Sunday, July 31, 2016

Discipleship week 8 - Being Filled with the Spirit

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PDF for sermon handout
PDF for Spiritual Gifts 

Bible Verse 1 Cor 12:7-11

Everyone of us has been born with talents, but when we are born anew into Jesus Christ, we receive a unique spiritual gift that is meant to be available to the church, used for the purpose of furthering the mission of Christ.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Discipleship Week 7 - God's Healing

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Week 7 - God's Healing
PDF of Sermon Hadout

The God who has the power to create, and who has redeemed us through Jesus Christ, has the power to heal and to make whole. This healing takes many forms, including spiritual, relational, and physical healing, and is a foretaste of the healing which is yet to come.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Indie Artist Present - Dave Jones

David Jones (Vocals and Guitar) with Jake Harrover (Percussion) come and play an acoustic set of music with a little help from their Friends JustTerry (Spoken Word). Dave tells the tale of writing the songs as well as playing them.

Song List
7 last words
10 years old (Spoken word)
Save the Children
Take the Call
Go in peace

Contact us if you want to be featured on our Indie Artist Presents

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Healing Jesus

Healing is what Jesus does, and it is the work of the church.  Jesus did some spectacular, miraculous signs of healing during his earthly ministry, and claims that we will do even more spectacular things than he. (John 14:12-14)

However, I emphasize one important word in the second sentence: signs.  Spectacular physical healings are only signs of what God really wants to do in our lives.  The word "healing" is the same Greek word from which we translate “salvation.”  True healing is the restoration of relationships between God and humanity.

Physical healings are pale imitations and merely object lessons of what God wants to do for us. Every physical healing still ends in a death.  By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus blessed Mary and Martha, but I am not so sure he did any favor for Lazarus, who would have had to face death a second time. (John 11)

It saddens me that a large number of Christians and some congregations spend a great deal of their energy seeking the signs of God’s healing, special blessings from God, both physical and financial. This is a spiritual lack of gratitude, a failure to acknowledge the already countless blessings of God. There is an entire faith healing industry constructed to make a profit on the backs of those who are desperate enough to seek this type of sign.  Often, when one does not receive the sign of healing, the faith healer turns the table on the supplicant, blaming their lack of faith; or, more cynically, their lack of financial generosity to the faith healer’s ministry.

Here is what I know about healing:
Physical signs of healing happen because of God’s goodness
Most people who received signs of healing in the NT never asked for it, and in most cases, did NOT have faith prior to the sign. (e.g.--John 11; Luke 7:11-17; 8:26-39)
Faith is the fruit of God's healing, not a pre-requisite of it.
If anyone actually does have the gift of healing, they should use it freely and generously, without expectation of financial remuneration.  (Luke 3:1-10)

That does not mean that we ought not to pray for healing and anoint each other. However, if the seeking of this physical sign of healing consumes us, diminishes our ability to give generously to those in need (because we are giving money to an already wealthy faith healer), then we are living in a poverty mentality, not understanding how absurdly blessed we are, and forgetting the beauty of the truth that we have already received the healing of God.

If we truly want to be agents of God’s healing, we should pick up the phone and call the friend with whom we had a fight and reconcile our relationship; we should use our hands to care for those around us; we should use our financial resources to bless the poor.  Then God’s healing power would be most powerfully revealed.

In other words: rather than seeking signs of God’s healing, BE God’s healing in the world!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Discipleship Week 5 - Resisting Evil & the Devil

PDF of Sermon Handout
Bible Verse: Luke 22:31-32

Because of Christ’s victory at Calvary over sin, death, and the devil, every believer has the right and ability to walk victoriously in life, free from guilt, condemnation, fear, bondage, and defeat. God always leads us to triumph over Satan in Christ.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Discipleship Week 4 - Reading the Bible

God's plan for us is that we enter into a loving relationship with Him. This priviledge is made available because of what Christ, The Word of God, has done. God continues to speak His Word to us in the Holy Scriptures, and this Word is powerful enough to transform our beliefs and actions and relationships

PDF of Sermon Handout
Bible Verse Matthew 4:1-4

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wedding Season

About 15 years ago, George Barna, a church sociologist, did a survey of pastors that discovered that 95% of pastors, when asked “What is your least favorite thing of being a pastor?” answered “Weddings.”  Those who know me, know that I heartily concurred with this evaluation.  I was troubled by the amount of money spent on weddings. Couples thought nothing of spending $5,000 on a dress, $30,000 on the dinner, but balked at the $350 our congregation asked to cover our costs associated with the wedding.  More troubling, many couples attempted to take over the holy space with secular rituals that were out of step with our Christian values.  Weddings were definitely prime evangelical opportunities, but they could be exhausting and stressful diplomatic battles.

However, over the last 5 to 7 years, I can say that I have enjoyed every wedding I have performed, and no longer dread the call from a couple seeking my assistance.  What happened?

Surprisingly, I think it is the accelerated secularization of the country which has alleviated most of the pressures associated with weddings.  In the past, secular couples would come to the church, wanting to use the congregation’s building as a prop for their fairy tale wedding.  That has not happened in recent years.  Secular couples no longer see the church as the back drop for their wedding; and, those couples that do seek out the church setting, are serious about God being a part of their marriage ritual. There is a greater honesty by couples about what they expect in their wedding, the role of the church, and the presence of God.

I do just as many weddings for secular couples as I did 10 to 15 years ago, but the weddings are in parks, homes, beaches and wedding halls.  I no longer have a turf to protect.  I still have an evangelical opportunity to tell them about how God can bless their marriage in the years to come with help, support, and love.

The larger issue of this post, then, are some of the positive affects of the continued secularization of the culture.  Many Christians see this as a great tragedy.  Not I.  I think it has led to an honesty that is refreshing.  Secular couples are no longer masquerading as a churched couple to please the institutional church, and couples for whom their faith is is important are fervent in their demonstration.

Pastor Dave