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Deep Questions from Dark Places

This past Sabbath I preached a message from Matthew 11:1-15 called Deep Questions from Dark Places. When John the Baptist was in prison (a dark place) he sent disciples to ask if Jesus was the Messiah (a deep questions).Our journey of faith passes through dark places and we need to be bold enough to take our deep questions to Jesus. I can relate to John’s experience, but I am amazed by Jesus’ response.Jesus did not rebuke John for his questions but provided evidence that He, in fact, was doing the work of the Messiah. He reminded John of who He is. Jesus calls us to a trust that is based on knowing His Character and not all His reasons.Then He affirmed who John was.Even calling him the greatest ever born of women! Jesus shows how He feels about doubters who seek Him for answers, He loves them.Going through a dark time? Have deep questions? Take them to Jesus. He can handle your struggle.

Here’s what I forgot to say….
In the sermon I explored the idea that deep questions arise when our e…
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Help My Unbelief

This past Sabbath I preached the first message of a 6 part series called The Certainty Box.The message was from Mark 9:14-29 and it wascalled Help My Unbelief.
Our faith experience includes both “I believe” and “help my unbelief”. We need to recognize the “help my unbelief” category in ourselves.And when we recognize it we must resist the temptation to stuff it into our Certainty Box. We don’t ignore it, we get help with it.And Jesus will help us with our unbelief. Faith is vital but faith is not certainty.God is certain but certainty can become and idol. Our goal is not to be 100% certain that what we already believe is true but to follow the Holy Spirit into all truth. Our goal is not to know it all but to know God!

Here’s what I forgot to say….
Well, there’s a lot. I really got into this study. So I have about 6 pages of notes that I didn’t have time to share.Here is one thought that intrigued me.
Jesus was troubled by a “faithless generation” (v 19). Which part of their unbelief troub…

A New Living Faith in an Old Rugged Cross

This past Sabbath I preached a message from Isaiah 43:14-21 entitled A New Living Faith in an Old Rugged Cross.  I explored the tension between welcoming the new and holding onto the old.  Through the prophet Isaiah God called His people to “Remember  not the former things, neither consider the things of old” (Isaiah 43:18). Three chapters latter the same God called the same people to “Remember the former things of old” (Isaiah 46:9). Which is it?  Are we to run to the new or cling to the old? Well, both.  We are to welcome the new things that God leads us into while holding onto the unchangeable truth of who God is.  At the same time we are to run from the new things that will lead us away from God and from the old things that have kept us from Him. The point is not that it is new or that it is old but that it is God. 

Here’s what I forgot to say….

God has promised to “make all things new”(Revelation 21:5). But He hasn’t promised to “make all new things”.  There is a difference.  To ma…

The Life of the Party

This past Sabbath I preached a message from Luke 15:17-32 called The Life of the Party.In the story of the lost son we see a picture of a God who is the life of the party.It was the father who was ready to celebrate, not the sons.We see how God celebrates. He is extravagant. He brings out the best. He kills the fattened calf.And we see what God celebrates. The father says to the older son, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.”God celebrates transformed life!We have the opportunity to join the festivities of a God who extravagantly celebrates life!

Here’s what I forgot to say….
Extravagance is impractical.
I spent a year teaching at Nile Union Academy in Cairo, Egypt.Among the many cultural differences that amazed me was their excessive hospitality.I didn’t need continuous refills of tea. And it would have been more temperate of me to not eat every mystery meat and foreign dish that was brought to me.It was unna…

Reference Point

This past Sabbath I preached a message from Hebrews 12:1-3 called Reference Point.Reference points are powerful because we look to them to interpret the reality around us. Too often, we choose our reference points poorly. We look to what we should have done or could have had.We compare ourselves with the others who are smarter, prettier, and wealthier. But Christians have a reference point that rest of the world doesn’t have… Christ! When we look to others we don’t look to criticize or compare but to see Christ and show Christ! When we look at ourselves, we don’t look at who we are but who we are in Christ! We fix our eyes on who Christ is and what He has done. And there’s a promise… we will not grow weary and loose heart!
Here’s what I forgot to say….
Our world is populated with people who are drifting, unsure of their own identity. God is inviting each of us to run with intentionality in the identity we have in Him.We are searching for our own identity and when we find it we realize w…

100 Big

This past Sabbath I preached on a message from Ephesians 3:14-21 called 100Big.Not familiar with the term “100 Big”? Don’t worry. There's nothing wrong with you.It's a term that my kids made up. In our home “100” is the ultimate superlative. So “100 Big” is the biggest you can get.God is not just big, He’s 100 Big.When we stretch our imaginations to their limit, we grasp only a glorious speck of our 100 Big God!We can’t fully understand Him but we can fully surrender to Him.
Here’s what I forgot to say….
We are missing out on spiritual growth when… …we stop stretching our concept of God. …the wonders of God all make perfect sense. …we no longer allow God’s glory to mess with our perspective. …we appeal to the leftovers of God’s resources instead of the riches of His glory (v. 16). …we become so content with “Big” that we lose our appetite for “100 Big”.
When we are “filled with all the fullness of God” (v.19) we don’t get a little version of God, but we do still have blurry vision of…

Return to My Rest

This past Sabbath I preached on a message from Zechariah 6:1-8 called Return to My Rest.
Here’s what I forgot to say….
The Christian experience is characterized by resting in God’s completed work.We don’t rest in what we can do but in what He has already done.God created man on day six. The seventh day was man’s first full day in existence and it was spent in rest. What did man need to rest from? He hadn’t done anything yet?That is the point.Man wasn’t resting from something; he was resting in something. God invited man to rest in His completed work. Sabbath is a rest in what God has done.This is how the human story started. This is how our story continues. This is the story of our salvation!God sent His son, He lived the perfect life, He die on the cross, He rose from the dead, His work accomplished our salvation.We don’t do the work. We rest in what He has done. This is the story of our eternal home!This can be our story today! Join God in resting in His completed work!
I also forgot …