Finding Purpose in Life: Seek the Kingdom of God

Sunday Sermon Series Finding Purpose in Life

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). 

What is the Kingdom of God?

Wherever God rules is his Kingdom. The Kingdom is both present (Luke 11:20; 17:20-21) and future (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 11:15). … If Jesus rules in your heart, then the Kingdom of God is in your heart and you are part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom already exists on Earth within believers. It can't be seen, but it is there. And there is coming a day when the Kingdom will be over all the Earth. 

What does it mean to seek the Kingdom?

To seek means to look for, to chase after, to pursue. It's an action. Often we seek things we are passionate about. The next cool tool we need for the shed, that new game that looks like hours of fun, videos of horses, tutorials on how to build, cook, train, or play, the new Star Wars Pop! figure. We seek these things because we're passionate about them. We even sacrifice other stuff like our time and money. We should be passionate enough about Jesus that we seek, chase, and pursue the Kingdom, sacrificing our time and money to advance it. Do you have a passion like that?

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him, and with him everything else (C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity).

Finding Purpose in Life: Do The Will of God

Sunday Sermon Series Finding Purpose in Life

John 4:31-34

These verses come after Jesus meets the woman at the well. His disciples had left him to go find foos and when they get back and off Him food, He said He was full. He was filled because He was doing God's will. 

There are three parts to God’s will for your life:

  1. God’s universal will for everyone. This is revealed in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:16-18). … There are many things God wants for everyone and we can read about those things in the Bible. He wants us to be saved. He wants us to be sanctified. He wants us to be joyful and thankful. 

  2. God’s individual will for your life (Acts 16:7-10). This is discerned through a relationship with Christ (John 10:27) and the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:9). … Some Christian teachers will disagree with this and say only the revealed universal will is the only one and that we can do whatever we want within that. For the most part that is the case, but the Bible also gives plenty of examples of God having individual plans, individual wills, for different people. Acts 16:7-10 is a good example of this. The hard part is discerning this will. There's no surefire way to always discern it. Sometimes doors just open and it seems obvious what to do. Other times, the door is closed. Jesus tells us that we should keep knocking. Getting advice from Godly people can help. But circumstances and advice from people won't always be enough. A relationship with Jesus and wisdom from the Spirit are the key. Jesus says His sheep will know His voice. 

  3. God’s hidden will. This is not known in advance. We must humbly submit to his will (James 4:13-16). … Not everything in God's will gets revealed. We often don't understand this hidden will as it unfolds. For example, why did 2020 happen as it did? We don't know God's reason for allowing it, but later we will, either in this life or the next.

Finding Purpose in Life: Live for the Glory of God

Series Finding Purpose in Life

Do you have a sense of purpose in life? … People are always trying to find a purpose for their life. Some popular purposes or reasons are family, work, and fun. Those aren't bad things, but in this series we're going to see we were made for so much more. 

You were made for a relationship with God, and you will find purpose by living for Him. You can live for the glory of God. That means to live in a way that honors him or brings praise to him.

  1. You can glorify God by your words (Psalm 63:1-5). … David brought glory to God using words. David was on the run from his son who was trying to take the throne. Yet, David still found purpose in praising and glorifying God. 

  2. You can glorify God by the way you treat your body (1 Corinthians 6:13-20). … Paul told the church in Corinth that they needed to be different from others in Corinth. Corinth was a major port city that was full sin, like Vegas but worse. The church there reasoned that what they did with their bodies because the body is temporary, but Paul gave four reasons why they should be different. 

    1. Our bodies will be raised and united with Christ. 

    2. Sexual sins, unlike other sins, are also against our own body. 

    3. The Holy Spirit lives inside us, making our bodies like temples. 

    4. It's Jesus's body now. He paid for it with His blood. 

  3. You can glorify God even in the most ordinary choices and activities of life (1 Corinthians 10:31). … The church in Corinth asked Paul if it was ok to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. He spent three chapters answering it and sums it by saying that everything we do should be for the glory of God, even the little things like eating or drinking. Whatever we do we should be aware of God's presence and do everything to glorify Him. 

  4. Your good deeds can cause others to glorify God (1 Peter 2:12). … Paul told Peter that the church would be ridiculed by their culture, but that they should keep doing good deeds. Those good deeds could help inspire others to come to know and glorify God.

  5. You can glorify God by the way you endure suffering (1 Peter 4:12-16). … Paul goes on to say that persecution is normal for Christians and that even though it can be difficult, we should still praise God and be glad we bear the name Christian. We often associate our purpose with what we do, but just our existence can bring glory to God.

Blood That Speaks

Sunday Sermon

Two times in the Bible there is a reference to blood that speaks. What does this talking blood mean? 

The blood of Abel speaks (Genesis 4:3-10). It cries out for justiceness. … Cain and Abel were brothers, children of Adam and Eve. When they brought offerings to God, Abel brought his best and Cain did not. God showed favor towards Abel and Cain grew jealous or upset and killed Abel. God told Cain that his brother's blood called out to Him. This tells us that God knows and he hears when injustice is done. And God doesn't let it go unpunished. Cain was punished for his crime. In some countries today, persecution of Christians is on the rise. God hears their blood. When the Holocaust happened, God heard the blood of the Jews who were murdered. When racial killings happen, God hears that blood too. Every day thousands of abortions happen, and God hears the blood of those babies. All this blood cries out for justice and justice will come.

The blood of Jesus speaks (Hebrews 12:18-24). It cries out for mercy. … This vision contrasts Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. Mount Sinai is where Moses went up and got the Ten Commandments. When he came down, he sprinkled animal blood as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people, a process that needed to be repeated regularly. Mount Zion here is used as a metaphor for a heavenly Jerusalem. This scripture provides a picture of who will be in Heaven (on Mount Zion). There will be angels, the church, and Jesus will be there. Sounds like a great place! It also tells us the Blood of Jesus will be sprinkled, like Moses did with the animal blood. But the blood of Jesus is blameless and atones for our sins once and for all. His blood cries out for mercy, a better cry than what the blood of Abel cries for. Through the Blood of Jesus anyone can be saved.

Change: How to Change Unwanted Thoughts and Emotions

Sunday Sermon Series Change

Philippians 4:4-13

Some Christians struggle with certain thoughts or emotions such as worry, lust, anger, fear, or a myriad of other thoughts and emotions. Some may need counseling beyond these six steps to help take control of those unwanted thoughts and emotions, but meditating on these verses can help. 

  1. Find your joy in the Lord (4:4). … You can cultivate an attitude of joy. The theme of this little book of Philippians is that you can be happy in a bad place. Paul wrote this letter in prison and he was finding joy in the Lord. Even through this pandemic we can find joy in the Lord. 

  2. Build a reputation for gentleness (4:5). … Relationships are a big source of stress. Being gentle or gracious in our relationships can help relieve some of that stress. 

  3. Replace your worries with prayers (4:6-7). … We’re not supposed to worry. We’re supposed to bring every worry to God. This is to be a pattern in our lives that we pray to God, thanking Him for the good and asking him to take care of the bad, the stuff that usually makes us worry. As a result, the peace of God will help take away those worries. 

  4. Fill your mind with positive, pure, beautiful things (4:8). … Paul lists eight adjectives, but it’s easier to remember three that sum them all up. If you want to change what goes on inside your mind, you need to change what goes into it. Paul tells us to put good things into our minds and it will change how we think.

  5. Put your beliefs into practice (4:9). … Doing actions is a good way to change your feelings. Whenever you feel discouraged or depressed or moody, you don’t want to do anything. But getting up and doing good things can really change those feelings and thoughts for the good. 

  6. Learn the secret of being content in any circumstance: a relationship with Christ (4:10-13). … The letter of Philippians is a thank you letter for financial assistance they sent to Paul. He is grateful for the help, but he also makes it clear that he would be content even without it because he has learned a secret to be content in all circumstances. That secret is Christ. As believers, Christ lives in us and gives us the strength we need to be content. No, this verse isn’t about sports. This verse is about being content and finding joy no matter the circumstances. 

Change: How to Change Your Relationships

Sunday Sermon Series Change

Ephesians 4:17-32

We looked at some ways to change unwanted behaviors the past three weeks. This week we’ll look at how to change relationships. 

Before we look at five things to do, we need to lay a foundation. Paul tells us that as Christians we need to be different (4:17-24). … We were born with an old, sinful nature but are reborn with new, righteous nature as we learned in Romans. We have to continuously take off that old self and put on the new self. We can’t do this without Jesus. These next five things can help change relationships, but they require us to be different from the world. 

  1. Put off falsehood Instead speak the truth (4:25). … Telling lies does not help build good relationships. Only those built on truth can last.
    Reason: We are all of one body. ... One member of a body lying to another is never good. It can only cause problems and throw coordination off. For a body to have full coordination, cooperation and honesty are necessary.

  2. Don’t let your anger become sin. Instead, deal with it daily (4:26-27). … Not all anger is sinful. Even Jesus got angry. However, it is easy for anger to crossover into sin. Anger can linger and build up, so it’s important to deal with, confess it to God, release it to God.
    Reason: Don’t give the Devil an opening. … As mentioned, it’s easy for anger to turn into sin, so when we let anger build up it becomes easier for the Devil to use it against us. 

  3. Do not steal. Instead, work (4:28). … A work ethic will improve relationships.
    Reason: So you can share with those in need. … When you work, you can share the fruits of your labor. Sharing improves relationships and generally makes everyone involved happier. 

  4. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth. Instead, speak words that build others up (4:29-30). … It’s not enough to just not cuss. There needs to be positive words too.
    Reason: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. … The Holy Spirit lives inside us. Keyword: Holy. His role is to sanctify us and make us holy, better than we were. We need to cooperate with Him. When we don’t, He is grieved.  

  5. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, malice, shouting, abusive speech, and malice. Instead, be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. … These things we are told to get rid of all come from anger. They are all a little different, but they each need to be removed from our lives and replaced with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Sometimes that’s hard. We vehemently disagree with some people and it can make us angry to the point of bitterness or rage. It can make us want to shout at them, slander them. It’s important to not act on those inclinations but to find a way to show kindness and compassion without compromising our beliefs. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. It means you stop bringing it up, stop replaying it in your head. You don’t simply forget abusive words or physical abuse, but you can forgive it and move on.
    Reason: In Christ, God forgave you (4:31-32). … When we remember how God forgave us and how much evil we’ve done, it becomes easier to forgive that other person. If you can be forgiven for all the bad things you’ve done, that person can be forgiven too. 

Change: How to Change Unwanted Behaviors 3

Sunday Sermon Series Change

Romans 8:1-14

As you struggle to change unwanted behaviors, you are not alone. You have a powerful ally in the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-2). … Last week in Romans 7 we saw the struggle we still have inside us to do what’s right instead of sinning. It’s a tough battle. But this week in Romans 8 we see that we have a helper in the Holy Spirit

How do I get this this help of the Holy Spirit? If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is already in you (Romans 8:8-9). … When we repent of our sin and become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside us as we are reborn in spirit. He is always with us. God, the Holy Spirit, resides in us as living in a house. And, quite frankly, we’re all fixer uppers when the Holy Spirits comes to live in us. He will work to make us holy, but we have to cooperate with Him. 

How do I cooperate with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit?

  1. Walk according to the Spirit (8:3-4). … To walk with somebody, you just turn in the direction they’re going and start moving. Turn in the direction the Holy Spirit is going and move with Him. It’s a daily commitment that needs to be done.

  2. Set your mind on the things of the Spirit (8:5-7). … The mindset of the flesh is harmful. It’s hostile and leads to death, but the mindset of the Spirit is healing and leads to life. Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit is like wearing glasses that help us to see things clearer. It’s a lens that reveals certain things we wouldn’t see otherwise. 

  3. Be led by the Spirit (8:13-14). … Often, our biggest stumbling block is ourselves. We screw up. We want to go our own way even if it’s wrong. This is why it’s important to let the Holy Spirit lead us.

Change: How to Change Unwanted Behaviors 2

Sunday Sermon Series Change

Romans 7:14-25

Todd Agnew has an album called “Better Questions” that really goes with today’s sermon quite well and I encourage everyone reading this to listen to the full album. It’s one of my favorite albums. 

Why do Christians continue to struggle with sin? Why do we do things we don’t want to do? (7:14-15) … Some scholars think Paul isn’t speaking about Christians here, but most believe he is. In context, it makes more sense that he’s talking about Christians. He uses first person point of view. It’s in present tense. We can all identify with it. This leads most scholars to believe Paul is talking about Christians and himself personally. 

You have two natures within you: 

  1. You have an old, sinful nature (7:17-20). … We were born with a sinful nature. This nature desires to do evil and is enslaved to sin. 

  2. You have a new, spiritual nature (7:21-22). … We receive a new nature when we become Christians. It wants to do good and serve Christ. 

These two natures are in civil war (7:23). In order to change unwanted behaviors, you must feed the new nature and starve the old nature. … The nature that you nurture will come out on top. 

You can know victory through Jesus, but your old nature will be with you throughout your life (7:24-25). … If we call out to Jesus He will help. However, the old sinful nature is always there, lingering and tempting us. Some believe that Christians can achieve perfection, but this verse indicates that we will always be sinners until our sanctification is complete in Heaven. 

Understanding this battle will keep you from two dangers:

  1. Overconfidence. … We’re in a battle and will continue to be in a battle, so we need to stay focused and humble instead of overconfident and cocky.

  2. Discouragement. … We know there will be struggles, but we also know the final outcome. We know God will help us. We know God wins in the end. 

Change: How to Change Unwanted Behaviors

Sunday Sermon Series Change

Romans 6:1-23

It’s still weird to take notes from a recliner, but sometimes we need to change, and that’s what this new series is about. We’re going to look at how to change unwanted behaviors. If you don’t want to change behaviors, this isn’t going to work well. You have to want to change. 

Potential behaviors to change: lying, stealing, gossip, sexual immorality, alcoholism, drug abuse, pornography. And more.

  1. Die to sin (Romans 6:1-7).
    Make a decisive break with your unwanted behavior. … A lot of us don’t really want to make a clear break with our negative behavior; we just want to manage it, do it less. That’s not how this works. We don’t get to keep pet sins. When we biome a Believer, we get baptized by immersion. When we are submerged under the water, it represents our death to sin. It’s a graveside service. There has to be a drastic break. Delete that app. End the affair. Confess to those you’ve wronged. What happens if we fall into that sin again? Die to it again! It’s harder in sins of excess like overeating,overspending, and spending too much time on your computer or phone. Those are more difficult because we have to eat, we have to spend money, and most of us need a computer or phone for work. Set boundaries for yourself that force you to curb those behaviors. 

  2. Live for Jesus (Romans 6:8-23).
    Offer yourself as a servant to God and righteousness. ... Baptism isn’t just a graveside service. It’s also a baby shower. When we come back up out of the water we are born again and considered alive to God. After we die to sin we need to make a positive action by offering ourselves to God. The Bible tells us that we will either be a slave to sin or to Jesus. We get to choose. We can submit to Jesus or to sin, but we will submit to one. Which will you choose to serve? 

The Biography of Jesus

Sunday Sermon

It's been a while since I posted here. Something about taking notes while sitting at a home watching a sermon on TV just seems strange. This week's sermon was considerably different though. And it inspired me to do something fun. Our outstanding pastor used a whiteboard to draw out the biography of Jesus. While I was watching I realized I could recreate the whole thing online, so that's what I did at the following link.

And here's a preview image

I'll try to get back to regular posts in 2021.