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Showing posts from February, 2016

Pastor: How do you find the Sermon Sweet Spot?

Before you step behind the pulpit, or turn on your wireless mic, or fire up your iPad… How do you know you have the right message? Every preacher approaches their messages differently. We all have different methods and patterns and systems to help us create the final draft of our sermon. I’m not about to suggest there is only one way to do it (particularly because I use different methods just about every week); however, I am going to suggest three questions that might help you focus in on the most important things you need to say. What has God said? I don’t suppose this is a complicated question. What God has said is contained in His Word. I may be old fashioned, but I still think the content of every sermon ought to flow from the pages of the Bible. If I want to preach the Words of God, I need to immerse myself in them. I need to study them, memorize them, meditate on them. I need to consult others to better understand them. Before I ever preach to others, I ou

It's Always A Good Idea To Bring Jesus Home From Church

Mark 1 recounts Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (at your own risk, insert joke about not wanting to see your mother-in-law healed). As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. Having worshipped at Capernaum’s synagogue, Peter brought Jesus home and amazing things happened. It’s always a good idea to bring Jesus home from church! When you bring Jesus home, amazing things happen! Too often, we meet Jesus at church and then leave him there. He says some cool things, makes some memorable points, provides some inspiration and we thank him and head out, saying over our shoulder, “Thanks, Jesus. We’ll see you next week.” Occasionally, we might bump into Jesus during the week at a prayer meeting or a small group gathering. For

The secret to defeating distraction and staying on mission

We are all living on mission. Sometimes our missions are big and important & sometimes they are small and insignificant. DISTRACTIONS are the greatest enemy of accomplishing a mission. Jesus mission was POINTING PEOPLE TO GOD. “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you... “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. (John 17:1,6) Jesus accomplished his mission by: RELIEVING PAIN & REVEALING TRUTH. The disciples and the crowd misunderstood Jesus' mission and desired him to stay and become their Messiah. They offered him: popularity comfort wealth power Jesus dealt with these distractions by sneaking away to pray.

3 Questions To Ask When 2 Or 3 Are Gathered

Formalized small groups aren’t for everyone. Yet, the New Testament clearly commands us to spend time with one another, motivating and encouraging one another to good works (growth). The following questions can serve as a template for two or three people to have coffee together or for a group of 15 to gather in a home. Wherever your comfort level may be, you should be spending time with believers. Use these questions and use that time to empower growth in one another. What has God said? Everything God desires us to know can be discovered in His Word. As we build into one another’s lives, one of the most important topics around which we grow is understanding what God has said to us. Whether you spend 15 minutes reading a passage together or 2 hours digging into one verse; discerning God’s message is critical for spiritual growth. If you aren’t sure how best to answer this question, consider the following ideas: Choose a chapter from Proverbs (or another book) and read

10 Foundational Truths About The Bible

This Sunday, I said that we can get the most out of our faith if we stay connected to God. Remaining connected to Him requires that we ROUTINELY spend time in His Word. Below are some basic truths about God's Word. If you are going to read the book, make sure you understand the book. Since we are created and God is uncreated, we cannot know anything about Him unless He reveals it to us. God reveals things about himself through nature (general revelation) and through His Word (specific revelation). In His Word (the Bible), we can discover everything God wants us to know about Himself. God revealed Himself in the Bible by inspiring regular men to write the precise Words He desired them to communicate. The Bible is inspired, trustworthy and authoritative. To be properly understood, the Bible must be read in context (as it was written). The Bible is 66 individual books which all work together to tell one story. The story of the Bible can be summarized as "Creation -

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You can get out from under that cloud of gloom!

Joel, the prophet, called on the nation of Israel to repent. Chapter two of his writings paints a frightening picture of the impending doom his countrymen faced. He predicted the advance of a powerful attacking army such as had never been seen before. He described those days as dark, cloudy and gloomy. But he also reminded Israel that their God was still able to save them. “Even at this late hour” he said, “When things look so bad, our God can still save the day.” He reminded his friends that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and One who relents from punishing.  “Even though we don’t deserve it” Joel preached, “God still may rescue us!” He called the nation to repent. Old people, young people, even babies were to gather and cry out for salvation. This was not time for celebration. Joel told bridegrooms and brides to leave their ceremony and join the congregation in a nationwide appeal to God. “Spare your people, O LORD” they cried out, “

Everybody Hurts For Everybody

How do you respond when trouble hits? Do you get angry, fearful, resentful, anxious or depressed? Do you withdraw? Do you compartmentalize? Do you lean on others? Everybody hurts sometime. REM said so. And our experience tells us so. We suffer and we've seen the people around us suffer. Questions swim around in our mind when we wade through stormy waters: Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Is God angry with me? How is this going to end? Rarely (or never) do we ask a more important question: How might others benefit from my suffering? Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1: If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. Paul recognized that his desire to share the Gospel with as many