Posts Tagged ‘sermon recording’

Lent is traditionally a time for self-reflection with an emphasis on the distance we put between us and God through our sin.  Fasting is one discipline we use to help us receive God’s reconciling grace in order to close that gap.  I have been thinking about that hymn, Solid Rock  “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”…”  and wondering where my hope rests, wondering what are the foundations that widen the distance between me and my God.  Here is a video introduction to my sermon series exploring this question.

To hear this weeks sermon click here. This weeks sermon is titled, How Firm a Foundation.


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Sermon Recording:  Idealism or Realism

This is a bit old (2 weeks), but I thought I would at least post the sermon.

This is the follow up to the previous post.

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The Sermon: Hands or Wings?

The Scripture: Acts 1:6-8

A little late, but here is the sermon from last week. As you may remember, last week the major question before us is essentially, in our walk with God are we looking for a way to cope or a way to live.  Christianity is often seen as a coping device by those on the outside.  I think one of the reasons is that we only treat God as a crutch.  We go to him to ease our guilt, to lift our pains, to comfort us in our sorrows.  We all need comforting and we all need forgiveness.  Jesus did say to bring our burdens to him, however, these were not Jesus’ last words to us.  He called us to be witnesses to the Kingdom of God.  The only way to be a witness to something and be credible is to live it out.  The Kingdom of God is a place where we can be alive, a place where we can help others live too.  Hands or wings?  Do we just pray for a hand up or do we pray for wings to help us soar?

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Sermon Recording:  Free For What?

This past Sunday was, as you know, the 4th of July.  A day of grilled meat, bug spray, and fireworks. A day established to celebrate our Nations independence from England and that Tyrant King George.  1776, July 4th.  Big day.  If you have never read the Declaration of Independence, you should.  Right now, go.  I’ll wait for you, seriously…. Ok, see what I mean?   It’s good stuff.  However, what I started wondering is how many of us take advantage of the freedom we have?  Ah, take positive advantage of the freedom we have?

People use that phrase all the time…. “It’s a free country”, “who are you to tell me what to do”.  Or, there is the more intellectual approach that some people have regarding our freedom, particularly when it comes to monogamy, “you know, people are the only animals that practice monogamous relationships”.  I love it when people compare our habits to dogs who scoot their butts on the ground to scratch, bark at no one at the front door, and are afraid of the vacuum cleaner.  But hey, it’s a free country, do what you want, right?

How do we use our freedom?  This is what I talked about on Sunday.  We read from Galatians 5 where Paul talks about how we use our freedom.  He says it is summed up in 1 word (although he uses 7), You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  We are free in Christ, but how do we live out the freedom we have been given.  Paul was upset with some in Galatia, because they started preaching that you had to obey certain kinds of laws to gain the love of God.  Paul said that laws were good, but they are not what liberates you.

We get very caught up in what is allowed and not allowed in our life and we so often miss the point.  This is why Jesus said, “you’ve heard it said, if you murder that wrong.  I say that if you are angry at your brother, you have murdered “.  (paraphrase) Now, Jesus wasn’t starting to hand out new laws, and I would have to say if he was, this one doesn’t make any sense.  Seriously, my being angry with someone is the same as killing?  Jesus was simply stating that you can obey the law and still miss the point.  What is the point?  Imagine not just holding back your hatred, but actually not hating?  Which is more liberating, not saying hateful things or not wanting to say hateful things.

Imagine being so free in your life, you want to treat others as yourself?  Most of our problems with avoiding this commandment is not that we don’t want to love our neighbors as ourselves, it is just that we love ourselves with such misguidance we have not idea how to love others.  Freedom is what Christ offers.  Take a listen to the sermon, and see if you agree.

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Recording of Sermon:  Be Perfect?

Father’s Day Sunday started just a few hours after I had arrived at home from my Costa Rica mission trip.  Before I left I thought surely I would have time to write a sermon.  My plan was to take the last day, when everyone else would be doing Canopy Zip Line tours or boat tours, and write away.  Well, one of our youth got sick and her mom who happened to be with us stayed behind to take care of her.  They didn’t want the ticket for zip lining to go to waste so they asked if I would use one of them.  Well being the good Christian I am, I said yes, I will take on the burden of zip lining through the Costa Rican Rain Forrest for you.  I ended up writing my sermon on a plane on the back of a “barf bag” as we called them in the 80’s.

Why tell you all that?  It has to do with perfection.  Nothing in this life ever really goes to the perfection of how we would like to plan them, but we have to take what’s before us and do the best with what we have.  Our lives, in the end, will either be riddled with excuses or results.  But if we really believe that we will never be perfect, then what does Jesus mean when he says, “be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect”.

I have known many a Christian who are shaken by this quote from Jesus.  They love God, but they see the struggle in their own life and their many imperfections and feel defeated because they are unable to live out this perfection. I have struggled with this as well.

One day I was reading C.S. Lewis.  I can’t tell you what it was exactly, but he was writing about this topic.  He said that Jesus is not telling us to do the same things that the father is doing but to do them in the same manner.  He went on to say if a Father and his young child are eating together and the mother says to the child, “eat like your father” she is not imploring the child to eat the same amount as the father, but to eat in a like manner.  To eat what has been given to you.  Why would it be different for us and God.  I am being transformed into the image of God, but I am not God and nowhere near perfect.  But, I can look around me and see what has been put on my plate and respond to that perfectly.  That doesn’t mean I will do it perfectly or understand it perfectly, but if I approach whatever it may be with the life of Christ in me, I will soon discover the true meaning of the word perfect.

All week in Costa Rica, this theme of embracing what was before us in Christ kept coming in to play.  We cannot control what comes at us, but we control how we respond to it.  The real question is do we trust God enough to allow him to move in us first.

I don’t think God is looking for us to do everything perfectly, but to live perfectly in his presence.  The week I was gone I missed Sydney terribly.  Amanda emailed me and said that she was pretend talking to me on one of her phones and telling me about one of her cartoons.  My heart was breaking.  But I also thought, this is perfecting, this is how we are to share our lives with God… in everything we do.  That is perfection.

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Sunday May 30, 2010 Sermon Recording: live it

Proverbs 2

We wrapped up our “Hearing God” series this past week with the emphasis on how important being in an active relationship with God helps us to hear him better.  The more we walk with God the more we understand him, just as it is in any relationship.  And just like any healthy relationship, hearing God is not about manipulating him to tell us what we want or to give us every answer we need.  It is about learning from God and being guided to a point to where the decisions we make have the character of Christ in them.

In our attempts to hear God we sometimes fall at the extreme.  One end we claim to want to hear God but do nothing to cultivate that hearing or do anything about what we think we hear.  On the other end we seek God to make every decision for us.  Neither constitutes a healthy relationship.  No healthy person likes to be ignored and no healthy person really wants to make every decision or have every decision made for them.  God’s desire is not that we live God’s life but to live our life with God.  This means that for us to grow to mature faith we learn how to decide things for ourselves by watching Christ.  Does this mean that we do not go to God for guidance? No.  Does it mean that God never has something particular for us to do? No.  But it does mean that we can learn how to walk with God, hear God, listen for God, with out fretting with anxiety if we are disobeying God as we live and breathe through the many decisions and moments that happen in our daily life.

I closed the sermon by sharing with you the closest thing to a formula Dallas Willard came to in his book, “Hearing God”.  Below I will share with you those points and a prayer by James Dobson.  However, there is a major disclaimer.  This is not a formula to get God to talk to you.  It is simply a practical way to help you tune into what God is already saying and what to do when you can’t hear him.

There are 7 steps mentioned

Foundational Steps:

  1. Be intentional in your walk with God.  Make a conscious effort to live as Christ. And Be committed.
  2. Seek the fullness of new life in Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit willing to follow God beyond the things that are in our control and power, and into the goodness of God. (remembering that Faith is not opposed to knowledge, only sight)

Steps to Hearing God

  1. Meditate on God’s principles for life given to us in Scripture, striving to understand their meaning and application. (small groups are a very helpful way to do this)
  2. Be alert to what is happening in our life, mind, and heart.  Here is where God’s communication identify themselves.
  3. Pray and speak to God constantly and specifically about the matters that concern us. Nothing is too insignificant or hopeless.
  4. Use a regular plan.  (see example of plan below)
  5. In those cases where God does not speak to you in a matter concerned.
  • Ask God to inform you, in whatever way he chooses, if some hindrance is within you.  Be quiet and listen in the inner forum of your mind.  Don’t endlessly pursue this, but set aside specific times to pray and believe that if a problem exists, God will reveal it.
  • Take counsel from at least two people whose relationship with God you respect (not buddies) maybe even in a group setting if your issues aren’t too intimate.
  • If you find cause, correct it.  Just do it.
  • If you cannot find cause, then act on what seems best to you after considering the itemized details of each alternative. Find Christ in your action.

Example of a plan

Dallas Willard quotes James Dobson,

  • “I get down on my knees and say, “Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening.  Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances.”
  • Take time to be still before God each day and ask him to reveal himself to you.

If you do these things with the intention of getting to know God better, and yourself, you will find yourself immersed in a wonderful relationship with God.

Book Used

Dallas Willard’s “Hearing God”

Worship Music This Past Sunday

  1. First and The Last
  2. Beautiful One
  3. Mighty To Save
  4. Center

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Sunday May 23, 2010 Sermon Recording Who Said That?

Scripture: Acts 2 and John 10: 1-4

Pentecost. A day that changed the world and a day we can continue to experience.  I have heard Pentecost preached on and talked about in many different ways and generally the focus is placed on the extraordinary means of the miracle and not the miracle itself.  It is often assumed that the means of the miracle, the manifestation of multiple languages being spoken and understood by a great many people, is the miracle when in reality that is just the means.  Just like the burning bush and Moses, the amazing thing is not that there was a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire, but by the fact that God desired to speak to him in the first place.  The Moses story also puts on another perspective; Moses wasn’t chosen because of his qualifications.  And so with Pentecost, God chooses to speak to all people regardless of their background and baggage.  Peter declares, all will be saved who call upon the name of the Lord.

All. Everybody.  No excluions.  Pentecost is God’s willingness to pour himself out upon all who would receive.  He speaks to all who would listen.  The difficulty for most of us is not that we don’t want to hear, but that we resist doing the things that help us hear.  I was watching “My Name is Earl” on my lunch break today and he met a woman who was too vain to wear glasses so she had a Very Large Print Bible.  Here is the clip.

Now she wants to read, but she is going to miss out on a lot reading like this.  Why are we so resistant to change our lives for something we know will improve our life.  My grandmother refuses to wear a hearing aid.  We would be in discussions and she would ask me a question and because she couldn’t hear well she would just make up an answer to either satisfy herself or make her upset. She had the tools at her disposal to hear me, but wasn’t willing to change her behavior to do so.  The result was that she would often be mad at stuff I never said.  (Of course, she also laughed at things I said that were never funny to anyone else.) I would hate for us to miss out on what God has to say to us because we are unwilling to learn how to listen and unwilling to step into a deep relationship with him.

Sunday Worship Songs:

  1. Here Is Our King
  2. How Great Thou Art
  3. Glory To God Forever
  4. Take My Life

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