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We Have Overcome – 5. Overcoming Loneliness (Christmas)

Isaiah 7: 14, Matthew 1: 22, 23 There is a great yearning inside every person to know God. From the very beginning, we were made to know God, and there is something in us that wants to know our Creator. We yearn to know that God has broken through into our world. It is not enough to know that God is “up there” or “out there” somewhere. We want to know that God has come down to where we are, that he knows where we live, that he knows our name, that he cares about us, that he has “walked this lonesome valley” the same way we do. We want to know that we are not alone in the universe. All the prophets spoke of this universal yearning in the human heart. Joel spoke of it, so did Malachi, Hosea,

Outrageous Grace! – Jonah 4. A Desperate Man's Desperate Prayer

Jonah 2 When we left Jonah, he was in the belly of the great fish. He was in a bad way. “Nothing clears the mind like the certain knowledge that you will be shot in the morning.” It has a way of clearing the mind of trivial details. You don’t worry about washing the car if you know you’re going to be shot at sunrise. Someone else can wash the car. You’ve got bigger things to worry about. So it was for Jonah. But first he has to come to his senses. Lying has almost become a non-issue today. Everyone lies, and they lie all the time. It’s almost as if it’s not a sin to lie anymore. Perhaps it is a sign of postmodern relativism that we have come to accept that lying isn’t wrong. People routin

We Have Overcome! 2. Overcoming a Judgmental Spirit (2)

Romans 14: 13 – 5: 1 Christians love to fight over our deeply-held beliefs. Sometimes we fight for things that don’t matter very much. We Christians disagree a lot, sometimes about the craziest things. Christians have been disagreeing with each other since the very beginning. When you read Romans and 1 Corinthians, you discover that Christians disagreed on things like eating meat offered to idols, whether or not to observe the Sabbath Day, whether to eat meat or be a vegetarian, whether or not to drink wine. In the centuries since then Christians have disagreed on every possible point on which you can disagree and still be a Christian. No matter what issue comes to mind, if you look around

Outrageous Grace! – Jonah 3. How God Pursues Prodigals (2)

Jonah 1: 4 - 17 In Part 1 we learned that in dealing with prodigals – 1. God sends storms to get our attention 2. God allows others to suffer because of our sin 3. God sends someone to challenge us In this case the captain woke up Jonah who was sleeping below deck and told him to start praying. What a rebuke! The people of the world may not want our sermons, but when the storms of life come, they definitely want our prayers. We’re all in the same boat. People are hurting, families are in crisis, people struggle to make ends meet, there is sickness of one sort or another in every family, and everyone is touched by pain and sorrow. The les

We Have Overcome – 3. Overcoming a Judgmental Spirit (1)

Romans 14: 1 - 12 Christians love to fight over our deeply-held beliefs. Unfortunately, sometimes we fight for things that don’t matter very much. If 2 Christians agree on 79 out of 80 points, they will usually focus on the area where they disagree. Often, the smaller that final point, the more likely they are to argue about it. I don’t know what it is, maybe just human nature that causes us to focus on the small things that don’t matter while ignoring the large areas where we agree 100%. This is a message about the dangers of a judgmental spirit. Even though this problem exists outside the church, my focus in this message is inside the church. I want us to think about the tendency we all

Outrageous Grace! – Jonah 2. How God Pursues Prodigals (1)

Jonah 1: 4 - 17 I found a little-known poem about what it’s like to be a prodigal on the way back home but with your heart not yet changed. It captures the plight of the straying child who isn’t quite ready to give up the high life in the “far country”: Muck of the sty, reek of the trough, Blackened my brow where all might see, Yet while I was a great way off My Father ran with compassion for me. He put on my hand a ring of gold, (There’s no escape from a ring, they say) He put on my neck a chain to hold My passionate spirit from breaking away. He put on my feet the shoes that miss No chance to tread in the narrow path; He pressed on my lips the burning kiss That scorches deeper t

We Have Overcome! 2. Overcoming Self Importance

2 Kings 5 This is the story of a soldier who met God. This is one of those bible stories that at first glance may seem rather remote from life in the 21st-century, but in the end proves the truth that the more things change, the more they stay the same. From this we learn a great deal about the inner barriers that keep us from facing our problems and finding a way to get better. It all begins when a powerful Syrian general contracts an incurable disease: v. 1 – 3. 4 things we need to know about Naaman - 1. He was the military leader of the armies of Syria 2. He was a very powerful man - he had power, influence and the great wealth that came with his position. 3. He was successful in batt

Outrageous Grace! – Jonah 1. We’re Just Like Jonah

Jonah 1 Generations of Sunday School children have listened with wide-eyed amazement at the story of the fish that caught a man. We love this story. We begin a 6 part series on Jonah called “Outrageous Grace.” French philosopher Pascal: To make a man a saint, grace is absolutely necessary. Whoever doubts it does not know what a saint is or what a man is. Philip Yancey wrote a bestseller called What’s So Amazing About Grace? He called grace “the last great word.” It is one of the last of the “great words” that has retained its original meaning: “free and undeserved bounty.” When we pray, we “say grace” to thank God for our food. We are “grateful” for a kindness done by another person. To sh

We Have Overcome! – 1. Overcoming Insecurity

Matthew 10: 29 - 31 We do live in dangerous times. If we feel insecure, it’s because we are insecure. The world never was as safe as we thought it was. No wonder we all feel a bit more anxious these days. Researchers say there are 5 primary marks of insecurity: Helplessness, isolation, vulnerability, fear of the future and extreme pessimism. Insecurity leads us to say things like this: “Something bad is going to happen and there’s nothing I can do about it and no one can help me. “ Often it’s not the “big picture” that troubles us as much as the problems of daily life. We worry about our finances, our job security, whether or not our marriage will make it, our health, what will happen in

Our Church 2011 - 7. A Place to Serve

Acts 6: 1 - 7 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - "Anyone can be great because anyone can serve.” Jesus declared that he did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. On the night before he was crucified, when the weight of the world was on his shoulders, he took a towel and basin and washed the dirty feet of his disciples. By that gesture he showed forever what sort of man he was and what sort of people we should be. He came to serve, and in his death he served all humanity. Was Jesus great? He was great because he was God’s servant. Greatness is open to all because anyone can be a servant. We often don’t realise this until a crisis comes. Most of the time we r

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