Archives from April 2018

Hope Leading to Joy

Sunday Sermon


Habakkuk lived in a time when things were unraveling fast for God’s people. The Northern Kingdom, Israel, had been carried away into captivity, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah, was facing a drought. Then Habakkuk is informed that the Babylonians are coming to take Judah captive as well. …  Habakkuk asked some questions that are still common today.

  1. Habakkuk asks God why all the violence against His people is being tolerated and why God hasn’t done anything in response to it. (Habakkuk 1:1-3).

  2. Habakkuk wants to know why God allows this unfair treatment to happen. Why is God blessing the wicked Babylonians and punishing His own people (Habakkuk 1:13)?

These are questions Habakkuk asks throughout this book. Reading the book of Habakkuk is like reading his prayer journal. It’s amazing to see this conversation between God and one of His prophets written down and even preserved for a few thousand years now. This is something God wants us to see and an example for us to follow.

Let’s look at three major points in Habakkuk:

  1. Habakkuk’s Complaint (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 12-17). … Habakkuk asks question that plagues many people. It seems like the world is not run by an all-knowing, all-powerful, and good God. This is the age old problem of evil.

  2. God’s Answer (Habakkuk 1:5-11; 2:2-20). … God says he has plans that Habakkuk wouldn’t believe.

  3. Habakkuk’s Hope Leading to Joy (Habakkuk 3). … Habakkuk finds joy in the hope that God provides and makes a great statement of faith.

What do we learn from the hope of Habakkuk’s faith?

  1. Hope can exist alongside grief, stress, and anxiety (Habakkuk 3:16). … Our hope is in God’s promises, not our circumstances.

  2. Hope and Joy is a choice (Habakkuk 3:18). … Habakkuk chose to be joyful despite the terrible circumstances around him.

  3. Hope comes from remembering and repeating (Habakkuk 3: 3-15). … Remembering what God has done for His people and repeating it can bring us hope for the future.

  4. The heights of Hope come from the depths of Faith (Habakkuk 3:19).

  5. Hope in the future leads to prayer in the present (Habakkuk 3:1-2). … Having hope makes us want to praise God and thank Him for what he has done and pray for what is to come.

This Is a Day of Good News and We Are Keeping to Ourselves

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Our church theme for 2018 is Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. A story from 2 Kings 6-7 illustrates our rationale and motivation for this theme. … After Solomon dies, the nation was divided into a northern and southern kingdom. Enemies of Israel came and besieged the northern kingdom’s capital, Samaria. The situation becomes awful as the attackers just waited for them to starve. The king blames the prophet Elisha and sends someone to kill him. Elisha told the officials he was with that the finest flour would be sold at a cheap price the next day and one of them doubted him. Elisha told the doubter he would see it come true but not eat of the flour. … The lepers outside the city decide they are going to die anyways so they go to surrender to their attackers. They come to the camp and find it abandoned. God had made them hear hoofsteps, so many that they thought the Israelites had allied with Egypt and the Hittites to defeat them. So they dropped everything and ran off. The lepers find all this food and start eating everything until they realize they should tell the city. So they do and when the king’s scouts decide the camp is indeed empty, a stampede ensues and the official who doubted Elisha was trampled. He lived long enough to see the flour sold cheaply but never got to eat of it, just as Elisha had said.

We are like the lepers (Isaiah 64:6). … Spiritually, we are all outcasts. We are unfit to enter Heaven because we are unclean.

We have found great treasure (Ephesians 1:7-8, 18, 3:18). … As Christians we have stumbled upon great riches

We cannot keep it to ourselves (2 Kings 7:9). … We would be morally wrong to keep it to ourselves. We are obliged to tell others about these riches we have found.

Not everyone will believe the Good News immediately. We must be patient with them (2 Kings 7:12). … Some won’t believe right away and will need to send out scouts and examine evidence. The best thing we can do is to be patient with them.

Open Our Eyes: Our View of God Is too Small

Sunday Sermon Series Open Our Eyes

Exodus 3: 1-14

Big Idea: all of our spiritual problems come from a lack of spiritual vision.

Often our view of God is too small
If our view of God is too small, insecurity often emerges.
When our eyes are on ourselves, we come to the natural conclusion: “I can’t do this.”

Insecurity is that voice inside you that whispers: “I am not _ enough.” … What do you most often put in that blank? We all have something.

Exodus 3 opens up with Moses as an insecure man. … We all experience insecurity, even the heroes of the Bible. Moses was a shepherd living with his in-laws at around 60 years old. Then God calls Moses to lead His people. Moses believes he isn’t up to the task. Well, Moses isn’t, but he was missing the point. Moses asks “who am I?” and thus made it all about himself. God refocuses the conversation back onto Him, not Moses, but Moses keeps making it all about himself, indicating great insecurity about his own abilities.

God shows Moses: I don’t need you to e a VICTOR--I just need you to be a vessel. … Confidence comes when we put our faith in God and follow His will.

If the eternal I AM is on your side--you won’t need anything else. … God’s name isn’t so much a name as a descriptor. It tells us God is eternal. He had no beginning and has no end. He doesn’t fear anything and has no needs. … If we are on God’s side, we have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about.

In the New Testament, Jesus takes this “I AM” name to Himself and applies it to our greatest areas of need.

To those who hunger--”I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).

To those who thirst--”I am the living water” (John 7:38-39).

To those in darkness--”I am the light” (John 8:12).

To those who need a fresh start--”I am the door” (John 10:9).

To those feel abandoned--”I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11).

To those who feel lost--”I am the way” (John 14:6).

To those who are confused--”I am the truth” (John 14:6).

To those who are afraid of death--”I am the life” (John 14:6).

We all have insecurities that we cannot overcome on our own, but in Christ they disappear.

Fill in the blanks here:
I am not _ enough, yet in Christ I am _.

I am not good enough, yet in Christ I am righteous.
I am not patient enough, yet in Christ I am persevering.

We tend to focus on ourselves, which leaves God out of focus in our lives, making Him seem smaller than He is. How do we put God in focus? One word: Surrender … Eventually Moses surrendered to God and God did amazing works through him.

A Prayer from Paul: Open Our Eyes

Sunday Sermon

Ephesians 1:17-23

Lasek eye surgery is a procedure using lasers to correct eyesight. What keeps some people from undergoing this surgery is fear of it going completely wrong and losing all sight. The prospect of losing vision is terrifying. For those who are already blind or very near to it, gaining sight would be nothing short of miraculous.

In ephesians, Paul is dropping theological truth bombs and stops to pray for the people reading. He prays that our eyes opened so that we me see and know certain things.

Before we get into his prayer, let’s look at Greek words that are translated to “know” in English. The New Testament uses two words that are translated this way.

  1. Oida: this word is used when referring to just knowing facts. Intellectual knowledge.

  2. Ginosko: this word is used to signify knowledge gained through personal experience. It implies an intimate knowledge.

Paul uses ginosko in this prayer. He prays that we gain personal, intimate knowledge. Paul prays for us to see and know four things:

  1. Our hope … This isn’t the type of hope we’re used to in the world. Worldly hope has no certainty. I hope the Titans win the Super Bowl and the Predators win the Stanley Cup, but I have no assurance either of those will happen. Biblical hope has a certainty to it. We have hope that Jesus will return and we know it will happen. It reshapes how we live.

  2. Our worth … We have received God’s love. Jesus endured the cross for us. We are set to receive a great inheritance. God sees us and puts an unimaginable value on us.

  3. God’s power … God created the universe out of nothing. That is some great power. Yet there is a task He has done that displays even greater power. The resurrection, bringing life from death, is even greater. The Spirit accomplished that lives in us.

  4. The finality of Jesus’ rule … The war is already won. Jesus wins.

Prayer is how we realize these things. Prayers helps us see the hope we have, the worth God puts on us, God’s power inside us, and the finality of Jesus’ reign. Prayer is how our hope is shown to us. Prayer is where we learn how much God values us. Prayer is how we tap into God’s power. Prayer where are comforted by the finality of Jesus’ rule.

Easter: Five Incredible Implications of Jesus’ Resurrection

Sunday Sermon Holidays Easter

The service today started out with an old Newsong song that's been a favorite of mine for a long time: 

Now for the sermon. 

A Rasmussen survey shows us that around 75% of Americans say they believe Jesus rose from the dead. That’s a very high percentage. However, it seems that there is a disconnect between believing in the resurrection and letting it have an impact on our lives.

  1. Jesus is proven to be the son of God (Romans 1:4). … While Jesus was on Earth, He claimed to be the Son of God. Sometimes skeptics would ask Him for a sign to confirm this statement and He would allude to His c9ming death and resurrection such as in John 2:19-22 Matt 12:40? Jesus called His shot and hit it. #ThatsIncredible

  2. I am right with God, free from guilt and shame (Romans 4:25). … The term justify means to align. Jesus’ death and resurrection justifies us with God. #ThatsIncredible

  3. I can live a new life, free from the slavery of sin (Romans 6:4). … The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as Savior, we are spiritually unified with Jesus. We die from our old lives and are raised to new life in Christ. The new life we have gives us the power to break free from our sins, our addictions. #ThatsIncredible

  4. Jesus talks about me to God in Heaven (Romans 8:34). … Christ is in Heaven interceding on our behalf. #ThatsIncredible

  5. Jesus will one day raise me up too (Romans 8:11). … We believe our spirits go to Heaven right away. But we also believe that one day our bodies will also be raised and perfected. #ThatsIncredible

Romans 10:9 tells us these implications only apply to people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.