)

Many people do not know how to pray in the Spirit because it sounds so mysterious. This sermon takes the mystery out of that mystery.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Praying in the Spirit (Part 1)

It may seem that your prayers are going nowhere sometimes. It isn't that way when you pray in the Spirit.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

More than You Can Ask or Think

Can God do more than you can ask or think? I think we all know the answer. But does that answer help you when you are the one who has a need that is so great? No, it doesn't unless you fully grasp His love

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Persistent Prayer

Is it possible to get a "yes" from God when you have already heard "no"? That's why we must persist in prayer.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Power of Two

Amazing things happen when people get together and pray. The principle of two is applied. This message reveals how God has provided for the power of two.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Before You Ask

God already knows what you need before you ask Him. So, why ask? The answer just may change the whole way you pray.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

And When You Pray

Jesus said that there were hypocrites who prayed so that others could admire their praying. He told people not to copy their example. Prayers need to be honest. They should come from the heart. They should expect an answer from the Lord. This sermon will lead you to take a step forward in praying confidently and effectively.