Archives from November 2017

Five Reasons I Believe in God

Sunday Sermon

We’re going to look at five reasons to believe in God. We cannot prove or disprove the existence of God, but our faith is not blind.

  1. Beginning (Genesis 1:1, 3). … Science and the Bible both tell us that “the universe, and time itself, had a beginning” (Stephen Hawking). For those of who believe in God, we find it more reasonable that anything that has a beginning also has a creator. … Stephen Weinberg describes the big bang as an enormous explosion (that we can’t even imagine) with bright light and Genesis 1:3 says a similar thing from a different world view. The Bible doesn’t say God used a big bang, but it would make sense that speaking a universe into existence would create a big bang.

  2. Design (Psalm 19:1). … Our universe exhibits design. The design does not appear random. Stephen Hawking agrees that “the universe and laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any of about 40 physical qualities had slightly different values, life as we know it would not exist.” … The idea of design is present throughout the Bible (i.e. Psalm 19:1). … Even on the smallest level, design is apparent. The cells in your body have an instruction manual called DNA. That DNA has about 3 million amino acids in it. That’s a lot of random mutations or maybe it was designed that way.

  3. Beauty (Romans 1:20). … If you take the Darwinistic Utilitarian view then everything only has a purpose. The beauty that we see in the world is more than that though. Charles Darwin said “the sight of a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick.” This is because there is no purpose for it in his view.

  4. Evil (Revelation 15:3). … Many people who do not believe in God point to evil as one of their reasons. But where does the category of evil come from? In the survival of the fittest view, there is no objective right or wrong. Jeffrey Dahmer said “If it all happens naturalistically, what’s the need for God? Can’t I set my own rules? Who owns me? I own myself.” … The idea of evil or fairness comes from somewhere other than the survival of the fittest mentality. What right do we have to say one person’s actions are right and others actions are wrong without any objective moral code?

  5. Bible (Genesis 10:15; 1 Kings 10:29; Psalm 19:7). … We believe the Bible is the true Word of God. There are many reasons we believe this, but the references listed help show a specific reason. They reference a people called the Hittites. There is no written record of these people in any other historical text. Genesis 10:15 gives us the origin of the Hittites. This was one reason people did not believe the Bible. Then in 1905 an archaeological dig discovered the capital city of the Hittites.

Conclusion: God has given you evidence of His existence because He loves you and wants you to know Him (Acts 17:24-27). … Paul preached this to the cultured and educated people of his day. He tells us there is a God who is real and near and wants us to find Him.

#GOALS: Six Goals for Every Christ-Follower

Sunday Sermon

Acts 20: 19-38

In Acts 20, Paul gives a farewell speech summarizing the six values he has lived by. This is Paul’s farewell speech to the church at Ephesus and is the only extended speech in the book of Acts. made exclusively to Christians. We believe it gives us insight to how the Holy Spirit wants all Jesus-followers to think about their lives.

Six #Goals of Every Christ-Follower:

  1. Make sure your generation knows the Gospel (Acts 20: 20, 26-27, 31). … Paul didn’t hold back, he didn’t shrink from telling people about the Gospel. Paul realized the Gospel is an announcement that the whole world needs to hear. The announcement starts out a bit sour by telling us what we deserve and that we can’t save ourselves. Then it turns sweet by telling us what Jesus did for us and how He died in our place. … Paul knows he is responsible for telling the Gospel to everyone he could, but he was not responsible for what they did with that message as in Ezekiel 33:8.

  2. Point people to Jesus, not yourself (Acts 20:19). … Paul was humbled by his ministry. He suffered greatly for the ministry. Paul understood that ministry is about a Savior who can use the most guilty and broken of sinners to reach the lost. People listen to people who are willing to show their brokenness.

  3. Invest in God’s community, the local church (Acts 20: 28). … Paul tells the elders, the leaders of the church, to care for everyone in the church. The church should be central to our lives. The church is the Body of Christ. When part of your body hurts, what happens? Another part of your part of your body reaches over to comfort it.

  4. Be faithful to your calling (Acts 20: 24).  There’s two aspects to your calling:

    1. Universal … We are responsible for telling everyone everywhere about the Gospel.

    2. Personal … We all have personal callings too. These callings are specific to us and help with the universal calling as well. We all need to do our part.  

  5. Finish strong (Acts 20: 23-24). … We will face many trials. Paul did, and he was determined to carry on no matter what he faced. Sometimes it’s easy to just give up and stop. But living radically different requires us to push through and make some difficult decisions so that we can finish strong. … Where does this kind of faith come from? This powerful faith comes by believing the resurrection really happened. The power of the cross and resurrection is beyond anything we will face.

  6. Give more than you receive (Acts 20: 33, 35). … This is the trademark of a Christ-follower. Jesus gave us His example when He died on the cross. He gave more than He received.

Jesus did all these things.

He preached to His generation, making sure they heard His word.

He pointed people to God while on Earth. He, being God, pointed people to Himself.

He invested in the community with teaching, healing, and feeding.

He was faithful to his calling both universally and personally. Jesus could have denied the fate of the cross, but He followed through with it.

He gave more than He received by performing miracles, giving wisdom, and dieing on a cross.

What Would Jesus Say about the Recent Church Shootings?

Sunday Sermon

Luke 13:1-9

Last week a gunman entered a small church in Texas and killed 20 people and injured others. There have been other mass shootings this year too, in churches as well as at main stream events.

Pilate would sometimes send soldiers to break up protests and sometimes it got out of hand, ending death. We don’t know for sure that's what happened here, but it seems likely.

We do not have to speculate what Jesus would say. Luke tells us about a time when Jesus received a report that people had been killed in a place of worship. Jesus also mentioned a group of 18 people who had died in an accident or natural disaster. His response about both events was the same:

Unless you repent, you too will all perish. … Jesus refuses to make it all political. He simply uses it to call others to repentance. Jesus also implies that the deaths were not judgment from God. Jesus doesn’t let us assume that natural disasters or accidents or any death is part of God’s judgment. He lets us know that it could have been us.

  • The term “perish” here means both physical and spiritual death. These deaths were introduced when Adam and Eve first sinned. John 3:16; 10:28; 11:25 all tell us Jesus came to give us a chance at not perishing. Not perishing means we will still have a physical death, but we won’t suffer a spiritual death. Matthew 10:28 reiterates the idea of two deaths, the physical and the spiritual.

  • “Repent” means to turn from your sinful ways. In Luke 13:5 we see Jesus tell us that repentance is key to salvation. He has also said similar things of believing. The two concepts are just two sides of the same coin. Believing and repenting go hand in hand.

Then Jesus tells a parable about a fruitless fig tree. For three years it beared no fruit and was in danger of being cut down. The keeper begged the owner for one more year and was granted it as a last chance for the tree. God gives second chances, but eventually there is a last chance.

2 Peter 3:9 Tells us why Jesus waits to return. He’s giving us ample opportunity to repent and turn to him.

Different Values in an Unholy Culture

Sunday Sermon

1 Peter 1:13-25

Peter is writing to believers facing persecution under the Emperor Nero. They are called to live a different life in Christ while the Roman culture valued different ideals and philosophies. … Nero was one of the most feared and harshest rulers the world has seen. He killed some of his wives and his mother as well as many others in cruel ways. Under Nero, the persecution of Christians flourished.

  1. Seek Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-16).

    1. Prepare for action. … Preparing for action requires making a plan. We have plans for everything: TV, Internet, cell phones, etc. However, when it comes to our spiritual growth, we often lack a plan. With no plan, it is easier to backslide into sin. We have to plan to seek holiness and live righteous lives. … Our enemy, Satan, has a plan against us. We need one against him. Satan challenges the Truth of God’s Word and then we begin to question it as well. We need a plan to defend against that, and the strategy that helps the most there is knowing scripture and knowing what it means.

    2. Our highest calling is to be holy. … Satan wants us to think that our highest calling is to be happy, but the Bible is clear that we need to be Holy.

  2. Live Fearfully (1 Peter 1:17).

    1. Have a reverential fear of God. … We should fear God out of respect as He is our King. This is a respectful and loving fear, not a terrified fear.

    2. Knowing Christ is the path to living Holy (1 Peter 1:18-21). … Christ is the only reason we have a chance to live a holy life. Our Faith in Him is what can transform us into new creations.

  3. Love Deeply (1 Peter 1:22-25).

    1. Have sincere love. … Love purely and deeply. Have a love so sincere that you rejoice in helping each other.

    2. Love differently. … We are called to love each other sincerely, to the point where we are different from the rest of the world. Love even those who do not show love in return. Love people even when it doesn’t help you.